#18 To All People of Good Will

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Dear Doctimus Prime,
If I had the opportunity to address a congregation on Christmas day, here is what I would probably say:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“The time came for Mary to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Lk2:6-7
These words touch our hearts every time we hear them. This was the moment that the angel had foretold at Nazareth: “You will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:31). This was the moment that Israel had been awaiting for centuries, through many dark hours – the moment that all mankind was somehow awaiting, in terms as yet ill-defined: when God would take care of us, when he would step into history, when the world would be saved and God would renew all things. We can imagine the kind of interior preparation, the kind of love with which Mary approached that hour. The brief phrase: “She wrapped him in swaddling clothes” allows us to glimpse something of the holy joy and the silent zeal of her preparation. The swaddling clothes were ready, so that the child could be given a fitting welcome. Yet there is no room at the inn.

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In some way, we are waiting for God, waiting for him to draw near. But when the moment comes, there is no room for him. We can become so preoccupied with ourselves that we leave no space and no time for others – for our neighbour, for the poor, for God.
The Christmas season speaks for itself. It’s no cleverly invented myth, neither is it un-reason-able. Christ took on human flesh and became ONE OF US. The joy which attends it is enough to turn gloom into grace, despair into hope and war into peace. The message of the season is timely. The message we should focus on is that of FAMILY. God in Jesus Christ has come to join the human family. He has come to mend all that is broken in our hearts, in our homes and in our society. Many homes today are only houses where people come to sleep at night and leave as soon as day breaks. Parents have become so busy that they barely know their children. Children are left with no one but their peers, television and the internet as their guardians and teachers of what is right and wrong. Christ has come to teach us that children are vulnerable and they need all the attention, understanding and care they can get. The fatherly protection of Joseph and the tender care of Mary are vivid examples of how parents are to guide their children. Will Christ find shelter in your homes?

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More than ever before, your home is to be a place where Christ is known and loved. You should pray and study the Bible as a family, or at least ask each other what you learnt in Church. You should welcome people and where possible, help to reduce their suffering with financial, moral and spiritual support. If Christ finds a home in your family, his grace, blessings and favour shall never depart.

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Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604) has this to say to you:
“The angels consider man as their equal because they adore God made man, sitting at the right hand of the Father. Let us, therefore, beloved brethren, beware of every sin… Let us lead such good lives that they may correspond with our dignity. Avoid, therefore, impurity and lust, even every sinful thought. Let not wickedness soil the purity of your souls; let not the poison of envy and hatred penetrate your hearts. Keep your souls free from pride, covetousness and anger, and especially from the desire of tasting the sinful pleasures of this world. Remember that you have been called the children of the Most High (Ps 82:6). Defend in yourselves the glory of God by avoiding sin, for God was made man in order to honour us and make us partakers of His eternal glory.”
May Christ newly born find a home in your families and may His glory never depart from you, Amen.
Yours,
BLOGATRON

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#17 Illuminati

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Dear Doctimus Prime,
I believe it when people say that half-truths are more dangerous than total ignorance. There is this whole buzz about an ‘Illuminati society’ and symbols relating to them. In my usual way, I had to look up some historical facts to determine why there is so much noise today about them. I think what really got me pissed and upset was when someone claimed that certain Catholic symbols, which speak of certain attributes of God, are illuminati symbols. But first, I had to get to the root of the whole Illuminati enterprise (call it whatever you want!).

One author wrote that “their modern origin traces back to the 1760s and a man named Adam Weishaupt, who defected from the Catholic church and organized a group of ‘enlightened’ men, financed by the International Bankers. Since then, according to the Illuminati, their top goal has been to achieve a “one world government” and to subjugate all religions and governments in the process” (http://people.virginia.edu/~sfr/enam481/groupa/illumhist.html). The Catholic Encyclopedia corroborates the fact about the name of the group’s founder but states its aim a little differently.

