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!!!
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.”
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.
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.
…”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.”
- My Mid-life Crisis of Faith (or How I Broke My Father’s Heart)-Part 1 (thepassionatemoderate.com)
- No BOOGEY-MEN! Perceptions vs. realities of the Catholic Church (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- Revisiting Jefferson Bethke And Our Concept of “Religion” (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- HOPEFUL DESPAIR??? A Lenten Reflection of Combat Then Clarity… (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- ‘Quit the Catholic Church,’ (stannecenter.wordpress.com)
- Searchable Catechism of the Catholic Church (http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm)
MORE Related articles…
- 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Holy Thursday (aquinasandmore.com)
- Maundy Thursday-Breaking Holy Bread (somethingsublime.typepad.com)
- Holy Thursday: This Is My Body (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Maundy Thursday (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- “Do This in Memory of Me” (cardinalsblog.adw.org)