Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Contraceptive Mentality in Marriage: Tim Ohmes' Conversion Story Repost

We brought it up on the podcast tonight and, as promised, I am reposting Tim's amazing conversion story. It is long, but it is so worth it.

Click here for a link to Tim's story...

Listen here for Tim's story in Tim's own words on the Podcast.

Listen to internet radio with Deeper Truth on Blog Talk Radio

Tonight's show on the Contraceptive Mentality and how NFP is hard work is not up yet. I will link it as soon as it is available.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Prepare Yourself

(Editors note) Because of the Gospel reading today, I want to add the Gospel message to this article because of the importance of the message.

Matthew 25:1-13 states, "Jesus told his disciples this parable: 'The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out tomeet him!' Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out'. But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.' While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, open the door for us!' But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour".

Jesus is definitely making it clear that we need to be ready! No one knows the day nor the hour in which the Lord Jesus will return. Todays's message coming from the universal Church, the holy Catholic Church, is to "prepare yourself" every day.

From the "Chaplains Corner", today Father Downey explains, "Setting priorities" is a common expression we hear a lot today. But what exactly does that mean and how does that expression fit with today's Gospel? The five virgins who brought flasks of oil with their lamps were singularly focused about who they were and where they were heading; the other five virgins were focused, but not singularly focused as their companions. As a result, those foolish virgins allowed themselves to be too concerned with the things of this world at the expense of their relationship with Jesus. Jesus is asking us to put our complete trust in Him and His plan for our lives. This is symbolized by the wise virgins who had lamps with oil. This is certainly easier said than done, and often times we can get frustrated when things don't go the way we want or expect them to go. We try to fill the void of our emptiness they experienced is symbolized by the flasks empty of any oil. When the Bridegroom came (Jesus), He didn't know the foolish virgins because He didn't recognize Himself (the oil) in them. Let's make it our priority to keep Jesus at the center of our lives and trust with Him our lives, we will be like the wise virgins".

Recently, my wife and I was watching a favorite movie we like, "SecondHand Lions" when I became struck how the movie tied things together in the lives of the characters starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and Haley Joel Osment.

The story telling, the adventure, and the plot thickens as the excitement builds.

As the young boy finds courage through the example of his uncles, the words "prepare yourself" or to say, "defend yourself" demonstrates a determination to face danger.

This morning at Mass, our Priest, Father Downey raised some key points along the lines of "prepare yourself".

The background was not full of adventure that the movie portrays, but the context is as much important, and even more so.

This coming advent, the Church will enact the proposed changes in the wording of the liturgy. The following is taken from our parish bulletin:

"At the beginning of Mass, after the procession and the "Sign of the Cross", the celebrant extends one of three different liturgical greetings to the people.

The one that is perhaps most commonly used is "The Lord be with you". It is a familiar line that will remain unchanged with the new translation.

However, our new response will be the first major change in the Order of Mass.

Instead of "And also with you", we will now be saying, "And with your spirit". This new response will also be made at the four other times during mass when this dialogue occurs: at the reading of the gospel, at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, during the Sign of Peace (when the priest says, "The peace of the Lord be with you always"), and at the conclusion of Mass.

When the congregation responds to the Priest, "And with your spirit", it is actually a theological statement about what we Catholics believe regarding ordained ministers.

A Catholic priest is not just any other preacher or minister of another faith. Our faith teaches that at his ordination, a priest's soul is permanently changed when the Bishop lays his hands on the head of the man to be ordained.

And this change is permanent - it can never be taken away: "You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek".

John 6:53 says: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you".

Along with the other sacraments, the Eucharist, which is what this passage is referring to, can only happen through a validly ordained Catholic or Orthodox priest.

Put plainly, a priest, by virtue of his ordination is different from any other human being!

He's not better - he's in need of God's love and forgiveness just like anyone else, but he has been set aside for service to the community, primarily, through making Christ's body and blood sacramentally present to all people for all generations.

A deacon also has received Holy Orders,but to a lesser degree; nevertheless, his soul is permanently altered as well at ordination, but to be of service to the poor, the home bound, and to assist the priest at Mass.

This response of "And with your spirit" will be a difficult change to remember - perhaps one of the most difficult for us laity. However, it will not take long to grow accustomed to the new wording, especially given its frequency.