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In a document written and completed in 1776, Weishaupt stated the aim for which the Illuminati was founded. It will start off as a new popular religion (not sure what this means exactly, but with the way people worship money and sex, I am afraid that might just be it!). In the domain of politics, it will involve the gradual establishment of a universal democratic republic. Society will be regulated by reason (do whatever your mind tells you!). This way of thinking and acting is to replace the religious and political tutelage of Church and State, of “priest and prince” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07661b.htm). I believe there is a lot more going on than we even know.
Our level of morality and religious piety are declining and no one is complaining; no one even cares. A country which has huge financial debt issues to resolve but chooses to concern itself with raising democratic government in foreign nations does not give anyone a source of concern. We are not even bothered that we are comfortable to think that “EVERYONE SHOULD CHOOSE WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE”. Now, people even have cause to believe that the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, founded by Jesus Christ Himself, has come under illuminati influence!

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One of the means Weishaupt employed to implant this seed of distrust of the Catholic Church and its symbols in our mind is by using some of them for other purposes. The two-finger sign, the “eye of horus” are just easy examples. The two-finger sign (which some call ‘the peace sign’) is depicted in paintings of Christ and denotes his TWO NATURES as HUMAN AND DIVINE. The Eye of God is an equilateral triangle with a single eye inside it and almost always with rays emanating from it. It symbolizes the omnipresence and omniscience of God, who watches over all things. It is also associated with the Trinity (which the triangle symbolizes in itself). Related Bible verses are Psalms 34:15, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous” and Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place.” Any other meaning attached to the so-called “eye of horus” is unbiblical and unchristian. To liken these ‘illuminati’ signs to Christianity or Catholicism is like claiming that a Father looks like son when in fact the reverse is the case.

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Prime, I have decided to concern myself with building up my knowledge of my Christian faith, learning and teaching others to believe in JESUS as the Way, the ONLY TRUTH and the LIFE. I will also do all that is in my power to be patriotic and serve my country the best way I can. With that I have little or no time bothering about who is illuminati or not, which symbols indicate their presence or not. I will just keep MAKING CHRIST PRESENT EVERYWERE. Oh, before I forget, I also found out that Adam Weishaupt returned and was reconciled to the Catholic Church before he died.
Yours,
BLOGATRON.

#16 Wreath of Grace

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Dear Doctimus Prime,
As we lit the third candle on the Advent Wreath last Saturday, I remembered I hadn’t told you about this wonderful practice in the Catholic Church that has reshaped my idea on the Advent season for nearly a decade now. I heard about the Advent Wreath for the first time, 8 years ago. And its symbolism is one that every Catholic should appreciate. It is easy to build and a person can have one in the home to remind them of the importance of waiting for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. The wreath is built into a circle with leaves and candles a placed in it. So build the wreath on a hoop supported by a stand.

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The circle of the wreath and the evergreens that make it up both signify God’s endless mercy and undying love. Three purple candles and one rose-colored (pink) candle are evenly spaced around the wreath. There is one larger white candle in the center of the wreath. The wreath can be as simple as four candle holders with greenery laid around them to form a circle. However, some traditions attach meanings to using different greens, each signifying another aspect of the season. These include:
Ivy — to remind us of the human spirit clinging to God’s strength.
Cedar — to remind us of eternal life available to all through Christ.
Holly — to remind us of Jesus’ crown of thorns.
Bay — to remind us of victory over sin and death.

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Each week, an additional candle is lit. As the light grows brighter, we are reminded that the Light of the World will soon arrive in glory. The central white candle is to be larger (often thicker) than the four in the wreath. This relatively recent addition to the Advent wreath signifies the Light of Christ and is first lit on Christmas Eve and relit burned on Christmas Day. I pray that Advent truly prepares me to welcome Christ into my heart at Christmas.
Yours,
BLOGATRON

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#15 Open Letter to Okotie Pt. 3

Dear Doctimus Prime,
I have received word about my letter to you and many have expressed the opinion that I shouldn’t embark on the task of clarifying issues about the faith and responding to the statements of the “Pastor” because truth should be evident. But I am more concerned about those who may not be so fortunate to know what they ought to believe about the Catholic Church. Everyone has at least a right to know what the Catholic Church teaches. This is not so that they believe. But at least they know when someone is is condemning the Church from IGNORANCE. That said, I wish to continue with my letter:

