The Mysterious Image of Our Lady of the Fjords, Oldest Photo of an Apparition

The Mysterious Image of Our Lady of the Fjords, Oldest Photo of an Apparition

The Mysterious Image of Our Lady of the Fjords, Oldest Photo of an Apparition: 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Thank you CATHOLICSAY.COM for this post I shared via Leonard Alt. Thank you too, Leonard.
“O Blessed Mary, Mother of our LORD JESUS – true GOD and true MAN – I believe in your apparitions to prove your holy intercessions for us who seek GOD’s mercy and help.” Amen.
– Roberto Kee, San Diego, California.

On June 24th, 1905, Thomas B. Hayward was enjoying the sights of the Narrows of St. John’s in Newfoundland, Canada when he pointed his camera at an unusual iceberg and snapped a photo. After getting the photo developed, it was clear there was something very unique about it: it appeared to contain the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
It’s not clear if the figure was a giant statue, an apparition, or just a lucky ice formation. But he wasn’t the only person who spotted the mysterious figure: crowds along the shore saw it, and Archbishop Michael Francis Howley even caught a glimpse of it from the steps of his cathedral in St. John’s.

The figure appeared on a particularly meaningful day: June 24th is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the saint for whom St. John’s is named and to whose patronage the archdiocese is dedicated. It was also the anniversary of English explorer John Cabot “discovering” North America by landing near St. John’s.

The Archbishop took all of this as a miraculous sign from heaven and did everything he could to promote it. He approved the sale of postcards and other memorabilia with the image and he wrote an article for Boston’s diocesan newspaper naming the figure “the Crystal Lady.”

He even wrote a sonnet about the figure! Our Lady of the Fjords, by Archbishop Michael Francis Howley Hail Crystal Virgin, from the frozen fjords
Where far-off Greenland’s gelid glaciers gleen
O’er Oceans bosom soaring, cool, serene
Not famed Carrara’s purest vein affords
Such sparkling brilliance, as mid countless hordes
Of spotless glistning bergs thou reignest Queen
In all the glory of thy opal sheen
A Shimmering Shrine; Our bright Atlantic Lourdes.
We hail thee, dual patront, with acclaim,
Thou standest guardian o er our Island home.
To-day, four cycles since, our rock-bound strand.
First Cabot saw: and gave the Baptist’s name:
To-day we clothe with Pallium from Rome.
The first Archbishop of our Newfoundland!

Since it was taken in 1905, the photo may be the oldest photograph of a supernatural Christian apparition.

 

 

Do Catholics honor Mary more than Jesus?

Do Catholics honor Mary more than Jesus?


My Catholic friends, don't be to hard on your non-Catholic friends because they believe this anti-Catholic literature and may even appear angry. I would suggest that Catholics respond to their non-Catholic friends in kindness. It is enough just to tell them the truth and let God be in charge of converting us. After all, "God is love" (1 Jn. 4:7-9) and we should love in imitation of God.

It is true, the more anti-Catholic literature I read and researched over time, the more Catholic I became. I began to study the history of the Catholic Church and the Bible through the eyes of the of those who opposed the Church. I read books and articles, and listened to people speak against the Catholic Church. Researching this information, I contrasted it with the Bible, history, and Church teaching. In the process, I found myself becoming even more Catholic.

I saw these same three things happening over and over again. There were people who were misrepresenting Church history, taking the Bible out of context, and misrepresenting Catholic teaching. These were the three major areas that were not being represented correctly, hundreds if not thousands of times.

• Taking the Bible out of context: I also discovered that these people were frequently quoting the Bible out of context and in so doing were coming up with distorted understandings of Scripture. What came out of these improper understandings of the Bible were thousands of contradictory interpretations of Scripture causing a type of theological anarchy among the thousands of Protestant traditions.

• Misrepresenting Catholic teaching: The people writing this literature would often times misrepresent Church teaching and then, on the basis of their own misrepresentations, claim that the Catholic Church is wrong. This fascinated me because they were often times not disagreeing with Church teaching at all, but with their own misrepresentations of Church teaching.

• Misrepresentation of Catholic history: The first thing I noticed had to do with history and their criticism of certain Church Councils. After all, they could criticize Catholic councils because they existed in history. I could not criticize their councils simply because they did not exist in history going back to Christ and the Apostles.

This, in a nutshell, is why through studying the writings of the adversaries of the Church, I actually became more Catholic. The question that I had as I did my research is this. Why is it necessary to misrepresent history, teachings of the Church, and the Bible in order to convince people that the Catholic Church is wrong? Below in detail I talk about these three main areas where the Catholic Church is misrepresented.
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Taking the Bible out of context: Everyone is coming from some place. Our faith is handed on to us by others who have gone before us. This is what we call tradition. For example, Pentecostals have a Pentecostal tradition, Baptists have a Baptist tradition, Catholics have a Catholic tradition and Lutherans have a Lutheran tradition. We all read from the same Bible and yet we believe different things about this same Bible. Why, because we are coming from different traditions.

