Saints and Fathers

Some might claim that Catholic teaching on relics and Sacramentals is unbiblical. Really?

Check out these biblical passages:

“So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face CLOTHS or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).

“So they cast the dead man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the BONES of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet” (2 Kgs. 13:21).

“They even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his SHADOW might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed” (Acts 5:15).

“When [Jesus] had said this, He spat on the ground, and made CLAY of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam ” (which is translated, Sent ). So he went away and washed and came back seeing” (John 9:6-7).

OIL – see James 5:14-15

WATER – see 2 Kings 5:14

SACRAMENTALISM (Quoted from Dave Armstrong’s “One Minute Apologist“)

Objection: Matter cannot convey grace. Sacramentalism and relics are unbiblical magic

The Bible teaches that grace and salvation come through the spirit (Jn. 6:63), not through “holy objects”

 Initial reply : The Incarnation of Jesus “raised” matter, and His death on the cross was intensely physical. Protestants often speak of “the blood” (Rev. 5:9; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Jn. 1:7), which is but one of many examples of sacramentalism. 

 Extensive reply 

 The New Testament is filled with many concrete examples or teachings about the “incarnational principle” and sacramentalism. Baptism confers regeneration (Acts 2:38, 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21 – cf. Mk. 16:16; Rom 6:3-4 -, 1 Cor. 6:11; Titus 3:5). Jesus’ garment (Matt. 9:20-22), saliva mixed with dirt (Jn. 9:5 ff.; Mk. 8:22-25), and water from the pool of Siloam (Jn. 9:7) all were used in healings. Anointing with oil for healing is also prescribed (Jas. 5:14). The Bible often calls for a laying on of hands for the purpose of ordination and commissioning (Acts 6:6) and in order to heal (Mk. 6:5; Lk. 13:13).

Catholics believe in seven sacraments: all of which are established on the basis of extensive biblical evidences: 1) The Eucharist: Lk. 22:19-20; Jn 6:53-58; 1 Cor. 11:23-30; 2) Baptism: Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38, 22:16; 3) Penance and Reconciliation: Matt. 16:19; Jn 20:23; 1 Cor. 5:3-5 with 2 Cor. 2:6-11; 4) Confirmation: Acts 8:14-17, 19:1-6; Eph. 1:13; 5) Anointing of the Sick: Mk. 6:13; Acts 9:17-18; Jas. 5:14-15; 6) Ordination: Mt. 18:18; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6; 7) Matrimony: Matt. 5:31-32, 19:1-9; Eph. 5:21-33.

Even relics (remnants of the bodies of saints and holy people, and related physical items), have (perhaps surprisingly) strong biblical support. Perhaps the most striking proof text is a story about the prophet Elisha:

 2 Kings 13:20-21: So Eli’sha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Eli’sha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Eli’sha, he revived, and stood on his feet.

 Examples of second-class relics (objects that came into contact with holy people) are also clearly found in passages about the prophet Elijah’s mantle, which parted the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:11-14), and Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16) and Paul’s handkerchief (Acts 19:11-12), used by God to heal sick people and to cast out demons. If all of this is “magic,” then it is a sort of “magic” directly sanctioned by God Himself.

 Objection 

 Protestants can agree with some of this. What cannot be found in the Bible, however, is the excessive veneration of relics. This goes too far, and is idolatry. We can remember the deeds of great heroes of the faith (Acts 7; Hebrews 11) and thank God for them, but we shouldn’t get into worshiping bones or pieces of hair and so forth, or go on pilgrimages to “holy places.” That’s too much like paganism or heathenism and adds nothing to our spiritual life. All places are equally “holy.”

 Reply to Objection 

 If matter can indeed convey grace and blessing, according to the Bible, then we can give glory to God for what He has done with lowly matter by venerating (not worshiping) even now-inanimate objects. Protestants themselves would not, for example, think that the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem or the hill where He died on the cross or His tomb, from which He rose from the dead, are merely rocks and dirt like any other rocks and dirt. In their own way they do indeed venerate and honor them. If the physical location were so irrelevant, why visit it at all; why not simply ponder Jerusalem and Israel in their heads, in “spirit.” 