Do I have to comment on his statement about Pope Francis or John Paul II whose lives are eloquent testimonies to God’s grace working through human persons? Their gesture of entrusting the Church to Mary is not something they invented from the blues. They are only following the footsteps of Christ Himself who entrusted the beloved disciple, the representative of all true followers of Christ, to her maternal care with the words “Woman behold your son” (Jn 19:26). Mary has a special interest in the Church of her Son. The Church is her Son’s bride (Ephesians 5:25-27) and she continues to guide the Church with her prayerful intercession. This is true whether we choose to believe it or not.

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I had written to you, dear Prime, on the issue of Purgatory (http://fromjaytoyou.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/9-bite-me/). You won’t find the word “Trinity” explicitly written in the Bible, yet the idea is scattered all over the Old and New Testaments. The issue is the same with Purgatory. It is a term which describes the purification which souls destined for heaven must undergo. These holy souls are friends of God but have some impurities which prevents them from immediately entering into God’s presence since nothing impure can enter heaven (cf. Rev 21:25-27; 1Jn 5:17). This does not detract from the teachings in the scriptures about heaven and hell.

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I don’t think I need to say anything about the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Bible which I love so much to call SACRED SCRIPTURES. A cursory look at the history of Christianity from earliest times reveals that Scripture is authored by the Catholic Church. There are, however, some other versions of the Bible which have lesser number of books than the Catholic Bible (66 instead of 73). This discrepancy began with Luther in the 16th Century when he rejected 7 books from the Catholic bible since they supported views which he didn’t like (for more info visit http://www.catholicbible101.com/thebible73or66books.htm and similar sources). I must add, on a lighter note, that the Pastor is even citing a book whose origin and authority he knows nothing about.

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I am not even going to mention the fact that he has ‘prophesied’ thrice already that he was anointed by God to be Nigeria’s president. None of these saw the stars of night let alone the light of day. I am not going to mention that he is divorced twice when scriptures prescribe that a deacon shouldn’t be married more than once (cf. 1Tim 3:8-13). I am not even going to comment on the fact that he holds beauty pageants in his Church! No wonder scripture says that “by their fruits you shall know them…” (Mt 7:15-20). The truth is often evident to those who wish to know it.

Yours,
BLOGATRON

P.S:
Amuse yourself with this…

Sunday

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#14 Open Letter to Okotie Pt.2

I wish to thank you for your patience. Here at last is the second part to my letter. Enjoy. *winks*:

The Scriptures tell us that on the night before he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and wine and gave it to His disciples and told them to eat and drink of it because it is his BODY and BLOOD (cf. Mk 14:22-25; Mt. 26.26; Lk 22.14-20; 1Cor 11:23-29). Finally, he commanded the apostles to do as He had done (“Do this in REMEMBRANCE of Me”), so that in every place bread might become His body, and wine His blood, and that through His priests He might offer in every place the perfect sacrifice to the Father. In John’s Gospel (6:53), Jesus Himself commands his disciples to eat his flesh and blood if they must have life. Many of them left after that statement because they knew the implication. What Jesus really wanted them to know is that BY HIS WORDS, what was once an ordinary piece of bread and an ordinary cup of wine, become his body and blood. Jesus had previously in scripture prepared our mind for this EXTRAORDINARY MANIFESTATION OF HIS POWER when he turned WATER INTO WINE at Cana (cf. Jn 2:1-11).

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This practice of turning bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ has continued in Christ’s (Catholic) Church all through the ages through the MINISTRY of the PRIESTHOOD. The Apostles, who were appointed by Christ, appointed and ORDAINED other men to carry on Christ’s command of doing this in REMEMBRANCE OF HIM (cf. 2Tim 1:6). The priest through the power of Jesus given to him at ordination changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus at Mass. This practice of communing (or eating and drinking Christ’s Body and Blood) is attested to in scripture (the first Christians called it “the breaking of bread” cf. Lk 24:35, Acts 2:42).

