Tag Archives: Apologetics

“Go Fish” Friday – What are You Doing?

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Why do Catholics make the Sign of the Cross on their body?

The Sign of the Cross is the most notable tell-tale sign that someone is Catholic.  We begin our prayers with it, we end our prayers with it.  We begin the Mass with it, we end the Mass with it.  And there are some other times Catholics do this,  depending upon how old you are and the traditions that were passed down to you.  Some do it when passing a Catholic Church where the Blessed Sacrament is, or hearing the Lord’s name taken in vain.  It is simply a sign of our Christianity.  “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Acknowledging the Holy Trinity.  The Sign of the Cross is a prayer in itself.

It is rooted in the Old Testament and in the New.

Roman Catholics aren’t the only Christians to make the Sign of the Cross. All Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do as well, along with many high-church Anglicans and Lutherans, and a smattering of other Mainline Protestants. Because it is a creed that all Christians can relate to, it shouldn’t be thought of as just “a Catholic thing.”

“Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are in the way and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the poor’s sake; without toil, for the sick, since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of evils; for He has triumphed over them in it, having made a shew of them openly; for when they see the Cross, they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, Who hath bruised the heads of the dragon. Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the Gift; but for this rather honor thy Benefactor.”
— St. Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 315 – 386

Take a look at FishEaters and Wikipedia for more great information.

The Pope, priests and deacons will also make the Sign of the Cross over a person or the entire congregation to give us a blessing.

How do you do it?

Using your right hand, you should touch your forehead at the mention of the Father; the lower middle of your chest at the mention of the Son; and the left shoulder on the word “Holy” and the right shoulder on the word “Spirit.”

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

or…in Latin:

“In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.  Amen.”  I’m fascinated with the Latin…I love the beauty of the language. We say some prayers in Latin at church and I really wish I had learned Latin in school.

My most favorite part of the St. Cyril of Jerusalem quote above is “and the dread of evils.” That is pretty powerful…The evil ones can’t stand the sign of the cross! I take comfort in that.

Until next time, go fish!

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“Go Fish” Friday – Mary Had A Little Lamb…

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After I hit the “publish” button last Friday on my “Go Fish” Friday article, I had an additional few points that I wished I had made.

…I believe that the misconceptions and misinformation out there about Catholicism comes from Catholics too.  Yep, us Catholics.  We are not as knowledgeable about our faith as we should be.  We do not defend the church or give good answers when people ask us about why we do what we do.  Example:  “Are you a Christian?”  Answer:  “NO, I’m Catholic.”  WHAT???  Come on!!  Some of us have no clue.  Bad Catechesis throughout the years has contributed to this.  Our teachers, whether they be our parents (who should be the main educators about our faith), Catholic school teachers, priests, nuns, lay people who are teaching the faith have not done the best of jobs.  But, the good news is I think that it’s getting better and better.

I did not truly know why I did what I did or believed what I believed until I was in my early 30’s.  If someone would have asked me a question regarding Catholicism before that time, I would not have been able to answer them intelligently on most topics.  Not that I am a “know it all” now.  I am definitely not.  Believe me.  The beautiful thing about Catholicism is that you can learn something new every single day.  This awesome Church of ours has such beautiful mystery, history, and such an amazing story (the Holy Scriptures) that we will never ever know it all.  But, we need to know the basics.  You need to know that yes, Catholics are Christians, we were the first Christians.  That is documented history.  We believe in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Know what the true presence is.   You get the picture.  The basics of the faith must be known and understood.  Not just “done.”  Know why we do what we do and believe what we believe.

