Harden Not Your Hearts

April 2, 2014 | 43 comments

Nearly twenty years ago, when I was a baby Catholic, I read Purgatory Explained by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J. In sometimes lurid detail, Fr. Schouppe paints vivid accounts of the sufferings of the holy souls in purgatory, as reported by the saints, and tells of the wondrous effects of our prayers to speed the holy souls on their way to heaven. Not to mention the tales Fr. Schouppe includes of the holy souls interceding for those who pray for them—just in case a Catholic needs a little extra motivation to be diligent in his prayers for the holy souls.

At the time I read it, the book inspired in me a devotion to the holy souls in purgatory that lasts to this day (although, in hindsight, I now think this book would make a great graphic novel). But in those two decades, I can honestly say that I had not received any favors from the holy souls in return for the prayers and Masses I had offered for them. In fact, I had not had any kind of experience that signified an "awareness" that my prayers for souls had been heard or made a difference. Until a couple of weeks ago.

In recent months I have been doing some research on the occult for possible future apologetics projects. This has required a lot of reading of books and web sites, mainly by active practitioners of the occult. When following up on one book I read, I found through Googling that the author, a practicing witch, had died several years ago, shortly before her book was published. As a matter of respect for the fact of her death and to preserve the privacy of her family, I'll call her "Tabitha."

I did not really think much about the story of Tabitha's death, other than to be touched by the tragedy that she had died and at a fairly young age. I thought, "How sad. I should have a Mass offered for her." Here at Catholic Answers, where we have a daily Mass for the staff, that is easy enough to arrange. On a whim, I also decided to request a Mass to be offered for Tabitha at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

Then the strangeness began.

The procedure for Mass requests at Catholic Answers is for the request card to be placed on the altar before Mass. Our chaplain will say the name of the person for whom the Mass is being offered during the Mass, then the Mass card will be returned to the person who requested the Mass.

When this intention came up in the roster, the card was placed on the altar as usual. But the chaplain uncharacteristically neglected to say the name of the deceased during the Mass. When I checked with him afterward, he said the Mass had been offered for Tabitha, but offered to keep the card on the altar for the next day's Mass and say her name then. Pleased at the idea of two Masses for this intention, I agreed.

But the next morning, as I passed by the staff mailboxes, I found Tabitha's card in my mailbox. While the explanation turned out to be simple (the staff member in charge of coordinating the Mass requests thought that this Mass intention had been completed), not so simple to explain was what happened at Mass that day.

Since the card was not on the altar, as it was supposed to be, I decided to receive Communion for the repose of Tabitha's soul. Because I sat in the back, I was one of the last people to receive Communion at the Mass. All went smoothly with the distribution of Communion until I approached to receive. When the chaplain tried to place the Eucharist on my tongue, for the first time ever in my experience of receiving Communion, the priest fumbled the host. We were both startled, and I had to slap my hands to my mouth to prevent the Eucharist from dropping to the floor.

After Mass, I once again consulted with the chaplain, and obtained his assurance that he would offer the next day's Mass for Tabitha. I then ruminated on what all this might mean. It could have been written off as random occurrences, having nothing really to do with the fact that Tabitha had been a practicing witch at the time of her death.

Some might speculate that there was meaning to the occurrences and that the meaning was that the deceased was in hell. But, if that was the case, then the prayers offered for her soul would not have benefited her. God might apply the graces to another soul who could benefit, but there would be no reason for the attempts to offer Mass for this soul to be interrupted.

Fully realizing that the events were open to other interpretations, and that I was just giving them my own interpretation, I decided that someone, somewhere, did not want Tabitha to leave purgatory. So I wrote on Facebook:

Seriously, at this point I am convinced that there is some guardian demon out there determined to prevent this poor woman from leaving purgatory. So, in your kindness, please pray for the repose of the soul of [Tabitha]. And, if you are a priest with an open slot for a Mass intention, a Mass for the repose of her soul would be gratefully welcomed. Thanks.

The response was immediate. Friends quickly agreed to pray. A priest offered to work the intention for Tabitha into his Mass schedule. A friend who is a personal friend of a retired bishop put in a request with her bishop friend for one of his Masses to be offered for Tabitha, and he readily agreed.

The next day the Mass at Catholic Answers for Tabitha went off without a hitch. And I marveled that the day the Mass for her finally went through without hiccups was a day when the readings for that day's Mass included:

[First Reading] From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day, I have sent you untiringly all my servants, the prophets. Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed; they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers. . . .

[Psalm] If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him. . . .

[Gospel] Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed. . . . [Jesus said:] "For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges."

Perhaps I am not correct in how I interpreted the strange series of events surrounding my Mass requests for the repose of Tabitha's soul. But it cannot be denied that my choice not to put down these events to random occurrences had the effect of gaining for her even more prayers and Masses than she otherwise might have had. As St. Paul observed:

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

It has been a long, strange Lent this year. There have been incomprehensible tragedies for young families, sudden accidents leading to the tragic deaths of dear friends, natural disasters at home and abroad, and mysterious international calamities. Like the choice I faced with whether or not to put down the difficulties in getting a Mass intention offered to meaningless coincidence, all of this could be put down to weird randomness. And, it must be acknowledged, all of this Lenten strangeness this year could well be weird randomness that just happened to occur during Lent.

Or, we can choose to see the possibility of God speaking to us through patterns of suffering, reminding us that Lent is a time for drawing nearer to him and depending upon him ever more deeply. Perhaps God means for us to remember that Lent is a time to store up whatever graces might be found for the journey ahead, because the journey ahead for Christians is always a Via Dolorosa that we walk with Christ. As C.S. Lewis once noted in his book, The Problem of Pain

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.