Above all, we should reflect on how it conveys the content of Sacred Scripture, as well as the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church".

All of the baptized have been changed, their souls have been given a mark that will never be taken away. Some may deny and reject their baptism, but the mark is there nonetheless.

Our baptism makes us a new creation in Christ. The intro exchange, "The Lord be with you", and the response, "And with your Spirit" is a preparation for what we are getting ready to celebrate.

Hence, "Prepare Yourself". It is simply not just a greeting! With our Baptism, we become forever changed. All the sacraments work to transform us and build in us, a soul designated to God. This journey is filled with all kinds of adventure and as you look backward, every story is inspiring and important.

"The Lord be with you" is a recognition of the baptized in the community. May we faithfully live out our baptismal vows.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Transfigure our Hearts

(Editors note) Today the Catholic Church remembers St. Clair. I repost this in her honor! The story of Jesus transfiguring before Peter, James, and John is recorded in Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

St. John does not mention the Transfiguration of Jesus even though he was one of the three Apostles who witness the event.

The Transfiguring of Jesus reminds me of Moses who had a similar experience.

Moses asked our Lord, "Do let me see your glory" (Exodus 33:18).

Consider that Moses makes this request after speaking to the Lord "face to face, as one man speaks to another (Exodus 33:11) yet Exodus 33:20 the Lord says, "But my face you cannot see, for no man sees me and still lives", Moses was able to see the Lord's presence, but not his face.

Being in the presence of the Lord, Exodus 35:29-30 states, "As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord. When Aaron, them and the other Israelites saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him".

This scene is very similar to the event the Apostles witnessed at Christs Transfiguration. This sign is not by accident, Deuteronomy 18:15 states, "A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen".

It is also not an accident that Moses along with Elijah both appeared with Jesus. Moses is about to witness the glory he had asked God in Exodus 33:18.

It is a revelation that the whole world will see at the appointed time. With Moses and Elijah appearing with Jesus, where did they come from and where did they go after this vision?

Were they with Samuel and the rest of humanity that were not damned (1 Samuel 28:13-14)?

Were they waiting in this "prison" St. Peter refers to (1 Peter 3:19)?

Were they among the "many Saints who had fallen asleep" (Matthew 27:52-53) who were raised at Christs resurrection?

This is very interesting to me as this reveals something of the teaching on Purgatory and the saved.

It is important to see the connection between Moses and Jesus.

They both radiated brightly after being in the presence of God. Jesus reveals his own divinity:

"After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. The Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant" (Mark 9:2-10).

Matthew in his Gospel adds that Jesus "came and touched them, saying, Rise, and do not be afraid".

This scripture place the transfiguration of Jesus six days after the first prediction of his passion and death and his instruction to his disciples on the doctrine of the cross.

Jesus reveals insight into the divine glory that he possessed. His glory will overcome his death.

The cloud and the heavenly voice prepares the disciples to understand the divine plan that Jesus must die before his messianic glory is made manifest. Moses and Elijah represent the law and the prophets in the Old Testament and are linked to Mt. Sinai.

They now appear with Jesus as witnesses to the fulfillment of the law and the prophets taking place in the person of Jesus. The shadow covering them reminds us of the Old Testament indicating the Lord's presence in the midst of his people (Exodus 40:34-35).

A comparison between Jesus and Elijah is that both were taken into heaven in a cloud. Elijah in a fiery Chariot in a whirlwind!

The Apostles were not to reveal what they witnessed until after the resurrection. The Catholic Church recalls this revelation of the Lord so we can spiritually follow this glory of the Lord, just like Moses. Jesus shows us the true path!

The road leads to Jerusalem. It leads to Calvary, a place called Golgotha, the place of the skull.

The human race is intently watching the events unfolding.

Everyone plays an important part in what occurred on this hill outside Jerusalem.

It was for us all that Jesus made this journey. By his stripes we are healed.

It was for us all that Jesus made this journey. The true Lamb of God! "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing. To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever. Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne and from the Lamb. For the Lamb who is the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life giving water" (Rev 5:12-13, Rev 7:10-17).

Jesus States, "For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice" (John 18:3).

During this season of Lent, we should hunger for his voice. We should want to rid ourselves of the vices that separate us from that close personal relationship with Christ.

