24 December, 2010

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friends,


It is now a few hours before I am privileged to celebrate the first of two vigil Christmas masses and I am spending a few minutes with quiet Christmas music playing on the TV and giving thanks for the blessings I have received through this blog in particular and via this internet 'ministry' of mine in general.


It has brought me untold blessings. The people who have made contact with me either on the blog or via my personal email have (for the most part) inspired, challenged, and led me to look deep within my mind and heart to see not only what I believe to be 'true' but why it is that I so believe. Wisdom shared from regulars like Lady Janus, Small Town Guy, Martin and Michael Brandon has helped me to see many sides of these questions we discuss; sides I had not ever taken note of before. You have all been the most precious of gifts that I give thanks for you this Christmas eve.  You offer the light of charity and the voice of your life's convictions in my life and for this I thank you.


To those who chide or challenge my convictions, I say 'fight the good fight' and I'll do my best to hold up my end of the conversation. Some days I'll be 'road kill' and on others I'll win my point. The key is to be trusting enough in my knowledge and convictions to stand up to the challenges posed by others... and to be humble enough to be willing to change my ideas when proven to be in error. I guess it's kind of like a 'rational' Catholic's version of the A.A. 'Wisdom Prayer'. 

Whenever fundamental zeitgeists such as I welcome here comes into contact with each other, there's bound to be heat and friction; just as when 'the rubber hits the road'. May our journey through 2011 be as rewarding for you as 2010 has been for me. May the 'skid marks' on our backs and ego's be few and light for all!


Merry Christmas and happy holidays! See you back here in a few days.


Fr. Tim Moyle

PS. No matter your conviction or belief... I hope you'll appreciate this gift for you. It seems to sum up how I feel. Hope it's the same for you.


10 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas Father Tim...thank you for giving us a place to share and grow...a place where we come to know our God, others and ourselves better...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm putting this here because I want your response to this. You're clearly not going to respond to it over on PZ's blog.

    Tim #212: "Tell me how and why it is that you do not see the annihilation of death as something that necessarily leads to a nihlisitic world view."

    My friend was far from perfect, he was a junkie after all and never managed to kick. It was the cancer that got him. It ate away his throat before finally killing him. He was an atheist, self-described, usually with the adjective militant thrown in for good measure.

    How did he spend the last days of his life? Did he rail and rage, get high and fuck shit up because there was no god, no afterlife in his world view? Did he succumb to nihilism there at the end when really, what was anyone going to do to punish him in this life that the cancer wasn't going to do first? No, he did none of those things.

    He spent his last days reaching out to people. Not to appease the arbitrary rules of some invisible sky pixie though. No, he sought out those he had harmed and who had harmed him and tried to make amends BECAUSE there is no afterlife. He had to do it himself because the annihilation of death meant that there would be no further chances.

    In this case the annihilation of death created good in this world. It created forgiveness, reconciliation and understanding. It lead me to realize that I had abandoned our friendship just when he had needed it most. It lead me to realize that I had done so in another case, and I've now started the process of rebuilding that friendship.

    There were billions of years before the tiny little spark that was my friend's life blinked in and out of existence and there will be billions of years after it. The fact that my spark and his overlapped at all in that incomprehensible amount of time fills me with awe.

    And here's the point Tim: I am a better person because that overlap was uneven; I am a better person because the annihilation of death.

    You are wrong. You are refuted. Are you capable of admitting that your blanket statement was in fact wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Father Tim.

    http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-utterly-preposterous.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Coelecanth:

    Do you really want an answer, or do you already have it? Simply, do you want the truth, or do you need to be right?

    For most of us being right, so we can hold to our world view, is really important to us.

    But, maybe there is more, and our world view is not as the world is, but as we are, and therfor flawed.

    In Christianity, we learn that God (the one you refer to as a sky pixie in your world view) is an all loving God, and that in that love, He never ceases to call out to His Children, like your departed friend, no matter how far they wander from Him.

    Maybe, just maybe, your friend, was motivated by the God of Love to spread love in his last days, giving and receiving it, to the very best of his ability.