Plenty of Protestants are also fascinated and intrigued by the Shroud of Turin, which is an extraordinary secondary relic related to our Lord Jesus. That is an object, too; a mere piece of cloth. But would any Christian treat it like any other cloth and tear it up for rags to dust with? Of course they would not, because it was connected with Jesus and has miraculous properties (like Elisha’s bones): a supernaturally produced image. Therefore it is highly regarded and revered. It all goes back to God and His great works, using matter. Sacramentalism and relics flow from the Incarnation: God Himself taking on flesh and matter and becoming man.

 St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) 

 The death of Christ is the universal cause of man’s salvation: but a universal cause has to be applied to particular effects. Thus it was found necessary for certain remedies to be administered to men by way of bringing Christ’s death into proximate connection with them. Such remedies are the Sacraments of the Church.

And these remedies had to be administered with certain visible signs: — first, because God provides for man, as for other beings, according to his condition; and it is the condition of man’s nature to be led through sensible things to things spiritual and intelligible: secondly, because instruments must be proportioned to the prime cause; and the prime and universal cause of man’s salvation is the Word Incarnate: it was convenient therefore that the remedies, through which that universal cause reaches men, should resemble the cause in this, that divine power works invisibly through visible signs.

Hereby is excluded the error of certain heretics, who wish all visible sacramental signs swept away; and no wonder, for they take all visible things to be of their own nature evil, and the work of an evil author. These visible sacramental signs are the instruments of a God Incarnate and Crucified. (Summa Contra Gentiles, IV, 56: “Of the Need of Sacraments”)

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Feast Day of St. Justin Martyr, June 1
 
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I get asked this question a lot and thought others would find my answer helpful. Not that I claim to have discovered this myself but reading and gleaning has brought me to this conclusion.

In Luke 7:19-28, John the Baptist was in prison and sent two of his disciples to Galilee to ask Jesus a question. 

And John, calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ 

Some say John was doubting. Was Jesus really the one sent from God, the Messiah, or not? 

Had John lost his faith? Of course, we cannot deny that this is a possibility. Of course John was in prison and things had not gone the way he may have hoped. If Jesus was the “sent one” why was he, John, languishing in the Machaerus Fortress? 

Human weakness could possibly be an explanation though John the Baptist does not strike me as one who is going to doubt Jesus as the Messiah considering all that he had witnessed and known.

I think a better explanation might be that John the Baptist had to decrease and Jesus had to increase (John 3:30). What is the best way to get your disciples to leave you and follow the Messiah than to send them to Jesus to ask him if he is the Messiah? 

In other words I don’t think it was doubt that caused John to send his disciples to ask Jesus that question. It was that he wanted to wean them off of himself so that they would realize who Jesus really was and begin to follow him.

Luke continues, 

In that hour [Jesus] cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.  And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” (Luke 7:18-28)

Seeing Jesus’ miracles and their correspondence side-by-side with the prophecies of Isaiah certainly gave the proof to an honest heart and mind. 

John, knowing his disciples had been prepared for the coming Messiah through his own preaching, knew they would recognize and follow him after their journey. He must decrease, Jesus must increase.

This seems to me an adequate and substantial explanation of John the Baptist’s question. I think St. Francis de Sales explained it this way and if anyone knows where the citation is, please let me know.

“The glorious St. John the Baptist did not send his disciples to Jesus our Lord to find out whether or not He was the Messiah. He had three reasons: first, to make Him known to the whole world. Second, he wanted to draw disciples only to his Teacher, to whose school he now sends them to be instructed personally by Him. Third, to detach them from himself and let them see Jesus so that they might come to Him in a manner worthy of Him. Therefore, John sent them to this Divine Majesty.”