Like Moses, we should want to see his glory.

Jesus speaks of another group of people warning, "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name? Then I will declare to them solemnly, I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers" (Matthew 7:21-23).

Let the truth lead us to do these good works and take advantage of this lent to live free of sinful lives.

What Moses and Elijah was given a glimpse of, we have the blessing to see at every Mass. We receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, and participate in the glory of Christ.

A Eucharistic Miracle occurred through St. Clare of Assisi. She was a friend of St. Frances! St.Clare took advantage of Lent her whole life giving herself totally to God as St. Francis had done. On one occasion when the army of Frederick II was devestating the Valley of Spoleto, some of the Soldiers threatened to sack Assisi.

The Towns people surrounding the convent where St.Clare lived were fleeing the countryside fearing the worst for their lives. As the Soldiers came upon the walls of the city, they placed ladders against the walls.

St. Clare prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. Her prayer was heard as she took the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and went to the wall before the enemy.
As the Soldiers were climbing up the ladders with crowbars, axes, bow, and spears, the town appeared lost. Then Jesus in the Host illuminated brightly before the Soldiers. The Host became dazzling white blinding the attackers.

Due to a sudden panic, the Soldiers subsequently fled in terror. This lent let Jesus transfigure our hearts so that our hearts will beat a little faster when we receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

If you do, then surely when you stand before Jesus on "that day", He will say, "Well done good and faithful servant, you listened to my voice"!

Father's you all need to hear this!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #170* The Catholic Defender challenges the Mormons

The Mormon teachings are derived from four sets of scriptures they recognize as "divinely 'inspired," are:
1. The Book of Mormon
2. The Doctrine and Covenants
3. The Pearl of Great Price
4. The King James Version of the Bible
These writings are the foundation to the Mormon faith. The Mormon teachings began officially on April 6, l 830, after Joseph Smith claimed to have had visions of God the Father and Jesus Christ. He claimed they told him the "true church" was not on the face of the earth.

From age 14 he claimed supernatural occurrences would come to him. Eventually, he claimed to have found golden plates through the help of an angel called "Moroni." Eleven other men testified they had seen the golden plates "by the gift and power of God" and published the Book of Mormon.

From Fayette, New York, the Mormons moved to Kirkland, Ohio in 1831. Here ex-Campbellite, Sidney Rigdon and part of his congregation became Mormon adding strength to the new group.

By 1839 the Mormons were fleeing Kirkland and moved up the Mississippi River settling at Commerce, Illinois, which they renamed "Nauvoo".

The practice of polygamy began by the 1840's and continued until 1890 when then president 'Wilford Woodruff'' issued a manifesto overturning this lifestyle. Still, several small groups even today, defied the threat of ex-communication.

Black men were never ordained to the Mormon priesthood despite the fact thet all "worthy males" at the age of 12 received such ordination. This policy was reversed in 1978, when the President stated that ordination would he granted "without regard for race or color".

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were assassinated in 1844 while serving at Illinois Carthage Prison.

Joseph Smith III, only 11 years old at the time, was challenged by individuals like Lyman Wright, James J. Strang, and William Bickerton. This led to more than 20 different splinter groups.

In 1860, when Joseph Smith III decided to accept leadership of the largest branch of dissidents, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (RLDS), was established making its headquarters at Independence, Missouri.

The majority of Mormons led by Brigham Young, who was head of the "twelve" since 1847, traveled and stayed at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Eventually, more than 300 settlements stretched from California to Colorado, from Mexico to Canada. The Mormons, like the Catholic Church, is hierarchical and authoritarian. At the top of this hierarchy is the president referred to as "The Prophet."

The President and his two counselors regularly meet in conjunction with the "Council of Apostles." (there are 12 Apostles) New apostles are chosen by the "apostles" themselves.

When the president dies, the senior "apostle" becomes the next president.

Local groups are called Wards, they are headed by a Bishop and two counselors. Above the Wards are Stakes, a collection of several wards make up a Stake, very similar to our "Parishes" and "Dioceses."

Despite the resemblence, there is no actual recognition or acceptence be each Church. The Mormons, who teach the doctrine of authority, helped my Mother in seeing the rightful authority of the Catholic Faith.