Michelle Arnold is a staff apologist at Catholic Answers. You can visit her personal blog or contact her online through Facebook.
The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons And The Spiritual Realities That Surround Us
"Everybody has one. It’s called a ""haunt detector."" It’s the little alarm that goes off in our heads whenever we detect that something mysterious or supernatural has occurred. You could be sitting around relaxing one day at home, and for no special reason you start thinking about someone. Maybe you haven’t thought about this person in years. Then the phone rings; you pick it up, and amazingly, it’s that person! Many of us have experienced this phenomenon. What is it? Anthony DeStefano answers this compelling question in his fascinating book, The Invisible World."

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Diane Kavanaugh - Felton, California

As someone who was deeply immersed in the Pagan/Wicca/Occult world for over 10 years I can say for certain that what you experienced was not mere coincidence. What you encountered was resistance of an occult nature. Possibly by Tabitha herself but most likely by those entities that she had "befriended" during her lifetime. You did the right thing by reaching out and asking for more prayers and masses.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to chat with someone who has first hand experience. There's much more to the pagan community than what you might read in books.

April 2, 2014 at 10:23 am PST
#2  Eggbert McGuillicutty - somewhere, Clare

Is it possible that Jesus in His Divine Mercy and being eternally present in all time allowed these sinister events to happen in order to secure sufficient prayer, to confound Satan and actually save Tabitha’s soul by applying them in advance so to speak at her death? If so Tabitha may still require our payer. God bless you Michelle for your perseverance.

April 2, 2014 at 11:50 am PST
#3  Jaap de Graaf - Bunschoten, Utrecht

I'm Dutch, so forgive my Englisch.
Born and raised as a Calvinist christian, I was travelling towards Catholiscim, the unity, the communion of the saints, everthing began making sense. Then this piece comes up, and i'm disturb. Purgatory is for any convert a diffucult subject. Here it seems that someone can die not in friendship with the Lord (she was a witch), and then can be saved by humans who pray for for her? So if I die in sin and rejection of Christ. I find enough people to pray for me, i can go to heaven anyway? What about Hell? Answer me please:) Thank you in advance

April 3, 2014 at 3:30 am PST
#4  Jennifer Fraser - Niagara Falls, Ontario

I have the same comment as Jaap de Graaf. This woman obviously categorically rejected all that is Christian in favour of the occult. Why would you say a Mass for her? Would she not be in hell? I am also a Protestant and I'm looking into Catholicism, but this leaves me seriously confused!!

April 3, 2014 at 4:43 am PST
#5  Salonsar War - Shillong, Kentucky

Dear Friends,
I'm Catholic and was always confused about Purgatory. So I read up about it and began to see the picture, and it was a blog on Catholic Answers -- 'Is Purgatory in the Bible?'-- that convinced me and made it crystal clear.

In Tabitha's case, here's how I see it:

We do not know whether her soul is in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. For that matter, we cannot know, predict or speculate where anyone's soul is. Only God knows the heart and only he can judge. The only thing we can do is to pray, which in this case, is what Michelle had done, in the hope that Tabitha is not in hell. Though Tabitha was a witch practitioner, it is very possible that moments or days or weeks before she died, she had turned to our Lord and asked for forgiveness. Since God can turn our sins from 'scarlet into white', he saved her and that's why she was/is in Purgatory so that she can be cleansed because we know 'nothing unclean can enter Heaven'.
That's how prayers can help and I believe that's what happened in this case.
Jesus said 'Do not judge'. That's why all we can and should do while on this earth is the loving and the praying-- He does the judging.
Hope this helps.
God Bless.

April 3, 2014 at 6:34 am PST
#6  Marty Goforth - Davidson, North Carolina

"And, it must be acknowledged, all of this Lenten strangeness this year could well be weird randomness that just happened to occur during Lent."

I'm surprised to read that from you, Michelle. Do you really believe that even "weird randomness" could be outside of God's plan? Nothing happens without God either explicitly causing it to happen or at least allowing it to happen. Believing that anything in this world is a coincidence makes no sense if God is who we say He is - namely omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.

April 3, 2014 at 7:52 am PST
#7  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

Michelle,
Did you read that the witch showed any (sign of) remorse for her vain life before death?
Did she live in a time and place where she had never heard of Christ and/or of His true Church?
If the answers to these questions are in affirmative, then you did well praying (or booking Mass) for her, but if not, why praying explicitly for her? Even though the value or merit of such Mass goes to the treasury of the Church and can not be a waste if she is damned and cannot be benefited thereof, yet there is no need praying explicitly for her. (My statement here does not apply to the faithful departed)

April 3, 2014 at 9:22 am PST
#8  brother in christ - fort worth, Texas

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that concerning Purgatory. 1030 All who die in God,s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

When we are in this world demonic forces will try influence us so that we may stray from the truth or influence others from the truth.
and thus lose our salvation.

Souls in heavan cannot be influenced in this way, nor can the souls in purgatory, whos eternal salvation is assured. After death comes God,s judgement . It is God who is fininishing the good work that He started in them. Whether we pray for them or not God will complete it it unlike those of us who are still in this world
As for Tabitha, she may have accepted God,s forgiveness at the last moment or maybe not. But what ever happened we place our faith in whatever God has judged is just. My own father died whether or not he accepted Christ at the last moment I don't know. But where ever he is Gods judgement is just. I don't look for signs or private revelations to tell me that he is alright. He may not be. We walk by faith and not by sight. It is right to pray for those in Purgatory, but specifically I don't know whos there or whos not, or when they left purgatory. For those who are studying the Catholic church be clear on what is doctrine, dogma,
discipline. Catholic church gets its knowledge from the Holy Spirit who through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture given to the Apostles have been handed down to us. The church does not require us to believe in apparitions and private revelations. At its core the Catholic church is the church of Christ who through her many councils guided by the Holy Spirit has defined truths that has been passed down from the apostles that even other Christians follow. And for a simple explaination of what is Sacred Tradition look at my post on the blog for jesus,s brothers.
I cant type very fast so there will be mistakes. Sorry
Peace be with you.
your brother in christ

April 3, 2014 at 10:08 am PST
#9  brother in christ - fort worth, Texas

Speculation on things we cannot know or should not know is pointless and sometimes can mislead us. have faith in God,s plan of salvation through Christ and we entrust the unknowable to
His divine justice.
your brother in christ

April 3, 2014 at 10:17 am PST
#10  brother in christ - fort worth, Texas

correction the title is jesus had brothers. is where my simple explaination of sacred tradition is to be found I believe its number 43.
brother in christ

April 3, 2014 at 10:26 am PST
#11  Michelle Arnold - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Jaap: Humans can repent of a mortal sin up to the very moment of their deaths, and God can save them. The only unforgivable sin is final impenitence, not witchcraft. We can assist the holy souls with our prayers for them (just as we can assist the suffering in this life with our prayers for them), but it is Jesus who directly acts to bring the holy souls into heaven. Hope this helps. God bless.

