Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for December, 2012

Coming Soon: Chapter 5, REPENT! Part II…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 23, 2012

The Prayer of the Church

The Prayer of the Church

CHRISTIAN PRAYER: 4th Sunday of Advent, Evening Prayer I: READING: James 5: 7-11 (emphasis added with commentary)

[For my brothers and Sisters who are beside themselves with what to do!]

Be patient, my brothers [and sisters], until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer awaits the precious yield of the soil.  He looks forward to it patiently while the soil receives the winter and spring rains.

Notice how many times the Lord calls us to PATIENCE… He never says anything He doesn’t mean… AND He’s said this THREE TIMES… Must be important, no?

You, too, must be patientSteady your hearts, because THE COMING OF THE LORD IS AT HAND. 

We can’t lose heart!  Vengeance belongs to our God (cf. Rom 12:19).  Just remember, when it comes it will fall on the good as well as the bad.  Is your heart in the right place?  Have you made your peace with God in Confession and living your life desiring His holiness?  If you answer ‘no’ to any of these, then get there, for the time is short!

Do not grumble against one another, my brothers [and sisters], lest you be condemned.

Case in point: “Judge not, that you may not be judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the LOG that is in YOUR OWN EYE?…” (Mt 7: 1-3)

See!  The judge stands at the gate.  As your models in suffering hardships and in patience, brothers [and sisters] take the prophets who spoke in the name of the LORDThose who have endured we call blessed.

You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and have seen what the Lord, Who is compassionate and MERCIFUL, did in the end.

The Word of the Lord … Thanks be to God!

I love it when those called to give warning to a sleeping world all seem to do so in unison, and at precise moments!  God’s timing is PERFECT.  From fellow blogger/warrior: Mark Mallett

First published on March 29th, 2012 with recent updates. 

THE wind is blowing hard today, as it often does when I sense Our Blessed Mother compelling me to give a warning. We exchange tears, and when the moment is right, I sit down to repeat what I believe she has been saying over the past few days, weeks, and months in a word that has finally ripened… Read more!

CHRISTIAN PRAYER: Thursday, Week II, Morning Prayer: READING: Romans 14: 12-13, 17-19 (emphasis added)

Everyone of us will have to give an account of himself BEFORE GOD.  Therefore we must no longer pass judgment on one another.  INSTEAD you should resolve to [not put a] stumbling block or hindrance in your brother’s way.

The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, BUT OF JUSTICE, peace, and the joy that is given by the Holy Spirit. 

Whoever serves Christ in this way PLEASES GOD and win the esteem of men.  Let us, then MAKE IT OUR AIM to work for peace and to STRENGTHEN one another.

The Word of the Lord … Thanks be to God!

Index of Terms

Map7

“Almost to the end of the preaching route!”

LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA
In Our Day to continue for a little while longer…

Revelation 3: 7-13 (emphasis added)

When I read this passage I think of those spoken above who are called at this moment to be witnesses to the TRUTH, as well as those who are called to be the remnant few.  Case in point:

Revelation 3:8b “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut

SITUATION: No matter how hard that son of perdition fights to intimidate and rid the parish of those faithful few who are CALLED to be witnesses, he cannot remove them.  God has given them the “open door which no one [will] shut.

For those who are called to ENDURE and be that Remnant Few (the “elect”, cf. Mt 24:22), who will instruct the world in the Gospel message of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  God has placed before them an “open door which no one [will] shut.”  

Many people around them will perish, but the remnant few – though they may have to SUFFER a little while (cf. 1Peter 1: 3-7) – they cannot be harmed (cf. 1Peter 5: 6-10).

Revelation 3: 10 “Because you have kept My word of patient endurance [cf. Rom 5: 3-5], I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.

SITUATION & REMNANT: Revelation 3:8c“I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Very BLESSED are THEY who are CALLED to be the Remnant Few!

Revelation 3:9 “Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews [faithful Catholics] and are not, but lie–behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and learn that I have loved you.

This truly applies to the parish I mentioned earlier and my heart weeps for its inhabitants who are asleep or so caught up in the present evil that they “know not what they do!”  However, vindication will come to those faithful few who are there to SHOUT the TRUTH; and the rest will “see their nakedness and be in shame” (cf. Gen 3:7a and Rev 3:18b), for they followed the emperor who had no clothes of righteousness.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.  Their end WILL correspond to their deeds.” (2Cor 11: 14-15, emphasis added)

In closing, the GREATEST WORDs of ENCOURAGEMENT for those who are called to stand fast a little:

Revelation 3:11 “I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crownHe who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from my God out of heaven, and My own new name [Faithful and True, see Rev 19:11].  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

BUT THERE’S MORE!
Revealed TRUTH for those who have ears…

If you have the book, Barber makes an excellent reference to the use of “open” and “shut” doors on pp 72-73.  It’s a brilliant reminder to whom the “keys of the Kingdom” belong, and why it is important that those who wish to remain faithful to Christ must also remain faithful to the teachings in FAITH and MORALS of His “keeper of the keys of the kingdom”, that is Peter and all his successors.

