Teresa Carmody
How To Tell

Q. I am an ex-Protestant and I hope to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. I am not so much eager to become a Catholic, as I am eager to be united with the True Church1 that Christ founded (and I do believe there can be only one, not many), and to follow the apostles' teaching.

A. Tragically you mistake the Roman Catholic Church for the one true church of Jesus Christ. You want to become catholic – and yet by joining the Church of Rome, you will become "Catholic" in name only and not in truth. In Christian theology the word "catholic" describes the entire church of Jesus Christ. The word "catholic" simple means "universal". All God's people from every nation and in every era, all who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, together form the catholic church.

So often the Catholic Church is rejected because of what "everyone knows" she teaches.2 If I had a nickel for every time I had been told I worshipped Mary I might be able to make a down payment on the cost of the school clothes I bought for the children today. I was astonished when I came into the Catholic Church to read what is actually taught. Strikingly different from what I learned as a Protestant.

Roman Catholic Faith Examined! Was Peter the first Pope?3 Catholics say Yes! Truth says No! Here are TEN solid, Biblical proofs that Peter was not at Rome. Mark each in your Bible and understand them well.

Have you ever been gripped by the awareness that your life was intended to be significant, and that you were called to live a life that really impacted the world you live in?  EmergeDTS seeks to call forth and develop the gifts and character of God within you, empowering you to live a life that transforms the world. […] Our 3 month lecture phase will help you Emerge and become a passionate disciple,4 Equip you to be effective as you disciple others, and enable you to Engage in transforming the Nations!

There are different wordings of the cock crows5 in early manuscripts of Mark's gospel. I believe that the "dis" (twice) in 14:30 & 72 were not in Mark's original, but added later by someone(s) who thought he/they were correcting an error. I believe Mark counted the denials differently than did the other gospel writers.

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Strange that you ONLY say Catholics pray the Hail Mary.6 Many Anglicans do also. If the greeting was good enough for the Archangel Gabriel, I am sure it is for us. The Prayer is a meditation on Luke's Gospel story prior to Christ's birth. Gabriel greeted a lowly handmaid with the words, "Hail, Mary, full of Grace, The Lord is with Thee!

The Wonderful News of the Spirit Filled7 Life | Why Do You Need the Filling of the Holy Spirit | Who Is the Holy Spirit? | Why Did God Send the Holy Spirit? | What Does it Mean to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit? | Why Is the Average Christian Not Filled With the Spirit? | How You Can Be Filled with the Spirit | Empowered to Share | Self-Study Guide | Group Discussion Questions

A spiritual leader8 is one whom God entrusts with other people he calls. A spiritual leader teaches people to fear God. "When you lose the fear of God, you lose the fear of sin. When you lose the fear of sin, you're of no use to God." A spiritual leader knows God and knows the way of God. A spiritual leader knows when God is speaking. He knows where God is going and follows him.

Meanness9 , the very thing which is unforgivable in human social life, in poetry is thrilling and valuable. Why? Because the willingness to be offensive sets free the ruthless observer in all of us, the spiteful perceptive angel who sees and tells, unimpeded by nicety or second thoughts. There is truth-telling, and more, in meanness.

The defining characteristic of true Christians10 is this: knowing for a fact that they are not master of their own lives.

As I meditate on these things I can see that not all of my fruit11 is good. There have been times when I have spoken bad about someone behind their back. I have cursed others instead of blessing them. But the most disappointing thing is that many times I keep my mouth shut and don’t say anything at all, but I know that in my heart the evil is still there. The thoughts of my mind prove the true state of my heart.

Count the fruits, 9 of them. just wondering why did God use 'fruits' of the Spirit12, instead of using something else like 'factors' of the Spirit. pondering a moment ago, i realised it: a fruit can multiply with seeds, hence producing more fruits over a period of time of cultivation. that means when love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are cultivated within us (without corrupting the seeds), we'll grow stronger in the Spirit. these 9 fruits.. awesome.. kinda supports my motto "manhood through Christ". i'll grow these fruits. […] by the way, when i was heading to yuhua court, i had to cross a road along a pathway of jurong east bus interchange. then i was listening to worship music (max volume), i wasn't that conscious and i assumed the road was for incoming buses. dude, that would cost my life. an outgoing bus was going real fast, manz when i stepped out, someone pulled my bag with slight strength. manz that made my feet stopped and realised the bus. but the point is, there's nobody behind me. conclusion: EMMANUEL! truly God is worthy. when i have yet to fulfil God's will, i must not die. Thank You Jesus. I praise You Father. I love You Holy Spirit.