There is an understanding among Catholics and non-Catholics alike that the Bible properly understood in context does not contradict. To understand the Bible, we must take it in context. It is necessary to notice clarifying words, what comes before and after a Bible verse and what similar Bible passages say in other parts of the Bible. Usually, non-Catholics will accept the Bible as their only source of revelation. At the same time Catholics accept both the Bible and the teaching Tradition of the Church.

For them it is an open and shut case. Jesus spoke against human tradition. The Catholic Church speaks in favor of Tradition and so to them the Church is in clear violation of the Bible and Catholics should leave that non-Biblical Catholic Church and join a so-called Bible believing church. This sounds pretty persuasive until you notice three dots that indicate part of the context has been left out, verses 9 through 12. These verses show us that Jesus was not speaking against all tradition, but corrupt tradition. Please notice Mark 7:7-13 with the verses in bold that were left out.

Jesus said, "The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human–regulations. You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions, but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do. In this way you make God's word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down" (MK. 7:7, 8, 13, J.B.V.).

Once we see that part of the context was left out, we realize that Jesus was not speaking against all tradition! He was speaking against corrupt tradition, that is in violation of the fourth commandment. Honor your father and your Mother (Mk 7:10, Ex 20:12). In other words, if the money that they would have had to take care of their parents is (given to God), specifically the temple, then they no longer have to take care of their parents in their old age which is in violation of the 4th commandment.

I believe that the vast majority of people who speak against any and all tradition do not realize that they are taking Mark 7 out of context, at least until you bring it to their attention. A person coming from a Pentecostal tradition challenged me with this question. “Why do Catholics follow tradition when in Mark 7, Jesus very clearly speaks against tradition?” I agreed with her that Jesus spoke against tradition and then I asked her a question. “Do you know the specific man-made tradition that Jesus was speaking against and which commandment it violated?” She said “no.” Because she could not answer the question, I realized that she didn’t know the context. I explained to her that Jesus was not speaking against all tradition, but corrupt tradition which is in violation of the 4th commandment. She had nothing further to say.

On social media, I reference from time to time some of the various Christian faith traditions. One man was upset with me for applying the word tradition to his particular church. He responded in sarcasm by saying, “you, a Catholic talking to us about tradition, you ought to talk!” I explained to him that we both have a tradition. It’s just that Catholics have a tradition and admit it and you have a tradition and don’t admit it. He had no response. If he had challenged me and said that his church had no tradition, I would have quoted back to him his own words that are not in the Bible, but coming from his particular tradition.

The Catholic Church draws from both the Bible and tradition and honestly admits it and non-Catholic churches also draw from both the Bible and their tradition, and sometimes don’t admit it.

When people speak against any and all tradition, they are in fact taught this by their church tradition. They quote, in Mark 7:7-13 and then use this to speak against all tradition, when in fact Jesus was speaking against corrupt tradition. They are at the same time seemingly unaware that the Apostle Paul spoke for a living Apostolic tradition in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that is not corrupt. The irony in all of this is that their arguments against all tradition don’t come from the Bible, but their tradition.
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Misrepresenting Catholic teaching: The number one misrepresentation of Catholic teaching has to do with Jesus’ mother Mary. Some non-Catholic church traditions teach that the Catholic Church deified Mary.

While at my place of employment, I noticed one coworker who regularly seemed to be uneasy around me, but I didn’t know why. One day he just started yelling at me, “Why do you Catholics put Mary on such a high pedestal?” And so, I am yelling back at him, “Oh, do you mean where the Catholic Church makes Mary equal to God or even Greater than God?” And he said “Yes!” And so, I answered him, “never in the two-thousand-year history of the Church has the Church ever made Mary equal to God or greater than God!” He looked at me for a few seconds and walked away without saying anything. He, to his credit, later apologized for speaking in what he called "an area that he didn’t know that much about."

However, the question remains, why did he walk away without responding? The answer is simple. It says nowhere in the Bible that Mary is a God. She is the Mother of Jesus, who is both God and man. Everyone agrees with this. And so, if the Church deified Mary, it had to happen at some later date. At which Church council was Mary made into a God? In order for him to answer that question, he would have had to name a Church document or council where Mary was deified. The problem is that no such Church document or council exists. The deification of Mary is not Catholic teaching, but non-Catholic misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, not to be confused with actual Catholic teaching.

I was in a discussion on social media with a Baptist. He was wondering why Catholics make Mary into a god. I explained to him that Mary as a god is not Catholic teaching but non-Catholic teaching that is misrepresenting Catholic teaching. I asked him what his sources were. Interestingly enough, he claimed that that he knew of seven different Catholics who believed that Mary is a god. As the expression goes, I almost fell off my chair. I had never heard such a thing in my life. I told him that I found it interesting that he, who had never been Catholic, claimed to know of seven different Catholics who believed that Mary was a god and I, who have always been Catholic, have never heard of even one Catholic who thought that Mary was a god.