But some may object [with], ‘Doesn’t obeying the Church mean giving up our freedom to think for ourselves?’  Not any more than learning the laws of aerodynamics constricts airplane designers from coming up with ‘creative’ ideas about flying.  You can’t fly if you don’t know the laws of aerodynamics.  So too, you cannot truly be free UNLESS YOU SEEK to know Jesus’ teachings, transmitted through THE CHURCH .” (Barber, 73)

Or as I often say, “Apart from Rome, you’re on your own!”

Map8

“At last! We have arrived…”

LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA
Continuing in Our Day…

Revelation 3: 14-19 (emphasis added)

Revelation 3:15 “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

BRIEF RECAP…

The above passages, as I said in the last posting, very close to my heart.  The first, Letter to the Church at Sardis, speaks directly to the afore mentioned Parish. 

The second part of that passage speaks directly to those few remaining who have not “soiled their garments” and followed after the son of perdition

Then the Letter to the Church in Philadelphia follows all with words of encouragement for those steadfast-few! 

WE CONTINUE…

But now, the words spoken to the Church at Laodicea speaks again to the parishioners who are spiritually dying because of their lack of faith.

HEED THIS WARNING!

The Lord Jesus Himself has promised to “spew you out of [His] mouth”!

Revelation 3: 17 “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

Confirming what I have already said about those who follow the emperor with no clothes (of righteousness).  Our little microcosm seems in many respects to be a mirror to the world at large, and especially in the U.S.  Their shame will be great when their eyes are opened.  Jesus even tells these people…

Revelation 3:18 “Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.

Why does Jesus do this?  Because again, God IS LOVE.  He doesn’t desire our destruction but our SALVATION.  If we will REPENT and RETURN to Him, then He will rain down upon us more Graces that we’ll know what to do with.  He even states:

Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.

Jesus, I Trust in You!

Jesus, I Trust in You!

His Mercy is DEEP and His forgiveness unfathomable.  If we would return to Him, He will come to us in a way never before experienced.  He says:

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.”

Jesus looked at me and said, ‘Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion.  I am giving them the last hope of salvation;…  If they will not adore My Mercy, they will perish for all eternity… tell souls about this great Mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My Justice, is near.’” (Diary of St. Faustina, No. 965)

See also: 1Peter 1:6-9

REPENT!  God is calling YOU to REPENT!  If you do, the reward is PROMISED.

Revelation 3:21 “He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on my throne, as I Myself conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

For if we HOLD FAST to the TRUTH we WILL receive a CROWN of GLORY.  We will forever be in His presence and before the Most High God! (cf. Rev 7:3)

Updated… Today’s Reading…

CHRISTIAN PRAYER: Friday, Second Week of Advent, Evening Prayer: READING: 2Peter 3:8b-10 (emphasis added with commentary… Let him with ears, HEAR!)

In the Lord’s eyes, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day.

The Lord does not delay in keeping His promise – though some consider itdelay.” Rather, He shows YOU generous patience , since He wants none to perish but all to come to REPENTANCE.

That call to REPENTANCE is again strongly encouraged so that “none may perish”, that is die the spiritual death.  But DO NOT DELAY, for that door will close VERY SOON…

The DAY OF THE LORD will come like a thief, and on that day the heavens will vanish with a roar;  the elements will be destroyed by FIRE, and the earth and all its deeds will be made manifest.

The vision will come to pass, a burnt out shell will be all that remains, and all the son of perdition’s deeds will be known far and wide.  Those who were “taken in” will see their own folly and “nakedness”.  Will they turn and repent, or will the too fall away from Christ and His Holy Catholic Church?

“Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers…” (CCC§675, beginning)

They are the microcosm of all that is on and coming upon the earth…

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God!

RESPONSORY: Come and set us free, Lord God of power and might!

"A little geography..."

“A little geography…”

NOW – IN JOHN’S DAY

Revelation 3: 15 “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

A Little Geography:

Laodicea was located between Hierapolis and Colossae.  Colossae was situated at the foot of the mountains and received cold, refreshing drinking water.  Hierapolis, on the other hand, was the source of hot, mineral pools…used for healing baths.  The water at Laodicea was neither hot or cold. (Barber, 73-74)

Giving Jesus further reference and example as to the state of their church and why He would “spew [them] out of [His] mouth.”  On top of that, apparently Laodicea was a wealthy city and well documented in imperial records. 