I had a “re-awakening” or some would say a conversion experience in my early 30’s.  I know it was the Holy Spirit…a baptism with fire…fire that made me absolutely fall in love with my faith.  From that point on, I made it my mission to research and learn everything I could about Catholicism.  It took 30+ years for me to be ready to open my heart and mind and figure out why I believed what I believed.  I learned it on my own.  I sought the information that wasn’t given to me.  I listened to podcasts (Catholic Answers Live, Mother Angelica Live,  The Journey Home…just to name a few.) I read great books, I asked a lot of questions.  I prayed for wisdom and understanding.  I prayed the Rosary.  I sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament a lot.  My love for my church grew and grew.  I still have that unquenchable thirst for knowledge and for the Mass.  I love the Mass.

Another thing I wanted to add was by no means do I think I’m going to change anyone’s thinking or beliefs about Catholicism in these blogs.  If you are against the church, you’ll probably always be against the church.  If you are open, then maybe you will read what I write and let it marinate a bit.  I simply want to shed light on things.  This is not about arguing a point or shoving things down people’s throats.

So, lets talk about today’s topic…

One of my favorite quotes is: “No Mary, No Jesus.  Know Mary, Know Jesus.”  I just love that because its so true.  Think about it.  Marian faith always points to Christ.  Mary cannot overshadow or be separated from her son.

The topic of the Blessed Virgin Mary is very vast.  I’m not going to go into a whole lot here, but I will talk about a few key points and also give you some good solid Catholic resources so that you can do your own reading and research.  I know that Marian doctrines are some of the most bothersome of the Catholic Church’s teachings for a lot of people.  I am not going to delve into heavy duty church doctrine.  It would take forever and one topic leads into another and you can’t discuss one without discussing the other…you get the picture.  Plus, I’m not a heavy duty church doctrine kinda gal.  If you are curious about Mary (our Mother), definitely get in front of some good solid Catholic resources.  Orthodox Catholic resources.  Don’t go to a non-Catholic source, because chances are, they are filled with untruths and we are right back where we started.  Maybe…if you are game, ask Mary if she could give you a little help with this!  Ask her if its all a bunch of sinful, pagan idolatry to ask her to intercede for you.  She’ll answer you.  She never fails us.

Catholics are constantly accused of worshiping Mary. Let me just say right off the bat, we do not worship her.  We love her, we ask for her intercession, we honor her.  She is the Mother of our Savior.  She’s our Mother.  She bore the Word in her womb and the Word became flesh.  Don’t you agree that is a big deal?  To Catholics, it is.

Question #1 – Why do you pray to Mary? I think the first thing to discuss here is that when the word PRAY is used, people automatically think that it means worship.  It does not.  Another word for prayer is “supplication.” Asking humbly…an earnest petition.  We believe that Mary and the Saints in heaven can hear us.  They have God’s ear.  Scripture states that those in heaven are aware of the prayers of those on earth.  Mary intercedes for us.  Read Revelation 5:8.  Asking someone to pray for you in no way violates the truth that Christ is the one mediator.  You ask me to pray for you and I ask people to pray for me all the time.  Catholics take it one step further, we ask the Saints in Heaven to pray for us too.  Mary is a Saint in Heaven.  Some will throw out 1 Timothy 2:5 as a retaliation.  This scripture states that Christ is the only mediator.   However, they do not include the beginning of chapter 2 – they leave out verses 1-4.  Paul says that Christians should intercede: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and pleasing to God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:1–4). Clearly, then, intercessory prayers offered by Christians on behalf of others is something “good and pleasing to God,” not something infringing on Christ’s role as mediator.

Take a look at this tract from Catholic Answers:  http://www.catholic.com/library/Praying_to_the_Saints.asp

and

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2007/0701clas.asp

#2 Why do you have pictures of her and statues of her?  Why do you kneel in front of them? Isn’t that worship? – Again, No, it isn’t worship.  Why do you have pictures of your deceased family and friends in your home?  It’s simply to remember and honor them.

The act of kneeling does not always mean that the person kneeling is performing an act of worship. Catholics kneel in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary to show her respect and honor and to pray for her intercession; they are not kneeling to worship her.

http://www.catholic.com/library/Do_Catholics_Worship_Statues.asp

There are many, many other questions about Mary.  The truth is out there.  Go fish!