I further went on to say that if he had been honest, he would have said that he knew of seven ex-Catholics, who got their information from anti-Catholic sources, who believed that Mary is a god. He had no further response; I had caught him in a lie. In order to prove Mary is a god, Evangelicals and others have to go to non-Catholic sources that are misrepresenting Catholic teachings. They then disagree not with Catholic teaching, but with their own misrepresentations of Catholic teaching.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 971 makes it very clear that we honor Mary; however, adoration belongs to God alone. “All generations will call me Blessed.” The Church rightly honors “the blessed virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the Title of ‘Mother of God’, to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs… This very special devotion… differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”

It is one thing for people to honestly disagree on an issue. It is quite something else when someone deliberately misrepresents another church and then disagrees, not with the teachings of this church, but with their own misrepresentations of this church’s teachings.
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Misrepresentation of Catholic history: On social media there are many adversarial groups speaking against the Catholic Church. One Evangelical posed this historical question. “I would ask our Romanist visitors to name, please, a single bishop at the Council of Nicaea who believed as the Pope believes on each of these topics: Marian dogmas, Papal Authority (infallibility), Purgatory, transubstantiation?”
His question is worthy of an answer. As far as the topics that he mentioned, they were not dealt with at the Council of Nicaea. They were dealing with the nature of God, the Arian heresy, the day we celebrate Easter and other related topics.

I also asked him a question using some of his own language. “I would ask our Evangelical visitors to please give us the name of even one Baptist minister at the council of Nicaea"? He had no answer because the attendees at the Council of Nicaea were not Evangelical ministers, but Catholic Bishops. What he didn’t seem to realize is that in asking this question, he was unwittingly testifying to the fact that the Church of history is the Catholic Church. He evidently didn’t like it that I pointed this out and his response was to kick me out of his group discussion. He could criticize my Church for its historical Church councils, because the Catholic Church existed at that time and is the Church of history. However, I can’t criticize his Protestant councils since they did not exist prior to the 16th century many centuries later.
Many years ago, I was present when a Protestant minister was speaking about the history of Christianity beginning with Adam and Eve. He then brought up the New Testament, the story of Jesus in the Gospels and then went on to speak of Fr. Martin Luther and some of the other Protestant reformers to the present. I remember looking around at the audience and thinking to myself, am I the only one who sees what this minister has done?

He made no reference to Christianity from the death of the last Apostle till the time of the Protestant reformers. It is not unusual for Protestants to shy away from history because Christian history is in fact Catholic. This is also one of the major reasons why very educated thoughtful non-Catholics, including Protestant ministers become Catholic.

I am not the only one who has noticed this. An Evangelical noticed this same thing when she took a history class at her Bible College. Here is what she had to say “There was something in that history that bothered me to no end. Between the Book of Acts and the Reformation, it appeared there was not very much to report. I wondered what the Holy Spirit had been doing during those 1,500 years. No one seemed bothered by this giant gap. I found it hard to believe that the work of God had gone largely undone until the Azusa Street revival in California, the cradle of Pentecostalism, in the early 20th Century” (Kristyn Lorraine Hall, August 29th CHNewsletter). This is one of the reasons why Kristyn Hall eventually became Catholic.

Why did they ignore the 1,500 years before Luther Calvin and Zwingli? They could not talk about the Protestant history because it hadn’t happened yet. All they would have been able to talk about was Catholic history.

The first Protestant Reformers who rebelled against the Church were all Catholic. Fr. Martin Luther and Fr. Ulrich Zwingli were Catholic priests. John Calvin was not a priest, but went to a Catholic School. If Protestants want a history that goes back to the time of Christ, they will have to go back to the Protestant Reformers and then through the Catholic Church all the way to Jesus and the Apostles.
I have listened to a number of comments on the history of the Bible by Protestant pastors, who moved away from their non-Catholic church(s) to the Catholic Church. In the process, they discovered that the Bible is Catholic. As one Protestant pastor put it. "Where did the Bible come from? Do we think it just dropped down from the sky?" Marcus Grodi convert, talks about this. He had led Catholics out of the Catholic Church, to his Church using the Bible. His expression was "show it to me in the Bible!" On the other hand, he remembers when he first realized that the Bible is a Catholic book.

"I remember that strange empty feeling when I first realized that the only reason that I have the Bible was the Catholic Church."
Jesus said that His Church is ONE. This being the case then the obvious question is this, of the tens of thousands of non-Catholic denominations, non-denominations, and fellowships, which ONE is it. This is actually very important to the best of non-Catholic Christians; they want to be in a church that teaches the true Gospel. This is where the term "church hopping" comes from as they search for this true Church which promotes the full Gospel. There are wonderful non-Catholics out there who believe as Jesus taught, that the truth will set you free. They do not want to be in a church that is teaching the Gospel incorrectly, as the Apostle Paul puts it, a "different Gospel" (2 Cor. 11:3-5). Once this is settled, they may have to do this multiple times because of job changes and relocation.