In fact, when they suffered an earthquake, they refused government funds and rebuilt their city with their own resources, see footnote 42.  Which is why Jesus also says of them:

Revelation 3:17 “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing

Yet the “Lord knows that, despite their earthly wealth, they are spiritually bankrupt (Barber, 74)

Revelation 3:17 continues…”not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

So Jesus gives them, and US as well, a THREE-FOLD remedy!

Revelation 3:18 “Therefore I counsel you to [1] buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, [2] and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, [3] and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.

MEANING???

[1] “Buy from Me GOLD refined BY FIRE… = Whenever Sacred Scripture has spoken about gold being refined by fire, the meaning addresses our SUFFERING and the PURIFICATION that comes from that suffering.  Remember in the last chapter St. Paul talked about suffering and how it produces ENDURANCE which ultimately results in HOPE?

Well, in order to obtain that PURITY and HOPE, we MUST SUFFER “a little while” as the flames of persecution over take us.  See also, Job 23:10; Mal 3:2-3; Zech 13:9; 1Peter 1: 6-9. (cf. Barber, 74 bottom)

[2] “white garments to clothe you and…keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen.” = An Old Testament reference that is often connected to sexual sins.  The sexual sins of this day were the ones linked with the pagan worship found throughout the empire in the temples.  See footnote 43 for more scriptural references found in the Old Testament.

[The] ‘white garments’ that the Laodiceans are to receive from the Lord are the ‘righteous deeds of the saints’ ([cf.] Rev 19:8). (Barber, 75)

[3]and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.” = If one cannot see they must be blind, no?  And what would these people be blind of, do you think?  They think themselves rich and self-sufficient, not needing anyone’s help… including Jesus and His Church?  They’re obviously involved with the licentiousness connect with temple worship and need to repent… But if God is calling them to repent, would that suggest they might not think they have to anything to repent about?

The charge of blindness is used in John’s Gospel to describe those who refuse to acknowledge guilt and repent ([cf.] Jn 9:39-41).” (Ibid)

The salve that Jesus provides will cure this spiritual blindness.  Though, this wealthy city may not care.  They were known for their eye salves, thanks in part to a rather “famous Laodicean medical school”  It was “derived from a Phyrgian powder”, and probably sold throughout the region and maybe even the known world“.  Yet, “the eye salve used by [the] Laodicean doctors is inadequate to cure spiritual blindness.” (Ibid)

That’s right!  They must come before the King of Kings in abject humility and “acknowledge [their] weakness”and REPENT!  So too must we…

A heart that does "just enough"...

A heart that does “just enough”…

WE’RE NO DIFFERENT

Today many are indifferent in the practice of their faith.  It seems that they do, just enough to get by:

“I go to church on Sundays and dress respectably.  I make confession at least once a year.  I give to the collection.  I try not to use bad language and teach my kids right from wrong.  What else is there?”

One thing YOU lack: go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and COME AND FOLLOW ME.” (Mt 10:21, emphasis added)

Following Christ means more than simply stopping short of mortal sin, dangling your toes off the edge, and patting ourselves on the back for not yet falling off.  Indeed, THAT PART OF PRIDE may be just enough to PUSH US OVER.  We NEED to LOOK at the CROSS and remember that Jesus, the sinless One, innocent Son of God, gave everything He had IN LOVE, HOLDING NOTHING BACK.  What do we give Him?  Indeed, if we aren’t growing closer to Him, we ARE FALLING AWAY. (Barber, 77, emphasis added)

Followers of Christ are not, and should not be lukewarm, but they should be PASSIONATE and ZEALOUS for the FAITH.  This is why the warnings given above with the Church of Sardis are so prominent and URGENT.  God’s judgment is upon us, why do we delay in returning to Him?!

Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. 21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne…

22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Coming Soon: Chapter 6, On Earth As It Is In Heaven, will publish on … TBA

Review:

Chapter 4: Part I: Revealing the Son of Man
Chapter 4: Part II: Coming on the Clouds

Chapter 3: Heavenly Liturgy and the Holy Mass

Chapter 2: 4 Senses of Sacred Scripture

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Coming Soon: Chapter 5, Part I – REPENT!

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 10, 2012

CHRISTIAN PRAYER: Sunday, Morning Prayer, 2nd Week of Advent: READING: Romans 13: 11-14 (emphasis added)

It is NOW the HOUR for you to WAKE FROM SLEEP, for OUR SALVATION is CLOSER than when we first accepted the faith.  The night is far spent; the DAY DRAWS NEAR.

Let us CAST OFF deeds of DARKNESS and PUT ON the ARMOR of LIGHTLet us LIVE HONORABLY as in daylight; NOT in CAROUSING and DRUNKENNESS, NOT in SEXUAL EXCESS and LUST, not in quarreling and jealousy.

Rather, PUT ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST and make no provisions for the desires of the flesh.