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Some may wonder why Christ would have done something so “bizarre” and require His followers to do the same. Two reasons readily come to mind: SACRIFICE AND MEMORY. Jesus’ death on the Cross was a SACRIFICE and it replaced the Jewish sacrifice of lambs to take away sins. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that the Jewish sacrifice is unable to wash away sins (cf. Heb 10:3-4). But Jesus’ self-sacrifice effects a perfect purification from sin and death (cf. Heb 9:28). It was this sacrifice that Jesus presented to them during the Last Supper when he told them that His Body and Blood which he presents to them, under the appearance of bread and wine, is the NEW COVENANT in His Blood (Mt 26:28; Lk 22:20; Mk 14:24; 1Cor 11:25). So Jesus was talking about A REAL SACRIFICE or RITUAL if you like. But ritual should not be here understood to mean Cannibalism. Even in Jewish practice the sacrificial lamb is eaten (cf. Exodus 12)!

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Jesus, the new Paschal lamb, doesn’t only want to take away our sins; He also wants to be our food and source of strength. The Pastor’s statement that, “They don’t know Jesus. They believe that when they eat bread on Sundays, they are eating the body of Jesus” is in error since he clearly has no idea what Jesus requires of his follower or wishes for them.

MEMORY, in Jewish understanding, is more than just a recounting of the past. The Greek word “anamnesis” in Lk 22:19 translates a Hebrew word “zakkar” (to remember). It is used (cf. Ex 8:2,18) to ask someone to recapture an event in the past in such a way that it is meaningful in the present. The effect is similar to Time Travel. In Time Travel (logically speaking), one is transported back into time to relive a memory (or experience) they once had. By asking a Jew to remember something, you ask Him to relive that experience as though it was the first time they are having it. The Apostles understood Jesus’ statement in this way. So whenever they “break bread and share the wine” they are reliving what He first did for them. They are partaking of His body and blood as they first did on Holy Thursday. Little wonder Saint Paul said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

To be continued…

#13 Open Letter to Okotie

Dear Doctimus Prime,
I am not fond of writing about others. But sometimes things need to be set straight for the sake of those whose faith may be feeble. Now a so-called “Pastor” recently said some things about the Catholic Church and her teachings which were clearly WRONG. The innocent thing any well-meaning person would want to do is either clarify the issues he raised on condemn his actions. Prime, I have chosen to do the former.

He began by calling the Catholic Church “a counterfeit church set up by Satan”. If my memory serves me right, and if the Scriptures (which coincidentally he cites as AUTHORITY) is a worthy evidence, Jesus only founded ONE CHURCH and made the Apostle, Saint Peter, its head with the words, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build MY CHURCH, and the gates of Hades (Hell) will not overcome it” (Mt 16:18). It is curious that the word “Hades” or “Hell” appears in the same verse. I hope it wasn’t to ‘attacks’ such as this one by the “Pastor” that Jesus was referring to. There is no gainsaying that to argue that Catholics are not Christians is the same as claiming that Jesus did not found a Church.

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He also claimed that Catholics “bow to idols and crucify Jesus every Sunday when they eat bread claiming they are eating Jesus’ body.” Well, it is interesting to note that idols are images, either molded or carved, which are worshipped as gods. Statues and pictures of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints who we believe are in heaven are not worshipped. Far from that! Statues and other images only serve to focus the mind of the Catholic on God ALONE who is his only object of prayer. Images are only used as VISUAL AIDS. He or She only seeks the intercession of the Blessed Virgin or the Saints because, as Scripture says, “The prayer of the righteous avails much…” (cf. James 5:16).

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People today ask their pastors, priests or even fellow Christians to pray for them. How much more effective are the prayers of those who already enjoy God’s holy presence and whose prayers are far more effect since they enjoy the privilege of assisting us with their prayers (cf. Rom 12:1,2). And Catholics do not crucify Jesus; we are doing exactly what He asked us to do.
To be continued…