Why This Blog??? A Holy Thursday Reflection

Blake Holy Thursday 1789
Blake Holy Thursday 1789 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blessed Holy Thursday to each and every one of you. I chose to add this particular post on a separate page but also here, as it reflects far more than this day of Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday as some refer to it).

Today begins a slightly altered direction in my blog, not so much in content but just a more defined purpose. Please read it below, and know that your comments and thoughts are, as always, most welcome.  Blessed Easter Triduum to all of you.  See you after Easter!!!

Ephesians 4:1-16

1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ‘s gift. 8 Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.”

All Scripture Quotations Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version (RSV), 2nd Catholic Edition, Ignatius Press, 2006

On this Holy Thursday of 2012, I thought it appropriate to share my future vision for this blog and would ask that each of you take a few moments to read my simple thoughts.

First let me say that I am neither an apologist (in this case meaning one who makes a defense of the Faith), nor a theologian as such, although I happen to have some formal training in both areas.  What I am is a Christian who happens to be Roman Catholic, and decidedly so.

At the outset I wish to say that all are welcome here, Christians of all stripes as well as other world religions such as Jewish, Muslim, and others too who may not have any formal religion which they follow.  My only stipulation is that we remain respectful and understanding of each other’s views, even if they greatly differ from our own.  We will assume the good will of all unless utterly proven otherwise.

Cover of "The Truth of Catholicism: Ten C...
Cover via Amazon

My main purpose is not to convince you of the truth of Catholicism—which may surprise some of you and scandalize others.  My desire, however, is that we open up dialogue, both ecumenical (within Christianity) and inter-faith (with other world religions), and do so in such a way that the doors of honesty and respect stay open if at all possible.  If, during that dialogue, you find a hunger towards learning what brings a person such as me to the conviction that Catholicism is true, I would encourage you to ask me more about it. If I do not know the answer (and I surely do not know the Faith as fully as many others do nor would I pretend such a thing) I will in all cases attempt to direct you to persons or sites which may indeed provide the answers you seek.  My bigger concern however is to help and assist people towards seeing the reality of the one true God in their lives, and to at least investigate the possibility of that one God being in fact the Christian Triune God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In short knowing Christ in a personal and committed way is first and foremost to me.

Beyond that initial investigation, however, I would particularly wish to invite former Catholics, such as I was for 35 years, to check once again on what you may have missed the first time around.  One of the principal surprises (and biggest blessings) I experienced when discerning re-entry to the Church was the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a book-sized officially binding Church document of around 800 pages, fully indexed by both topic and Scripture references and which was reviewed by all of the world’s available Catholic bishops as well as Blessed John Paul II before being released to the general public at the time of its publication in the 1990s. This book is the most complete overview of Catholic theology as it is understood in our day and age presently available and for me was an eye-opening experience as I did my own research into the Faith.  It is available online, and paperback copies at any bookstore sell for around 10 dollars. A link for it is at the bottom of this page.

I would also invite any Protestant or non-denominational Christian person who has even a casual interest in the distinctives of Catholic Christianity to stick around, ask questions, and become part of the dialogue here as well. Whether you choose to ultimately convert or not is obviously between you and God, certainly not with me or any other human. But you owe it to yourself to find out what Catholics truly believe, and not to base such a decision on hearsay or possibly prejudiced views from those outside the Catholic realm.  Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said “”Not 100 in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is.” Profundity at its best.

Did I mention that my main purpose was not to “convert” anyone?  Well that is mostly true—but I happen to be Catholic because, after much prayer and study, I truly believe that the Church is the fullest expression of Biblical Christianity on earth. To some of you that may seem to be an outrageous claim, but I would implore you not to sack it just yet.  Please know though I do not believe that Protestant Christians are “second-class” in any way, and know very well that some Christians who are far from the beliefs of Rome live their faith in our same Lord Jesus Christ far better than many of us who claim to be walking in the “fullness of truth.”  But that reality does not make one or the other less or more true.  So again I would gently challenge those of other Christian beliefs, as well as those within other world religions or perhaps none, to look once again into the claims of the Catholic Church before setting it aside. If this blog can assist with that search, I would be honored and humbled.

More than anything, though, this site is indeed for all of us who love God and wish to love one another.  While I wholly believe in the idea of the outward unity of the Church, the far more basic issue is one suggested by Jesus Himself when He approached the young scribe with the biggest question of all—“Which is the great commandment in the law?”  The answer was not, “Join the Catholic Church, become Jewish or Muslim, or (paraphrasing another blogger of late) please just wait around another 1500 years or so and let John Calvin or Martin Luther explain the Bible to you—it isn’t even written yet for crying out loud!!!”  It was none of those things.  It was simple—basic—and profound—and impossible to do by our own efforts alone.

Matthew 22: 35-41

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

That is the root and essence of Christianity and in fact most major world religions.

If we can develop an online community which even begins to succeed in doing that, then my purpose here in the blogosphere will be more than adequately fulfilled.

“Until we come into the unity of the Faith.” That is the goal.  And all of you who read this are welcome to assist us in finding that unity together.  Again, welcome, and know you are wanted here.

Detail of a painting by Pedro Berruguete (c. 1...
Detail of a painting by Pedro Berruguete (c. 1450 – 1504) showing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Македонски: Детаљ од сликата „Исус се моли во Гетсиманската градина“ од Педро Беругете (~1450-1504). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John 17:21

…”that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

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Simon Ushakov's icon of the Mystical Supper.