The Word of the Lord … Thanks be to God!

RESPONSORY: Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us!

 

Index of Terms

Isaiah 1: 27-31 !!!

Isaiah 1: 27-31 !!!

CHAPTER 5: Part I

REPENTANCE: Rev 2: 1-3:22 (emphasis added)

…all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Lk 5:32)

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up,”[Nuclear War?… “The fruit of Abortion is nuclear war. Blessed Mother Teresa]. (2Peter 3:8-10, emphasis added, with commentary)

If God won’t spare His beloved city of Jerusalem, [then] no one is above God’s judgment.” (Barber, 58)

It is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to begin this chapter with the reminder that God’s judgment is upon us.  We (God’s people) have turned away from Him.  Putting man in the place of God in our schools, public forums, and in the form of worship – where is Jesus in the Tabernacle? Is He front and center or off to the side; or maybe in another building, hidden away? How many times does your priest/bishop change the liturgy?  Only the Bishop of Rome has that authority (CCC§882). Thus we return to our theme:

The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truthby which man glorifies himself in place of God and of His Messiah come in the flesh.
~CCC§675 (emphasis added)

"Determined is that day of JUSTICE, the day of divine wrath..."

“Determined is that day of JUSTICE, the day of divine wrath…”

Teaching and enforcing that life is no longer sacred and is disposable: Abortion – Child MURDER in and outside of the womb; Sex-selection Murder; Euthanasia – killing of the aged and handicap; Assisted Suicide – merciless killing by the very persons who take an oath to preserve life!  Finally, the teaching and accepting the MORTAL SIN of homosexuality:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1Cor 6: 9-10, emphasis added)

Do not deceive yourselves, GOD IS LOVE, but He is also JUSTICE and TRUE, and NO SIN can be before Him, (cf. 1Cor 6:9-10):

Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; SIN IS LAWLESSNESS.  You know that He appeared to take away sins, and in Him [Jesus, True GOD and True MAN], there is no sin.  No one who abides in Him sins [That is Abides in God]; no one who sins has either seen Him or known Him.

Little children, LET NO ONE DECEIVE YOU. He who does right is righteous, as He is righteous.  He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning (see Jn 8: 34, 44).

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.

(1John 3: 4-9, emphasis added)

As we delve into these next passages of John’s Book, this judgment must remain the FOREFRONT of our minds.  These seven churches – that ACTUALLY existed – are NOT UNLIKE the current state of the Church today.  In fact, one might say it’s “uncanny” how our present day Church mirrors the “similar struggles of the early believers in Asia Minor”. (Barber, 57).

But it also of IMPORTANCE to note that NOT ONE of these churches exist today.  Even more prophetic is WHY they do not exist today:

[All] of these churches, from Ephesus to Laodicea, eventually fell away from the Gospel.  They have been overrun by Muslim forces and are under their control to this day.  This is a STERN WARNING for Christians of ALL locations AND times! (Barber, 58-59)

See Isaiah 10: 5-7, 13b-19

Could we not also say that about our times?  Have not the Muslim population far surpassed the Christian population, in the number of births per family?

God’s judgment is upon us.  Judgment: Isaiah 9:10.  We must REPENT of our stubbornness of heart before it is too late to make that decision.  We MUST hold fast to the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ and share it with those around us in the living our lives and in our words (cf. James 2: 17, 18)

See that now it is in Southwest Turkey...

See that now it is in Southwest Turkey…

LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS

Rev 2: 1-7 (emphasis added)

Revelation 2: To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: “The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false

The city of Ephesus was known throughout the ancient world for many things.  First, it was a major port in Asia Minor and was largely responsible for that region’s economy.  Second, St. John lived and died there and is buried in Ephesus.  Which also meant that our Blessed Mother also lived there since Jesus instructed John to care for her before He died on the cross (cf. Jn 19:27).

Other members [of St. John’s church] included the great early Christian apologist, Apollos (cf. 1Cor 1:12), three daughters of the Apostle Saint Philip, Paul’s disciple Timothy, and, according to some, Mary Magdalene.” (Barber, 59)

But the city at Ephesus had something else… PRIDE.  Instead of proclaiming the FAITH to their neighbors and encouraging each other in that FAITH, they became busy-bodies.

Revelation 2:3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Ephesus had one of the largest and most flourishing centers for the occult and temple worship of the Roman Emperors.

Ephesus was nicknamed ‘the temple warden’.  Occult mysticism seemed to flourish there (cf. Acts 19: 13-15, 18-19).” (Ibid.)

Something that would definitely receive God’s judgment if the people did not repent.

