Homosexual Relations: Is it true love?

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CCC 2204: “The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church. It is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament.” (Eph: 5:21 – 6:4)

Marriage is to be between a man and a woman alone. This is to be a life long relationship dedicated to the bonding of both spouses with the aim of getting each other to Heaven, along with the children they produce with the duty of raising them in the Catholic Faith. In these times we live in, it’s not uncommon to hear that countries throughout the world have or are pushing forth laws to legalize homosexual “marriages.” What does the Church have to say in this regard, and what are the consequences?

 

The Church says the following:

 

Catechism 1603: “… God Himself is the author of marriage … Marriage is NOT a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences SHOULD NOT cause us to forget it’s common and PERMANENT characteristics.”

Since God is the author of marriage and Wills that marriage is to be between a man and a woman alone, and since Marriage is not a human institution in which can be changed simply because of the desires of the flesh amongst those that are against God’s Holy Divine Plan, the question remains; who are we, as mortals with limited knowledge, to question the All Immortal, Loving, & Knowing Divine God and His Plan?

 

– The Consequences –

 

While we will not address all of consequences of these relationships, such as the negative results in health because of the diseases spread by these relationships; we will address the spiritual since the spiritual consequences are the most important.

False Love: Just like all relationships outside of marriage in which revolve around the sins of the flesh; there is a lack of true love since the relationships are based upon using both persons as sexual objects for temporary pleasures. While one may argue that there can be “true love” within these relationships, the question remains: what kind of love revolves around risking the eternal soul of ones significant other – not to mention their own soul?

The purpose of marriage is to help both spouses get to heaven. Since the homosexual “marriage” is a sin against God’s plan, we have no choice but to conclude that it’s a relationship based upon nothing but the unfortunate loss of souls.

 

“And God Blessed them, and God said to them: ‘BE FRUITFUL and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” – (Genesis 1:28)

God makes it clear that a true fruitful relationship within the Holy Sacrament of Marriage is based upon the multiplying of children, for both Husband and Wife become one flesh. (Mark 10:8)

Since only a man and a female can reproduce, its quite evident that relations between individuals of the same sex cannot hold the claim of having a valid marriage, for this contradicts God’s plan all together and does not bare fruit as God commanded.

What does God say about those in whom do not bare good fruit? When Jesus cursed the fig tree for not baring forth any fruit, He made an analogy in which He compared this very parable to individual people in who do not bare any fruit. “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire.” (Matt 7:19)

Since damnation is the end result of these relationships, what must we do for those in whom are within these wicked relations? As Catholics, we must continuously pray for these poor people that they turn away from their spiritual plague of homosexual activity in addition to also remembering that we have our own weaknesses as humans with a fallen nature. May God grant them many graces to overcome their many sins, and may He grant us also many graces to overcome our own wickedness.

 

 

 

 

Persecution for the truth.

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Being True God and True Man, Christ had come into the world to save sinners. When He, being the Word of God & the Truth, made known the Gospel to those around Him; many rejected Him because they knew Him not. Because of the fact that men have put their pride above Truth, they persecuted Him in many forms.

 

When His Majesty, Our Lord Jesus Christ, made known to the Pharisees that He was God Almighty in John 8:58-59, we can see that He had stones thrown at Him. In Matthew 12:24, Christ was also accused of doing works of the devil because of His casting out of demons. Not only was our Lord persecuted in these very examples, but He also persecuted in such a fashion that He was spat upon, beaten, scourged, & forced to carry & endure the Holy Cross even to the point in where He was crucified upon it to the point of death.

 

With that in mind, let it not be forgotten that no servant is greater than his master. (John 15:20, Mt 10:24, Jn 13:16) Since we are members of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5, 1 Cor 10:17) While all of us may not be persecuted in the exact same form, and while many of us may not be maryred (God Willing), we should not be surprised if we also come across being persecuted for the Truth; that being Jesus Christ & His Body, the Holy Catholic Church. As Matthew 10:28 says, let us not fear! : “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

 

In the Byzantine Rite during Paschal season, we Chant: “Christ is Risen from the dead trampling death by death, and to those in the tombs giving life.” As they say, there is the light at the end of every tunnel and a rainbow at the end of every storm. So while we may suffer for the truth now, we shall rejoice since our reward will be great in Heaven. (Rev 2:10, Matt 16:24-25, Matt 5:10, Rev 6:9-11)

May God give us the hearts and courage of the martyrs!

BREAKING NEWS: The Orthodox Church of Puerto Rico enters into communion with the Catholic Church.

