Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

My Photo
Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Feast of the Holy Trinity; Proof That Solo Scriptura Fails

Today the Church celebrates the great solemnity of the Holy Trinity, always celebrated one week after Pentecost. Why does the Church need to write an office and liturgy to highlight the doctrine of the Triune God?  Because at one time in the history of the Christian faith, almost half of believers didn't understand the true nature of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.  Our Church Fathers provided us with a Creed, a white paper, so to speak, on what it is we believe about God.
   Why was this necessary if the Bible is perpiscuous (self -elaborating) If all we need to know about the nature of God is clearly elucidated in Holy Scripture, why did Arius and his heretic bishops and followers argue that Jesus wasn't truly God?  Why do Jehovah's Witnesses and similar cults today publish a pamphlet that gives 200 "Biblical Proofs" that Jesus is not God?  The answer is that the concept of using the Bible Alone(Solo Scriptura) without the Church Jesus started will lead to error, confusion and ultimately schism. The extremely large number of Protestant denominations which grows by the day is empiric proof of this epic failure.

 Saint Vincent of Lérins of the early fifth century concurs, "Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation."

Don't misunderstand this post as somehow denigrating Scripture, for we believe it is the Divine Word of God, but Christ also gave us His Church through which the third person of the Trinity, the Paraclete is promised to lead us in all truth. This feast day reminds me of that.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Where the Bishop Is....

Today at our parish, the Bishop of Allentown celebrated the feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. The gospel reading was from Saint John: "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

 I find it very interesting that the first thing Christ did on his return at Pentecost was to give them the Holy Spirit and the authority to forgive sins. Surely he intended this ability to not end with this first generation of believers as much as he did not intend the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to end with them as well. I am not sure how I understood this verse as a Protestant, because it only makes sense in the context of the Catholic Church and the priesthood instituted by Jesus.

 It's always a thrill to see the bishop no matter how many times I have seen him because he represents the unbroken succession of apostles since the original twelve. They layed their hands on their disciples and the priesthood continued onward for 2000 years. Some modern bishops can trace their succession back at least 500 years! In the 100 AD, Saint Ignatius of Antioch said this
“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery(priests) as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The Gift of the Present Moment

Today is a guest blog by my lovely wife Deborah . She woke at four in the morning with these thoughts on her birthday.

In my early childhood, all I knew was the present moment. Soon I began to anticipate the next day.  I looked forward to special events, a birthday, Christmas, a family vacation.  When life became difficult, I wanted to escape the present moment and started to plan for the future.   I dreamed of a life full of adventure.  I lived my dreams, and lived for my dreams.  But the present moment was always calling me, beckoning me to embrace it.  Sometimes I did, but mostly I dreamed.  I dreamed of finding love and having a family.  My dream came true and we began to dream together.  We lived our dreams and lived for our dreams. Yet even as we dreamed together, we would often catch ourselves and be reminded of the beauty of the present moment, but the moment would fade and we would start to dream again.  Now, as we grow old together, we realize how little time we have and very few dreams left to dream.  We haven't stopped dreaming, because we want something to share, to look forward to together.  But eventually, if God wills, our dreams will become much simpler, and we will have many more memories than dreams.  Maybe then, we will share our memories and be thankful.  But if we live long enough, our memories too will begin to fade and all we will know is that precious jewel, that we let slip by as we focused on our dreams, that hidden treasure that was our gift at birth, that beckoned us our whole lives.  That jewel is the only treasure we have because it is an encounter with God, a sacrament, the sacrament of the present moment.