Revelation 2:5 “Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

The people in Ephesus certainly had the knowledge to know that they needed to repent.  After all, they had the Beloved Apostle – St. John – to instruct them in the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.  They also had another well known, and learned Apostle to instruct them.  Barber tells us that:

They were good students.  Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians contains some of the most profound theology…these Christians were his best students.” (Barber, 60)

And they regularly combated heresies…

Revelation 2:6 “Yet this you have, you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

An early heretical sect in Ephesus and Pergamus.  This sect distorted the Apostles’ teaching on the liberty granted by the Gospel into a corrupt doctrine of complete license in morality; hence, it was severely censured by John in Rev. 2:6, 14-15.  According to a late second century tradition, found in the writings of Saint Irenaeus, this sect originated in the teaching of Nicholas, one of the seven deacons.” (Dictionary of the Bible, Welcome to the Catholic Church, CD-ROM.)

Nicolas…had been one of the deacons chosen by the apostles in the Book of Acts (Acts 6:5).” (Barber, 60)

But it was because of this knowledge that pride took a firm hand.  They began to think themselves better than others.  Their charity towards their neighbors around them also began to disappear.

They [chronicled] the false teachings of others and [began to] spread sensational stories of unfaithful Catholics, causing further division within the Church. (Barber, 60-61)

What the Church teaches...

What the Church teaches…

It is important to note, the term ‘Catholic’ is LATIN for Universal.  This was and is the Universal Church.

“The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of “according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” The Church is catholic in a double sense:  First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her:

Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 311)

“In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s Body united with its Head; this implies that she receives from Him “the fullness of the means of salvation” (cf. Eph 1: 22-23), which He has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life [of which there are seven], AND ordained ministry in apostolic succession.

[Which is why protestants cannot and do not have the Eucharistic presence of our Crucified and Risen Lord at their communion tables.  Making their language ‘This is a symbol of…” quite accurate.]

The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of the Parousia[does this word look familiar?  It should, you know!].

~CCC§830 (emphasis added, with commentary)

Thus they fell victim to their own folly:

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? … You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7: 3, 5)

These people honor Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me; in vain to the worship Me; teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” (Mt 15: 8-9)

“I hate and have rejected your festivities: and I will not receive the odor of your assemblies. And if you offer Me holocausts and your gifts, I will not receive them: neither will I regard the vows of your fat beasts. Take away from Me the tumult of thy songs: and I will not hear the canticles of thy harp. But judgment shall be revealed as water, and justice as a mighty torrent.” ~Amos 5:21-24, Daily Mass readings for Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

It’s of this they MUST REPENT.  They are playing the judge, but only God can judge.

Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law.

But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

There is one Lawgiver and Judge, He who is able to save and to destroy.  But who are you that you judge your neighbor?

(James 4: 11-12, emphasis added)

This reminder is not just for those in Ephesus InJD, but also FOR US who call ourselves Christian:

When we spend time deploring the sins of others more than our own, we are NOT following Christ at all AND must [also] repent.” (Barber, 61, emphasis added)

If we do, then we too shall be called to the “tree of Life”… That is the Eucharist!

Revelation 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

The call to ‘eat the fruit of the tree of life’ was understood by the [Church] Fathers as a reference to the Eucharist.” (Ibid.)

Not far from Ephesus...

Not far from Ephesus…

LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA

Revelation 2: 8-11 (emphasis added)

These folks seem not to suffer from pride or inflated egos, but rather from persecution.  Persecution at the hands of those claiming to persecute in the name of God, calling themselves faithful Jews.  Of this, the ONE WHO IS says:

Revelation 2:9 …the slander of those who say they are Jews…are a synagogue of Satan.

“There were some very anti-Christian Jews in Smyrna… [they] persuaded the people of the city to persecute the Christians.”  This is what Jesus means when He speaks about “the slander of those who say they are Jews.” Just as anyone who would persecute the Jewish people are NOT true Christians (cf. Barber, 19), so too “anyone who persecutes the Church is not a ‘true Jew’.” (Barber, 61)

Revelation 2:10 refers to a definite time period for this persecution, “ten days”, this is a direct reference to Daniel 1:12 where, “Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are tested for ‘ten days’.” (Barber, 61-62)

Hold fast...

Hold fast…

Why is this important to point out?  ENDURANCE!  What did St. Paul tell us in the last chapter? 

Endurance produces character, and character produces HOPE, and HOPE does not disappoint us…” (cf. Rom 5: 4-5)

See also Heb 12:3-11

InO.D. – This most certainly applies to us, TODAY!  We are in dark days that will become darker before they become light.  We must PERSEVERE in the FAITH if we are to see the fruit of that ENDURANCE…

Christians [in John’s day] are warned that persecution is coming but comforted in knowing the period of suffering is short compared to the eternal reward…the CROWN of LIFE.” (Barber, 62)

Just like those Christians, we too, have been warned!