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“This news comes from Puerto Rico:
June 10, 2017 the Pan Orthodox of St. Spyridon in Trujillo Alto, PR community were received into the Catholic Church as a Greco Catholic Byzantine community under the “Omophorion” (jurisdiction) of the Latin Archbishop, Metropolitan Roberto González, O.F.M.

 
The welcome ceremony was presided over by the Vicar General of the Archdiocese, father Alberto Figueroa Morales on behalf of the Archbishop. The priests and parishioners made the profession of faith and during the liturgy were commemorated the Supreme Pontiff, Francisco and metropolitan Robert.

 
This makes the community of San Espiridión the first Eastern Catholic in Puerto Rico community. Welcome to the priests and parishioners of San Espiridión to the Catholic Church. They will continue celebrating the Divine Liturgy and sacred mysteries according to the Byzantine tradition. The continuous liturgy in the Church Slavonic language, English and Spanish… following the liturgical calendar Julian (old calendar).

 
The community was under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul). Now it has been under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of San Juan of Puerto Rico. Probably then pass to belong to any of the Slavonic Byzantine Eastern Catholic churches, although they continue to remain under the local Latin metropolitan authority.

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View of the Temple of Saint Spyridon.

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The Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Fr. Alberto Figueroa Morales, to bless the new community greco Catholic in San Juan after having received the profession of faith of them.

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Peter DiLeo explains the Community agreement document
between the Archdiocese and the community of San Espiridión.The Archimandrite chaired the first Divine Liturgy as a Greek Catholic community.

The Church was built in the 1930s on the grounds of the old leper, in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. The brothers missionaries Orthodox St. Peter of Cetinje brought this mission to the islands of the Caribbean from the Archdiocese of Mexico of the Greek Orthodox Church in the diaspora and to evangelize new believers.”

Credits to:

http://saeculorumvalue.blogspot.com.ar/2017/06/monasterio-ortodoxo-entra-en-comunion.html?m=1

Addressing the Heresy of Sola Fide

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Since Protestants confidently proclaim that faith alone is the solution to being saved, the question remains; why does scripture oppose this heretical and unbiblical doctrine?

It’s quite evident within the scriptures that we are to do good works in response to having faith in Christ. This is called cooperating with God’s Grace. The scriptures state that we are to imitate Christ in all things (Eph 5:1-2) and that we are to keep His Commandments (Rev 22:14) in order to be saved. 1 Peter 2:12 says that we are to be an example to the gentiles by our good deeds in order that they may glorify the True God. Matthew 5:16 reaffirms this same request, since our good works “shine before men.”

This is why Matthew 16:27 makes it absolutely clear that we will be judged by all the good works we have done to glorify God, for it states: “For the Son of Man is to come with His Angels in the Glory of His Father, and then He will repay every man for what he has done.”

Bear in mind that later in Matthew 25:31-46; Jesus speaks of separating the sheep from the goats in accordance to how they served God, the sheeps being the saved and the goats being the damned. The Protestant position of faith has no room within this scripture, for Jesus makes it clear that these good works, in absolute union with faith, are necessary for salvation as mentioned above.

Remember that even the Devils have faith in God, thus if we are to have faith alone and not do what God requests in this regards (Obeying the commandments, feeding the hungry etc.) we would only be cast away into Hell as “sinful and slothful servents.” (Matt 25:23-30) Did I forget to mention that the book of 2nd Corinthians 5:10 makes it absolutely clear that “all will be made manifest.. so that each one may receive what is due to him for the THINGS DONE while in the body, whether good or bad”?
Sounds like good works are necessary here for salvation. To reject this is to simply to be in self denial and pride. Had this not been true, the rich man would have not been damned. (Luke 16:22)

In conclusion, faith without works is dead. “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man say he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?” (Luther would say yes… continuing… ) “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to him “Go in peace, be warned and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17) Lets not forget James 2:26: “For as the Body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”

Fun fact: Martin Luther, the founder of the heresy of Protestantism, desired to remove the book of James from the Bible because of this very key doctrine in which he invented. It’s ironic considering that not only had he removed 7 books from the Old Testament, but also accused the Catholic Church for being unbiblical and twisting scripture in which he has edited in order for it to fit his doctrines.

Axios!

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Friends, we would like to announce the election of the Melkite Church’s new Patriarch: His Beatitude Joseph Absi of Damascus, Syria. May God Bless his mission on saving souls and guiding our holy Melkite Catholic Church. Axios!

This is the Day the LORD has Made

“In the beginning, God created heaven, and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.”

