Saturday, May 23, 2009

Defenders of the Universal Church

VOLTRON, DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE! Hoped you liked the video... It's a trip down memory lane for me - back in the days of my childhood to teenage years. Well, the reason I put it here is not to promote Voltron (hey, btw what happened to the movie?) but my mind seem to connect it to this bunch of great guys in our midst.

I'm talking about the defenders of our faith. To be exact, the defenders of our beloved Universal Church - the Catholic Church or as some prefer to call us The Roman Catholic Church.

If you have read my very first post, you would know that this blog was inspired by one such gentlemen. Yes! Patrick Madrid who is a world renowned Catholic apologist really made me remember how blessed I am to be Catholic.

A typical Cradle Catholic... I grew up taking a lot of things of my faith for granted. Being Malaysian and growing up in an in between period whereby children were just to follow what their elders did without much question, I just did what other senior Catholics did when I went for mass.

When they dip Holy Water and made the sign of the Cross at the entrance of the Church, I did the same. When they genuflect, before sitting down at the pews, so did I (another little Confession - didn't even know that the one knee bend action was called a genuflect until a few years ago - embarrasing, right? And if some of you reading now just found out... welcome to the club).

Most of my life I didn't even notice the beautiful Liturgical sequence of the mass. Although, I definitely paid attention about 60% of the time to the homily, the rest of the mass was just a blur. When the congretion stood up, sat down, knelt, I just followed blindly. My conviction to remain firm as a Catholic despite the many Protestants friends I have, who had invited me to their respective churches for numerous services and rallies - must definitely be the Holy Spirit at work.

As exciting as the services would be due to their music or dynamic preaching, I didn't feel at home and something was still missing.

I thank God every day that the Holy Spirit has never given up hope on me and in fact ka yau (Cantonese for accelerating His Work on me)the last 12 years since I moved from Ipoh my hometown, to the big city lights of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

From attending the Life In The Spirit Seminar (LSS), to CHOICE, to Servants of Yahweh, a Catholic Covenant community, and now actively serving in my parish choir of St Thomas More, I am now starting to relearn and rediscover the many intricate and beautiful facets of my Faith.

God led me step by step through the process above and finally He is using the great apologists of my time such as Scott and Kimberly Hahn and Patrick Madrid to help me finally understand the many reasons why we do what we do as Catholics and why we are the true Church founded by our beloved brother and Saviour Jesus Christ.

During Pat Madrid's recent seminar at the Men's Conference in Miri early this year, he shared several reasons he chose to be Catholic when he can be anything else. Here are just a few of them which I still remember...

1. One True Church Established By Jesus Christ

Quoting Matt 16:15-19, the conversation that Jesus had with Peter in which Peter recognised Jesus as the Son of the Living God and that Jesus told Peter (the rock), that He will build His Church on this Rock (Peter) and that even Hell cannot touch it. Jesus also gave Peter the keys to Heaven, and that whatever Peter binds on earth the same will be done in heaven... you have definitely heard this I know.
This shows us that Jesus started our Church and chose Peter to lead, while other churches were started by men.

2. Communion of Saints

In short, there's only one Body of Christ. Some of us are still on earth, while some have gone to heaven, but we are still one Body. So we who are on earth are asking our brothers and sisters who are now closer to God to pray for us. It's the same as asking our friend who is still alive on earth to pray for us, only now our friend in heaven has everlasting life and bigger cables to God (hehehe).
And yes, we also pray for them who are in heaven with God, just like how we pray for other friends who are still in our midst.

3. Firm Moral Teachings

Prior to 1930s, all denominations believed that contraception was a grave sin. Today only the Catholic Church still dare to hold on to life - God's gift to us and not being popular and current. Respect!!!

4. Holy Eucharist

John 6:51 sees Jesus saying I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
However, like the many Jews in the room who heard this proclaimed by our Lord, our separated brothers and sisters have also chosen to leave the room so to speak. As Catholics, just like the 12 apostles, we believe in our Lord that He is with us every day if we choose to or every Sunday in the flesh.
I wonder, how people who claim they believe everything written in the Bible, chose not to believe John 6:51, which is written so clearly in whatever Bible version. Hmmm, what happened to sola scriptura or do I detect plain Protestant tradition of I follow my pastor's interpretation.

Btw, I discovered that you can't find anywhere in the Bible that our faith is based solely on the Bible (sola scriptura), but you can definitely find in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 - so then brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us whether by word or by letter.. That's what our Popes have been doing for us.
Now how do you explain 2 Thess 3:6 - Now we command you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion and not after the tradition which they received from us.
As for private interpretation by so many different churches and pastors, the bible says: 2 Peter 1:20-21 - knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
Enough said for this point...

5. Satanist couldn't care about Protestants
They know that Jesus is really in the Catholic Church and they send their kuncu-kuncu (members) to steal the Holy Eucharist so that they can perform black masses.
I've also noticed that fictional stories that attack our faith also target the Catholic Church. People attack when they are threatened.

Of course, Pat Madrid spoke in length while quoting the bible to strengthen his case, something which I pray all of us Catholics will be able to do as a second nature, at least by the next generation.

Thanks to Pat, Scott, Kimberly and a hosts of other apologists, I'm falling in love with my faith again. Seeing and experiencing it through the eyes of a child once more - in awe and wonder.

So thank you once more, all ye defenders of our great big Universal Church ... and bringing so many of our separated brethen home in the process...

Holy Spirit, as we will soon celebrate and remember the first Pentecost, may you once again open the eyes and heart of us all to the love and life of the Holy Trinity. Amen!

P.S. I can't believe the 50-day Easter season is coming to a close so soon. Time flies when you are having fun.

(Some of my favourite Apologetic works . As you can see I'm a big fan of Pat Madrid and Scott Hahn. Click on the books below and find out more...)

Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming CatholicSurprised By Truth 2: 15 Men and Women Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons For Becoming Catholic. (v. 2)Surprised by Truth 3: 10 More Converts Explain the Biblical and Historical Reason for Becoming Catholic (v. 3)Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism

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