Saints and Fathers

God said “Please”; Abraham said “OK”

by Steve Ray on February 2, 2014

Studying Scripture like this is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world. Nice little tidbits pop out, like the one Which I share from you while visiting the sites related to Abraham in Hebron in the Palestinian a West Bank.

abraham-isaac2.jpgWhen God said to Abraham: ”Take Isaac, your only son, the one whom you love, and offer him up on a mountain which I will show you,” he did not give Abraham a firm command, but rather a request. This being the case, it makes Abraham’s response all the more impressive. Abraham had been agonizing over a son for more than 25 years and well after childbearing years, 90 year old Sarah is finally granted the joy of a son.

We have no idea today of the importance of that son to Abraham; all of his hopes and dreams were centered on that son. All of God’s promises, his covenant, his possessions, the land — all that would be fulfilled through Isaac. And now God asks Isaac to sacrifice him on an altar and burn his body. )By the way, human sacrifice was not uncommon in Canaan at the time, though it was an abomination to God and he never intended Abraham to actually sacrifice his son.)

It is one thing to say OK when God when he gives a pure and deliberate command, but in the nuances of the Hebrew language, God’s “command” to Abraham actually have the effect of a request. It is like God is saying “Please.” And to a “please” one can say “no” without violating a law or incurring guilt. Here is what Jewish Publications Society commentary on Genesis says,

The Hebrew adds the participle na to the imperative which usually softens the command to an entreaty, as noted in Sanhedrin 89b, Genesis Rabba 55:7, and Rashi’s commentary. Abraham has absolute freedom of choice. Should he refuse, he would not incur any guilt. (For imperative with na cf. Num. 20:10; Judg. 13:4; 16:6, 10, 28; 18:5; Isa. 1:18; Amos 7:2, 5.) (The JPS Torah commentary (151). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.)

abraham-isaac3.jpgWord Biblical Commentary says,

The reader has been alerted by the verb “test” that something difficult is about to be asked of Abraham, while he [Abraham], of course, is quite in the dark. The way the command is put here tries to soften the blow for Abraham while maximizing our realization of its enormity. “Please take.” The use of the enclitic “please” is rare in a divine command and makes it more like an entreaty, another hint that the Lord appreciates the costliness of what he is asking. (Wenham, G. J. (2002). Vol. 2: Word Biblical Commentary : Genesis 16-50. Word Biblical Commentary (104). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)

I was impressed with Abraham’s utter docility and obedience to God before, but even more so now. He said “Yes” to God’s request even when it was not commanded in strong terms. A descendant of Abraham, a young Jewish, a young girl also said “Yes” to God, as did her Son. She said, “Let it be done to me as you have spoken,” and he said, “Not my will but thine be done.”

These shining examples call us to a higher obedience and love for God. We must aspire to do – not only what he commands, but also what he wishes. In the end, we are the ones who are blessed beyond measure.

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We Need Saints without Cassocks

by Steve Ray on November 26, 2013

By an unknown author (falsely attributed to Pope Francis)

We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.

We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their power.

We need saints who have time everyday to pray and who know how to date in purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity.

We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century with a spirituality that is part of our time.We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social changes.

We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world, who are not afraid to live in the world.

We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans, who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.
We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.

We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports. We need saints who are social, open, normal, friendly, happy and who are good companions.

We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world but who aren’t of the world.

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Why Do We Call Them APOSTOLIC FATHERS?

by Steve Ray on October 25, 2013

There are Apostolic Fathers and Fathers of the Church. What is the difference? Fathers of the Church are those bishops, priests and theologians of the first eight centuries who taught and wrote and who helped define the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Apostolic Fathers fit into that catagory but they have a subcategory of their own – the KNEW the Apostles. They did not have New Testaments under their arms but they did have the voice of the Apostles ringing in their ears. They learned personally from the Apostles.

Look at this chart below to see how close they are to the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. These are the guys who made me Catholic. If you haven’t read their writings, you should. (I don’t know who made the chart but would love to give him credit if I find out.)

 

 

 

 

 Here is a chart I made for our documentary Apostolic Fathers: Handing on the Faith. 

Download a Free copy of the Apostolic Fathers Timeline
Timeline 2 copy_supersmall.jpg

 This amazing Timeline drives home the point of how close these men were to Jesus and the Apostles.

It demonstrates how Catholic the first Christians really were!

 


 The Apostolic Fathers faced Emperors, heretics and lions but these heroes of the Catholic faith never lost courage. Chains, prisons and blood-soaked arenas did not stop the early Christians from witnessing for Christ and handing on the Apostolic Tradition.