Genesis 1:1-5 (Douay-Rheims Version)

Today is Sunday, and today is the first day of the week. This is the day when creation began. The first day of creation. Some may ask, “I thought God rested on the last day, and that is why we rest today!” The fact is that Saturday is the seventh day on which God rested, and it is still the Sabbath, technically. This is why no matter what week of the year it is, whether it be a fasting season or Pascha, every Saturday is a day where fasting is relaxed and when divine liturgy may be celebrated.  However, Sunday also has another name: the 8th day of creation. It is on this day that Christ rose from the dead. By rising, He created new life for us.

Over time, we transferred all of the Sabbath resting requirements to Sunday, thus making every Sunday a day of feasting and a day of rest. So Sunday occupies a weird position. It is both the 1st day and the 8th day. If you consider it, that is very appropriate.

The Sunday liturgy is the climax and finale of our week. All of our prayers, all of our work, and anything we do that is good is offered to God on Sunday. I always picture myself as taking all my cares, worries, and troubles and laying them before the altar when I attend Saturday Vespers (since liturgically, the Sunday actually begins sundown on Saturday and ends sundown on Sunday). Through the course of the day, I trust God to take whatever I offer and transform them to what is good.

That transformation is what begins my week. There is no better way to both end and start the week by receiving the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is that Holy Communion that transforms me into someone who can go out into the world for the next few days to spread the Gospel by the way I live my life and to help in the avoidance of sin. And when the week ends, Holy Communion refreshes me, fatigued from a week of life. “Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you” (Matthew 11:28 DRV).

However, the mistake we can fall into is thinking of Sunday Liturgy solely in terms of receiving communion and what we get out of going. Yes, we receive grace (which, by the way, isn’t something that can be quantified – it is immaterial) by going, and yes, we are refreshed. We go to worship God and to rejoice in His Holy Resurrection. It is where heaven and earth meet and we worship Him in His Holy Place.

“Let us give thanks to the Lord”

“It is proper and just”

Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (Ruthenian Translation)

It is proper and just to praise Him. This one part of the Liturgy fully depicts why we are there. To give thanks to the Lord. Thanksgiving. Eucharist. We give thanks to Him by commemorating His life, death, resurrection, ascension, the sitting at the right hand of the Father, and His Second Coming in Glory. While the Second Coming has yet to occur, we commemorate it since the Divine Liturgy transcends space and time.

Why is communion, then, a part of this thanksgiving? It doesn’t seem to make sense that we give thanks in order to receive more from God. The fact is, receiving the Holy Mysteries is an act of thanksgiving. We are showing our gratitude by fulfilling His Commandments: “Do this in memory (anamesis) of me.”

“For as often as we eat this Bread and drink this Chalice, we proclaim Your death O Lord, and profess Your Resurrection.”

Divine Liturgy of St. Basil

By receiving the Holy Mysteries, not only are we united to Christ, we offer Him the greatest thanksgiving and act of worship we can offer – we unite ourselves to His sacrifice, and we submit to His commands.

 

 

Fasting Rules or are they Guidelines?

Our Roman Catholic counterparts get their fasting regulations from the 1983 Code of Canon Law (regarding which days are fasting days and days of abstinence). The Code gives powers to the Episcopal Conferences in the regions to “more precisely determine” the rules of fasting in the area. Everything is regulated. And observance of these laws is mandated under pain of MORTAL SIN. If you break the law, you’ll find yourself in the confessional if you intend to make a Holy Communion.

Now, because of the Latin regulations, many people think that Eastern Catholics have the same sort of things going on. The fact of the matter is that we do not. The closest thing we have is the Eastern Code of Canon Law which says that our Church Sui Juris determines what the fasting disciplines will be. The thing is that our fasting guidelines aren’t something that we modify or make up as time goes on, but something that we’ve inherited from  the monastics. This is called the Typikon, and it contains every guideline for liturgy that one would need to know. But the think to keep in mind is that these are just that: guidelines. 

They aren’t the ideals, they aren’t the minimums, they are about where we should all aim to find ourselves. Every Byzantine Church, Sui Juris, bases its recommendations off of the Typikon. For instance, in the Ruthenian Catholic Church, there is no penalty of sin for breaking the fasting regulations outside of Lent. However, within Lent, if you break the fasting regulations, you are barred from receiving communion. (The law doesn’t state how long you are barred from the chalice). The Lenten fasting regulations are very simple: no meat or dairy on Clean Monday and Good Friday, no meat of Wednesdays and Fridays. However, we are strongly encouraged to abstain from meat and dairy from the start of Lent until we receive communion at Pascha.

