If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Greater is He

Well, this is interesting (see link at the bottom of this essay). It appears Satan feels emboldened enough to reveal himself more fully about the Trump presidency.

It is no secret to anyone who understands the Scriptures that humanity is always engaged in a deadly spiritual warfare. Jesus said of the devil, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10). And that is where America was rushing toward under the previous administration – and would have seen only more of it under a continued Democrat president, congress, and judiciary: Stolen freedoms, more death in the womb, continued destruction of the sanctity of life, of marriage, and the family.

God gave us a gracious reprieve on November 8, 2016. He answered the prayers of His children in this country (and, I imagine, around the world, too). For the first time in more than a decade, we have a White House where God has not been banished to the toilets. We have a president who calls evil what it is: evil.

And the devil doesn’t like that. No wonder he has incited his children to riot and call down death and destruction on the man God placed into our Oval Office.

Don’t misunderstand me, please. I do not believe everyone who opposes Donald Trump is of the devil. There are many, many deceived men and women who’ve been taken captive by the evil spiritual forces around us. May God open their eyes to what is really happening to them. But a large portion of Trump’s enemies know full well that our President stands against everything that they desire – that being slavery of our population (especially those who obey God’s word), the further desecration of marriage, falling prey to our nation’s enemies, and the continued destruction of the unborn. In other words, Trump opposes what Satan desires for America.

Nor do I believe Donald Trump is the messiah. President Trump is merely a tool in God’s hands – as are all of us tools in God’s hands. But from what I can tell so far about the man based on what he has ALREADY done, this man is God’s tool for the good of Americans who love this country and who love the God who established this country in 1776.

Christian, never forget: “Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world.” But we should not rest while Satan’s children spew their hatred from their bowels and try to conjure more evil. The weapons of this warfare are not of the flesh, but are supernaturally powerful for the destruction of evil fortresses and battle fronts.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit tells us, “Take up the full armor of God, and having done all, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition” for our nation, our freedoms, our families, and for all who obey God. (see Ephesians 6)

Let me close with this from Psalm 2. King David prophesied, of course, of Messiah Jesus – but the principle therein illustrating God’s mockery of those who oppose Him are applicable to the terribly deceived souls cited in the inserted article who willingly serve the devil:

“Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury . . . .”

Christian: This is a serious spiritual battle. Now is not the time to relax our vigilance.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4257216/Witches-gather-midnight-cast-spell-Donald-Trump.html


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Extrapolating a Modern Lesson

Throughout the Old Testament, circumcision was the method by which Jews were brought into the family of God. Throughout the New Testament, believer’s baptism, was the method by which men and women were brought into the family of God.

As I recently read through a portion of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (chapter 2), I substituted the word “Christian” for Jew, and ‘baptism’ for circumcision. It was not difficult to extrapolate the important point:

“But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and
boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

22 "You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you; Just it is written.”

“For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh"

29 "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.”


Let's Not Fail Them




The eighth and ninth chapters of Ezekiel’s prophecy illustrate why every Christian should pray often – if not daily – for our clergy. Chapter eight highlights the appalling abominations the Jewish clergy were committing against God, even in His Temple.

Go in and see the wicked abominations that they are committing here,” God said to the prophet, who found every form of creeping things and beasts and detestable things, with all the idols of the house of Israel” carved on the walls.

But that was not all. Ezekiel also saw “seventy elders of the house of Israel . . . each man with his censer in his hand and the fragrance of the cloud of incense rising.”

But that was not all. The chapter continues: “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us . . .  .”  And a few verses later: [God] brought me to the entrance of the gate of the Lord’s house . . . and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz” (i.e. the goddess of fertility).  

But that was not all. God brought Ezekiel into the inner court of the Temple where another dozen of the religious leaders had turned their “backs to the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun  . . . .”

God’s patience ended in chapter nine. He told His angel: Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”

The mark would serve to protect them from what happens next.

God commanded another angel:“Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.” So they started with the elders who were before the temple.

And so the false shepherds, the hirelings, the wolves in sheep clothing inevitably met the judgment of God.

How does it happen that anyone can turn away from God after knowing Him? But perhaps the greater question is this: How does a pastor, elder, or priest turn back from following God? How do they who preach and teach about our great Savior, who perform intercessory prayers, and offer the sacraments, how do they think God is blind to the evil they do?

God is not blind. Patient, yes. But not blind. Ready to forgive, but ready also to execute wrath against any laity or clergy who insist on turning a stubborn shoulder to God.

People have not changed since Ezekiel’s time. And neither has God. And therein lays the alarming character of these two chapters.

Christian – Pray for your pastors and priests. Pray for your bishops. Pray for your deacons. Pray for your catechists. All of us – laity and clergy alike – are susceptible to the subtle schemes of Satan who roams the earth seeking souls to devour. What better way to scatter the many sheep than to first ruin their shepherds?