16 thoughts on “Why This Blog??? A Holy Thursday Reflection

  1. Pingback: » Кои други Божји чуда се имаат случено во Македонија adamwest

    1. catholicboyrichard

      I am actually GOING to approve this, even though my sense it that you sent it to me as a test of some sort. YES I do accept you as a human and you are welcome here–no I do not accept your perversion of the one triune God. Tolerance does not mean agreeing or promoting blasphemy against all that I believe in.

      So tell me what your point is so we can actually have some dialogue. God be with you.

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  2. Pingback: Taking apart MyCatholic consciousness | YLBnoel's Blog

  3. cinhosa

    Richard,
    I enjoyed your explanation of the focus of your blog. I hope to help you in your efforts to convince others of the truth of the Church. It’s why I converted 12 years ago and why I continue to practice our faith.

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    1. catholicboyrichard

      You of course are a help by just being here. I appreciate your wisdom in showing respect for all but standing for your convictions. Not always an easy balance! God bless.

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  4. catholicboyrichard

    Joshua I found this on a tremendous website: http://www.catholic.com

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/do-catholics-worship-statues is the link, and the article goes into this issue including a bit about Martin Luther too. One thing to remember is that Luther was in many ways not far from Catholicism, far closer than Lutherans of today for instance. For one thing he had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as did Calvin and Zwingli. Later reformers began to get away from this but at the earliest points in the Reformation Sacred Tradition was not totally thrown away. Also, although not mentioned in the article, when Luther was still a Catholic he was an Augustinian monk, and both Catholics and Lutherans follow the Augustinian formula for the commandments. It is not dogmatic in any case. Hope this helps.

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    1. Somehow I missed your comments, and they aren’t showing up in my notifications. But thank you very much! I am looking into both of the links you gave, as well as Nic’s blog. And thank you very much for enlightening me more on the history of the Church. It is always appreciated! And I just love learning more.

      God Bless!

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      1. catholicboyrichard

        When you say you missed them, did you see them now? Or are you still missing some of them? I will gladly re-post if needed. In any case good. I am glad you got the links. And I am so glad, this Good Friday, that our oneness does not depend upon denomination or agreement in all theology but goes beyond to the heart of the matter, which is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Blessings to you. We are all learning together.

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      2. Yeah I see them now, somehow I most have missed them in the notification bar. I can full heartedly agree with you! If it wasn’t through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I would be very lost!

        God’s blessings and peace to you as well!
        Joshua H.

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      3. catholicboyrichard

        Well it is now upon us, so BLESSED EASTER to you. I consider you a friend and certainly a brother in Christ our Lord. Peace to you!

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  5. I actually do have a question about something that Both Catholics and Lutherans do. Why do we have the Ten Commandments listed in a different order than the rest of Christianity? It was only less than a year ago that I realized we have a different order, than the rest of Christianity. Looking over both the orders many times, I can see how they both work. So I guess I was just wondering what your thoughts were on this.

    God Bless!

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    1. catholicboyrichard

      Good question and I will do some digging on that one myself…but I won’t forget to! Thanks for asking as I do know there is a reason. Blessings.

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      1. Thank you! I tried to look it up once, but all I could find where answers basically saying the Catholics removed “No graven images or likenesses” because Catholics worship relics and sorts, and since they worship relics (gracen images) they removed that commandment to fit their needs….. I however don’t buy that. I could see how one being raised not knowing what Catholicism is could believe that, as was the case with me. But if you learn to be open to Catholicism and actually take time to learn it, I don’t believe that is the case. (I hope all that made sense). And at any rate, that doesn’t explain why Martin Luther continued with the same Ten Commandments order…..

        Let me know what you find, I am definitely interested!

        God bless!

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      2. catholicboyrichard

        By the way, as an aside, we do use relics as aids to prayer (obviously not to worship). But even those Christians who are strictly “Bible only” with no consideration of Sacred Tradition must note and admit that the book of Acts mentions handkerchiefs which were touched to the Apostle St Paul and healings taking place as a result, also the woman with the issue of blood touching Jesus’ garment and being healed too, and in the Old Testament a man actually came back to life when thrown into the lifeless grave of the prophet Elisha! Relics can be over-used or in a superstitious way, but that does not make them wrong intrinsically.

        Ironically Protestants often are known to kiss the hands of dead loved ones’ bodies at a funeral, or to pray (as the article mentions) kneeling with a Bible in their hands. Technically that “Bible” is only paper and ink–it is the words of God printed on it that make it the “Holy Bible.” All of these things are in a very real sense relics, and all very valid in our worship to the one true God.

        Lastly even going to a movie such as “Passion of the Christ,” which has drawn many including myself back to our Lord Jesus and the Church, are only human REPRESENTATIONS of the Lord–Jim Caviezel never once has claimed to be Jesus and Mel Gibson has had his failings as most of us know too. Yet the pictures or images of Christ in that movie have brought countless people to fall on their knees and worship the one true and invisible God. So relics and images do have their place.

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      1. catholicboyrichard

        Joshua this is my friend Nic Davidson, an extraordinary young man who has evangelical/charismatic background and is now Catholic Christian. We think much alike in many areas, and actually I suggest checking out his blog or contacting him too. He is a great and nice guy, AND a Minnesotan. And he deeply respects all people as they journey,wherever they may be currently at. Good stuff.

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