If you look at the fasting regulations throughout the remainder of the year, as far as the Ruthenians go, when it comes to fasting seasons, nothing is imposed. Only for Lent is there extra dietary and penal restrictions enforced. So for the Apostles Fast, the only change you will note is that Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays are aliturgical – meaning that liturgy is not permitted to be celebrated on these days. The faithful are informed that we are in a fasting season, but we aren’t told what the fast entails. The reason being is that fasting is something voluntary that we should want to take on. And we should try to abide by the norms set forth in the Typikon.

Penance, or rather fasting discipline, varies from person to person. The point is not to become so rigid that the discipline overtakes the spirit. The point is to push ourselves to where it is uncomfortable but not unbearable. We are encouraged to seek the counsel of a spiritual father for a reason.

Fasting vs Fasting Discipline

In Byzantine spirituality, abstaining from meat and dairy becomes very easy after you get used to it. Even with that, the restriction from oil, wine, and fish begin to come easier and easier as the Christian gets used to giving up those items on a regular basis. Because of that, some will abstain from eating totally (or at least until the 9th hour – 3pm) on the strict fast days. With all that said and done, our bodies are very adaptable. People can live as vegans with no problem, some people can survive for years eating junk food. Sure they get sick after a while, but the body gets by for the time being. Our bodies are able to adapt, making it feel easier and easier the more we do it. Thus, the people who think that the benefit to fasting comes from overcoming difficulty and enduring pain are missing the point.

At the same time, it isn’t about giving up a certain type of food either. We see all of these restrictions in the Typikon varying from fish to no fish to no oil and wine. And, of course, the tendency is to become extremely legalistic. I can’t tell you the number of times I found myself combing through the ingredient lists at the store to make sure that the thing I was about to buy wouldn’t break the fast. Or worse, grabbing a Lenten cookbook to make these extravagant desserts and meals that, while fulfilling the letter of the law certainly went against its spirit!

I think the aspect we forget the most when fasting on these strict fast days is not that the Fathers wanted us to become so worried about what to eat and what not to eat that it becomes the primary focus of our fast. It is actually the opposite. When we eat simply, yes we will endure some cravings and hunger pangs, but we can take our minds off of what to eat and how to cook it. Most of the food we fast from takes time to season, prepare, and cook. Fasting foods are very simple and require little preparation.

Still, all that mentioned above is fasting discipline. In reality, fasting is a spirituality. The prophet Isaiah writes in Chapter 58 of what true fasting is:

3‘Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not?
    Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
    and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to hit with wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
    will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a rush,
    and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
    and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

“If you take away from the midst of you the yoke,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually,
    and satisfy your desire with good things,
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters fail not.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Here we see the instructions to accompany our fast. Notice how the prophet never says to replace fasting with these things but rather to include them with the discipline. I wrote earlier that fasting in itself is medicinal rather than a punishment and that fasting existed before the fall. Thus, to not fast at all is wrong. But I’ve also noticed another tendency as well. People either want to do the works of mercy listed here and only fast somewhat, or they want to fast legalistically and not pour themselves out for others. According to this passage, that kind of fasting will bear no spiritual fruit.

Are we seeking our own pleasures by fasting? Has it become a game to see if we can make it or has it any meaning at all? Has it become just something that we do out of habit now? The purpose behind our fasting is to soften our hearts so that when we do turn from sin, we have chosen God over materials even in our weakness – a reinforcement that our need for God is superior to any other need we may have. When we fast, are we trying harder to avoid sin? Or do we toot our own horns about our fasting, thus fueling our own pride.

Notice how it is written that he wouldn’t choose a fast of sackcloth and ashes. Why? I thought fasting was about repentance. Well, it is. It is very much about repentance. Isaiah warns us against a “fast as a rush.” That is a fast that is over and done with, no real change occurring. Is it any coincidence that Jesus says to anoint our heads and fast secretly so that no one knows we are fasting? These guys in scripture were fasting for public recognition, and the interesting thing about the Bible is that no matter when it was written, and no matter who the original audience was, human nature never changes and many of the criticisms of humanity are just as valid today as they were in those days.

How many people do we see posting on Instagram on Ash Wednesday their “AshTag” or do we see posting on Facebook about how much their fast sucks and how hard it is. Or when Friday rolls around and people show off their vegan/vegetarian meals? That’s all the fast is to them – something they do. If you combine the messages of Isaiah and Jesus (because really it’s all meant to be one message, after all) we are supposed to do the hard stuff, the stuff everyone wants to brag about, secretly. We should give to the poor in our fasting, and yes, we should fast. But we shouldn’t do it for attention.

But most of all, it should become spiritual as well as physical. We should use our fasts as an opportunity to turn away from sins and to grow closer to not only our neighbors but to God as well. Then we will be participating in a fast that doesn’t end “in a rush.”