 

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“Go Fish” Friday

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I am going to start to blog on Fridays about a Catholic Fact…a misconception, a misunderstanding, an untruth that people out there might have about Catholicism…The following is a little background about why I’ve decided to do this – hopefully it will serve Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  It will start next Friday.

For about 6 years I worked for a non-denominational Christian company here in Georgia.  It was a “leadership” company founded by Dr. John C. Maxwell.  At the time I was a Mary Kay consultant and very into leadership, going to conferences, listening to all sorts of leadership training on CD and tape.  Dr. John Maxwell was a huge influence on my life and my business.  It was a dream come true to actually work for the man.  I absolutely loved my job, my co-workers, and what the company stood for.  I was blessed in every way by my time there.   While there, this Catholic girl learned many things…how to pray out loud, not by heart memorized prayers, I already had that down!  But, real from the heart impromptu prayer, I learned about the gift of tongues (absolutely freaked me out the first time I heard it), the laying on of hands for healing and the phrase, “praise the Lord” rolled out of my mouth many times a day.  Not being a native Southerner, I was not used to people being so vocal about their faith and talking about Jesus.  I wasn’t really exposed to other faiths other than Catholicism or Judaism in my youth.  Moving to the South was definitely an eye opener for me.  At this job, I was surrounded by a group of amazing Christians, men and women alike.  The special women who, to this day are my “Ya-Ya’s “ taught me the most.  And, I also think I may have taught some of my colleagues some things too.  I believe that the passion I feel about defending the Catholic Church was born out of my experiences at this company.

99.9% of the people who worked there were Protestants and my clients were practically 100% Protestant.  I tried very hard to sell our conferences and simulcasts to Catholic Churches; it was kind of a mission for me as I believed that what we had to offer would tremendously help the Catholic Church.  I was pretty much the “token” Catholic of the company for the first few years of my employment.  It became a friendly joke around the office.  There were times when a sweet girl I worked with would ask me to “pray in Catholic.”  Through the years some others were hired and at one time there were maybe 4 or 5 of us.  There were however, many Ex-Catholics that worked there and for one reason or another had left the church. That was very disturbing to me.  It hurt me to my core.

Many times people would ask me questions like, “Are Catholics Christians?” “Why do you worship Mary?” “Why do Catholics….” You get the picture.  I found that there were so many misconceptions are out there about Catholicism that I never knew of.  There was a time when our employees would have the chance to give their “testimony” in front of everyone in our Monday morning meetings.  Time and time again I heard negative things about Catholics and Catholicism.  It broke my heart.  I’d hear “I was on a mission trip in such and such country and we were trying to save Catholics.”  Or “I used to be Catholic and then I finally got saved.”  Gut wrenching statements that affected me very deeply.  Knowing that people were out there targeting Catholics and wanting to rip them from the church was just unreal to me. So, it kind of became my mission to spread the truth about Catholicism from that point on.

My theory is this:  People believe what they hear from their teachers.  They do what they are taught.  Whether it is the TRUTH or “truth” according to someone they believe, follow and admire, most people believe what they are taught and told.  Why would Protestant pastors lie to their congregations?  Why would parents raise their kids to believe untruths?  Why do women cut the ham before putting it in the roasting pan?  …Because my mom always did it that way.  Well, why did your mom always cut the ham before putting it in the roasting pan?  Well, because her mom always did it that way.  Well, why did grandma always cut the ham before putting it in the roasting pan? Grandma???  “Because my pan was too small!”  People believe and do things based on what they are taught.  It’s quite simply lack of knowledge.

So, that said, maybe this little “Go Fish Friday” article can blast some misconceptions out there, open people’s hearts and educate all of us on the truth about Catholicism.  We are all God’s people.  He loves us ALL.  You should know the truth.  I hope this article will make you stop cutting the ham just “because mom always did it that way.”

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