Prayer & Spiritual Life

Torture2.jpgOne of the talks I gave while we were just in Rome today is about the Apostolic Fathers and Suffering for the Faith. It is dear to my heart since we just traveled all over following the footprints of St. Paul and the Apostolic Fathers. I will be speaking on the suffering and martyrdom of early Christians.

We visited the Church of Santo Stefano Rotundo (picture to right). Many people think the church is morbid, disgusting and even gross. As you can see in the picture it is a round church with all the walls covered with paintings of the tortures and martyrdoms of the early Christians. They are graphic and detailed.

The two pictures below are from the walls of the church (man with molten lead being poured down his throat and woman with her hands cut off and hung around her neck). These are only two pictures of hundreds. You will see them in our next DVD. (Thanks for the correction below in Comments.)

Torture1jpg.jpgBut back to my question: Are you prepared to Witness for Christ?” Be careful before you say YES! In Acts 1:8 Jesus said to the Apostles, “You will be my witnesses.” By virtue of our baptism, we are ALL called to be witnesses for Christ. But when Jesus used the word “witness” he may have implied more than we think. We tend to think he meant to give testimony for Christ with words alone. But the early Christians gave witness to Christ with much more than their words.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek and the Greek word used for “witness” is martur. Sound familiar. Say it to yourself out loud a few times and see if it sounds like an English word we use. I bet you guessed it. The English word “martyr” derives from the Greek word martur meaning witness.

Torture3.jpgThe Catechism states, “Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death . . . ” (CCC 2473). When we traveled to the sites of the Apostolic Fathers and the place where they and many others spilled their blood on areana floors, it was a sobering trip.

Are you and I really prepared to be witnesses for Christ in the full sense of the word? The early Christians suffered horrendously to pass the faith on to us. Would we have the faith and fortitude to follow in their steps? For myself, I like to think I would. But I also know I don’t like pain–I avoid it like the plague.

But I commit myself to this, and ask you to join me — if martyrdom is required of me, I will trust God to give me the grace and strength to go down heroically with these words on my lips:

“I am a Christian! Lord Jesus, receive your servant!”

“And they have conquered [the Devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (martur), for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11, RSVCE)

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How do YOU Read the Bible?

by Steve Ray on June 24, 2016

A Little Poem about Reading/Studing
the Bible in Context

I supposed I knew my Bible,
Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis,

Certain chapters of Isaiah,
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs —
Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.

You who like to play at Bible,
Dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel, a-weary,
And yawn through a hurried prayer;

You who treat the Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book,
Just a paragraph, disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look.

Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible through.

Amos Wells, Leading the Way by Paul Borthwick, Navpress, 1989, p.  139. Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press. Copied from Logos Bible Software.

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Did St. Paul Pray for the Dead? Yes!

by Steve Ray on June 22, 2016

rembrandt_apostle_paul217x275Since we are in Rome today and touring Ancient Rome, especially the Roman Forum and the Mammertine Prison where St. Paul wrote 2 Timothy shortly after his martyrdom. While in that prison he wrote to Timothy and says a prayer for the dead.

It seems apparent that St. Paul DOES pray for the dead. Here is my short article that gives a pretty clear example of St. Paul praying for a dead man, a man named Onesiphorus.

This will be interesting for those who deny prayer for the dead and must find supposedly find everything explicitly in the Bible before they are willing to believe it.

To read the article, click Prayer for the Dead: Did St. Paul Do This?

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The Kiss of Mercy

June 14, 2016

My daughter-in-law Anna is very insightful about spiritual things, and in raising our grandkids. Couldn’t ask for a better daughter (in-law, though we consider her our daughter by now :-) She put this up on her FaceBook page and I was compelled to share it. Janet and I read this with tears in our eyes [...]

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Meaning of Sacred and Immaculate Hearts – Feast Days are Upon Us!

June 2, 2016

A non-Christian friend found two paintings at an art show and asked me, “What in the world are these? They seem to have pagan elements. What do they have to do with Jesus and Mary?” Here is my explanation. If you readers have anything to add, please post it in the Comments below. Thanks. Thanks. [...]

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Did Jesus Ever Run?

May 17, 2016

I posted this awhile ago, but thought it fun to post again. Though my running days are over (Doctors have told me I ran to much and my knees are shot), I still do a lot of fast walking and even have a bike in Jerusalem. But it is good to remember the days I [...]

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Mary and the Other Body of Christ; How Many People were in the Upper Room and Why?

May 12, 2016

The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal. They were also anxious about the promise. [...]

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One Mass, Two Joys! “Better to Give than to Receive”

May 2, 2016

Two things profoundly touched me at Mass today. These things are shared not for my sake but to encourage and inspire the reader — you.  First, the Mass was full and people were standing in the back. This is a “poor parish” but Fr. Bob and a team of young people have reached out to [...]

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“The Sinner’s Prayer” – All You Need to Get to Heaven?

March 13, 2016

When I was a kid, the “Sinner’s Prayer” was a big deal. It was at the heart of everything we knew about Jesus and getting saved. It was almost used as an incantation. My mom coached me to pray the Sinner’s Prayer when I was 4 years old. We knelt together in front of the [...]

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Question I was asked on Relevant Radio today: What Should we Think of the Taize Prayers?

March 4, 2016

In answer to the question I was asked on Morning Air this morning I thought it best to post this article from Crux. http://www.cruxnow.com/faith/2014/12/03/the-quieting-mystical-experience-of-taize-prayer/

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Want a Lenten Challenge that Won’t Kill You? Join Fr. Mitch Pacwa!

February 11, 2016

The LentenMercyChallenge was developed by MyConsecration.org to help others grow closer to Christ during this Year of Mercy through Prayer and Fasting. Take a look below and see if you want to take up the challenge! Fr. Mitch Pacwa gives a 1.5 minute explanation and challenge. For more info, visit http://www.lentenmercychallenge.org

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The Skull is Talking to Me; Lent is Upon Us!

February 10, 2016

THE SKULL TALKS TO ME EVERY MORNING! It says, “As you are now, I once was; as I am now, you soon shall be — remember your mortality!” No better way to approach Ash Wednesday and 40 days of Lent. Artists have painted St. Jerome with a skull on his desk. Popes were known to keep [...]

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A True Story: The “Hail Mary” of a Protestant is Powerful

February 4, 2016

The “Hail Mary” of a Protestant is powerful!—( A True Story) A little six-year-old Protestant boy had often heard his Catholic companion reciting the prayer ‘Hail Mary.’ He liked it so much that he copied it, memorized it and would recite it every day. ‘Look, Mummy, what a beautiful prayer,’ he said to his mother [...]

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Sherlock Holmes an Idolater – Praying to People?

January 11, 2016

Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV. He has always been one of my favorite characters and I can remember reading all the stories to our kids as they grew up. On TV I think Jeremy Brett does the best portrayal and it is always a delightful [...]

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How Long Will You Live? A Longevity Calculator

December 31, 2015

Watch your age in the upper right corner! Kinda’ fun to watch your age go up and down as you answer the questions. It’s interesting, so give it a try….  How long will you live? This is a calculator that estimates your life expectancy. It was developed by Northwestern Mutual Life. There are only 13 [...]

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Mary a Mediatrix? Isn’t there just One Mediator?

November 24, 2015

The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Yet Catholics refer to Mary as a Mediatrix (feminine form of the word mediator). So, isn’t that prima facie evidence that Catholics make up doctrines, worship Mary and disregard the Bible? [...]

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