ApostolicFathersCover.jpg

Strap on your sandals and step back in time to discover the “Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith”

Comprehensive 28-Page Study Guide
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith
Bloopers and Outtakes
Conversation with Steve Ray and Fr. Benedict Groeschel

English and Spanish subtitles
Feature running time: 90 minutes, extras 30 minutes

Buy it HERE

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St. Bernadette’s Life, Lourdes and Farewells

September 22, 2013

Another great day at Lourdes, today following the life of Bernadette. Also Farewell dinner, comments and farewells. Part 1 Part 2 My 6-mile Hike through all of Lourdes

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Lourdes…Wow!

September 21, 2013

Started the day early with Mass at the Grotto at Lourdes – where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette as the Immaculate Conception. Then breakfast and a VERY thorough tour of the Shrine of Lourdes with our VERY Catholic guides: the grotto, the Shrine, underground church, the museum and much more. We finished the tour [...]

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St. James, Slayer of Muslims (Moors)

September 19, 2013

Sure sounds politically incorrect, eh? But in Spain – especially at Santiago de Compostela – a city dedicated to St. James – that is a title of St. James, one of Our Lord’s twelve apostles. Spain has had a rough history with Muslims invading their land. They fought back and eventually pushed the Muslim Moors [...]

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Want to Join us in Rome for JPII’s Canonization?

September 14, 2013

This trip is filling fast – even before we have the brochure completed. We can only take a limited number of pilgrims due to airline seats and hotel rooms available. Stay tuned for the full brochure available soon. This is not just to be in Rome for this historical event, we will also have tours [...]

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Lourdes Walking Tour with Interactive Map, Video and Pictures. Enjoy!

July 31, 2013

Watching Lourdes work amazes me. It is a big operation with Masses going on all over the place all the time. Hundreds of wheelchairs processing through the streets with thousands of volunteer nurses and assistants and it all goes like clockwork. There is a sense of prayer and the reality of God here and it [...]

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Join Me on My Walking Tour of All of Fatima with Commentary, 21 videos, 147 pictures and an interactive map

July 27, 2013

Fatima is not just a shrine. It is the homes of the children, their parish church, the local cemetery, the places the angel met the children three times, the 93 year old niece of Lucia whom I prayed with, the well where they watered their sheep… …AND the gorgeous shrine with the apparition chapel, the [...]

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On Our Way to Marian Shrines

July 21, 2013

Janet and I are on our way to Portugal, Spain, and France. In September we have a wonderful pilgrimage heading to the Marian shrines of Fatima and Lourdes as well as Santiago de Compostela at the tomb of St. James, the apostle of Our Lord. Janet and I are going there to make sure everything’s [...]

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Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?

July 11, 2013

Are saints who have physically died “dead saints” or are they alive with God? A friend named Leonard Alt got tired of being hammered by anti-Catholic Fundamentalists on this issue so he decided to write this article. I thought you might enjoy it too, so here it goes… Leonard writes: I wrote this note after [...]

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Brief Overviews of Paul’s Life — from the Place He Was Beheaded — Free Timeline

June 18, 2013

Two Videos: 1) Short Biography of St. Paul from the Place he was Martyred; 2) a Tour of the Sites of St. Paul’s Last Days. Enjoy! Steve gave a short biography of St. Paul at Tre Fontone where St. Paul was beheaded. This will give you a short introduction to St. Paul and his life [...]

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Two Radio Shows

April 25, 2013

Today at 5 PM Eastern I will join Al Kresta to discuss St. Mark the Evangelist who wrote the Gospel of Mark. He is not discussed much but is a fascinating character. Tomorrow morning at 9:15 AM I will join Teresa Tomeo to discuss St. Mark as well but from a different perspective. It is [...]

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The Pain of Stolen Honey

April 18, 2013

A painful price is paid when one reaches his hand into a swarm of bees to swipe some of their honey. Stingers fly and welts flare. Wild honey is not collected from wild bees without burning pain and suffering. Today there is protective equipment and methods to harvest honey, but in times past it took [...]

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“Sunday Mornings in Ancient Times” or “Why I Teared up Last Sunday”

February 3, 2013

Tears welled up in my eyes — again — at Mass last Sunday. It was not always so. As a former Baptist I used to think the Catholic Mass was a sacrilege and an abomination. How could anyone worship a piece of bread? Really! However, last Sunday I was overcome with emotion while sitting in [...]

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John the Baptist Ate Them…Steve Ate One too!

January 9, 2013

I was just on Sean Herriott’s show on Relevant Radio and mentioned how I ate a grasshopper in the Holy Land, in honor of John the Baptist. Since we just returned from Israel I thought I would repost this blog entry in honor of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus on January 9 and my appearance [...]

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