Jennifer: See my comments for Jaap.

Marty: While I believe that there is meaning in what appears to be weird randomness, I also am not God and cannot presume to speak for him. So I have to acknowledge the possibility that events may not have the meaning I have ascribed to them. I also want to avoid the danger of fatalism.

Kenneth: Whether or not Tabitha died repentant of the sins of her life is God's business and hers, not mine. All that I can do is to pray for her and hope that she can benefit from those prayers. I prayed specifically for her because I was touched by the tragedy of her death at a fairly young age. I gave it no deeper thought than that at the time I decided to pray. What came after surprised me and led me to think that those prayers *are* benefiting her.

April 3, 2014 at 10:42 am PST
#12  Marty Goforth - Davidson, North Carolina

Thanks, Michelle, for the response. I think that's a better way to articulate it.

April 3, 2014 at 11:52 am PST
#13  Karen Gomm - Spotswood, New Jersey

I have a friend who has become a pagan and is actively practicing the Wiccan religion. She has been on my mind all day and I've been wondering if I should just disassociate myself from her. Then I came across your blog and I realized that what I really need to do is pray for her. I ask you to join me in praying for her and her family.

April 4, 2014 at 12:29 am PST
#14  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

Jaap de Graaf, Jennifer

And you all who find it difficult to believe, hold and firmly stand on the salutary and vivifying fountain, Catholicism - the pillar and ground of truth - either in part or as a whole, we catholics do so not because of what parents, pastors, friends, men of great repute and our conscience or understanding tell us let alone what we read on the internet although all these may help us understand it better. We believe it on the authority of the Incarnate Immutable Truth Himself, Jesus Christ, who have assured us that catholicism is doctrinally and dogmatically inerrant (Mathew 16:18).

April 4, 2014 at 10:04 am PST
#15  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Michelle, very interesting and there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, its all part of God's plan. Only God knew Tabitha's heart and the forces that led her to witchcraft. Satan and his legions are very cunning and probably took advantage of a weak individual who actually had love for God in her heart that the rest of the world could not see. None of us will ever know what abuses Tabitha might have suffered or what evil led her astray, and just like you Michelle, it is our Christian duty that we love and pray for these people who have already been kicked around or influenced by the evil in this world.

After reading this blog I can't help but to think about the story in 2 Maccabees 12:46. Judas Maccabees prayed for the atonement of the souls of the soldiers killed in battle because they practiced a form of witchcraft, good luck charms. For the Protestants out there who find Michelles blog hard to understand this Scripture shows that what Michelle did is honorable and an act of love. God will surely bless those who don't forget about the one sheep that got seperated from the other ninety nine. Your awsesome Michelle, a good shepherd who remembered the one sheep that the rest of the world left behind!! God bless and my prayer list just got a little longer.

April 5, 2014 at 5:50 am PST
#16  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Usalor, you sure got that right! We believe because of the Divine nature of our Catholic faith, it wasn't a sinful man who established our Church, it was our Saviour Jesus Christ, and I do not recall Him coming back to earth and founding a new one or replacing it with a book. If Christ comes back and establishes a new church I don't think we will miss it, just like the Jews found out, the temple will not be left standing and the priesthood would be abolished. Surely Christ would make it loud and clear, for He is no coward and if He started our Church face to face, that would be the way He would end it. Until then there is only one Divinely established living institutions on earth, and She has survived every attack and stone thrown against Her. We are not bragging as Catholics, just stating the facts that history proves and remaining obedient to the Head of our faith.

April 5, 2014 at 6:17 am PST
#17  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

I notice that no one is using the scriptures about what Jesus accomplished at the cross.
1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the (propitiation) for our sins. This word means to APPEASE ,to completely satisfy God of our sin problem. To WIN favor with. There is no trace of Sin as if it never existed. Not even the smell of. Jesus is the only one who ever lived who was able to be Righteous in God's sight. On one can claim this for them self. Jesus made the GREAT EXCHANGE on the cross for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Believing any other way is rejecting all of what Jesus accomplished for you. Your KEY to heaven is thru Jesus only. the Church ignores this so they can get you on the list and charge you to say a mass for DEAD people- I don't think so. Lean on Jesus -He satisfies.

April 8, 2014 at 10:21 am PST
#18  Eggbert McGuillicutty - somewhere, Clare

Hi Dick,
Re: Not using the scriptures...............

PURGATORY
2 Tim 1:16-18 - Paul prays for dead friend Onesiphorus
Mt 5:48 -be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect
Heb 12:14 -strive for that holiness w/o which cannot see God
Jam 3:2 -we all fall short in many respects
Rev 21:27 -nothing unclean shall enter heaven
1 Jn 5:16-17 - degrees of sins distinguished
Jam 1:14-15 - when sin reaches maturity gives birth to death
2 Sam 12:13-14 - David, though forgiven, still punished for sin
Mt 5:26 -you will not be released until paid last penny
Mt 12:32 -sin against Holy Spirit unforgiven in this age or next
Mt 12:36 -account for every idle word on judgment day
2 Macc 12:44-46 - atoned for dead to free them from sin
1 Cor 3:15 -suffer loss, but saved as through fire
1 Pet 3:18-20; 4:6 - Jesus preached to the spirits in prison
1 Cor 15:29-30 - Paul mentions people baptizing for the dead