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.  The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of His Messiah come in the flesh.
~CCC§675 (emphasis added)

Which means we CANNOT COMPROMISE!!!  Our Persecution is upon us as well as the ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity to ACKNOWLEDGE the Son of God before man (cf. Mt 10: 32-33).

As Jesus reminds the Church in Smyrna, so too does He remind us, “that a compromise in FAITH is nothing less than a rejection of Him.” (Barber, 62)

For if we COMPROMISE we WILL RECEIVE the punishment of the SECOND DEATH.  I recently re-watched The Song of Bernadette, and there is a line in that film that fits perfectly here.  Dr. Dozous questions Bernadette during one of the visitations with “the beautiful lady”.  She had just relayed the message, “Pray for all sinners” and he asked her, “Do you know what a sinner is?”

“Without hesitation, she said, ‘Certainly, Monsieur, a sinner is one who loves evil.”  That’s quite a good answer.  What pleased me most was she said, ‘loves’, not does evil.  Well, after that gentlemen, a diagnosis of feeble-mindedness was out of the question.”

It is the sinner who “loves evil” who will inherit not a kingdom of life, but eternal damnation / death!  Will that be you?  Or will you seek after Christ with sincere REPENTANCE and join those whom He has called and given a white garment of TRUTH and FAITHFULNESS?

Revelation 2:11 mentions the “second death” later mentioned in Revelation 20: 14-15, with a fairly decent description of that “lake of fire” found in Revelation 14: 10-11.  This second death is nothing short of HELL itself.  It’s where “the destruction of the soul” takes place “in hell…a fate far worse than physical death.” (Barber, 62.)

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can DESTROY both the SOUL and the BODY in HELL.” (Mt 10:28)

Yet companies are folding to the culture of death and requiring their employees to do the same. The most recent example of this came from AFA who reported the following action from Chase Bank:

A recent survey went out to its employees asking them the following: Are you a member of the LGBT community? Are you an ally of the LGBT community, but not personally identifying as LGBT?

Now the Question most would ask is: Why does my employer care? That’s my business, not theirs. But according to an employee:

“This survey wasn’t anonymous. You had to enter your employee ID. With the way things are going…not selecting that [pro-gay] option is essentially saying ‘I’m not an ally of civil rights;’ which is a vague way to say ‘I’m a bigot.’ The worry among many of us is that those who didn’t select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the ‘you can fire these people first’ list.” – JP Morgan Chase employee

Will Christians compromise with the TRUTH to save face, their jobs, and maybe even their very lives?!

… an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth...

In John's Day...

In John’s Day…

InJD – “the Jews [leadership, that is] received a favored status in the Roman Empire” (Barber, 62):

We have no king but Caesar!” (Jn 19:15c) – the cry of Caiaphas, the High Priest who condemned Jesus to death.

Christians could therefore avoid suffering if they compromised their faith a little to appease those [in authority] who opposed them.” (Barber, 62, emphasis added)

Yet as any faithful Christian knows:

So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge before My Father Who is in heaven; But whoever denies Me before men, I WILL ALSO DENY [him] before My Father Who is in heaven.” (Mt 10: 32-33)

Therefore it is SUPER IMPORTANT that we keep vigilant and sober AND “remain detached from this earthly life, keeping in mind that this is NOT [our]ultimate home; HEAVEN is our final destination!  Heaven will never pass away… this world IS passing away! (Barber, 63)

"Just a good stretch of the legs!"

“Just a good stretch of the legs!”

LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN PERGAMUM

Revelation 2: 12-17 (emphasis added)

Revelation 2:13 I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; you hold fast my name and you did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”

Another hub of the pagan worship of Roman Emperors, and in truth, a rather large hub.  It was known in Asia becauseit was a historical center, since it was there that the first temple was erected for Emperor worship”. 

Specifically for the Emperor Augustus (27BC – 14AD), and it was a capital offense not to offer tribute to the Emperor.  This is most likely where theearly [Christian] martyr Antipas may have been killed.” (Barber, 63)

But that was not the only type of pagan worship they had.  Their city also had a temple to Zeus and a “snake-god” called “Asclepius”, who – oddly enough – represents the “ancient serpent” and for whom their town adopted as their symbol.  Revelation 12:9 talks about an “ancient serpent”…

Is it any wonder Christ saw something satanic about this city? (Barber, 64)

It’s worthy to note that pagan worship InJD involved a lot of eating of food sacrificed to idols as well as sexual immorality (See, Numb 31:15-16; 25:1-5).  These practices were vehemently spoken against by the Apostles (Acts 15: 19-20, 29).  They also followed the teachings of the Nicolatians which shares the same meaning as Balaam (Num 31:8) – “Conqueror [or Destroyer] of the people”. (Ibid.)