One of the ways that non-Catholics try to get around dealing with this ONE Church is to declare it “invisible.” They don’t want to admit that the Catholic Church is that visible Church formed by Christ and the Apostles. And by calling it "invisible" instead of ONE, they are trying not to deal with the huge fragmentation of thousands of contradictory theologies that continue to this day in Protestant Christianity.
Not too long ago, I remember joking to a Baptist friend of mine that every time I visit a Protestant Church, I find that it is in fact visible, with visible attendees, visible pastor, visible Bibles etc. I said to her "if the Church that Jesus founded is supposed to be ‘invisible’ then this church can't be it because it is very visible." She later became Catholic and yes, the Catholic Church is very visible.

The great Anglican historian, John Henry Newman in his research of the history of the Church came to this conclusion. “To be deep in History is to cease to be Protestant.” Newman did cease to be Protestant and became Catholic. One of the major reasons why Protestant ministers today become Catholic is because they ultimately discover that Christian history is ultimately Catholic and Orthodox.
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There are hundreds of examples where the Church is not represented accurately. I have given a few examples in these three main areas. As a Catholic these misrepresentations did not lead me away from my Church. They actually drew me nearer. I reasoned that if falsehoods against the Catholic Church are the primary ways that you prove it wrong, then it must be that one true Church established by Jesus Christ. There are many wonderful non-Catholics, who like us are seekers of the truth and when they begin to see that they were given a less than correct understanding of the Church they sometimes begin to fall in love with the very Church they were taught to hate.

I warn Catholics not to take it personally when non-Catholics are somewhat caustic. They have been taught many things about our Catholic Church that are not true. In fact, many (but not all) are taught that Catholics are not Christians. They are Pagans at best, or Satanists at worst. Put yourself in their shoes. If you had been brought up in their tradition(s) and were taught these things wouldn’t you be doing the same things they are doing. And so, it is for us to simply tell people the truth not pushing it on anyone. Jesus said “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:1-33). If there is any converting to take place let Jesus do that! After all, it is His truth that sets us free.

 

 

 

 

Bowing down to gods!

Bowing down to gods!


Is bowing to people other than God a sin? God is a jealous God, but is He really jealous of his mother Mary?
“You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God (Ex 20:4-5). These are the two verses that are used TIME AND TIME AGAIN, against the Old and New Testament saints and against Christian statues. The problem with this is that in the context, God was not speaking against bowing down to Saints or Christian statues. The bowing and down and worshiping is against Pagan gods. And the reason we know this is because in verse 3, it says so. “You shall not have other gods beside me.”

So what do they do about verse 3, other Gods? They don’t bring it up; they leave it out. I began to realize that they leave it out because the moment that you include the context other gods, you can no longer use this against Saints, Mary and Christian symbols. Here is the part that absolutely fascinated me; when I would bring it to their attention, they would still ignore the context and quote verses 4 & 5 and leave out verse 3, other gods, the context. I wondered why they would take the Bible out of context even after I showed it to them. The only thing that I can conclude is that they are coming from their tradition. They must believe this way because if it is not true, then they have to ask the question, what other false things have they been taught by their tradition? Many, many Evangelicals are beginning to see this intellectual dishonesty and this is why we have this huge exodus from Evangelical Christianity into the Catholic Church.

It says God is a Jealous God, but is he really so jealous that he would be upset with those who bow down to persons and angels who are his friends? Often times Exodus 20 is used to support the notion that we should not bow down to persons or angels, only God. After all God does speak against idols of other gods carved out of silver and gold, and that we should not bow down to them.

“You shall not BOW DOWN before them or worship them. For I, the lord, your God, am a JEALOUS GOD (Ex 20:5). It is obvious that we should not bow down to other gods, but is it right to bow before an angel or another person. I have people tell me regularly, we should not bow down to any person or angel. We shouldn’t bow to Peter; we shouldn’t bow to Mary; we shouldn’t bow to angels. We should only bow down to God.

They are partially correct in that we do bow down to God (Jesus). “The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God” (Mt 14:33). “Terrified, the women bowed their heads to the ground. But the two said to them, ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive” (Lk 24:5)?

At the same time God did express his displeasure with people who bowed down to other gods. The name of two of these gods are mentioned, Baal and the Ashtaroth (Judges 2:13). They actually bowed down to them. The Israelite s bowed down to false gods: “They deserted Yahweh, God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt, and they followed other gods, from those of the surrounding peoples. They bowed down to these; they provoked Yahweh” (Judges 2:12). They continued to bow down to other Gods: “But even to their judges they refused to listen. They prostituted themselves to other gods and bowed down before these. Very quickly they left the path which their ancestors had trodden in obedience to the orders of Yahweh; they did not follow their example” (Judges 2:17). They followed other Gods and bowed down: “But once the judge was dead, they relapsed into even worse corruption than their ancestors. They followed other gods; they served them and bowed before them and would not give up the practices and stubborn ways of their ancestors at all” (Judges 2:19).