ASSURANCE OF SALVATION?
Mt 7:21 -not everyone saying "Lord, Lord" will inherit
Mt 24:13 -those who persevere to the end will be saved
Rom 11:22 -remain in his kindness or you will be cut off
Phil2:12 -work out your salvation in fear and trembling
1 Cor 9:27 - drive body for fear of being disqualified
1 Cor 10:11-12 - those thinking they are secure, may fall
Gal 5:4 -separated from Christ, you've fallen from grace
2 Tim 2:11-13 - must hold out to end to reign with Christ
Heb 6:4-6 - describes sharers in Holy Spirit who then fall away
Heb 10:26-27 - if sin after receiving truth, judgement remains

AUTHORITATIVE CHRURCH
Mt 28:18-20 - Jesus delegates all power to Apostles
Jn 20:23 -power to forgive sin
1 Cor 11:23-24 - power to offer sacrifice (Eucharist)
Lk 10:16 -power to speak with Christ's voice
Mt 18:18 - power to legislate
Mt 18:17 - power to discipline

CONFESSION
Mt 9:2-8 - Son of Man has authority to forgive sins
Jn 20:23 -whose sins you forgive/retain are forgiven/retained
IJn 20:22 -breathed on them, "receive Holy Spirit" [recall Gn 2:7]
2 Cor 5:17-20 - given us the ministry of reconciliation
James 5:13-15 - prayer of presbyters forgives sin
Jam 5:16 -confess your sins to one another
Mt 18:18-whatever you bind & loose on earth, so it is in heaven
1 Jn 5:16 -there is sin that is not deadly

COMMUNION OF SAINTS
Eph 1:22-23 - he is head of the church, which is his body
Eph 5:21-32 - Christ is head of church, saviour of the body
Col 1:18, 24 -he is the head of the body, the church
1 Cor 12:12-27 - if one suffers, all suffer; if one honoured, all rejoice
Rom 12:5-we are one body in Christ, indiv. parts of one another
Eph 4:4 -one body, one Spirit, called to one hope
Col 3:15 -you were called in one body
Rom 8:35-39 - death cannot separate us from Christ
Rom 12:10-love one another with mutual affection
1 Thess 5:11 -encourage, build up one another
Gal 6:2 -bear one another's burdens
Gal 6:10 -let us do good to all, esp. those in family of faith

INTERCESSORY PRAYER TO SAINTS
Rom 15:30 -join me by your prayers to God on my behalf
Col 4:3; 1 Thess 5:25 -pray for us
2 Th 1:11- we always pray for you
2 Th 3:1- finally, brothers, pray for us
Eph 6:18-19 - making supplication for all the saints & for me
Tab 12:12 -angel presents Tobit & Sarah's prayer to God
Rev 5:8 -angel offers prayers of the holy ones to God
Mk 12:26-27 - he is God of the living, not of the dead
Mk 9:4 -Jesus seen conversing with Elijah and Moses
Lk 23:43 -this day you will be with me in paradise
Rev 6:9-11 - martyrs under altar want earthly vindication
Heb12:1 -we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses
Lk 16:19-30 - departed rich man intercedes for brothers
Rev 20:4 -saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
WIS 3:1-6 - the souls of the just are in the hand of God
1 Tim 2:1-7 - offer prayers, petitions for all men
1 Pet 2:5 -be a holy priesthood to offer sacrifices thru Christ
Mk 10:18 -only God is good
Mt 25:23 -well done my good and faithful servant
Jn 10:11-16 - I am good shepherd; one flock, 1 shepherd
Jn 21:15-16 - feed my lambs, tend my sheep
Eph 4:11 -he gave some as apostles ...others as pastors
Heb 3:1, 7:24, 9:12-13 - Jesus eternal high priest; one sacrifice

April 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm PST
#19  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

2 Tim. 1:16 Was not praying for Dead friend but that God would show Mercy to His Household. (living People) Nice try. Be Perfect and Holy- Brilliant - can't attain on your own efforts. Faith controlling the tongue. See blog #17 1 John 5:16-17 No degrees of sin. If Jesus Pd. = Not unto death. If not Pd.by Jesus -then you pay for yourself. it is unto Death. Sin can't mature if your Dead to it if you are a True Christian. David lived before Jesus died. He believed by faith and was released by Jesus when set all Old Test. believers. Penalty for murder is Eternal Death. Jesus fulfilled the Law. Saved people are under GRACE. Unsaved are all guilty under the Law. Law produces SIN and the wages of sin is Eternal Death. The unforgivable Sin is rejecting Jesus; His Payment for you sins. No Judgment for the true Christian. We have been Judged already. All these scriptures are true statement. but all statements are not true. The scriptures say we can be sheltered under God's Wings; but that doesn't make Him a Chicken. I am very familiar of all you out of context commentary .. obviously you not truly Born again or you could understand Spiritual things because they have to be spiritually discerned . 1 Corth.2:12-14. I can Help You. I was once where you are right Now. Seek you 1st. the kingdom and his Righteousness and all spiritual Wisdom and Understanding will be added to you. Love in Jesus-Savior and King. Jesus is called many Names He is Savior; with out Him your Lost.

April 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm PST
#20  Eggbert McGuillicutty - somewhere, Clare

Yes I was born again, Jesus' way by Baptism.

Phil2:12 -work out your salvation in fear and trembling
1 Cor 9:27 - drive body for fear of being disqualified
1 Cor 10:11-12 - those thinking they are secure, may fall

Come on Dick, get on board, we are the only church given authority by Christ to interpret his word.

Lk 10:16 -power to speak with Christ's voice
Mt 18:18 - power to legislate

Some 20,000 non catholic denominations claim to be "born again" yet they interpret many of the same verses entirely differently.