Many people in the United States who are against homosexuality claim God’s word as the basis for their convictions. However many of them don’t apply God’s other teachings13 to their own lives. One of the most well known preachers of God’s “zero tolerance for homosexuality” policy is Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. For anyone unfamiliar with Phelps, he has become famous worldwide for coining the phrases “God Hates America,” “God Hates Fags” and is known for rioting at the funerals of fallen homosexual soldiers. While Westboro’s Web site lists biblical reasons why homosexuals “will burn in hell for all eternity” unless they “listen to the preaching of Westboro Baptist Church,” the site takes the claims too far by attacking homosexuals on personal levels disconnected with sexual orientation. Among the malevolent claims are,“17% of fags eat and/or rub the feces of their partners on themselves” and “about 50% of the women on death row are dykes.” The fact that the site gives sources for the claims is irrelevant; in today’s technology based society, statistics on the Internet can be found to support almost any claim.

Anyone who knows anything about Judaism is aware that the Jewish concept of messiah differs greatly from the Christian concept. In a nutshell, Christianity is a Judeo-Pagan hybrid. The myth of a god who dies and rises, and whose blood is life giving, was nothing new in the first century. The Egyptian god Osiris is 6,000 years old. The Greeks adopted him as Dionysus, and he's also been known as Adonis, Attis, Mithras, and Christ. What's unique about Christianity is the way that this pagan myth was combined with the Jewish messiah myth.14 Not surprisingly, Christianity appealed to the pagans (gentiles) and not to the Jews.

Sure i have tried to forget what make me hurt,15 but i can not.. everytime i get down by something like, broken heart, no food, no money, no clothes, no work, no father.. i always feel like suicide. I have told my older brother that i want to leave this world .. he is a good one .. he always persuade me. he keep talking and encourage me. As now i am far better. I hate my father so much. I know i never forgive him for the end of his life. Have you think how do i feel when i want to study but i can not? I need to have a job as IT but i can not even if i am a web developer i am working as documentations staff. This is really funny for my life. I believe god will help me. but I never got anything from god

However, I am fiscally conservative and think that our churches and other religious organizations do a better job at helping the poor than big Govt. Interestingly, when it comes to giving to charitable causes, recent studies show that conservative Americans give 30 percent more money to charity than liberal Americans. Also, religious people give up four times more money to charity than secular people. It sounds like that is where your heart16 is and I commend you for that position, so I thought it might help you to see that we need to be careful about stereotyping the parties and their positions on helping the poor. Actions always speak louder than words.

Are You Being The Best Person17 You Can Be?

We tell our kids to do what we say but not what we do? Why is that? Why are you not being the best person you can be? Are you lazy? Do you hang out with other lazy people. What if your kids were behaving like you are, being lazy and unproductive. You would certainly not stand for that because you can see something that they cannot. You are guiding them as parents but you are no longer as an adult being responsible and learning and growing!

One decision I have struggled with is how to treat others. What is the loving thing to do? Do I put other people’s needs first,18 or do I focus on my own needs? I realise now that it depends on how one perceives reality. To cut a long story short, I now only take into consideration my needs and only my needs. What is good for me is good for all.

"Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, "I am in hell!" He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him. I was scared to death… Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling—he looked as if his hair was "on end."

Then still another strange thing happened. He said, "Don't you understand? I am in hell19… Don't let me go back to hell!" The man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before."

Dr. Rawlings said, no one, who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face could doubt for a single minute that he was actually in a place called hell!

I am hoping that as followers of Christ we will be able to set aside our political agendas and look at the big picture.20 All of us need to pray as to what God would have us do. It’s wrong to kill a baby in a doctor’s office. It’s wrong to kill a person in war. It’s wrong to prefer greed to sacrifice for the common good.

Harboring unforgiveness21 in your heart is like you taking poison and then expecting the other person to die. Unforgiveness doesn’t hurt the other person. It is, however, deadly to you.  […] Just a few of the other ways unforgiveness can affect us are: Depression, bitterness, insensitivity, tension, stress related disease, frustration, anger, negativity, passivity, self-righteousness, rigidity, rejection, fear, defensiveness, and other emotional problems. Unforgiveness doesn’t mess up the other person’s life. It messes up your life. […] It's like a thorn in a festering wound. That wound cannot begin to heal until the thorn is removed. When we forgive someone it’s like removing that thorn.

“Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself, but also of dissolving the collective human ego. But you can only be in a state of nonreaction if you can recognize someone’s behavior as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it’s not personal,22 there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were.”

A bad habit of mine! When something bothers me, it’s hard for me to just let it go.23 I usually stew in it and eventually blow up at someone…unfortunate. I need to just let things go!!!

Jesus was not implying that by keeping the Ten Commandments24 one would be saved. Rather, Jesus held the Ten Commandments up as a mirror to this man to show him his sin. The ruler replied, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" I think Jesus probably smiled at this. He saw what this man was really all about. So He took it up a notch and said, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Jesus knew the problem with this young ruler was that possessions had possessed his soul.

Growing up as a kid, my Mom made us dinner right before leaving for work. My older brother would steal25 all my tater tots and french fries from my plate, and replace them with his serving of peas, green beans or whatever vegetable we had.  So he got all the starchy snacks and I got stuck with all the veggies.  I hated my brother for doing that.  Perhaps I will call him today, and curse at him!  Thanks for reminding me.

I confess26 to a priest, and I try to go once a month or so. I didn’t always do this. I just rediscovered the value of this about a year ago, after not having confessed in 15-20 years.

I have found a physical type of relief from participating in the confession. The feeling of moving forward with a clean slate has no equal. Yes, I can confess to God directly, but having a priest standing in persona Christe gives the human touch that this mortal needs. Your mileage may vary.

1 Dear Diary, Today at Mass, Father Boyce talked about the One True Catholic Church.

2 He warned that some people, especially Protestants, say the Catholic Church is wrong

3 and the Protestant church is right.  He said Jesus told Peter to be the rock He’ll build His church on, and that’s when Peter went out and started the Catholic Church, which is why Peter was the first Pope

4 and the Catholic Church is the One True Catholic Church. // I can’t believe Father Boyce expects us to believe that.  First of all, which Protestant church is Father Boyce talking about, because there’s all kinds of them, and not all of them are spirit-filled, like the first churches were.  Second, Paul was the person who founded churches, not Peter.  Peter’s job was to come in afterwards, tell stories about Jesus, and help people continue to believe.  Also, when Jesus told Peter he was the rock, He meant people should love Him the way Peter did, because Peter was the most passionate disciple,

5 but also, he wasn’t perfect, like none of us are.  So when you mess up and betray Jesus, like Peter did right before he heard the cock crow,

6 go ahead and repent like Peter did, weep bitterly, and promise to never do it again. // The other thing is that nowhere in the Bible does it mention following a formula for Mass, or that the priest should enter carrying a large golden cross, or that you should follow a script, or pray the Hail Mary

7 and cross yourself In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  Church in the Bible is more like Sunday service at Branches of the Vine, where we get together and pray and worship and get filled with the Spirit.

8 I think Father Boyce should think about that. // I also can’t believe Father Boyce used his whole homily to bad-mouth Protestants, especially when he could been talking about the Bible and telling us how to be better people.  After all, even if he’s Catholic, Father Boyce is still a spiritual leader,

9 so he should act like one and not talk mean

10 about other people.  Also, a couple times, I think he was talking specifically about me because he kept looking at me, which he usually never does.  Plus, I’m the only 8th grader who’s Protestant. // But who cares if you’re Catholic or Protestant, because the real question is are you a true Christian

11 and how do you know?  I would NOT say Father Boyce isn’t Christian, after all he IS a Priest, and he’s my elder too so I have to respect him.  But I honestly think Father Boyce would call ME a false Christian just because I’m no longer Catholic and because I'm not being confirmed.  Well, the Bible says you can tell a tree by its fruit,

12 and that’s how you can tell a Christian too—by the fruit she yields.  True Christians should be yielding the 9 Fruits of the Spirit:

13 (1) Love; (2) Joy; (3) Peace; (4) Patience; (5) Kindness; (6) Goodness; (7) Faithfulness; (8) Gentleness; (9) Self-control. // In other words, you can tell a true Christian by what he says and does, and if his life spreads the Fruits of the Spirit.  And how do these fruits look when mixed with God’s other teachings