    For you to be filled with awe is quite appropriate. As a Christian, I too am filled with awe. Though we are so capable of doing evil to ourselves and to others, we are also capable of recognising love. God is Love, and all love is of God.

    Your apparent refutation is nothing of the sort, but is a wonderful story of redemption.

    Merry Christmas and God Bless You
    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  5. Coelecanth: Yes, I would be wrong in coloring all atheists with one brush - if that's what I said. Thankfully is wasn't. I was speaking from the first paragraph on about a subset (albeit a LARGE subset) of atheists who are perennially 'grumpy' in my virtual encounters with them.

    If both you and your friend didn't consider yourselves among them... good for you!

    I also echo what Michael has offered as an answer to your question. He is a man of wisdom and faith and I believe he offers an even better response to your question than mine.

    Merry Christmas & thanks for the questions.

    Fr. Tim

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tim,

    You expressed your gratitude for people who have challenged you to look deep within your heart and mind and examine your beliefs. You are someone who seems to have an open mind. You are to be commended for allowing those who strongly differ with you an opportunity to comment on your blog. For this I thank you.

    One of our hymns which expresses God's grace is called "Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee"

    1. 'Tis not that I did choose Thee, For, Lord, that could not be;

    This heart would still refuse Thee, Hadst Thou not chosen me.

    Thou from the sin that stained me Hast cleansed and set me free;

    Of old Thou hast ordained me, That I should live to Thee.

    2. Twas sovereign mercy called me And taught my opening mind;

    The world had else enthralled me, To heavenly glories blind.

    My heart owns none before Thee,, For Thy rich grace I thirst;

    This knowing, if I love Thee, Thou must have loved me first.

    Unquote

    Man-made religion teaches that man must do certain things to earn favour with God or merit heaven. True religion as taught in Holy Scripture reveals it is entirely by God's grace or unmerited favour. We do not know why God chose certain individuals, but only that He did for that is what the Bible teaches.

    "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;

    That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselvees; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

    Ephesians ch2 vs 4 to 9.

    "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." Eph. 1:6

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wayne:

    To read you finally acknowledging that the Reform Churches are man made, and seeing the error of your ways is a true blessing. What a great way to celebrate the New Year. :}

    I did not want to comment on your "Heart" quote over at the other posting about atheists, since it is more relevant here.

    You used Jeremiah 17:9 to comment on my reference to following our hearts in spiritual matters. Heart in that verse is from the the Hebrew "leb" which means what I intended it to mean but "also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect (from Strong's Concordance)". As you know, the bible cannot contradict itself, or it would be in error, and we both agree that it cannot be in error on matters of faith.

    If your interpretation was correct, then Matthew 5:6 would be heresy when it says: "Happy are those whose heart's desire is for righteousness: for they will have their desire." Here heart means the depths of one's being where God resides with wisdom, which was my meaning in the original posting on atheists.

    Since Christ founded his Church, which became known as the Roman Catholic Church, and which alone has followed the line of the apostles, the teachings (not actions of all members)have been consistent, and biblical, and contain the full gospel message, not a watered down version that people jump from to the next watered down version when they no longer can stick with their most recent watered down version.

    Martin Luther and others were very right to be upset with the actions of a number of the leaders of their Church. They were awful. But, since biblically all authority comes from God, Luther et al were required biblically to submit to that authority, question it, pray against the apparent errors in it, and work diligently inside the Church for Reform. The Church did not require reform of its true teachings, but reform of the actions of some of those in leadership.

    Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, YOU SHALL NOT HAVE LIFE WITHIN YOU. The Aramaic word for eat in this verse is actually the word for gnaw or chew, and so cannot be misinterpreted.

    That is what the early Church taught, lived, and believed, those who knew Jesus, and those who followed after.

    I know that I put my own spin at the top to what you said in your comment. It would be good to have you back in the Catholic Church, but you are wasting your time and breath (keystrokes) thinking that you have had anything new to say that could lead Father Tim or me, or any other Catholic who has studied his Church and its teachings to leave our Beloved Church.

    The problem today in the Catholic Church is not the teachings, as all are bible based, and cannot contradict scripture. The problem is that so many Catholics lack the knowledge of their faith and the wisdom to proclaim it.

