April 2014

FRIENDS AND FAMILY, PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS FOR YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES ON THIS PILGRIMAGE.

IF YOU LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW I WILL READ IT TO THEM ON THE BUS. IT IS ALWAYS A LOT OF FUN SO RIGHT A FEW HUMOROUS AND FRIENDLY COMMENTS BELOW. THANKS!

You can watch today’s video HERE

 

 

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Absent from the Body = Present with the Lord?

by Steve Ray on April 30, 2014

I realize now – that as a Protestant — I misquoted the Bible when challenging Catholics about Purgatory. Catholics taught that there was a “transition” between earth and heaven—a place or state of final purification called Purgatory.

purgatory.jpg“But how can there be a Purgatory?” I asked. “Doesn’t St. Paul teach that ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’?  Since ‘absence from the body’ means that we are immediately in ‘the presence of the Lord,’ there can’t be anything called Purgatory. Catholics deny the clear teaching of the Bible!”

Whoa! Slow down! Is this really what the Bible says?

First, that is a misreading of the Bible—a twisting of Scripture to score a point. The Bible does NOT say “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Rather it says,

“So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6-8).

This is very different from my old argument. Paul would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord, but certainly doesn’t say it the way I twisted it in my old anti-Catholic days.

If I want to be away from Michigan in the winter I might say “In the winter we would rather be away from Michigan and present in Arizona.” It does NOT say that to be away from Michigan that I am instantly or automatically in Arizona. My in-laws go between Arizona and Michigan twice a year and they stop a lot along the way. It usually takes them 3-4 weeks to get from one to the other as the visit and camp along the way.

We understand that this language leaves room for a transition period—especially in an automobile or plane with a possible motel or visit along the way. Paul’s words also leave room for such a transition; it does not exclude Purgatory.

Second, Paul teaches that we will pass through fire. Notice what he says in 1 Corinthians 3:15: On “the Day” if “any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”  Sounds like Purgatory to me.

Third, Purgatory is not “away from the Lord” strictly speaking. Those in Purgatory—whether it is a place or a state of transition—are not apart from the Lord. In fact, it is the love of God that is purifying them. I have always said that Purgatory is like the front porch of heaven. Those who are in Purgatory know they have arrived! But you can read more about that in my article on Purgatory here. (link fixed)

So, don’t let someone trick you with the old “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” argument. It is fallacious and deceptive. Again, the Catholic Church is correct.

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Gary Michuta is an expert on the canon of Scripture, especially in regards to the Deutero-canonical books, what the Protestants call the Apocrypha. You can read his book Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger to see what I mean.

Recently a friend asked Gary for the short answer as to why the Protestants removed seven books from the Bible. Here is his very helpful reply:

Why Protestants Reject the Deutero-canonical Books – Short Answer

By Gary Michuta

 The short answer is this: When Luther was cornered in a debate over Purgatory, his opponent, Johann Eck, cited 2 Maccabees against Luther’s position. Luther was forced to say that Second Maccabees could not be allowed in the debate because it wasn’t canonical. Later in the debate, Luther appealed to St. Jerome for rejecting Maccabees (the councils of Carthage, Hippo, and Florence all included Macabees as canonical Scripture). 

 By appealing to Jerome, he also rejected all the other books Jerome rejected (Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Daniel 13, and sections of Esther).

From then on, Luther (and all Protestants) have been trying to justify this removal. Luther in 1534 thought Baruch was ”too skimpy” and not lofty enough to be from the scribe of Jeremiah. He also had problems with certain historical elements in Baruch. But in the long run, it really came down to Jerome’s rejection.

 As a side note, Jerome rejected it because he thought that a Hebrew manuscript tradition, known as the Masoretic Text, was identical to the inspired originals and all other copies were made from this text. Since the Deuteros were not part of the MT, he rejected them as not being of the canonical Scripture. 

 What Jerome could not have known was that there were many different Hebrew manuscripts in circulation during the first century and that the Greek Septuagint, a translation made by the Jews around 200 BC, at least in parts, appears to be a very literal translation of a more ancient Hebrew text tradition that is now lost. 

This means that Jerome’s idea of “Hebrew truth” (I.e., only that which is found in the Hebrew MT is true) has been demonstrated to be an error. With Jerome’s position no longer tenable, Protestantism really doesn’t have a historical leg to stand on in regards to their OT canon.