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“Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?” – Resources about Communion of the Saints

March 10, 2016

I compiled a list of Catechism, Scripture and quotes from the early Church Fathers and even archaeology to assist in understanding the Communion of Saints. You can download the source material here. Sample: Who should carry the most weight—Protestant pastors protesting Catholic theology today or pastors from the early Church who have the words of […]

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The Pain of Stolen Honey – In Preparation for “John the Baptist & Our Lord Baptism”

March 5, 2016

A painful price is paid when one reaches his hand into a swarm of bees to swipe some of their honey. Stingers fly and welts flare. I raised hives of bees as a boy and once I was stung 35 times in one day. Wild honey is not collected from wild bees without burning pain […]

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Discovering the Place of Paul’s Shipwreck on Island of Malta

February 16, 2016

I am doing a show on EWTN’s Son Rise Morning Show on Tuesday about the shipwreck of St. Paul. So I am reposting this blog from our trip to Malta late last year. One of my favorite things is to discover the events and places of the Bible and to share them with others. The […]

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Another Chart of the Apostles after the New Testament

February 13, 2016

I posted a chart a few weeks ago but this one surfaces and since everyone seemed very interested in the previous post, I thought you’d appreciate this one as well. Thanks to the ChurchPop.com websitesite.

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What Happened to the Apostles after the New Testament?

February 2, 2016

 

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“Was St. Paul a Catholic?” – Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live

January 26, 2016

Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live of Friday, January 23, 2016. Click here to listen on-line; for podcast or more listening options click here. 1.  Opened with a discussion of St. Paul life before conversion, his life and radical ministry and the facts and issues surrounding his martyrdom. 2.  In 1 Corinthians St. Paul […]

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Mother Teresa to be Canonized! Confirmed Today! Join us for the event in ROME!

December 18, 2015

Today Pope Francis confirmed the second miracle and cleared Mother Teresa for canonization. We have plans all ready to go! For more information, contact Suzanne at sparran@ctscentral.com or by calling 800-727-1999, ext. 121.

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Brief Overviews of Paul’s Life – from the Place He Was Beheaded – Free Timeline

October 27, 2015

Since we visited these sites today, I thought I would share these two videos: 1) Short Biography of St. Paul from the Place he was Martyred; 2) a Tour of the Sites of St. Paul’s Last Days. Enjoy! A while ago I gave a short biography of St. Paul at Tre Fontone where St. Paul […]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live from Malta: “Who was St. Paul?”

October 7, 2015

It was great doing the Catholic Answers Live show on St. Paul from the Island of Malta. Here are the questions I answered in a very lively hour. To listen on-line listen here. To download the Podcast click here. **************************************** 1. What are you doing on the Island of Malta and tell us of St. […]

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Canonization of Mother Teresa! Don’t Miss This – Join Us in Rome Next Year

September 12, 2015

It is happening! Join us for the canonization of Mother Teresa in Rome for a full Rome and Assisi pilgrimage.  We are the first to jump on this event – with hotels, flights, guides, buses and everything else reserved. For more info and to get your name on the list contact Suzanne at sparran@ctscentral.net or […]

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Join us in Rome for Mother Teresa’s Canonization

September 9, 2015

   We have acquired information that the canonization of Mother Teresa will take place next year. If you’re interested in joining us for the canonization and a full pilgrimage to Rome andAssisi,  SEC, please contact Suzanne at​ sparran@ctscentral.net or 1-800-727-1999, ext.121. 

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Cut off His Head! John the Baptist

August 30, 2015

Beheading of John the Baptist August 29 Why was John so special? He was the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New. He was the first to proclaim the news that Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God. He was 100% from the lineage of Aaron the High Priest. […]

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The Eucharist and the Fathers of the Church: Article by Steve Ray

August 19, 2015

The Eucharist and the Fathers of the Church, by Steve Ray The word “Eucharist” was used early in the Church to describe the Body and Blood of Christ under the forms of bread and wine. Eucharist comes from the Greek word for “thanks” (eucharistia), describing Christ’s actions: “And when he had given thanks, he broke […]

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