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Why a crucifix and not an empty cross?

Curcifix

Why do Catholics wear and Catholic Churches display a crucifix, instead of an empty cross? Why do we leave Jesus on the cross? Does this mean we worship a “dead” Jesus, and that we downplay the resurrected Jesus?

Not at all.

Catholics worship both the Jesus who died for their sins and the Jesus who rose from His sacrificial death for their sins. We believe that “Christ has died, Christ is RISEN, Christ will come again.”

Jesus says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus displayed on the Cross displays His unconditional love and infinite mercy for us. Everything Jesus gives to us is through the Cross. In our Christian journey, we, like Jesus, carry our cross. Catholics not only preach Christ Risen, but also Christ Crucified.

The heart of the Gospel message is Jesus, our promised Messiah, died for our sins for the salvation of our soul. St. Paul preached Jesus’ Crucified and tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:23, “. . . but we preach Christ crucified . . . ” But Jesus is risen, what is Paul speaking about? Doesn’t he know that we should not be concentrating on Jesus’ death? Again, in Corinthians 2:2 Paul writes, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Here St. Paul says Jesus is our example in enduring the Cross.

Some have expressed distaste at the thought of depicting Jesus at his most vulnerable. Guess what? This should make you uncomfortable. Jesus does not want us to look at His Crucifixion as only a past event. Every lash that he took, every blow that drove the nail into his hands was caused by you and me. Our sins – past, present and future, hung Jesus on that cross. The crucifix is the ultimate expression of the lengths that a loving God will go to reach us. Gazing at a crucifix is a truly humbling experience.

If you really think about it, the next time someone questions you for wearing a crucifix, and not an empty cross, (if you want to get nit-picky) Jesus rose from the tomb, not the cross. In order to represent his victory over death (which is what some claim the empty cross does) one would have to wear a little copy of the tomb or a tiny rock.

Think about when Jesus appeared to the apostles after His Resurrection and in His glorified risen Body. He showed them His wounds from His Crucifixion. (Luke 24:39-40 & John 20:20) Why would Jesus keep those wounds from His Crucifixion if He did not want us to remember His Crucifixion?

Although Jesus is no longer on the Cross, His offering Himself to us as our Savior continues to this day. Jesus says we cannot be His follower (a Christian) unless we pick up our cross to follow Him. (Matthew 16.24) Jesus never promised His followers a Christian life free from sufferings and trials. He promised us the very opposite. He promised that we too would have a cross to carry; and unless we endure our sufferings and trials in faith for Him as He has done for us, we cannot be His follower. We cannot rise in Christ to new life without first dying with Christ on the Cross.

Whether you wear an empty cross, or a crucifix, the cross displays the love our savior, Jesus Christ, has for all of us. I hope this short explanation helps others understand why Catholics love the crucifix so dearly.

So please remember to display your beautiful crucifixes in your home, and wear them humbly around your neck. (Remember to get them blessed!) And remember, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

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Where did the Bible come from?

bible

The Catholic Church strongly encourages everyone to read the Bible every day for private devotion, to memorize it, love it, and to study it diligently. At every Sunday Mass the Holy Word of God is proclaimed, with readings from the Old Testament, New Testament and Holy Gospel.

But remember, just because you can quote scripture, it doesn’t mean you are interpreting it correctly. Even the devil quoted scripture and used it to promote evil. Anyone can take words from scripture and justify just about anything today. Misinterpretation of Scripture can result in selective acceptance of the truths contained there. Without an authority (the Magisterium) to help us interpret scripture, scripture could be interpreted with having opposite meanings. God is a God of order, not disorder. Truth (God) does not contradict Himself.

Where did the Bible come from? It didn’t just fall out of the sky. And how do we know what books belong in the Bible?

It was the authority of the Catholic Church, in the fourth century, that determined which books were inspired and belonged in the Bible. Think about it. The Bible does not have an inspired table of contents. This list of inspired books is an essential religious truth not contained in the Bible. Therefore, at least one essential religious truth – the contents of the Bible – is found “outside” the Bible.

Jesus left us the Church, which came before the Bible. How did people learn about Jesus after he was crucified, but before the Bible was put together by Catholics in the fourth century? Oral tradition. We trust the Church, established by Jesus Christ, to tell us what books belong in the Bible, and assure us that everything in it is inspired.

Many people, including many protestant pastors, have converted to Catholicism on the issue of authority. Today there is one Catholic Church, yet over 30,000 different protestant denominations, which started breaking away from the church during the Reformation – hundreds of years after the Bible was compiled.

Among all the Christian churches, ONLY the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots, each with their own man made traditions.

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches to which door-to-door missionaries belong are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus creates and builds His Church (not “churches”) on Peter, the Rock. Even hell can’t stop the everlasting existence of His Church. “And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. ”

Jesus left us a Church, giving our first Pope, Saint Peter, the “keys to His kingdom” to be the leader of His Church. In the following verse 19, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom.
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed, even in heaven.”

Despite humans messing things up at times, the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and will FOREVER be guided by the Holy Spirit until the end of time, as quoted in scripture:

“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:12-13

Jesus would not have left His church without an authority to guide us in Truth. The Catholic Church existed long before the Bible. The Bible is the product of the Catholic Church. Catholic popes and bishops decided what books belonged in the Bible in the 4th century. This means that the Bible is not the sole rule of faith for Christians, but rather “the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth” as it says in I Timothy 3:15.

The deposit of faith given the Church by Jesus Christ includes both Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture. The Gospel is both God’s unwritten and written word, not, rather, simply the written word only. As Pope Benedict observed, “Ultimately, it is the living Tradition of the Church which makes us adequately understand sacred Scripture as the word of God” (Verbum Domini, 17-18).