Why did the Lord object to these examples of bowing down? They were clearly violating the first commandment “I am the Lord your God you shall not have other gods beside me.” They were bowing down to other gods (Ex 20:3).

Some people object to bowing down bowing before others because Peter rejected it. Here is one person objection; Peter did not accept worship or people bowing down to him, why do people think it’s OK to bow to the pope or statues? These were the verses that were cited as definitive proof that you cannot bow before anyone but god. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being” (Acts 10:20:25-26).

The reason that Peter did not accept the bowing down is because Cornelius thought Peter was a god. Why would Cornelius think Peter was a god? If you back up a few verses you will notice that Cornelius was directed by an Angel to summon Peter. “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, respected by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you [Peter] to his house and to hear what you have to say.” Having been directed by the angel to summon Peter, he thought that Peter was a god rather than a human being.

So when Cornelius bowed down to Peter, he thought he was bowing to another god. This is why Peter objected; it would not be proper to bow down to another god other than the one true God; “You shall not have other gods beside me” (Exodus 20:3). The reason we know that Cornelius thought Peter was another god is because Peter had to explain to him “Get up. I myself am a HUMAN BEING” (Acts 10:26). And so it is clear that Cornelius thought Peter was another god. So the question here is this; is it proper to bow before a person when you know the person is not another god? The answer is yes. There are many examples in the Bible where people were bowed down and it didn’t evoke the anger of God.

Abraham bows to three of the Lords angels: “He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowed to the ground” (Gen 18:2). Lot bows to the ground in front of two angels: “When the two angels reached Sodom in the evening, Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. As soon as Lot saw them, he stood up to greet them, and bowed to the ground” (Gen 19:1) Abram bows to the Hittites: “At this, Abraham rose and bowed low to the local people, the Hittites” (Gen 7:23). Joseph’s brothers’ bow to Joseph: “It was Joseph, as the man in authority over the country, who allocated the rations to the entire population. So Joseph’s brothers went and bowed down before him, their faces touching the ground” (Gen 42:6). Solomon bows to his mother: “So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah; the king got up to meet her and bowed before her; he then sat down on his throne; a seat was brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down on his right” (1 Kings 2:19).

Abraham and Lot bow down to angels; Abraham bows to the local people; Joseph’s brothers’ bow down to Joseph; and Solomon pays homage to his mother by bowing to her. At no time was God provoked. He did not express His anger. Why wasn’t God angry with them for this? The answer is simple; the persons and angels were not other gods. The people were simply showing respect.

In the first three examples God was provoked because the people were bowing down to other gods (Baal and the Ashtaroth) which is for bidden in Exodus, “You shall not have other gods besides me” (Ex 20:3). In the other six examples God was not provoked to anger because these people were bowing down to friends of the one true God. Note that they were not in violation of Exodus 20, and the first commandment, because they were not bowing down to other gods. And so it is true that God is a Jealous God (Ex 20:5), but He is not jealous of His friends. He is jealous in the context of other gods. 

Some people are using Exodus out of context. They quote Exodus, “You shall not BOW DOWN before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God’ (Ex 20:5). And then they say “you cannot bow down to anyone but God.” However; Exodus 20:5 does not prohibit the bowing down to people and angels of the one true God. When they quote Exodus 20:5, they conveniently leave out Exodus 20:3, because this clearly shows the prohibition is limited to the bowing down to other gods and not the people and angels of the one true God.

Exodus 20:5 is also used, by some, against Mary to show that we should not bow down to her or pay her homage. Mary does not fit the context because she is not anOTHER GOD, but the Mother of God (Jesus). Remember Solomon paid homage to his mother by bowing down to her; “So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah; the king got up to meet her and bowed before her; he then sat down on his throne; a seat was brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down on his right (1 Kings 2:19). If Solomon can pay his mother homage, then it is even better that we should pay Jesus’ Mother Mary, homage. If the King can provide a seat for his mother on his right, then all the more that we should provide a seat for Jesus’ mother Mary, in our houses. If there are some who have a problem with this, please take it up with Solomon. I am sure he would love to hear from you.

Are Saints Dead or Alive?

Are Saints Dead or Alive?

Are saints who have physically died, “dead saints” or are they alive with God? One person on social media said “Who are the ‘dead in Christ’, if not those who walked with our Lord, but who are now no longer among the living?” He is correct; the “dead in Christ” are those saints who have physically died. “For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16).

