Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Pope owns the hotel where we always stay with our groups. It is the Catholic Center in Jerusalem. Janet and I have stayed at the Notre Dame Ctr. over 130 times.

Today when we arrived back from dinner at our favorite Christian restaurant in the Old City we found six Israeli security vehicles in front of the hotel.

I’m glad they’re going to take good care of our Holy Father. But I’m also very glad our groups won’t be here when the Pope arrives because the security and the blocked roads and closed cities make for a real difficult pilgrimage.

We were here with a group when Pope Benedict arrived. Last time we lost our rooms at the Notre Dame Ctr. because the Pope’s people were moving in. At the last minute we had to find rooms in Jericho. I’m glad we are done and gone five days before the Pope arrives this time.

Two weeks ago we had our group in Rome for the canonization. We were very fortunate and our people got to be up close to the Pope and one even touched his hand during the General Audience.

We love the Pope and we love the Catholic Church. But to be in the Holy Land when the Pope is here is a logistical nightmare. I’m glad we do not have to subject our pilgrims to that rigamarole.

Long live the Pope! Long live the Catholic Church! Long Live the Christians in the Holy Land!

Picture taken from our balcony window.

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Do Catholics Worship Mary?

by Steve Ray on May 7, 2014

In response to the show I did with Drew Mariani on Relevant Radio:

I thought it would be a good time to respond to an e-mail I received a while ago. It was a questions from a friend wrote to ask me for my take on Mary. He was corresponding with someone that said Catholics worship Mary and got this practice from pagans who had worshiped Artemis in Ephesus. He asked what I thought. Here is my response:

EinKeremMotherSm.jpgDear Friend: Catholics are often accused of “worshiping” Mary, the Saints, icons, statues and the like. Your friend mentions several example which he assumes, based on his Protestant tradition, his lack of familiarity with the ancient Christian traditions and customs, and his Protest-ant reading of the Bible, that these actions are inherently acts of worship and therefore idolatry.

“Bowing before a statue must certainly be worship,” says the Evangelical who has not only abandoned the idea of images (only of a certain kind, as we shall see later) and is very inconsistent in his own practice, but has never taken the time to understand Catholic and liturgical Christianity.

Have the vocal opponents of statues, icons and the like ever asked the little old lady in her babushka if she is actually worshiping the statue in front of which she kneels? Does this holy, and wrinkled woman in Poland believe she is worshiping the icon of the Black Madonna? Does the Mexican mother surrounded by her kneeling children consider her veneration of our Lady of Guadalupe the same as her worship of God? Of course not. It would only take a few such questions, should the wondering Protestant care to learn the truth–that these common folks would be shocked at such a thought of worshipping Mary in the place of God.

To read the whole letter, click here.

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Sean Herriott and I are doing a series of shows on Family Matters (which has two meanings if you didn’t notice :-)

We’ve done Raising Daughters, Raising Sons, Loving Your Spouse — and this month we did Priorities in the Family.

You can listen to it here http://relevantradio.streamguys.us/MA%20Archive/MA20140506c.mp3 

Doing radio shows on the fly in Israel

Questions and Comments we addressed: 

Jesus is always first. Even if it brings divisions in families, and countries.

 Priorities are always a matter of juggling. We need to keep family, God, church, work, relaxation, food and sleep all in perspective because all are important. 

Life is like artwork we are always viewing our life and family as a masterpiece to be shown Sunday in heaven.

The one career choice my father made that caused me to be the man I am today.

 Holy family practiced spirituality is a demonstration for us. Even though God in the flesh Jesus lived a mundane and tedious life to show that being truly human is spiritual under the Lordship of Christ.

 What is more spiritual, praying the Rosary or changing diapers?

 Don’t let the parish eat you alive. 

The father should set the tone for the family and keep the balance between all the priorities. He thereby keeps the family running smooth and teaches the kids how to prioritize.

Nothing is more important than the love between husband and a mother and a father.

 People always ask me, “What are you Steve? “” And I answer I am first a Catholic and a husband and a father.

 When I gave my life to Christ the verse that became my beacon was Matthew 6:33 “sick first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

 The family is a holiness factory

 The final test of how well we’ve done with our priorities is on our deathbed. What will we rejoice in? What will we regret? What will we wish we had done less and what we had done more.

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