This would become very important for my life as my Mother would desire to raise my Brother and I into the Catholic Faith.

Four generations ago, a lot of my Father's family background were involved with the establishment of the R.L.D.S. at Independence, Missouri.

Before going to Saudi Arabia, my Father calls me concerned about the potential of war, He began to lament the fact that I was the first eldest son in four generations not practicing Mormonism.

I responded that my being Catholic was a matter of conviction, not chance. I told him that there is only one God in three persons, not three distinct persons, but one in substance and nature. Similar to h20 (water) which can be used as liquid, steam or ice.

That Jesus is the second part of the Blessed Trinity, truly God and truly man.
Mormons reject the divinity of Jesus. I also reject Mormon teaching that God the Father was once a human being now living on a planet called "Kalob."

We can never be his equal nor will we ever own a universe. Mormons believe if they live the commandments of God to the full, attain the status of godhood in future eons. In short, they believe they can become God.

They believe in prenatal existence of human souls to include that Jesus and Satan were once brothers.

This I totally reject. John 3:16 states, "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son so that who ever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life". 

I then told my father that I do not believe in what Mormons call the "Great Schism" that indicates the destruction of the true faith.

I believe in "Apostolic Succession", where Jesus confers authority upon the Apostles (Matthew 28:16-20), and they appoint successors (Titus I:5-11).

I do not believe the "True Church" was ever lost as Jesus promised his protection (Matthew 16:18), and his continued presence until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). It is important for Catholics to understand this because some of us have been susceptible to Mormon missionaries that periodically will come calling on you.

St. John instructs us to test the spirit (1 John 4:1) and St. Paul warns us not to follow even an angel from heaven with a gospel different from that handed down from the Apostles (Galatians 1:7-9). Pope Francis today is the 266th successor of Peter. This authority did not begin in 1830, nor 1917. It began in approximately A.D. 33.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Mountain Top Experiences

Whenever I think of mountain top experiences, I can't help but imagine Moses when he witnessed the burning bush.

Then to have God speak to him from the burning bush, that has to be one of the most colorful mountain top experiences imaginable.

Can you imagine God writing the Ten Commandments for you by his own finger?

Moses certainly had his mountain top experiences. But what about anyone else?

I was thinking of this and spiritually speaking, there are a million examples of mountain top experiences.

Consider when a child is born, the hope for a better world and the gift of another life in the image and likeness of God.

Consider sitting in your den and you are deep in meditation and a light bulb turns on. It could be something you had read or heard about 100 times before, but it took this one time for it to register.

A deeper understanding about the truths of our holy Catholic Faith. A mountain top experience can occur during a pilgrimage where people are searching for answers and finding them.

Discovering God's love for you can be a great mountain top experience.

Some people recieve them going on great pilgrimages, others have received them at their kitchen table.

In reality, you do not have to go a half a world away to discover God, but it is great when you have the chance to go on a pilgrimage. To be able to go to the Holy Land and see the places that Jesus worked his miracles.

The stories of the bible seem to just come alive.

I have had my fair share of these experiences, mountain top experiences can be simply amazing when you open yourself and surrender yourself to the soverignty of God.

People use to ask me how I could always appear happy despite very stressful circumstances. I could be participating in a 72 hour field training excercise and be up and running the whole event and still be smiling with a song in my heart.

During these times, the opportunity to witness for the faith was almost constant. Someone might want to challenge me or someone might ask me a question about the Faith. I was involved in many discussions.

I don't think that mountain top experiences should be the reason why we beat our drum on the mountain top as we use to sing from an old Army cadence, but these experiences can enhance our relationship with God.

A true mountain top experience is knowing when you are in fact standing on holy ground.

In every Catholic Church in the world where the tabernacle hosts the Eucharist, this is holy ground. This should be a living mountain top experience.

Looking at the mountain top experiences there can be much joy as people place them deeply in their hearts.

Still, these mountain top experiences must be guided by the intellect and placed within the bossom of the will. We have free will to follow God and our will is front and center on this issue.

1 John 4:1 makes a very sobering point, just because we have received a mountain top experience, we still must test the spirit of it to see if it is from God, or someone or something else.

I have always recognized there are people who go by emotion rather than reason. There is nothing wrong with emotions, God gave this to us for a reason, I love the sign of the cross at the Gospel reading at Mass.