Dead saints, Jesus Alone or do we have a roll in this life and in the next? Some people claim that saints, who have died, are classified as “dead saints,” who can do nothing. They are no longer a force to reckon with; they can no longer appear; they cannot talk or do other things. These same people don’t want the saints who have died doing anything because this would be another reason why the Protestant doctrine, “Jesus Alone” fails. If the so-called “dead saints” do anything then it is not “Jesus Alone,” but Jesus and the saints cooperating with Him. And it would also mean that the so-called “dead saints” are in fact not dead, but alive with God.

His physical body died, but his soul lives on in Paradise. Are the Saints who have gone before us alive with God or are they truly “dead saints” who can do nothing as some would suggest? Yes, their bodies are dead, but their souls live on. For example, Jesus said to one of the criminals on the cross next to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43). Yes, that day, this man became the dead in Christ because his physical body died on his cross; however, Jesus said that today this man would be with Him in paradise. He was no “dead saint” because his soul was alive with Christ in Paradise.

Is Jesus the God of “dead saints”? One person alluded to Mark 12:27 and said “Jesus is the God of the living, not of the dead” in an attempt to show that Jesus cannot be the god of those saints because they are now dead saints. After all, Scripture says “he is not the god of dead but of the living.” However, he left out verse 26, part of the context. Here are three people who were no longer alive, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and yet God said that He was their God as well. He is not God of the dead but of the living, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong” (Mk 12:26-27).

Abraham Isaac and Jacob on the one hand have died, and yet their souls are alive because their God is not the God of the dead but of the living and thus do not qualify as “dead saints.”

Sorry Leonard… you have a bad argument! Another person on social media says, “As Ecclesiastes says the dead have nothing more to do under the sun… sorry Leonard… you have a bad argument.” He is using this as definitive Biblical proof that people on the other side cannot do anything once a person has died. After all, Ecclesiastes does say, “For them, love and hatred and rivalry have long since perished. They [the dead] will never again have part in anything that is done under the sun” (Eccles. 9:6).

Using, Ecclesiastes 9:6 as a prohibition against all soul activity after death is to use the verse out of context and at odds with other parts of the Bible. When a person dies their body is in the grave; it is dead. It is true that they are no longer under the SUN in this world, but are under the SON in the next world. Ecclesiastes 9:6 is not a prohibition against the activity of the person’s soul, which lives on. This of course begs the question; is there any indication of personal activity of a soul after death, in Scripture?

Elisha performs wonders after death. Yes, there are a number of examples and here is one of them. Elisha after dying performed marvelous deeds. In life he [Elisha] performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds (Sir. 48:14). “Elisha died and was buried. At the time, bands of Moabites used to raid the land each year. Once some people were burying a man, when suddenly they spied such a raiding band. So, they cast the dead man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet” (Kings 13:20-21).

Elisha will never make it as a “dead saint.” He performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds (Sir 48:14).

When Moses and Elijah appeared, were they dead or alive? There are those who insist that saints who have died are nothing more than “dead saints” who can do nothing. I usually ask them this question. When Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, were they dead or alive? “And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah” (Lk. 9:30). Not bad for a couple of so-called “dead saints,” who can’t do anything. Not only did they appear, but they were talking as well. The question I asked usually goes unanswered.

Jesus never claimed that that those who have died are “dead saints.” Jesus understood well that when someone dies, they will live on and in fact those who live and believe in him will never die. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’ Do you believe this” (Jn. 11:23-26)?

This union, with the saints on this side and the saints on the other side is referred to as the communion of saints in the Apostles Creed which is cited in Catholic, Lutheran and some other non-Catholic churches as well. Those who insist that “dead saints” can’t do anything because their bodies have physically died seem not to understand that their souls live on and are very involved.

Where does the statement that “dead saints” can’t do anything, come from? It comes from man-made tradition which is at odds with the Word of God.

Bowing down to gods!

Straight to Jesus-Mary Set The Example

The Protestants were right all along; We go straight to Jesus, AND MARY SET THE EXAMPLE!

There are people with the best of intention who believe that Mary’s intercession is idolatry and a type of paganism under the guise of Christianity. Their reasoning is that if we ask Mary’s intercession, we are at odds with Jesus because He said in John 14:6, “no one comes to the Father except through Me [Jesus].” To them it means that we should… only ask Jesus to intercede to Father, and Mary is considered to be an adversary to the process rather than a help.
This understanding is in conflict with Jesus teaching on prayer. Jesus said; “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. (Mt 6:9-14). Notice that Jesus is telling his followers to pray directly to the Father. Jesus is not saying you can only intercede to the father through Me.

Jesus didn’t say, no one INTERCEDES to the father except through Me. Jesus said, “no one COMES to the Father except through Me” [Jesus] (Jn 14:6). Please note that intercessory prayer by Mary or anyone is not in the context. Jesus, in John 14 tells us that He is going to prepare a place for us and he will come back and take us with Him, verse 3. No one comes to the father except by Me, verse 6. Jesus is coming back and He will not leave us orphans, verse18. .