Around the year A.D. 107, a bishop, St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Near East, was arrested, brought to Rome by armed guards and eventually martyred there in the arena. In a farewell letter which this early bishop and martyr wrote to his fellow Christians in Smyrna (today Izmir in modern Turkey), he made the first written mention in history of "the Catholic Church." He wrote, "Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" (To the Smyrnaeans 8:2). Thus, the second century of Christianity had scarcely begun when the name of the Catholic Church was already in use.

God bless

April 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm PST
#21  Eggbert McGuillicutty - somewhere, Clare

Yes I was born again, Jesus' way by Baptism.

Phil2:12 -work out your salvation in fear and trembling
1 Cor 9:27 - drive body for fear of being disqualified
1 Cor 10:11-12 - those thinking they are secure, may fall

Come on Dick, get on board, we are the only church given authority by Christ to interpret his word.

Lk 10:16 -power to speak with Christ's voice
Mt 18:18 - power to legislate

Some 20,000 non catholic denominations claim to be "born again" yet they interpret many of the same verses entirely differently.

Around the year A.D. 107, a bishop, St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Near East, was arrested, brought to Rome by armed guards and eventually martyred there in the arena. In a farewell letter which this early bishop and martyr wrote to his fellow Christians in Smyrna (today Izmir in modern Turkey), he made the first written mention in history of "the Catholic Church." He wrote, "Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" (To the Smyrnaeans 8:2). Thus, the second century of Christianity had scarcely begun when the name of the Catholic Church was already in use.

God bless

April 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm PST
#22  Mike Lunham - London, Ontario

I thought I might add my two cents on the topic of purgatory. I have experienced first hand some truly miraculous intervention when it came to my grandmother in law. She was a fairly devout catholic, but had her little troubling vices. She would be a perfect candidate for purgatory in most Catholics eyes. On two occasions when she was near death, my wife got the strangest sensation to get up and go to the nursing home. My wife and her grandmother were extremely close, unfortunately my wife became disabled and could only visit on rare occasions.
Needless to say when we reached the nursing home, we were told she was taken to the hospital in grave condition. I can remember arguing with my wife about going to see her, as my wife wasn't feeling well at all. This happened on two separate occasions and to this day I know her grandmother had prayed for her to come. When she did pass away after the second hospital stay my wife was in extreme grief. Hoping to see her again in heaven. I was wondering to myself if it was ok to pray for someone even if you never knew where they went after passing. I remember asking god should I pray for her, would it be beneficial?
Well I got my answer swiftly. I was perusing through a lyrics site on the web when I hit a wrong button. Meaning to hit the "R" heading for bands beginning with "R", I mistakenly hit "P". Looking down I saw an obscure band named "pray for the soul of Betty". You can guess what my grandmothers name was. I was knocked back. I've never been hit so hard by a personal revelation such as this. It has sustained my faith since that day as the calling to her bedside has done for my wife. I don't doubt that she's in purgatory, on her way to the beatific vision where we hope to meet again. So pray, pray, pray, as Gram used to always say!

April 9, 2014 at 2:57 am PST
#23  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

That is an awesome story Mike!!! We Catholics are told by the outside world we are supersticious or simply wrong about purgatory, saints, angels and intecessions, yet so many of us experience miracles such as yours. I use to write down and document all of mine, but then I was getting to many to keep up with. I so much treasure these little gifts of grace from God, they always build upon my faith and puts me in awe of our Lord. Thank you for sharing your miracle with us and God bless!!!!

April 9, 2014 at 5:54 am PST
#24  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

2 Timothy 1:9-12
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
2 Timothy 4:8
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Holy Spirit reveals truth to everyone He lives in. Who else would you want to interpret than the One who wrote the Bible. We are equipped and complete for the work of the ministry. You say the Catholic Church is the only Church given Authority to Interpret the Scriptures. See #9, #10, #11 Of the Catechism. The Faithful can interpret . Why would God give His instruction Manual to only a few when He died for the whole World that he loved. Religion and Denominations is not what He's looking for (most of which won't receive the truth). Only Those who are restored ( Born-Again) are his true Church. Those who are Preserved and Sealed. I have written to you so you can know you Have Eternal Life.

April 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm PST
#25  Eggbert McGuillicutty - somewhere, Clare

Love your zeal Dick, We could go around this mulberry bush all day and still not get anywhere. Suffice to say that the most accurate interpretation of scripture will probably found in the early years of Christianity, y'know from those who learned from the Apostles themselves and the subsequent generations. So by looking back to early Christian times we should be able to see which Church in our age reflects those teachings more accurately, especially on the fundamental's like the Holy Eucharist, Baptism, Authority, Salvation and such.
May I suggest " Fathers Know Best" by Jimmy Akin - brilliant book
God bless again and I hope you have a holy and fulfilling Easter.

April 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm PST
#26  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Salvation. Catholics teach that a person is saved through the Roman Catholic Church and its sacraments, especially through baptism; they do not believe that salvation can be obtained by grace through faith in Christ alone, but that baptism is essential to salvation. Catholics believe that no one outside the Catholic Church can be saved (Unum Sanctum) (cf. John 5:24; Ephesians 2: 8,9; Galatians 2:21; Romans 3:22,23). They also believe that one's own suffering can expiate the sin's of himself and of others, so that what Christ's suffering was not able to achieve, one can achieve by his own works and the works of others (Vatican II). These are all lies of the Catholic church! The thief on the cross was never baptized. The Apostle Paul said Jesus had not sent him to baptize, but to preach the gospel (1st Corinthians 1:17). Jesus didn't baptize (John 4:2). Purgatory. Of pagan origin, the Roman Church proclaimed purgatory as an article of faith in 1439 at the Council of Florence, and it was confirmed by Trent in 1548. All Quoted scripture to prove the existence of Purgatory was written 1000 + yrs. before the Church dreamed of it. The reason it is not found in scripture is that it doesn't EXIST. History has proven over the centuries how Pagan the origins are. All the Church writings can't be trusted because they are written by their own Followers. A true saying through the ages is that you can cover up a non-truth only with another non-truth.