We are essentially saying, "My mind thinks the truth, my mouth speaks the truth, and my heart loves the truth".

Today, there are about 170 new denominations being established every year because someone has received a new revelation.

There are 42,000 different Protestant denominations or variations around the world all based from new revelations taken as mountain top experiences.

I see the Catholic Faith, the Ten Commandments as like a guard rail going down some stairs, it is not restrictive, but in reality, quite liberating.

Jesus invites us to take our boats out into the deep waters where we can cast our nets in search for and discover the deepertruth of our holy Catholic Faith.

I know people who, like Indiana Jones go in search for the great mountain top experiences looking for God under every rock they can find.

There is only one Rock that Jesus established and that is his Church built upon the foundation of Peter.

This is the foundation that gives us security in knowing that no weapon formed against it shall stand, that the power of death will not and cannot overcome it.

Do you want a real mountain top experience? You can start at your local Catholic Church to find the answers.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

* BEST OF DTB #36* The Catholic Defender discovers the "Church of Christ"

I went to Chicago to see Pope John Paul II at Grant Park in October 1979. There were an estimated 2,000,000 people that was there.

That was really an awesome pilgrimage. I went with a group from Springfield Missouri.

After this great pilgrimage, I moved to Harrison Arkansas and began working at a Pepsi plant. This was definitely different from my college days as I rented a small apartment down town Harrison Arkansas in a small duplex.

One day there was a young man who moved next to me. I befriended him and invited him in to talk. I found out that he was running away from home as he was having problems with his parents. I was able to talk him into going back home to work things out.

His parents were very thankful to me and invited me to stay with them for free. I helped out with some chores so that was a good arrangement to me. I found out that the family were members of the Church of Christ.

They were interested in what denomination I was and I told them I was Catholic. It was recognized by them that the Catholic Church was old, that it went back to Constantine. They maintained their Church was established by Christ himself.

This led to a series of friendly debates as I maintained the Catholic Church was founded by Christ. I had a historic line to Christ from St. Peter to Pope John Paul II (1979). They were very nice people and I was glad to have helped them with their son. I began to investigate the Church of Christ as this was not a denomination I recognized from College.

I discovered through research that this movement was founded in the early 1820's by Alexander Campbell, his Brother, and a friend named Barton Stone.

These men were formerly members of the "Calvinist" or "Presbyterian" church. Different groups would emerge from them as division took place such as "The Disciples of Christ", the "First Christian Church", and the "United Church of Christ".

The family I was with were from the original Church of Christ most known for not having musical instruments in their church. The church itself are very simple, not much to it.

They challenged me on having instruments in the Church such as an organ. I told them it took the Catholic Church a thousand years to accept an organ because the Church held a certain bias against it going back to the Coliseum in Rome when Christians were thrown to the lions.

There was an organ like musical box that played at these bloody events. My first response to the music issues was based from Psalms 150 which states, "Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his exceeding greatness! Praise him with the trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breaths praise the Lord"!

That did not go very far with them because I was told it came from the Old Testament. I learned from them that the Old Testament was not really an authority, it has to be from the New Testament. That was interesting to me.

I came back with Revelation 14:2-3 which states, "And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpers playing on their harps, and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders".

I was also able to share Revelation 15:2 which states, "And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing besides the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb".

This was the way we would go back and forth with point after point. One night while I was still living there, I was reading from the King James version of the bible and happened to read Matthew 6:7 which states, "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words".

When I first read that I felt my heart stop.

I recalled the Rosary and how that was "repetition"! Just the way this was worded disturbed me. I recalled back in my college days when I heard people attacked the use of the Rosary.

I decided to check this out in a Catholic Bible (New American Bible) and this translation said, "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words".

Reading this translation seemed more accurate to me. To me, the phrase "do not babble like the pagans" was far better than "do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do". I began to feel that King James and his interpreters had an agenda and it was not "pro" Catholic?

Eventually I would part company with them, but I am very thankful for their kind hospitality and support for me. I began working at a large warehouse back in the early 1980's was called "Mass Merchandisers". I worked in the receiving department picking up pallets with a hand jack. Those were used to unload and load trucks to store and ship throughout the Country. One of my fellow workers was another member of the Church of Christ.