How does Jesus leave and prepare a place for us? Jesus dies on the cross He raises from the dead and ascends into Heaven! By His cross we are redeemed. No one can COME to the Father except through Jesus because He redeemed us on the cross. Without this redemption there is no salvation and so when Jesus is referring to “coming to the Father,” He is not saying who can or cannot intercede. He is talking about salvation; “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name [Jesus] under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (Acts 4:12).”

Some people are using John 14:6 as a prohibition against Mary and the saints interceding in prayer; however, they are using it out of context, probably not realizing John 14:6 has to do with redemption and not intercession.

We ask Mary and the Saints to pray with us on our behalf. Yes, we go straight to Jesus and when Mary intercedes on our behalf, she goes straight to Jesus along with us. In the Bible when the wedding party was out of wine, Mary interceded to Jesus on their behalf. Jesus initially resisted “my hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:3-5); however, Jesus out of His great love honored His mother Mary, by doing it anyway. I want Mary on my side when I pray to Jesus, and that is why in every Hail Mary prayer we say to her “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” We ask Mary to intercede with us and she goes straight to Jesus, just as she did at Cana.

Are Saints Dead or Alive?

Should Mary Be Honored-Pope Bows

Pope bows to Mary

Should Mary be exalted and if so in what way?

On social media, a member of the Baptist Religion claimed that Mary should not be honored; all honors should go to Jesus alone. Whatever love that I have for Mary, I am sure it is far less than Jesus love for His Mother. Some Protestants ignore her, malign her and in the most extreme cases try to associate her with demons or Satan. Again, I say some Protestants, because there are others who hold her in the highest regard.

The angel Gabriel honored Mary; she had found favor with god: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. (Lk. 1:26-31). Mary is to be the Mother of Jesus and has found favor with God. I think we should favor her as well.

All generations honor Mary, she is called Blessed: Mary spoke of the honors given her by God. “And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Lk. 1:46). Wow! Look at the honors, and for all ages. Some are afraid that Mary might take away from Jesus. God did not share this fear; He honored her.

Elizabeth honored Mary: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at that moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk. 1:41-45). Elizabeth called her “most blessed” and was honored to have Mary in her presence.

Simeon honored Mary: “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you [Mary] yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk. 2:34-35). A sword pierces Mary’s heart so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. That doesn’t sound like Jesus alone. Mary had a role as well.

Martin Luther honored Mary: Although many non-Catholics speak against Mary as though she is at odds with Jesus. On the other hand, not all Protestants do this, but hold her in high regard. Therefore, I must defend many of my non-Catholic brothers for also having a very high regard for Mary. The Protestant Reformers in general spoke highly of Mary. Fr. Martin Luther, spoke of his extremely high regard for Mary.

Martin Luther: “If our Lady were to enter Jerusalem today, in a golden coach drawn by 4,000 horses it would not be and honor great enough for she who bore in her womb our Savior” (Protestantism and our Lady, Fr George Rutler).

Jesus honored Mary, in fact, He obeyed her: Jesus honored His mother and Joseph by obeying them; “He [Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them and his mother kept all these things in her heart” (Lk. 2:51). He did this in keeping with the fourth commandment of God, “Honor your father and mother” (Ex. 20:12). We should honor Mary, Joseph and all the Saints.

Jesus honored his Mother at the wedding feast of Cana. He did so by performing His first public miracle at her request. “When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’” (Jn. 2:3). Initially Jesus resisted, “my time has not yet come;” however, in the end, He did it anyway.

The angel Gabriel honored Mary. Do you honor her?

All generations call Mary Blessed. How do you call her blessed?

Elizabeth honored Mary. Do you honor her?

Simeon honored Mary. Do you honor her?

Martin Luther honored Mary. Do you honor her?

Jesus honored and obeyed Mary. Do you honor her?

Jesus honored her with his first public miracle. Do you honor her?

A quotation from Rev Charles Dickson a Lutheran minister: “Having been raised in a traditional Protestant atmosphere, I was led to believe that Catholics placed far too great an emphasis on the Virgin Mary in their faith and practice and that such an emphasis deflected from the centrality of Christ. But in some 30 years of ministry in a Protestant tradition I have learned that just the opposite is true. By upholding the importance of the Blessed Virgin, Catholics do not minimize the importance of Christ, but actually emphasize and underline His mission…” (Article, Why all the fuss about Mary).

The moment someone tries to explain to me, everything that Mary isn’t, I know they are coming from their tradition. The Bible explains what Mary is in relationship to Jesus, not what she isn’t. Sometimes my Evangelical friends will tell me that Mary is only a humble handmaid of the Lord. She should not be exalted, only Jesus. They are correct in that Mary is that humble handmaid of the Lord. They are incorrect when they say she should not be exalted. “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness” (Lk. 1:46). “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you” (Jm. 4:10). The fact that she is that humble handmaid of the Lord, this is precisely why we exalt her.

