Friday, April 10, 2009

Just Returned from Good Friday “Mass”…

by Steve Ray on April 10, 2009

christtheking1… though obviously it wasn’t a Mass since there was no consecration. The reserved Eucharist was distributed and now Our Lord is absent from the tabernacles of the world until the Resurrection. I feel like I am on Mount Zion, at the prison where Jesus was kept over Holy Thursday night. He has been “taken from us only to appear again after the Resurrection. I just love being a Catholic!

group-sm

(Picture: Deacon Dan Foley baptizes my grandson last year)

Over 1200 people gathered in Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor Michigan. Seven of our parishes’ twenty-three seminarians were in attendance as well as three of our six deacons. Our venerable Deacon Dan Foley gave an elegant and insightful homily on the Cross, the death of Christ and the ever present reality of the sacrifice in our lives. How I wish that every Catholic parish had a deacon like Deacon Dan. Fr. Ed Fride was his old self — how I wish every parish had a priest like Fr. Ed! The service was over two hours long but seemed like an hour.

Interestingly, more than 1/2 of the people were under 25 years of age. This is not scientific, but a general observation. The devout attitude and depth of reverence were palpable. I had tears in my eyes more than once. I enjoyed the ancient songs, sung by the angelic volunteer choir. Many were sung in Latin which swelled to the rafters with testimony to the unity of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. In our pews were rich and poor, old and young, black, white, Hispanic, Asian — from Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia. It was not like my old Baptist “church” — this was a testimony to the Universal (Catholic) Church!

three-boys(Picture: Me on the right with my brothers when we learned all the old Baptist favorites by heart)

I especially loved the old  favorite hymns, some I remember by heart from my years as a Baptist. Yes, hymns that are shared by Catholic and Protestant alike. I love it when these old favorites are sung because I have them memorized and I can sing them by heart with my eyes closed — with my mind focused on the words and on the Word, the one who agonized on the Cross for my sins.

dad-reading

(Picture: My brother Dave, my dad and me about 1960. Every night as he put us to bed my dad always sang “The Old Rugged Cross” –  “On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame …” )

Today at church we sang one of my old favorites: “O Sacred Head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn; O Bleeding Head, so wounded, reviled and put to scorn!” which — though we sang it as Baptists — it is attributed to the Doctor of the Catholic Church, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153; long before Baptists even existed).

dads-80th

(Picture: Me and Dad on his 80th birthday.)

Then today we sang another of my old favorites from childhood “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride” It was written by Protestant Isaac Watts, of whom the Columbia Encyclopedia says, “His several hundred hymns embody a stern Calvinism assuaged with a gentleness and sympathy.” These hymns sung today at our Good Friday service filled my heart with memories and love for my Lord, respect for my Baptist past — and most of all, a love for Our Lord Jesus and the fullness of the faith in His Catholic Church.

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(Picture: Card my dad signed when he accepted Christ in the Baptist tradition kind of way.)

Tomorrow we celebrate not only the Easter Vigil — but also my father’s 90th birthday. He is the best dad that ever lived.

I have been asked to offer the prayer before dinner on Saturday as we celebrate my father’s 90th birthday, even though everyone knows I will tear up and take forever. It will be prefaced by a short speech in which I will praise of my father who has always been, and still is, like a sweet aroma that permeates every room he enters. In his presence people feel the love of God, a sense of acceptance, and a humble, joyful soul ready to meet God. I have nothing but fond memories.

brothers-guns

(Picture: Hunting with his boys. I am second in from the right.)

Even though he is now bent over, tired, wearing hearing aids and slower with his walker than when he used to go hunting and hiking with his boys — he has not lost his kindly smile, his quick humor and the respect of everyone that has ever known him.

steve-and-charlie-1(Picture: Me and dad back in the 1950′s dressed in our Baptist church clothes. We never missed Sunday School, Sunday preaching, Sunday night, Wednesday night prayer meeting, or the deacon’s meeting. Dad took me and I knelt and prayed with all the Baptist deacons every week.)

Dad’s 90th birthday party Saturday will be a joyous occasion with a movie full of old pictures and video clips (put together by my wonderful son Jesse). There will be a lot of remembering and tears and old stories and  rejoicing.  We expect almost 100 people to come to the dinner.

I will put up some pictures after Easter.

In September we will celebrate my mom and dad’s 70th Wedding Anniversary!

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James White’s Continued Obsession & Nasty-grams

by Steve Ray on April 10, 2009

A bit of background: Catholic convert Patty Bonds — a good friend of mine and the older sister of James White — has told her story of years of sexual abuse at the hands of their father — a Baptist pastor. She has told her story on her website Abba’s Little Girl and on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” (here and here). I wrote about her story here and here. Her latest installment, explaining her brother James White can be read here.

