Archive for December, 2008
This spiritual decision for Christ cannot be identified with water baptism or with any so-called saving works and certainly there is no foundation for infant baptism.
John 3:3,7: “Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew (again), he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.'”
This spiritual rebirth is intensely important for Catholics. Ours is no juridical imputation of righteousness; rather, we are literally remade into a new creation. Deleted from the pericope by our protagonist is this line, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Faith in Jesus and an abiding trust and obedience to him brings us to the baptismal font.
The Scripture citation here is still incomplete. It also states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven” (John 3:5). The font of life-giving waters is known as the “tomb and womb” of the Church. We die to our old self, to sin; and we are reborn to Christ and the life of grace. We become temples of the Holy Spirit and are configured to Christ’s likeness as adopted sons and daughters of God.
Our rite of initiation is not circumcision, but baptism into the name of the Trinity. Faith and baptism also makes us members of the new People of God, the Church of Christ. This theme of unity has always been important among the faithful. The Scriptures themselves narrate that sometimes whole households were converted to the faith (see Acts 16:15; 16:33; 1 Corinthians 1:16).
During this historical period and again with the development of second penance and regular confession, babies were also brought forward for initiation. The bond joining the members of Christ’s body was understood to be so intimate that parents and sponsors could make a profession of faith for a child who had not yet reached the age of reason. Mortality rates being high, this was of crucial emotional importance to parents and had eternal ramifications for the children.
Jesus himself had urged, “Let the children come unto me, and do not hinder them.” Over time, the final anointing of the baptismal ceremony was separated from the first part, often reserved for the visiting bishop. Similarly, first Eucharist was also delayed until the child was older.
When records are not available or when there is some doubt of validity, the Catholic Church will offer a conditional baptism to candidates seeking entry into the believing community. However, if their prior baptism in a Protestant community is deemed authentic, then they make an act of reception and subsequently receive confirmation and holy communion. Baptism is a one-time sacrament which forever configures a person to the Lord.
Technically, we equate the “born again” experience with baptism, although it can be personally affirmed with confirmation and a more full sharing in the gift of the Holy Spirit. We might also experience an exaultation at prayer which might give an emotional high or a special satisfaction to our faith. Christians baptized in the Catholic Church, even as infants, who seek and receive baptism in Protestant churches are in fact disavowing their prior baptism. What they are saying is that our baptism is null-and-void and that Catholics are not Christians nor are they “saved”, to use their language. This is a terrible happenstance. Catholics were the first Christians and Catholicism is the TRUE Church. We love and pray for our Protestant brothers and sisters; we join their chorus in praising God for giving us such a wondrous redeemer as Christ; however, we cannot rejoice in the ignorance of our own or the bigotry which steals them from our ranks.
I just finished watching the last of eight movies in the A&E Horatio Hornblower series. I was given the DVDs as a gift. I had wanted to view the movies when they first premiered, but my schedule was such that I always missed them. I loved Forester’s books; and the films, while taking liberties, were a great delight. What surprised me was that they only covered a few of the early stories. Checking on the Internet, I discovered that A&E has cancelled the series because of high production costs. That means the rest of the story-line will not be produced. This is very upsetting.
The same tragedy happened a few years ago when Public Television’s WONDERWORKS removed its funding of the British Narnia series. Similarly, you can buy that DVD set today, although the series is forever aborted.
There is so much trash on television these days. When the good stuff comes along, it is a crime that it should be what we discard. Our priorities are terribly confused.
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Yes, and in honor of the president-elect’s victory, here is a great little Christmas music video (furthering his theme of HOPE) and which features a few seconds of my favorite president: (Weird Al’s IT’S CHRISTMAS AT GROUND ZERO)
This posting is in honor of whoever gave me an OBAMA CHRISTMAS CARD.
This is just way too cool!
Wow, this thing has really gone crazy with the viewers.
This house really does exist and nothing you see in the video is trickery.
This display was the work of Carson Williams, a Mason, Ohio, electrical engineer who spent about three hours sequencing the 88 Light-O-Rama channels that controlled the 16,000 Christmas lights in his annual holiday lighting spectacular (from Christmas 2004). His 2005 display includes over 25,000 lights that he spent nearly two months and $10,000 to hook up. So that the Williams’ neighbors aren’t disturbed by constant noise, viewers driving by the house are informed by signs to tune in to a signal broadcast over a low-power FM radio station to hear the musical accompaniment.
Carson’s Christmas display proved so popular that it was featured in a Miller Lite beer commercial in December 2005.
The legendary THREE KINGS pose for us in all their glory; and yet they come with gifts for a far greater king:
Here is the closing song to the Children’s Christmas program at Holy Family Church on December 24 at 6:30 PM:
It was the Christ-story told from the perspective of a mouse.
Eartha Kitt passed away today. As a kid I first became familiar with her as Batman’s nemesis, CATWOMAN. Of course, she was so much more: a singer, dancer and actress. She went far, coming from the povert of cotton fields in SC to become an icon of the industry.
She died of colon cancer.
Here is her performance in 2006 for the presidential Christmas show in Washington, DC:
She played the sultry and bad girl card but in truth she gave much to charity over the years:
Renown for her catlike purr, she won two Emmys and was nominated for two Tony Awards and a Grammy. Here is a clip of her from BATMAN. Note the crazy CATMOBILE!
Goodbye Eartha, hopefully you were not so bad a girl and God’s grace will make you purrfect. REST IN PEACE!