    All levity aside, I admire your dedication to Christianity, your study of the word of God, and your commitment to live it to the best of your ability.

    Happy New Year
    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  8. Michael,

    "All levity aside, I admire your dedication to Christianity, your study of the word of God, and your commitment to live it to the best of your ability."

    Thank you for your kind words. It is a good thing to read after finishing a great New Year's dinner here. I hope you are enjoying the holiday season as well

    I don't know if you are aware of the fact Luther actually was not trying to split or leave the RC church. He was trying to bring enormous errors and bad practices to their attention, but they wouldn't hear of it. That was the problem. So he was soon excommunicated.
    That is basically how it happened.

    You sound very confident that you or Tim would never leave the RCC. That may be true. But it is not up to me. Remember salvation is of the Lord. God can save a person no matter what church or religion that person is in. Christians simply share the message in God's Word. Whether a person believes or not is the Lord's work. Remember salvation is by faith through grace. (Ephesians ch2 vs8,9) Not of works.

    I hope you realize what Jesus said about eating His flesh and drinking His blood occurred two passovers before the last supper. Check that in your Bible. It must have been between one and two years before the last supper. Therefore, he had not yet instituted the memorial spoken of in the last supper. That means Jesus was not speaking about the bread and wine of a communion service. How could it be referring to that when it had not yet been instituted?

    So Jesus was referring to eating and drinking as a figurative expression of faith in Him. Look through the gospel of John and see how many times Jesus says eternal life is by faith in Him. Even in John chap.6 Jesus said "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47

    Then further down He talks about eating himself being the living bread from heaven (vs51). He says if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever... If Jesus meant one must eat his body and blood literally to obtain eternal life, then Jesus must have been teaching two ways to obtain eternal life; one my faith or believing in Him (vs47) and a second way, by literally eating His flesh and blood. Which way is true?

    Another thing to remember is the eating of blood is forbidden in the New Testament. So if it were actually Jesus' blood in the communion service, wouldn't that be contrary to the prohibition in the Bible to not eat blood?

    Some of Jesus' disciples did not understand what He meant in John ch6 and left him (vs66), but Jesus makes it clear in vs63 he was speaking in a spiritual sense, not a literal sense.

    If he meant it literally, why did he say in verse 63 "the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."??

    ReplyDelete
  9. Brother Wayne:

    A comment section is really a weak place to lay out one's theology or that of one's Church.

    Your response to my latest comment is interesting, well reasoned, rational, yet irreconciliably incorrect.

    All of history built to the moment of Our Dear Saviour's Passion and Death on the cross and then His Glorious Resurrection.

    Everything did not follow chronologically specifically. For Jesus to lay out the teaching of the Eucharist partially two Passovers before the actual Institution of the Eucharist tells us not that the Catholic interpretation of it is incorrect, but that the deeper meaning that He said it at Passover, and then followed it up two Passovers later.

    What is very important to understand is that the early Church believed whole heartedly in this, and lived it and built their traditions on Eucharist, the True Presence. So much so, that the Presence of Christ at each Eucharistic celebration is central to the Christian faith, and any deviation from that diminishes the faith, since without it you cannot have life within you.

    Martin Luther was right to want to correct errors. They were desperately needed. But, it got out of hand, and not just his hand. The leaders inside the Church were equally at fault. That in no way excuses Luther and other men for creating man made churches on their personal interpretations of scripture.

    My salvation like yours comes from Jesus Christ alone. I cannot gain my salvation by anything I do. But, I must cooperate with Christ in me. I must live as Him for my brothers and sisters here on earth. To do that I must draw closer to Him day by day, and become holy for He is holy. That is a tall order, my brother, and one that I personally cannot live out without regular reception of Him in the Eucharist.

    I spent New Years alone here in Arizona, still recovering from my travels. I spoke with My Dear Wife at length, as I do each day we are apart. So, it was a peaceful aloneness, and grace filled.

    I wish you all the best in 2011, and look forward to more of our sharing of the similarities and differences of our faith this year.

    God Bless You and your loved ones in 2011
    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

Followers of this blog:

Blog Archive

Google Analytics