To trust the Bible is to trust the authority of the Catholic Church.

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Great Book by Dr. Allen Hunt

I love conversion stories. We all know family and friends who have left the Catholic Church, so it’s refreshing to hear stories of people who converted to Catholicism, and what led them on their journey.

Allen Hunt was a successful mega-church pastor, who converted to the Catholic Church a few years ago. His book, ” Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church” is a powerfully written book for those wanting to learn more about the Catholic Church, and for cradle Catholics who may have taken the Church for granted. In this book he describes his faith journey that ultimately resulted in his conversion to Catholicism. He had to overcome years of misinformation about the Catholic Church on his journey home.

For all of you who have converted to the Catholic faith, welcome home! Thank you for your love and passion for our beautiful faith!

mega

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Shrove Tuesday!

Happy Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday . . . Ash Wednesday Eve! On this day, the Church feasts before she enters into a more solemn and penitential season called Lent. “Shrove” is the past tense of the word “shrive,” which means to hear a confession, assign penance, and absolve from sin. Are you eating pancakes today?

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days of Lent (Sundays excluded from this number). Lent begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. Don’t forget to get your ashes! What are you planning on giving up or doing this Lenten season to grow closer to Christ?

Tuesday

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Dear Love Being Catholic Friends . . .

Dear “Love Being Catholic” friends,

For those of you who also follow my Love Being Catholic Facebook page, please read below.

Facebook made some changes recently and now only a very small percentage, of the 80,000 friends on the Love Being Catholic Facebook page are receiving these posts. It appears that Facebook is wanting me to pay to get you to see my posts on your page, which I will not and cannot do, but unfortunately my posts are not reaching many of you anymore. I’ve heard from many of you asking where I’ve gone and why I am not posting anymore. I am still posting every day, several times a day, however, it is only showing up on a small percentage of your news feeds. In other words, thousands of Catholics around the world are now not getting these posts.

If you want to see LOVE BEING CATHOLIC posts in your Facebook news feed, go to the top of the Love Being Catholic Facebook page and hover over the “Liked” button. Then click on “GET NOTIFICATIONS.” This is the only way that you will continue to receive these posts. ( If you don’t want to receive them you can also “unlike” me too!) The more you LIKE and COMMENT on these posts, the better it will perform and reach other people.

Either way – I’m trying to spread the joy and beauty of the Catholic faith, and in just a few days Facebook has drastically changed the amount of people this page is reaching. (Almost a 70% drop)

Just please know I am still here posting every day – and I’m not going away. (Though I do feel a little defeated after posting on this site for almost 4 years.) Perhaps some prayers to our new Saint John Paul II might help!

I will also continue to share many of my postings on this blog as well.

The way I see it, if this page has helped even one of you grow closer to Christ, our Blessed Mother and your Catholic faith, it is all worth it.

In Christ,

Liz

I love being Catholic

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Why do Catholic wear a crucifix instead of an empty cross?

crucifix

Why do Catholics wear and Catholic Churches display a crucifix, instead of an empty cross? Why do we leave Jesus on the cross? Does this mean we worship a “dead” Jesus, and that we downplay the resurrected Jesus?

Not at all.

Catholics worship both the Jesus who died for their sins and the Jesus who rose from His sacrificial death for their sins. We believe that “Christ has died, Christ is RISEN, Christ will come again.”

Jesus says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus displayed on the Cross displays His unconditional love and infinite mercy for us. Everything Jesus gives to us is through the Cross. In our Christian journey, we, like Jesus, carry our cross. Catholics not only preach Christ Risen, but also Christ Crucified.

The heart of the Gospel message is Jesus, our promised Messiah, died for our sins for the salvation of our soul. St. Paul preached Jesus’ Crucified and tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:23, “. . . but we preach Christ crucified . . . ” But Jesus is risen, what is Paul speaking about? Doesn’t he know that we should not be concentrating on Jesus’ death? Again, in Corinthians 2:2 Paul writes, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Here St. Paul says Jesus is our example in enduring the Cross.

Some have expressed distaste at the thought of depicting Jesus at his most vulnerable. Guess what? This should make you uncomfortable. Jesus does not want us to look at His Crucifixion as only a past event. Every lash that he took, every blow that drove the nail into his hands was caused by you and me. Our sins – past, present and future, hung Jesus on that cross. The crucifix is the ultimate expression of the lengths that a loving God will go to reach us. Gazing at a crucifix is a truly humbling experience.

If you really think about it, the next time someone questions you for wearing a crucifix, and not an empty cross, (if you want to get nit-picky) Jesus rose from the tomb, not the cross. In order to represent his victory over death (which is what some claim the empty cross does) one would have to wear a little copy of the tomb or a tiny rock.

Think about when Jesus appeared to the apostles after His Resurrection and in His glorified risen Body. He showed them His wounds from His Crucifixion. (Luke 24:39-40 & John 20:20) Why would Jesus keep those wounds from His Crucifixion if He did not want us to remember His Crucifixion?

Although Jesus is no longer on the Cross, His offering Himself to us as our Savior continues to this day. Jesus says we cannot be His follower (a Christian) unless we pick up our cross to follow Him. (Matthew 16.24) Jesus never promised His followers a Christian life free from sufferings and trials. He promised us the very opposite. He promised that we too would have a cross to carry; and unless we endure our sufferings and trials in faith for Him as He has done for us, we cannot be His follower. We cannot rise in Christ to new life without first dying with Christ on the Cross.

Whether you wear an empty cross, or a crucifix, the cross displays the love our savior, Jesus Christ, has for all of us. I hope this short explanation helps others understand why Catholics love the crucifix so dearly.

So please remember to display your beautiful crucifixes in your home, and wear them humbly around your neck. (Remember to get them blessed!) And remember, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.