April 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm PST
#27  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

Well, well, well Dick. Do you cut and paste all your posts from anti-catholic sites like http://www.jesus-is-savior.com? I tend to avoid plagiarism myself, but hey, whatever floats your boat right. Lol

April 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm PST
#28  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Dick has no clue what the Catholic Church teaches. He has told me more than once I'm going to hell and has called our faith the pedophile church. He has zero credibility and is a Catholic hater. The dude seems slightly off his rocker so everyone keep him in their prayers.

April 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm PST
#29  Salonsar War - Shillong, Kentucky

Dick, we can only presume that you have not read or done any research whatsoever about the Catholic Church's reasons for believing what it believes. There is a search box at the top right corner of this page; I suggest you type 'baptism' and then hit search. You can then read up about what baptism really does, supported by a lot of scripture reference. Likewise, you can type 'purgatory', 'faith and works', 'suffering', 'confession', etc. You will be highly enlightened. Why don't you copy n paste the reference you find here and then get back with us.
God Bless.

April 11, 2014 at 1:43 am PST
#30  obayi ifeanyi - Enugu, Enugu

To you Dick:
“I notice that no one is using the scriptures about what Jesus accomplished at the cross”
If you had bothered to read through the post you would have noticed, that the author was not necessarily writing a biblical apologetics on purgatory, rather was sharing a personnel experience on why she believes praying for the dead is necessary, this was what set the tone for the comment that ensued. If you have are genuine consign on what the church teaches about purgatory, pick up a copy of the catechism of the Catholic Church and read. If that will be too heavy for you, then pour through this site and read the post written by Tim Staple on the subject of purgatory. And while you are doing that, please point to me anywhere in the Bible where it is written that it is the sole rule of faith or that everything about faith must be contained therein before it becomes binding on Christians.
You have also sited 1 John 4:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 as if they stand in isolation, suggesting that our blessed lord have died for our sin and all we have to do is go on and believe, living our lives the way we want and believing that we are saved already. Well, 1cor. 6:9 contains a list of those who will not enter the kingdom of God, notice that the letter was addressed to people who were believers already. In your words “Accepted Jesus as there Lord and Saviour” Warning them of what they have to avoid in other to inherit God’s kingdom. “Anyone who wants to follow me must deny self, take up his daily cross and follow me” So says our Lord. If we Catholics try to follow the lord’s command, you accuse of trying to work our way into heaven rather than say the sinner’s prayer and believe that we are saved already.
Most times it appears that our separated brethren, interpret the scriptures in a way that puts St Paul in conflict with the words of our Lord +Jesus, St James , St Peters and indeed most parts of the scriptures in conflict with one another. When they are confronted with their contradictions, they try to explain the verses away.

“Your KEY to heaven is thru Jesus only”
What make you imagine for one second that we catholic believe that there is another way to heaven except through Christ.

“the Church ignores this so they can get you on the list and charge you to say a mass for DEAD people”
Be warned that you will answer before God for any slander, false word or insults labeled against the Catholic Church which is the mystical body of our Lord and savoiur Jesus Christ. Your ignorance or good intentions will not be excuses because you have the means of seeking and knowing the Truth if you wish. Be careful for the sake of your soul, with what you say.

Reponse to comment #19
“I am very familiar of all you out of context commentary”
Ok you are the expert in “in context” commentaries kindly tell me where your authority for correct interpretation of the scriptures come from. And don’t tell me is the Holy spirit because thousands of protestant denominations clinging to the bible, all claim the same thing yet don’t agree on John6,female priesthood, gay marriage, abortion .e.tc. The Holy Spirit is NOT and will NEVER be the source of these contradictions. By the way, Jehovah witness also cling the bible and claim correct interpretation, yet deny the divinity of Christ. Needless to say the Mormons arrived at polygamy from the same bible.

“obviously you not truly Born again or you could understand Spiritual things because they have to be spiritually discerned”

At this point I must say I feel sorry for you because the statement above assumes that anyone “truly born again” have spiritual discernment to interpret the bible. Well, tell that to your fellow protestant folks who don’t attend the same denomination as you when you people disagree on biblical interpretation.

April 11, 2014 at 7:35 am PST
#31  obayi ifeanyi - Enugu, Enugu

Response to #25
“2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
My previous comments above already point to the illogical consequence of private interpretation/judgment being canvassed by you but the verse you quoted need clarification:
I thought you said you also know the context of every verse, if the contexts of the verse you quote above those not refer to Old Testament scriptures then your contextual knowledge of the scriptures must be skewed. The new testament was not written as at the time St. Paul wrote the above 2Tim, besides, Paul’s letters were not known as scriptures until the church declared it so between 1,2,3 century AD. However if you insist that the above verse proves sola scriptura or private interpretation, then read James1:4(make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without falling, so that a you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing) those this suggest in any way to you that all we need is endurance, we don’t even need the scriptures, no good work nothing except endurance to be whole and complete. Maybe we may have to leave it to everybody’s private Judgment right?
1Peter warn explicitly against private interpretation and the experience of the Ethiopian Eunuch is also an indication against it.

Response to #26
“These are all lies of the Catholic church! The thief on the cross was never baptized. The Apostle Paul said Jesus had not sent him to baptize, but to preach the gospel (1st Corinthians 1:17). Jesus didn't baptize (John 4:2)”

I will remind you not to say things that insult the sensibilities of others in this type of discussion. “These are all lies of the Catholic church!” this comment is off the mark, You can use the expression “I find this teaching disagreeable” or anything disagreeably cordial but certainly not what you wrote above.
“The thief on the cross was never baptized “God can save anyone any how he chooses, he is not bound by baptism, we are. Besides you tend to ignore the fact that the thief was already suffering grievously for his sin in this world and then united his suffering with that of Christ by admitting guilt seeking and turning to Christ at that crucial moment. If a man had not known that baptism was necessary for salvation and would be willing to be baptized but was not baptized before death, the person could be saved through baptism by desire. Also those who were martyred for faith in Christ weather baptized or not, do received baptism by blood. To fully understand what the church teaches about baptism; read the catechism of the catholic.
“The Apostle Paul said Jesus had not sent him to baptize “
Another statement pulled out of context that contradicts our Lord’s mandate in Matt28:18 where he mandated his apostle to make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
“Jesus didn't baptize (John 4:2)” you didn’t complete the verse “only his disciple did”
Note that he himself was baptized and he sent his apostles make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt28:18)

