Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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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.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Catholics and Corrupt Communications

"I’ve seen people say that we are representing a brand (that we are our brand) so we should watch how we talk on social media, in our writing or what we say in public. I do not agree with that at all. I am not a brand. I don’t represent any brand at all. I represent Christ. That means that I should not go around being rude to people in person or online and when I do then I need to admit that and seek forgiveness for it. Not because of a brand though, but because I am working on being a saint. Because I am Catholic. Not only am I Catholic, but I am a sinner. I am not going to go around acting like I’m not. I am not going to put on a mask of piety for people so that I don’t get fired from Catholic writing jobs or so that I can get Catholic speaking gigs. That isn’t how Catholicism works."
From A Catholic Blogger

 I beg to differ. I have recently noted the direction negative direction of Catholic writers on the internet. It has become more popular for some prominent Catholic bloggers and apologists to use foul language as well as attack their opponents in escalations of flame wars, which no one really wins. Two bloggers recently were taken off the writing staff of The National Catholic Register (EWTN-owned) as a result of this very thing. While there are many Catholics such as the blogger above I quoted from who think we shouldn't "represent a brand" but Christ, I believe we as Catholics should offer the world an alternative. We are all human- sinners, impious, impatient, etc , however, on the web we have the luxury of writing our words then stepping back and thinking about the import of those words. Will these things I have written draw others to the risen Christ? After all, the mission of the Church is simply to bring people to heaven. Do my words do that?

Yes, I know that we Catholics are as gritty and imperfect sinners as the rest of the world. But the reality is, our words and actions are often watched by non-Catholics and can push people away from Christ and his Church rather than towards it. Of all the Christians "on the web" and in the "real world" we Catholics have the advantage of a direct infusion of God's grace through the power of the sacraments. Therefore, because of our access to the Eucharist and frequent Confession, we have the opportunity of allowing ourselves to become fashioned into the image of Christ in a very expeditious way. Do all our problems, sins and foibles go away because of the ability to have union with the Living God in the sacraments? No, but the potential is there, and in such a measure that we have 2000 years of saints who proven that it can be done.

When I sit down in front of my computer, shouldn't I represent Christ to the world as much as I do in my day to day life? Even more so because of the potential for our words to reverberate throughout the blogosphere and beyond, and someday shouted from the housetops during our individual (particular) judgment. (cf Luke 12:3)

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers(or readers on the web too)." Eph 4:29

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. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ode To Mother Angelica

The National Catholic Register highlights my song about Mother Angelica.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

RIP Mother Angelica

This past Easter evening,  Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN, went home to the house of her Father.
There is a fair chance I wouldn't be Catholic if it wasn't for this cloistered nun who started the largest religious broadcast in the history of cable.  In 2002, my wife started watching EWTN when she began her journey to Catholicism. I was extremely unhappy about her interest in Catholicism, but I couldn't help but listen in from the other room as I heard stories of Protestants convert to Catholicism on The Journey Home. In no time at all , I was drawn to watching Journey Home every Monday and some of the other programming along the way.
   Little did I know that just five years later, my wife and I would be sitting in the studio of EWTN telling our story of conversion to the Catholic faith live to over 80 million viewers on Marcus Grodi's program. 
Mother Angelica had her stroke several years before this and she was no longer there on site  on the network grounds, but her mark was everywhere!
  So thank you Lord Jesus for leading this little nun to start a program that would turn so many hearts to Jesus and his Church, including this hard hearted anti- Catholic!
  Thank you Mother Angelica for your obedience and a faith that could move mountains and build a Catholic TV station that would reach the entire world with the gospel and the fullness of truth.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Little Sisters at the Supreme Court

Today the Little Sisters of the Poor once again appeal their case against the HHS mandate which would force them to provide for contraception and abortifacients for their employees. They are at the Supreme Court currently with their legal team. Please pray that the court rules in the favor of Religious Liberty and allows the Sisters to continue to provide free care to the frail and elderly of our country.
If the Court sides with the President and his administration, the Little Sisters will be forced to close down their homes in the US and thousands of elderly will be essentially with no place to live or eat. I have visited with the Little Sisters and can attest to the tremendous ministry they have of caring for those who our society deems non-productive and burdensome. Please keep them in your prayers.
Saint Thomas More, intercede today for the Little Sisters that they may continue to obey Christ and accept the consequences whatever they may be, as you also did. Amen.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lenten Prayer from the Divine Office

Convert us,
O God our Savior,
and instruct our minds by heavenly teaching,
that we may benefit from the works of Lent.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent 2016

 Once again the Church grants us much grace in this time of year to pray, fast and give alms to the poor as a way to grow closer to Jesus.  I am granted the opportunity to cast off the chains of sin as well as the effects of sin on my life and enter into a time of prayer and fasting (not just from food.)  The sacrament of Confession is offered more frequently in Lent as the Church does all it can to lead the faithful closer to Jesus. How much closer can we get to the Lord, than identifying with his forty days of fasting and prayer in the desert?
   In my life as a protestant Christian, we sometimes felt that "Jesus did it all" and therefore fasting and penance were not essential in our lives. As I watched my Lutheran in-laws giving up sweets during Lent, I was thinking how useless this practice was at the time. With time and conversion I see they were right all along and I regret my pride and arrogance now.  The older I get, the more I realize how much I need Lent every year and am truly thankful for the grace this season brings us to more closely identify with the Lord and ultimately be transformed. "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Vain Repetition?

I often am frustrated at those who condemn Catholics for the rosary saying that it is "vain repetition."
Even as a Protestant Christian the repetition of worship choruses and praise sessions often struck me as repetitious.