As such, those who succumb to these false teachings will also suffer the same fate of the “sharp sword” of Christ’s mouth. (cf. Rev 2:16c; 19:15)

InOD = we do not necessarily have temples of pagan worships to the Roman gods, but there are false religions that encourage the giving and eating of food to idols (India), and in countries of affluence our “gods” became our material possessions – which seems at times to take possession of us.. gotta have that “name brand”!

For many men in America, Sunday night Football becomes their church and their god, while in other countries it falls to Cricket, Hockey, and European Football.

It’s all around us and hard to avoid… [But] ‘Everyone else is doing it’ has never been an acceptable excuse.” (Barber, 65)

"It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." Ex 16:31

“It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” Ex 16:31

HIDDEN MANNA???

Revelation 2:17 – speaks of the “hidden manna” – which is the Bread of Life, see John 6:48-51. 

Therefore, in order to receive this “hidden manna” we MUST live counter-culturally and acknowledge our sins, especially our sins against our Creator (placing other things/gods before Him), so that we may receive this “hidden manna” in full worthiness. (See 1Cor 10: 1-4, 16-21, and footnote 23 for more information)

The ‘manna’ was a symbol in the New Testament and in the writings of the early Fathers in the Eucharist.” (Barber, 65)

Verse 17 continues and mentions a “white stone”, which isn’t anything Mormon, but is connected directly to Numbers 11:7, known as the “bdellium” stone that is directly connected “to the appearance of the manna in the Old Testament.” (Ibid.)

This manna is described as, “it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Ex 16:31)

There is also a direct connect to the “tree of life” in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:12), which Jesus’ now becomes in the Eucharist for:

I AM the Bread of Life…which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and NOT DIE…and the bread which I will give for the LIFE of the world is MY FLESH.” (Jn 6: 48, 50, 51c)

Making that direct reference back to the Garden and the Tree of Life which man was not permitted to eat of it because he would die (cf. Gen 1:17).  Yet, in order to redeem mankind, the Bread of Life must be consumed. That is consumed with a REPENTANT HEART (cf. 1Cor 11: 27, 29).  Barber has even more thoughts on pp 65-66.

"Rollin', rollin', rollin, keep those doggies rollin'..."

“Rollin’, rollin’, rollin, keep those doggies rollin’…”

LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA

Revelation 2: 18-23 (emphasis added)

InJD…

It is important to remind the reader that these Churches are located near enough to each other that if you were to walk to each starting at Ephesus, you would in fact be walking in an elliptical shape (see pg 58 for a map).  Therefore, the wealth of Ephesus, being it a major trading port, would also extend out to its neighboring cities.

Thyatira was such a city.  It had a thriving economy of guilds and was also “one of the leading centers for trade in Asia Minor.” (Barber, 66). 

There was, however, a BIG problem; all of these guilds were required to have a god attached to it and to give it fitting worship.  Remember, temple worship involved sexual immorality and the eating of “food offered to idols”.  Something we’ve already made mention that the Apostles had strongly condemned (cf. Acts 15:19, 29).

Which is why Jesus says:

Rev 2:20:But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

The reference to Jezebel is of course to “the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel (1Kings 21)”, and that which she is notorious for acting many offenses against God:

She was an impious and idolatrous woman (1 Kings 16:31).  The wild licence of her life and the magical fascination of her character became a proverb in the nation (2 Kings 9:22). 

She is said to have supported 450 prophets of Baal, and 400 others of Astarte (1 Kings 18:19).  She attacked the prophets of the true God and put them to death (1 Kings 18:4, 13)….

Jehu, who advanced against the kingdom of Achab, ordered her to be thrown from a tower. Members of her own household cast her from the window.  Her mangled body was devoured by the dogs of the city, as Elijah had foretold (1 Kings 21:23).”

(Welcome to the Catholic Church, CD-ROM, Dictionary of the Bible)

The very fact that these Christians tried and succeeded often to live in “love and faith and service and patient endurance, [with their] latter works [exceeding] the first” gave them the chance to repent of their “tolerance” with sin.  But Jesus warns quite sternly, that if they do not repent of their sin, “I will throw into tribulation… and I will strike her children dead ”. (cf. Rev 2:19, 22c, 23a)

Tolerance???

Tolerance???

APPLYING THIS TO US – InO.D.

There is a sort of “tolerance” that has prevailed in our current society.  This “tolerance” speaks of accepting and even allowing the practices of immorality to the highest degree.  This “tolerance” even REQUIRES us to teach our children the same lies.  Much like InJD, we too are faced with the , “I hold this against you…that you tolerate the woman Jezebel.

Yet when it comes to Christians teaching the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, “tolerance” no longer applies.  In fact, there is “no tolerance” at all for the Christian Faith and its message of morality and right-living.  Instead, it’s suffering the labels of “radical” and “extreme”.  As if it were the teachings of Christ were the things being forced on our children in schools with or without parent’s permission as is the current trend for the agenda of the culture of death.