Christian – our clergy and leadership desperately need us to pray. Let’s not fail them.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tell It Again -- YouTube



God never made evangelism the purview of only the professional clergy. He also gave the laity that precious privilege.  I talk about it here: https://youtu.be/5405DO9fF6k

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Serpent's Bite -- Youtube Message

There is really only one antidote to the serpent's bite. Here is my latest Sunday Message: https://youtu.be/hxYK-c1BlBg

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tick-Tock

At the moment I’m pensive. As I move rapidly through my 6th decade – faster than I like to think about – I thought to share an observation I’ve made many, many times in the past.
It’s been my experience, as I’ve observed others, that by the time they realize God originally had a better plan for their life – it’s too late for them to get there. Time is always linear, from past to future. It never goes backward.

That doesn’t mean God cannot redeem anyone’s present and move it in a better direction. But ‘better’ always depends on us. If we continue to do what we’ve always done, then we will get what we always got.

And the clock doesn’t stop tick-ticking.

Not too often – but it has happened – I’ve also observed that when anyone does awaken to the clock and then appeals to the One who created the clock, God delights to intervene and change what otherwise would be an unfailingly empty future.

Live wisely. Years move far more rapidly than we realize – until we look backward.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fighting the Good Fight -- Sermon

Whatever your age. Whatever your health. Whatever your energy level. Persevere. Fight the good fight. Finish the course. Keep the faith. Here's my latest message of hope:  https://youtu.be/X-0BoDDJOxA
 
 
 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Homage to My Daddy . . .



I posted this a few years ago. I thought to repost it.
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Homage to My Daddy in Heaven
By Richard Maffeo

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! [Aramaic word for Daddy] Father! (Galatians 4:6)

Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him  . . . whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely . . . .  (Psalm 68:4-6)

 I call Him Lord so often I sometimes forget He’s my heavenly Daddy. I’m sorry when that happens. ‘Lord’ conjures for me a more distant relationship than the intimate bond ‘Daddy’ invokes.

In prayer last week, that intimacy stirred thoughts once again of my earthly father. Those who’ve followed my blogs for a while know Albert left me and my sister in 1954.  I was four, Andrea was not yet two. He wouldn’t keep out of other women’s beds, so Mom finally told him to pack his valise.

Andrea and I rarely saw him afterward. Three, maybe four times over the next decade and a half. Then, in 1968, when I was eighteen, I asked Mom to set a meeting with him at my paternal grandparents’ apartment. I wanted to know his side of the story. I wanted to know why he left me and Andrea.

My mind’s eye still sees him as he sat in the wing-backed chair in front of the living room window. I sat cross-legged on the carpet a few feet from him. Andrea and Mom sat on the sofa to my left, my grandmother on the flowered upholstered chair to the right of the couch. My grandfather softly drummed his fingers on the dining room table to my right.

“Why did you leave?”

Albert hardly hesitated. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Because I wanted to.”

That was 45 years ago. His words remain as chilling as if he spoke them last month.

I don’t know why that memory recently resurfaced while I was in prayer. I forgave Albert in November 2011 for what he’d done to me. The Lord had interrupted my prayer time and asked if I would forgive Albert. His question caught me by surprise, and I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Would I forgive Al for casting me aside like a piece of trash? More to the point, could I forgive him?

“I’d like to,” I finally answered.

What happened next still warms me to think of it. The memory of Albert saying what he did remained – and yet remains – chiseled in my mind, but the memory then took a sudden and extraordinary turn. I was no longer sitting on the carpet. Instead, my heavenly Daddy was sitting on the carpet and I was sitting in His lap. His arms encircled me and I snuggled deep into His embrace. His warmth surrounded me. I could hear His heart beat, feel His breath on my hair. A great sense of quiet washed over me. I knew I was at home, at home in His arms.
Home. Oh, the security, serenity, the love and hope that word arouses within me.

Albert’s words, “Because I wanted to” no longer stung as they had in 1968 because now, in 2011, I could snuggle deeper into Daddy’s embrace. Albert’s cruelty dissipated like a mist burned away by the sun as my Daddy held me yet closer – because He understood how those words ripped a hole in me. I remember as I write this how – as this scene unfolded in my memory – I broke into a grin, looked him in the eyes and said without hesitation: “I forgive you.” 

Why shouldn’t I forgive the man? How could I not forgive the man? I was sitting in my real Daddy’s lap. Albert was never my father. He only impregnated my mother. He was no more my father than if he had raped her and she conceived. But my Daddy in heaven – oh, my Daddy has never left me, no matter how many reasons I gave Him in my life to do so. And even when I didn’t know it He was there, all the time, His arm around my shoulder, whispering encouragement to a young boy, who became a teenager, and then became a young man who would one day become the man at 63 who joyfully lifts his hands in worship of his Daddy in heaven.
Sitting in my heavenly Father’s arms, how could Albert’s cavalier rejection hurt me? I could feel only sympathy for the man who missed a lifetime of opportunities to be my earthly daddy.

Is it any wonder why I am so in love with my Daddy who art in heaven?