I found myself being challenged in the same way as before. This time, I was a bit more researched in this area. He wanted me to join his pastor in a bible study and for a while I did participate, but that didn't last long as we never did agree on core principles.

Like Catholics, the Church of Christ believes Baptism is necessary, but that is about it. They believe they were the "true church" because they "rightly divided" the bible. They would re-baptize those who converted to their church.

One Sunday morning before Mass, a strange visitor knocked on my door and claimed he was from Israel. He said he was specifically from Jerusalem. I felt honored that somebody from the Holy Land would suddenly drop by to see me.

He was a member of the Church of Christ and told me he had heard about me from members of a local congregation. I could only think this was coming from my friend at work but I knew where this was heading.

I told the visitor I had only 30 minutes because I was getting ready for Mass. The Stranger wanted to sell me the idea that the Catholic Church was a cult and that I should consider his church.

I spent the rest 25 minutes explaining why the Catholic Church was not a cult as he termed it and that the Church was the True Faith handed down historically from the Apostles. I continued my argument by giving detail how the Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament.

It began outside Jerusalem as Our Lord Ascended into Heaven. The Apostles were instructed by Our Lord to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come to them.

Some would say this was the first Novena. The Visitor left and I felt thankful to God for such an opportunity. From time to time, I would run into people from this tradition.

My first duty station in the Army at Fort Stewart Georgia (1985), my Battalion Chaplain was a United Church of Christ and I found them to be very liberal. Not just the music issue but in politics and morals.

All of this opportunity to witness for the faith helped me become more solid in my faith. This is the mission statement of deepertruth, to help equip Catholics to encourage and strengthen their faith.

I prefer ten Catholics with conviction as opposed to 100 who are Catholic by chance.
Bruce Sullivan is a friend of mine who worked along with me for the "Youth 2,000" project in Kentucky. What an honor it was in those early years as we worked to give young people a foundation in the Catholic Church. Bruce would come and speak for our Parish in Oak Grove KY at St. Michael s Parish.

My Sons, Nathan and Jason played a warm up show before Bruce gave his testimony in becoming a Catholic.

While visiting family in Alabama, guess who was appearing at EWTN's "The Journey Home" with Marcus Grodi? Yep, my friend Bruce Sullivan! He brought one of his Daughters and what a great time it was to visit with them once again.

Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN once interviewed Bruce Sullivan who was a former Church of Christ Minister who converted the the Catholic Faith. On this show, Father Luther, from Peducah Kentucky, was formerly raised in the Church of Christ, was helping Mr. Sullivan transition to the Faith. Very inspiring! The following was the interview that I was able to watch live on EWTN!

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Who was praying for Mindy? Who was fighting for Mindy?

This morning, I read of the suicide death of country singer Mindy McCready. Apparently, she shot herself. She was only 37.

Before this morning, I don't think I had ever heard the name. I am sure that I don't recognize the title of any of her songs. In short, Mindy McCready wasn't someone who meant anything to my life.

Then, I read the story. Mindy had two sons by two different fathers. The second father shot himself on the very porch where her body was found.

Beset by drugs and drinking and depression, Mindy's children were taken from her and placed in the horrific foster care system.

In a world beset with grief and calamity, Mindy apparently had no one on her side. There was no one praying for Mindy, no one fighting for Mindy- at least not enough.

Now she is gone. No, I did not know Mindy McCready, not in person, not on the TV, not on the radio. Yet, everyone who knows what it feels like to be all alone in the world, should say a prayer for Mindy today and for her family. We cannot know if she was beyond God's mercy. We can only hope and pray that she wasn't.

John, with this in mind, check this out!

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #91* The Catholic Defender: First String

Being raised in middle America I was always interested in Sports.

I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old my Dad said he would put up a basketball goal for me and I just thought that was crazy.

The next year, my interest in sports became real and it has stuck with me ever since.

I grew up in Blue Springs Missouri and in the 1960's they had a good little league program.

I will always be grateful for those early years where I played baseball. The coaches and volunteers helped shape me growing up. I held a desire to play professional baseball all through those early years.

My Mother sent me to a Catholic School there (St.John La Lande) where I was given some of the best role models growing up. Our coach was our Parish Priest.