Recently a Criminology Professor Mike Adams, at the University of South Carolina, had his promotion denied based on grounds of his Christian beliefs:

“They retaliated against him,” Barham contends. “They denied him this promotion to full professor because they did not like the things that he was saying in his speeches and in that he was writing in his columns, and those often were aspects of his Christian beliefs and where he approached current cultural issues from a biblical and Christian perspective, often even criticizing higher education from a biblical conservative perspective.”~ADF attorney, Travis Barham,June 2014

It is OUR HEARTS that need the conversion, for as God says through the Prophet Jeremiah:

I the LORD search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jer 17:10)

Hold fast...

All will face judgment!

Or as St. Paul reminds the church in Corinth:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the Body.” (1Cor 5:10)

And as Barber is quick to remind us:

Sometimes we refuse to detach ourselves from certain sins…we try to justify ourselves by multiplying good deeds…[or try to] bargain with God [thinking] we can continue to sin as long as we ‘pay God His due’.  This IS a PERVERSION of the Gospel and a DISTORTED vision of love. (Barber, 67, emphasis added)

Jesus Himself said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…if any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow after Me…he who finds his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake will find it.  For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.(Jn 14:15; Mk 8:34, 37; Mt 10:39)

We MUST give ourselves TOTALLY to Him, holding nothing back.  Others may see our works and marvel, but Jesus SEES our HEARTS. (Ibid., emphasis added)

Yet Christ’s warning doesn’t stop with just those in Thyatira who are tolerating these evils.  Christ turns His address to those who have not gone along with this “tolerance”.  Yet, they are still in danger and to them He gives a stern warning by issuing a promise of HOPE.  And HOPE comes from what?  That’s right!  Endurance!

Revelation 2: 24 “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden; only hold fast to what you have, until I come.  He who conquers and who keeps My works until the end, I will give him power over the nations[to] rule them with a rod of iron…as I Myself have received power from My Father.

This is almost like the direct quote from Ps 149:

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with victory.  Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches.  Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to wreak vengeance on the nations and chastisement on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment writtenThis is glory for all His faithful ones.  Praise the LORD!” (Ps 149: 4-9)

Would this also not apply to us, those who claim an allegiance with Christ?  Would we not also have the Glory Christ is able to give?  Why then, do we choose what is base and doomed to fade away?  Why do we not choose Christ in our daily actions?  How can we be so foolish?

Those who endure, then, are promised that they will enter into Christ’s presence forever in heaven. (Barber, 68)

"Are we there yet?"

“Are we there yet?”

LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN SARDIS

Rev 3: 1-6 (emphasis added):

TIMELESS REFERENCE!

Alive but dead”… “A little strength…point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of My God.

This passage in its entirety is VERY CLOSE to my heart!  The message in it?  REPENT!  If they do not repent, Jesus will “come like a thief and you will not know the hour I will come upon you.” (Rev 3:3c)

A parish in which I had attended some years back has this in common with this church, as do many parishes where I currently am at, unfortunately.  But this one in particular has the appearance of life but it is full of death.  Death in the terms of the spiritual deadness of those who attend.

And like the church in Sardis, there are, “still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (Rev 3:4)

But even some of those who watch and pray will be taken by surprise, (Mark Mallett, Mystery Babylon, June 2012):

Judgment is coming up this Parish family, for it shares also the lukewarmness of the church at Laodicea, and just like that church, Jesus will spew us from His mouth.  A great abomination has occurred and continues to occur and will be the final occurrence when the hand of judgment comes. 

Several of us in the parish have had the vision of the church being reduced to a burnt-out shell, and the son of perdition responsible for it will be found at the high altar, in the act of abomination with another.

For like Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord for 30 pieces of silver and did not repent, this poor soul will follow the same path and end his life as he has already ended his spiritual health.

Though his sins are very grave and he has led MANY astray – as I indicated earlier, the life in the parish is lukewarm at best – God does not give up on His creation and will continue to try and reach this man until the very end

A few chosen souls who have, “not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.”  They are there as a reminder to him of his mortal wound due to his sin and the need for his repentance.  Though they may not be able to prevent his demise, they will still have the title of, “Good and Faithful Servant ”, and…

He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life…” (Rev 3:5)

As this parish is NOT the EXCEPTION, but unfortunately the norm; do not suppose that what will befall this parish will not befall others who have the lukewarm-ness.

We must always keep in mind that what makes a parish alive ISN’T the social activities [those we have in spades].  But the SACRAMENTAL LIFE, which animates the Church. (Barber, 70.)

“Let him who has ears hear!”

On to Part II of Chapter 5 – The Church at Philadelphia

Review:

Coming Soon Chapter 4: Part I and Part II
Coming Soon Chapter 3
Coming Soon Chapter 2

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