I added this info now and earlier because she has been under vicious attack by her brother ever since her conversion to Catholicism — and especially since she told her story of sexual abuse on EWTN and began helping others who have been sexually abused. Instead of defending or helping his sister, which any sensible brother would do, White has only rubbed salt in her wounds. She asked me to post her story on my blog to help others become aware of her website and story. She wanted to help others find healing as she has found healing. As a friend, I was happy to comply. As a result it has fueled the fire of White’s frenzy.

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UPDATE:

Patty Bonds Responds to her brother James White’s Frenzied Videos — by Acknowledging her Friends and Exposing the Lies

1) This matter discussed by Dr. Art Sippo on his blog.
2)
James White’s older sister Patty Bonds’ (convert to Catholicism) responds to her brother with a grace-filled, honest, heartfelt, and painful response. Nice job Patty! Sorry you have to go through all of this — like rubbing salt in the wound. I think your brother doth protest too much.
3) William Albrecht responds by YouTube, Part I
4) Dave Armstrong weighs in on the issue too. Now expanded.
5) Dave Armstrong documents White’s bizarre obsession with Steve Ray
6) William’s 2nd Video response below on Youtube
7) A Catholic Texan speaks his mind too.

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To explain the background a little bit more: Anti-Catholic James White has demonstrated an almost bizarre obsession with me over the last few years based on what people have told me about his blog and radio shows and the documentation of a bit of it by Dave Armstrong. I do not frequent his blog any more than I frequent the city dump, but people tell me he claims I am irrelevant and unimportant yet to the contrary I am told he is quite infatuated and spends an inordinate amount of time trying to refute and quash me.

He must consider me more important than he claims, and certainly a lot more important than I consider him. I’m told that his latest tirades continue to demonstrate his obsession. Almost reminds me of the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie “Play Misty for Me.” If you have not seen the movie it’s a creepy flick where the anti-hero Evelyn (played by Jessica Walter) is obsessed with Dave (played by Clint Eastwood) and can’t think of anything else. She watches every move and reacts to every word. Even though Clint was flattered at first, he soon realizes he is dealing with a very affected person as the movie progresses.

If I had the least respect for this guy I would take it as a left-handed compliment. Actually its rather sad and I don’t pay much attention any more. He is a whiny, egotistical bore — a huge waste of time. Every time I’ve tangled with him in the past I felt like I needed a shower with a good bar of antibacterial soap. It’ no different now.

pattybonds(Picture: Janet and I interviewing Patty Bonds in Phoenix for upcoming segment of our Defenders of the Faith series.)

My purpose was not to attack her brother, even though he seems to think that it was. Actually I knew about this situation years ago and never said a thing. Other knew too and never said anything. Had we wanted to, we could have — but we did not (see Art Sippo’s comments) because I did not want to use such a tragedy to embarrass anyone or to betray a trust.

It was not until Patty told her story publicly on EWTN’s The Journey Home (link above) and asked me to help publicize her website that I said a word to anyone. Out of my great respect and love for Patty I kept silent because she had become a dear friend to me and my wife and had confided this tragedy to us in confidence. She has also become a dear friend to many other Catholics like Patrick Madrid, Dr. Scott Hahn, Marcus Grodi, and others who appreciated her candor, her forgiveness, and impressive conversion and her love for the Lord Jesus and His Church.

James, on the other hand, is constantly blustering, bullying, and demonstrating what appears to be a deep-seated anger. He thinks I have assisted Patty in making her story known to hurt him. That is because James White seems thinks everything is about him. Actually I feel sorry for a man who seems to live in such a constant state of anger and frustration — even denial, according to his sister’s explanation. I don’t waste time arguing with him — it is futile. I simply pray for him to find peace and conversion.

His older sister Patty has found the grace to forgive. She has a profound peace and tranquility by the grace of God in the heart of the Catholic Church. I have seen it in her eyes and heard it in her words many times.  She is courageous, forgiving and quite candid with her story. If you haven’t met her on her website or read her heartfelt journey out of darkness, I suggest you do. I suggest we all pray for her younger brother to find the same peace his older sister has found.

Anyway, my friend William Albrecht just posted a video on YouTube confronting White’s nasty-grams. I appreciate friends like William. He is a good man. If you have ever heard of James White or are interested in such things, here is the video uploaded to YouTube by my friend William. You may also want to visit Patrick Madrid’s site and read his “The White Man’s Burden” post and get the debate that he makes available. By the way, he is also a good friend of Patty’s and has done much to help her through her darkness into the light.

In the meantime, after a shower, I’m on to more substantial and pleasant endeavors — like Easter and my father’s 90th birthday party and teaching at a university in Rome. Happy Easter everyone!

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