14 This is what I would tell others: // How to Tell a True Christian // By Katherine Anne // 1. Christians love people. (As shown in the Fruits of the Spirit, or FOTS #’s 1, 5, 6 and 8) // Pastor Marks says if you look at the life of Jesus, you’ll see He was always loving people, especially people others loved to hate, like the tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and bleeding women.  Jesus talked and ate with these people, even though the religious law said people like them are unclean and should be avoided at all costs.  As the religious leaders, the Pharisees tried to convince the people that Jesus was fake,

15 just because He didn’t follow all the rules written in the Old Testament.  But Jesus knows it should be people first, rules second.  So He’d love the sinners, have dinner with them, and say, “Go and sin no more.”  But He’d only say this after they repented.  And how would He bring them to repentance?  First, He saw they were hurting inside,

16 and He’d tell stories about ordinary people, like farmers, shepherds, servants and debtors, fathers and sons.  Also, Jesus never went around saying things like, “All Pharisees are wrong,” or “All Roman gentiles are wrong,” and I bet if Jesus had been Catholic and not Jewish, He wouldn’t have gone around saying, “All Protestants are wrong.”  Because Jesus cared about the heart,

17 not the package. // 2. Christians serve others. (FOTS #’s 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8) // The Bible says, “If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.”  Well, even if you just want to get into Heaven, and you don’t care about being the greatest person,

18 or even one of the greater people in Heaven, serving others is a way of loving others.  If you’re a true Christian, you should always put other people’s needs first

19 and only think about what you want second.  This includes others’ spiritual needs.  For example, I’m scared to witness to my friend Denise, but if I really love her, then I’ll want her to share in God’s plan of salvation and to know the peace and joy of God’s love.  Also, I really really don’t want her to go to Hell

20 So I have to get over my fear of witnessing, stop thinking about myself and start thinking about what’s best for her.

21 3. Christians forgive others. (FOTS #’s 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9) // This is something I really need to work on.  Jesus says we must forgive 77x7 times and Pastor Marks says forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.

22 As a Christian, I must pray and forgive those who hurt me, even if I don’t feel like it, and if I forgive them every day for at least two years (77x7=539 and 539÷256=2.11), my heart will change and I’ll actually be able to feel the forgiveness.  I must remember this especially in regards to my brother, Phillip, and my sister, Maria.   I must pray for them and forgive them, and pray they won’t keep doing stuff that needs fresh forgiveness.  Because it’s especially hard to forgive if every day brings new complaints. I also realize, however, that I wouldn’t need to forgive them as much if I didn’t let them bother me.  Like Phillip gets mad whenever he hears me breathe or chew, but he hates it when anyone makes those noises, not just me.  So I should realize it’s not personal,

23 and as long as he doesn’t hit me or anything, I should just let it go.

24 4. Christians keep the Ten Commandments through the help of Jesus Christ (FOTS #’s ALL!) // Most people don’t know this, but the Ten Commandments are very difficult to keep.  In fact, they’re actually impossible for humans, which is surprising when you consider how easy they are to memorize.  But when you seriously begin comparing yourself to the Ten Commandments,

25 you’ll see how quickly you don’t measure up.  Is God #1 in your life?  Do you always honor your parents?  Do you ever swear or take the name of the Lord our God in vain?  Do you lie?  How about exaggerate, do you ever exaggerate?  Well, that’s lying.  Do you covet your neighbor’s possessions, for example, do you ever wish you had a pair of jeans just like that?  Do you ever steal?  What about extra straws from the cafeteria, do you ever take more than you need just to have one for later?  Writing this, I’m having a bad feeling remembering something from last year.  We had a substitute teacher for six weeks because our teacher, Mrs. O’Malley, hurt herself running marathons and had to have surgery.  The substitute, Mrs. Nolan, was awful and nobody listened to her. In fact, Denise and I would ask to go to the restroom together, but really, we’d sneak down to the cafeteria kitchen and drink chocolate milk.

26 That was before they started locking the milk cooler. At the time it seemed so simple—we were just drinking some milk, and they’d never notice anyway.  Plus, the cartons only cost 25 cents each, so it’s not like we were taking something really expensive, especially if Denise and I only drank one carton each.  But the truth is we were stealing.  And coveting.  And lying.  And I’ve never confessed that sin and asked God’s forgiveness. // There.  I just prayed and already I feel forgiven.  It’s so amazing how it only takes a few minutes to make things right with God.  Us humans are always messing up.  We get confused about what we see and what we think we think, which is why God gave us the Bible, the one book that makes everything clear.  I bet Father Boyce and I can agree on that. // That’s it for now.  Much love, // Katherine Anne