I credit him with instilling in me desire to do better, to never touch drugs, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. During all this time I was always "first string", I never rode the bench. I was always among the first to be picked when choosing teams.

There was always great competition and I was always involved with these little league programs all throughout my grade school years. My Mother was in a terrible automobile accident in 1969 breaking her back in two places. It took her a year or more to recover.

So, for a time, my Brother and I lived with one of our Aunts in Southern Missouri. I was able to continue playing sports in the school.

I loved the football program as that was my favorite sport. All throughout my high school and college years I continued playing "first string" to include my military unit's teams.

All my life, I have never rode the bench. I worked hard developing my skills and I enjoyed playing all those years.

This morning, I was just thinking about this idea of first string, most valuable players, leaders on the field. One thing I am so thankful for is being on God's "first string"!

Through my athletic prowess growing up, I have learned some important attributes that have helped me being a disciple.

Confidence in my self, believing and having a grasp on my potential have helped me alot.

To be a good example and role model in getting things done right, to work as a team I found very important.

Growing up in my Catholic Faith, I have learned the virtues of faith, hope, and love (charity). These are central for all of God's "first string".

I love how the scriptures many times will use athletic prowess to make a spiritual point.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the racethat lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith".

1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, "Avoid profane and silly myths. Train yourself for devotion, for, while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future".

St.Paul says, "Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race,but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we am imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

The key for us is to imitate the apostolic tradition (1 Corinthians 11:1), we are to hold fast to the traditions that were handed down to us (1 Corinthians 11:2).

By doing so, you are developing the correct values and virtues to be on God's "first string".

All it takes to be on God's "first string" is to be a faithful Catholic!

Apathy, sin, lukewarmness and rebellion will get you knocked off your "high-horse" quicker than you can say snorkel!

With this in mind, I encourage you to train yourself for the ways of His righteousness, to do His will. Surround yourself with committed teachers of the Catholic Faith who do not compromise their faith for the way of the world.

To be "first string" for God, we must want to be a "Godpleaser", not a "manpleaser".

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #255* The Catholic Defender: Contraception

After I returned home after Mass, I turned on the television to see what was on the News.

I came home inspired to write an article covering Artificial Birth Control as our Priest, Father Downey gave an excellent sermon on the subject.

It is very refreshing to see a Catholic Priest taking on the social issues today.

I can't help but see this is positive and I know many Catholics are crying out for sound Catholic orthodox teaching to be given from the pulpit.

I locked on the Fox Channel to see any news updates.

I was watching Fox News when this debate ensued between Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land and "Catholic" Jon O'Brian.

As I watched the debate unfold, I was struck how the Southern Baptist representative was defending the Catholic position while the "Catholic" was defending the Obama position?

Dr. Richard Land is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention of the Ethics of Religious Commission and John Obrian is the President of "Catholics" for choice.

During the debate, O'Brian was critical of the religious groups siding with the Catholic Bishops. Well, Mr. O'Brian, were is your support behind the Catholic Bishops?

There are times I might be frustrated because some Bishops have been silent on things. Communion for Pro-Abortion/Pro-Gay Marriage politicians come to mind, but to take offense of the Bishops for doing the right thing is a public scandal.

We need to pray for our Bishops and religious as they are under attack.

When I served in the Army, I was our Unit's CFC representative collecting the charitable contibutions for various causes. There are thousands of organizations competing for donations.

"Catholics for a free choice" is one of the organizations seeking donations through the CFC.

I feel that this organization is using the title "Catholic" to decieve Soldiers who see "Catholic" in their title who might donate money thinking they are Catholics in good standing with the Church.

They should not be allowed to advertize to Soldiers that they represent the Church and Catholic Values.

This is exactly the same situation with John O'Brian and "Catholics" for choice.

St. Paul warns that in the last days, there would be traitors to the Faith (2 Timothy 3:4).

Jon O'Brian views Artificial Birth Control as "American" as "Apple Pie"? I wonder what kind of "apple pie" he has been eating?

Dr. Richard Land was far more informed of the contrast between religious rights of conscience and a liberal fiat against the freedom of religion.

Mr. O'Brian actually sees the Catholic Faith's opposition to Contraception to King George III oppression of religious freedom. He fosters a freedom from religion in society.