If God exalts Mary in her humility, then who are we not to do likewise? Do you exalt her or explain her away as unimportant?

Does the Mother not love her Son? Does the Son not love His Mother? He does love her and when we love her, we imitate Jesus and honor Him as well. The notion of Mary taking away from the centrality of Jesus is found in some man-made traditions; however, it is not found in the Bible. Mary’s message for us yesterday, today and forever,

“Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you” (Jn. 2:5).

Child tip toeing to Mary
Bowing down to gods!

Major Medjugorje detractor guilty of fraud

Major Medjugorje detractor guilty of fraud.

Spirit Daily circulated this article

Medjugorgie war massacre was a fraud. By Jakob Marschner on Nov 4, 2012

In a book widely cited by Medjugorje antagonists, a Dutch anthropologist claimed that families in Medjugorje killed each other during the civil war. Now another book reveals this as untrue, and causes Free University of Amsterdam to open case of scientific fraud against its former employee.

Whereas the destruction of the Franciscan monastery in Mostar remains a well documented fact, Mart Bax’s claims of Medjugorje citizens committing atrocities against each other during the civil war have never been possible to verify. The Free University of Amsterdam now officially investigates the academic work of its former anthropology professor.

Retired anthropology professor Mart Bax will be investigated by his former university in Holland over serious suspicion of scientific fraud. Part of the case concerns Mart Bax’s work on Medjugorje, the Dutch online media Univers Online reports, along with other media in Holland.

The investigation has been spurred by the recent publication of a book by the Dutch investigative journalist Frank van Kolfschooten. Part of the book is devoted to examining Mart Bax’s claim that rivaling families in Medjugorje committed atrocities against each other while Bosnia and Hercegovina was plagued by civil war in 1992-95.

Frank van Kolfschooten Mart Bax made far-reaching claims in his book “Medjugorje: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Rural Bosnia”, published in 1995 and since then often cited by Medjugorje opponents. Frank van Kolfschooten is not the first to find that the claims cannot be verified:

In what Mart Bax termed “the little war”, he claimed that 140 residents of Medjugorje were killed, and that another 600 were forced to flee the region when a claimed dispute over the housing of a drastically decreasing number of pilgrims soon developed into bloodshed.

Medjugorje went undamaged through the war. Here, a Serbian cluster bomb has failed to explode, to instead drill its way into the sidewalk 100 meters from Saint James Church.

Mart Bax also wrote and published that mutilations and torture were carried out on a regular basis in nightly raids between the warring families. He further wrote that elements of the Croatian army sided in the conflict, resulting in a massacre that saw the death of 100 people by the same time.

Women, children and elderly were murdered, homes were burned, rocket launchers were used to cause members of a rivaling family to flee – and the victors offered up prayers of thanks to the Virgin Mary for her special grace and protection, Mart Bax further wrote.

Aside of Mart Bax’s writings, it was always undisputed that no person was killed in Medjugorje during the war. Damage to property and physical locations was very limited, and reports of divine intervention to protect Medjugorje even came from Serbian pilots who had standing orders to level the village with the ground.

Claims have been denied before

No death certificates exist on the 140 people Mart Bax claimed were murdered. The parish of Medjugorje denied Mart Bax’s claims in the parish bulletin when his book came out in 1995.

Fr. Ivan Landeka Later, no one in Medjugorje, priests or local citizens, could confirm the anthropologist’s claims when the Croatian daily Jutarnji List fact-checked Mart Bax’s work on Medjugorje in August 2008. Neither could Croatian or Bosnian university professors also asked by Jutarnji List. Internationally, the story made it to German media, but never to the English-speaking world.

“During the time of the war, there was neither murder, nor fighting. My impression is that Bax had the wrong informants, faulty sources, or did not understand the story he told. It is hard to tell what it was all about” said Fr. Ivan Landeka, parish priest in Medjugorje during the war.

Professor Mladen Ancic

“Mart Bax is ignorant and a poor anthropologist, and the problem is that he was a reputable publisher, and that researchers cite the nonsense that it is” Mladen Ancic, professor of philosophy at the University of Mostar, told Jutarnji List.

“When I came across these things, I ordered and read the book, then went back to Hercegovina to hear if anyone knew about this. Of course, no one did.”“After that, I trailed the books that he cites. When you go to his notes and references in the bibliography, you see that it is all made up. Secondly, it can be seen that he never picked up some of the books that he cites” said professor Mladen Ancic.

Against these and other accusations, Mart Bax will have the opportunity to defend himself when Free University of Amsterdam proceeds with its investigation of possible scientific fraud. At this point, Mart Bax remains silent.

“I have approached him several times to have an explanation, but he has not responded” the Dutch investigate reporter Frank van Kolfschooten tells Elsevier.

The German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau had only little more luck. “I have put that behind me” Mart Bax replied when the paper approached him for a comment. Join our pilgrimage, attend an apparition!