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Mount of Transfiguration, Wedding Vows in Cana, Prayer at Grotto of Annunciation

April 29, 2014

This group is full of curiosity and questions. I love it! Sunny but not too hot. Breezy but not enough to blow your hat away. Like always we were the first ones up to the Mount of Transfiguration so we didn’t have to wait in line. Brian! I hate lines instead of my groups. We [...]

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Holy Land Group Arrived with Fr. Scott Courtney

April 28, 2014

Excellent arrival, drive to Sea of Galilee, Mass on the shore. Off to a great start.

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Day Before Canonization in Rome; Touring Ancient Rome

April 26, 2014

Another great day in Rome right before the canonization. We toured Ancient Rome, had Mass at Peter’s Tomb, studied the martyrs and had a great party.

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Great Start for Canonization Pilgrimage

April 25, 2014

Rome is packed with people! Buses are pouring in from every direction. I think the educated estimate is there will be 2 million people here for the canonization on Sunday. Our group arrived this morning and everyone is in good spirits and excited. We had a great start for the day with Mass at St. [...]

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Video of Pre-Canonization Rome

April 23, 2014

Janet and I arrived a few days early in Rome before our group. There will be 63 pilgrims arriving on Friday. We like to make sure everything is in order and ready for their arrival. And it is! We decided to take a walk around the walls of the Vatican and get a feel for [...]

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Rome is Happy and Excitement is in the Air; We can Feel it!

April 22, 2014

A bit goofey but fun. Nice to see young people in Rome happy and excited about the canonization of two popes. Reflecting the festive mood in Rome ahead of the imminent canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, the official website on the event, 2popesaints, has released this upbeat video with the soundtrack of [...]

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How you can push back against Mozilla/Firefox’s gay marriage thuggery

April 22, 2014

National Catholic Register  Sunday, April 06, 2014 5:15 PM, by Jimmy Akin Brendan Eich is the creator of the JavaScript programming language and the co-founder of the Mozilla Corporation, which makes the popular web browser Firefox. Several years ago, he made a donation to support Prop 8, a California ballot measure designed to protect true marriage by definining [...]

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A Long Month Ahead; keep us in Your Prayers

April 20, 2014

Janet and I are at the airport in Detroit heading out to Rome to lead a group of 63 people in a double-decker bus on a Rome-Assisi pilgrimage including the canonization of John Paul II and John the 23rd. Rome will be crowded but we’re looking forward to sharing this experience with our pilgrims. After [...]

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Carrying our Cross with Jesus, Touching Calvary, Mass at the Tomb…

April 18, 2014

A Day in the Life of our Pilgrimages so you can SEE an LIVE what happens Good Friday. This is always the highlight of the pilgrimage. We start early – very early – and pray the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa where Jesus carried his cross. We arrive before the crowds at [...]

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Catholic Answers Live: Stations of the Cross and Pain of the Crucifixion

April 16, 2014

Wow, what a fun show. Great questions and lively discussion. Listen on-line HERE and other audio options HERE. the audio links as soon as they are available on Thursday. Also, for those who are interested in my audio talks on this topic, visit Steve Ray’s Store/audio. Look for “Stations of the Cross” and also “Pain of [...]

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Lots of Radio Shows this Week; Join Us!

April 16, 2014

I love Catholic Radio and all that it is doing for the Catholic Faith. I love contributing as much as I can. Here are shows I am doing this week. Monday 1) Son Rise Morning 7:10 AM EST: Palm Sunday Tuesday 1) Son Rise Morning 7:10 AM EST: Mary, Martha and Lazarus: Jesus preparing for the Passion [...]

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Do You KNOW if Your Tax Returns Are Correct?

April 16, 2014

Donald Rumsfeld served as secretary of defense under both President Gerald Ford and President George W. Bush, but he can’t master the tax code.    Every year on Tax Day, Rumsfeld sends a letter to the IRS explaining that he doesn’t know whether he did his taxes properly. Rumsfeld published his newest letter on his Twitter [...]

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Steve Ray about Holy Land & Holy Week on WNGL Archangel Radio

April 16, 2014

This is about an hour show on Archangel Radio in Mobile Alabama. We discuss the Passion from Holy Thursday the Easter Sunday. Steve takes you on an audio tour. 

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