So, if your a Catholic charity, hospital, or organization, and if you have employees, you have to offer them Abortion and Contraception free of charge as "medical care".

"Catholics" for choice is no more Catholic than "Catholics" for a free choice, which I think of them as the same thing.

They fall under what Jesus warns stating, "Whoever listens to you (The Catholic Church) listens to me (Jesus). Whoever rejects you (The Catholic Church) rejects me (Jesus). And whoever rejects me (Jesus) rejects the one who sent me (The Father).

I respect Dr. Richard Land who from my observing of him, is a man of integrity. He compared the Obama attack on the Catholic Faith with the Jews being forced to eat pork at a Jewish celebration.

Could you imagine the outcry if Obama wanted to force the Jews to eat pork, yet this is exactly what he is doing against Catholics.

Remember, the Obama Administration wants to frame the debate into women's rights vs religious rights. However, women can get Artificial Birth Control anywhere.

Women who were barren in the Old Testiment were seen as a curse. A child is seen as a blessing. There are examples when God blessed a woman who was naturally barren with a supernatural pregnancy.

Sarah (Genesis), Hannah (Samuel 1:1-20), Manoah's wife (Judges 13:2) and St. Elizabeth (Luke 1:13) are prime examples.

The killing of children are seen as tragadies (Jeremiah 31:15), as punisment (Isaiah 13:16-18), as a curse (1 Samuel 15:3). To kill an unborn child was evil (Exodus 21:22). Exodus 23:7 states, "You shall keep away from anything dishonest. The innocent and the just you shall not put to death, nor shall you acquit the guilty".

The foundation of the Old and New Testaments were that Marriage was supportive of the rearing of children.

In fact, it was not until 1932 that any group supported Artificial birth Control. Before 1932, all Christianity opposed ABC on Biblical grounds. The Anglican Church opened it's doors to Contraception.

Protestantism basically caved in for the secualar modernist progressive view and this sparked the Sexual Revolution.

The Catholic Church continues upholding this Apostolic Tradition and Obama seeks to force the Church to bend to his Progressive ideology. He wants to frame the argument into a "women's rights" argument, but this is not the real issue because any woman has total access to ABC.

The issue is that Obama wants the Church to subsidize ABC as part of "health care" as if pregnancy was a disease.

If your a Catholic who have in the past used Artificial Birth Control, Jesus healing of the paralytic man who was brought in through St. Peter's roof is an important grace.

Jesus has the power to forgive you no matter what you have done, and through the Confessional, instructs you to pick up your mat and go.

The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe this miracle to encourage us in our sin.

For me, this is what angers me about John O'Brian and Company who think that you can be a good Catholic and dissent from official Church teaching.

That is the wrong message to be giving to anyone. Jesus warns that all of us will stand before him in judgment and he is clear about those who call evil good and good evil. He is clear about those who cause a child to sin, and to cause others to sin. Those who push for Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Artificial birth Control will have to give account for themselves, but it will be much worse for those who "not only do these things, but give approval to those who practice them" (Romans 1:32).

I was just taking a break deciding to flip through the channels and what did I find? The 1948 movie, "Joan of Arc"! It was right at the scene when the French were storming the walls of "les Tourelles", an English stronghold. St. Joan was wounded in this battle but kept going to inspire the troops. St Joan's making it to the wall became the battle cry! Well Catholics, we must bring this fight to the wall!

Do we have renegade "Catholics" willing to trade their required loyalty to their Shephards for the promise of a political victory with Obama? Yes, unfortunately, Jon O'Brian reminds me of this fact this very day. Do we have some "Catholics" who are embedded with the enemy? Consider who burned St. Joan to the stake? It was a "Catholic Cleric" who was entrenched in political bed with the English.

We must submit to the sovereignty of God and His Catholic Church! To the Wall! This scene is really powerful. Of the Catholics today, which crowd do you stand, those who are loyal to the Church, to Jesus Christ? Or those who follow their own paths like the jesters in this scene? Again, to the Wall! If you ever get the chance to see this scene from the Movie "St. Joan of Arc, it is very inspirational as God performs a great miracle here. But You Tube placed this scene as "private"? So instead, I want to challenge you with another scene. Will you promise Deepertruth and God to stand against sin and give God your best, for his glory? Let this scene inspire you to do so because nothing is impossible with God!

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