“the Roman Church proclaimed purgatory as an article of faith in 1439 at the Council of Florence, and it was confirmed by Trent in 1548. All Quoted scripture to prove the existence of Purgatory was written 1000 + yrs. before the Church dreamed of it. The reason it is not found in scripture is that it doesn't EXIST. History has proven over the centuries how Pagan the origins are. All the Church writings can't be trusted because they are written by their own Followers”

The above line oozes of hatred and ill feeling unworthy of a true follower of Christ,it is also a sure indication that you know nothing about the Catholic Church, whatever you claim to know about the church you learnt from biased untrustworthy source. Let me repeat here: If you have are genuine consign on what the church teaches about purgatory, pick up a copy of the catechism of the Catholic Church and read. If that will be too heavy for you, then pour through this site and read the post writing by Tim Staple on the subject of purgatory. If you had read 2macabes and reject its canonicity, then there is no basis to accept any of the New Testament because it is the same authority-the Catholic Church that canonized both. Why do you accept the canon of Jews that rejected the Christ and the New Testament? If you had taken a little time to check out the line you quoted above you would discovered that the belief in the intermediate state dates back to time before Christ as recorded in the book of Maccabees and Christ while condemning certain Jewish traditions, did not condemn the belief in this intermediate state. Even the Greek orthodox that broke off from the Catholic Church in the 4th century holds the same belief. Meditate on 1cor 3:12-16.

“All the Church writings can't be trusted because they are written by their own Followers”
Like the Mafias who assassinate witness to prevent truthful testimony against them you reject the 7 deuterocanonical books, you reject testimonies of early Christian who leant directly from the apostle, you reject testimonies of early Christian who proclaimed the gospel to your region and made Christ know to you. Let me ask me you; If you want to learn more about the early political history of the U.S. will you read and belief only what Obama, Bush or Clinton wrote about the subject, will you not try to lay your hands on what was written by George Washington and if there is a contradiction between Obama and Washington account, who will you belief? I make bold to say George Washington. Why? The reasons are obvious. He lived in the era and was a key player he has reason to advance false history. Why will you not apply the same principle here when reject the testimonies of early Christian literature which vindicates the bible and the catholic faith? Simply because they followed Christ in the Church he founded the Catholic church.
Just in case you begin to cooperate with the Holy spirit and want to study more about the Catholic church, start by reading the Catechism of the catholic church it is not book of theological opinion but accurate teachings of the church guided by the Holy Spirit, you can also read “faith Of Our Father” by James Gibbons-it is an exposition of the catholic faith. Read cardinal Henry Newman’s book on salvation. The list is endless, the few mentioned above addresses major consign people usually have about the Catholic Church

April 11, 2014 at 7:36 am PST
#32  obayi ifeanyi - Enugu, Enugu

Finally we love you and we will be praying for you and waiting for the day you will come home to the church Christ founded-the Catholic Church

April 11, 2014 at 7:38 am PST
#33  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Bank tellers are trained to recognize counterfeit bills not by studying fake bills but by studying the real thing. Same thing happened to me; I studied Catholic beliefs and Catechism since 1st. grade inn the Catholic School by Priest and Nuns searching for God's truth. When I was 12 yrs. old I was told by a Priest in confessional ;waiting to hear "Go your sins a forgiven", instead I heard him Say " Sorry you are going to Hell". My 90 yr. old Mother was told not to come back to confess your sins because they were silly and child like sins and you just wasting my time. then my married Sister with 2 children; her husband told her sex was for having children only. She counseled with the priest and he advised her to go out and have a Saturday night fling. I went thru the charismatic seminar in our local parish, taught by trained lay people and Two local Priest assigned by our Diocese. You should read their booklet used in the classes Named;" Life in the Spirit' Imprimi. approved by the Church and taught about your being lost, and separated from God and Jesus is the only way you can be connected back to the Father. I see the Imperfections of the Catholic Church by studying the REAL -WRITTEN BY GOD HIMSELF- Truth. any contradiction is false teaching. It's hard to see this when you rub elbows with the SAME . all Cults have something that is Greater that the Word of God, Catechism, Book of Mormons, Koran, Watchtower, etc. All Cults make the true message of Jesus so complicated. God saw the End before the beginning History proves man can,t save Himself. Man Lost and needed a Savior. Jesus was willing. Before Jesus came The Godhead agreed without asking man's opinion. after Jesus's sacrifice He went back to Heaven. God offers a free gift to us. all we have to do is Receive it. Thru out the bible it tells us what was needed was a Perfect, snow white, no blemish, spotless sacrifice to take the place of the dirtiest sinner and they would be as clean as the sacrifice was; which was Jesus. No residual spot need to be removed. Jesus said " It is finished". This is good ,you may copy and paste if you like. Love in Jesus--Dick.

April 11, 2014 at 7:49 am PST
#34  obayi ifeanyi - Enugu, Enugu

Correction to #31
Why? The reasons are obvious. He lived in the era and was a key player he has reason to advance false history
Sorry I mean "no reason to advance false history"

April 11, 2014 at 7:49 am PST
#35  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Obayi, All you comments show us where you are when reading and quoting scriptures. Do you know that Grace and Righteousness only applies to those who are born again the bible way; and then you can start living in the new testament Era. You quoted 1 Corth. 6:9 written to Christians at Corinth. Paul was speaking about who would not inherit the kingdom and those were the UNRIGHTEOUS. You have to be the Righteousness of Jesus to be Eternally secure. The unrighteous are still living in the Old Testament Times under the Law and you will be judged by the law. The word say's that no one was ever Justified by the Law.

April 11, 2014 at 8:12 am PST
#36  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Obayi, you are correct. The problem with Dick is that he believes you only have to be righteous one time, then you can be unrighteous all you want!!!!

April 12, 2014 at 5:45 am PST
#37  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Jesus EXCHANGED my inability to stand before God- (self-righteous) Sinfulness. He took it to the cross; once, for all, forever. In EXCHANGE for HIs Righteousness. He paid for my Sin and gave me His ability to stand before God. Holy, Perfect, with out blemish. That is what God say's in His word. That's what it means to be "In Christ".
Philippians 3:8
and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; Notice; I don't have my righteousness which is of the law; Old Testament- But I have the promised Righteousness thru Faith IN CHRIST. it's permanent . Righteousness is accounted to us. The Law tells us we are sinners. all the don't do's a do's . Jesus came to fulfill the Law. The Law was not made for a righteous man. (Saved).
Acts 13:37-39
but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
1 Peter 2:23
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness. If you are still sinning and confessing Sins ;you are still under the Law which Jesus fulfilled and set you free from, and your actions should lell you that your ignorant of the GOOD NEWS thru no fault of your own. Your following the same path you have walked (Born into -Family-Church-etc.
Proverbs 14:12
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Romans 7:6
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Hebrews 9:26-28
He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. The saved will be called from the grave separately APART from SIN for Salvation. Then the wicked in their sin.
Romans 5:13
(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. I am sending these for your study.

April 12, 2014 at 7:21 am PST
#38  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

I need an asprin the size of a moonpie lol.

April 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm PST
#39  brother in christ - fort worth, Texas

Our salvation comes from God through faith in Christ. Now that being said, I am speaking to believers catholics and non catholics.
We know as believers especially as adult converts, that moment of awakening when we realize the magnitude of what has been given and what cost it was purchased. That awakening when like a man who floundering in the water and slowly drowning with no hope of rescue from his doom being pulled to safety and with a grateful heart wanting to honor and serve his savior. That is the beginning a turning towards GOD. But we know that after we enter into a relationship with Him he wishes to sanctify us to share in His holiness. This sanctifying process is not always pleasent nor do many believers learn from the discipline of Father ,as evidenced by the rate of divorce and other sins infecting the church. This discipline though not pleasant is the Fathers way of showing us our sins and if willing delivered from them. This in no way takes away from the cross.
HEBREWS CHAP 12 VERSES 7-11.

And what the Catholic believers are saying is that this sanctification process for some extends into the afterlife.

There are other scripture verses that teach us that we are a work in progress in the context of sanctification,
That he will finish what He started, that like gold we are being refined. I know you all know them.

Pray for a grateful heart, with which we can do all things.
peace be with you

April 15, 2014 at 9:41 am PST
#40  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

The Last part of verse 11 says chastening yields the peaceable fruit of Righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Jesus had already Paid for the sins who are Righteous. Hebrews states Our sin was paid for totally, Once, For All, Forever. It's a Gift given to be received. You can't apply it if you don't receive it. Chastening does not show us our sin.
Romans 3:19-20
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. The unsaved are under the Law and do not live under Grace and Righteousness. Only entrance into New Testament is being Born Again. Not water baptism. The original word Baptism means "To be one with". The Holy Spirit and your Spirit become One when you are born again.
John 17:21-23 Jesus praying to his Father about us.
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

April 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm PST
#41  brother in christ - fort worth, Texas

My brother,
I should have started the quote in Hebrews from at least verse 4 of chapter 12. Pastor Alistair Bigg, I believe that's his name of truth for life ministries, He served as a Baptist minister in great Britain before comeing to the U.S. preached a sermon on the subject of Gods discplineing us in areas where He wants transform us. Pastor Biggs does not believe in purgatory of course, but for God as loving Father discplineing us sanctitying us to share in His holiness I believe most Pastors would agree. My wife and I divorced a few years back. Of coarse I asked for forgiveness and received it but the holy spirit through time showed me sins I had commited to my marriage and towards my wife. There was first denial. That it was her fault. Then acceptance of my sins but no real remorse. Then finally when realizing the depth of injuries I had caused brought me to my knees to ask forgiveness of her and of God. I cant speak for her but I pray that she may be led by the Holy Spirit to ask forgiveness. It was painful to realize this but the Holy Spirit the spirit of love had to show me where sin had been committed and why. Many of us have sins, pride selfishness etc. That sometimes other can see but we refuse to. God the Father through the HolySpirit wants us to see them. and have victory over them. And this process at times is unpleasant.
peace be with you

April 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm PST
#42  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

I am not an Alcoholic . When a Alcoholic wants to be free of Alcohol He goes to a AA meeting. The first thing they have him do is admit He is an Alcoholic. Every meeting he attends , he is ask the same question. even after years ; the same question. this is not good. He should start admitting He is FREE -and live it , to prove it . In the same way the Bible shows us our sin thru trying to keep the Law. The law was made just strong enough on purpose, that we would offend it in some degree. we admit we are a sinner and that we can't save ourselves. " We've all sinned and fallen short of God's GLORY." We need a Savior-God provided Jesus; of which we all need.
Hebrews 10:1-3
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. Notice that the sinner once cleansed should have no more consciousness of Sin. if your reminded by examining yourself all the time you go to confession-you will always call yourself a Sinner. This is probably where we disagree.
Romans 7:6
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Romans 6:8-11
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Have you considered yourself DEAD to Sin but alive to God. As with the Alcoholic admitting he is one, he will never get VICTORY. An God has Paid the penalty for our Sins, past, present, and future. and changed our Sinful Nature to GOD"S Nature which has no Sin.
Romans 6:18
And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. If you get hold of this; as Jesus said," you would be FREE indeed. Study this out and you will have Eternal Security.

April 17, 2014 at 8:41 am PST
#43  brother in christ - fort worth, Texas

Brother,
I thank you for your thoughts.
peace be with you.

April 24, 2014 at 9:15 am PST

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