What are Saints? Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta?

I received a text from my little sister, Christina, this morning asking “What is Mother Teresa the Saint of?”. I answered pretty well, at least as well as might be possible in texts. But, since I have more space and am able to give something more definitive here, I thought I would take a stab at the answer here. Thank you, Christina, for the question! This is something that is near and Dear to Christians, past and present.

So, to start, the Catholic Church does not “Make” saints, God does. The Church takes the signs that God provides and discerns if a person is in Heaven by following those signs or miracles. Over the centuries, many have noticed that some Saints interceed on the behalf of many in professions or walks of life, or the Church holds up a certain person as a special patron of those walks of life. The Cure de Ars, for example, who spent many many hours in the Confessional and hundreds of thousands from all France and Europe came to him for his guidance and wisdom in the Confessional, is the Patron of the Parish Priest. Others, such as founders of Religious Orders, are the patrons of their Orders. I’m sure that St. Mother Teresa is the “Patroness” of the Sisters of Charity, which she founded.

What is a “Saint”? In this context, a Saint is someone who has died with the mark of faith and is in Heaven with with Christ. There are many more Saints than we know about, God has chosen to make known the relatively few that we know about by giving us signs, or miracles. We ask, pray, for the Saints to pray for us. In the Early Church, we have graffiti from graves of early martyrs that are asking for their prayers. These date all the way back to the Apostles’ graves. The graves of of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Polycarp, St. Cecilia, and the list goes on. The earliest Christians asked their Triumphant brothers and sisters to carry their petitions to the feet of Christ and the Father. Just as we do now, with our living friends and, even strangers (just look at any Facebook feed and you will see someone asking for prayers), the Christian faithful have asked their resurrected brothers and sisters to pray for them too.

From these prayers, God has seen fit to strengthen his people by showing them signs that the Resurrection is, indeed, real. By the miracles gained from the Saints’ intercessions, we see that Christ’s promise of “Today you will be with me in Paradise” is not just empty words, but a Promise!

Sainthood is not a “Reward” of the Church, there are many deserving men and women who are probably in Heaven, but their intercessions have not brought about the miracles necessary for recognition. That is God’s choice, not the Church’s. The Church merely follows the signs that God provides and raises them up for recognition. Gifts of saints that lived while we lived, show us in no uncertain terms, that Christ is alive and well and has Dominion over this world today, just as He always has! Saint Mother Teresa, and her contemporary, Pope Saint John Paul II, show us that the “modern world” has not overtaken God and made Him obsolete, but that men and women walk our streets today, struggle through life, and are on the path to Heaven as these two were.

We are not alone! We have two parts of the Church, the “Church Militant” (which is the Church here on Earth and struggling to get to Heaven) and the “Church Triumphant” (which is the Church that has triumphed and is with Christ). We are not separate, we are bound together by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We can, and should, ask for their prayers to help us to achieve the triumph they have achieved. We pray for Grace, we pray for signs, we pray for our friends and family that have gone before us (because we don’t know, but we still beg for mercy for their sins.).

So, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pray for us!

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Listening and hearing

Despite what many have interpreted the Holy Father as saying, he was not telling the lawmakers how to make laws or not to have immigration laws or enforcement. What he counseled was compassion, hear their stories and treat the person with respect. As Catholics, as citizens, that is what we should expect. Maybe we do need to build a wall but we need a compassionate treatment for those that wish to enter. If we build a wall, we need to build a door as well and have a way to open the door. We have the Statue of Liberty which greets the “huddled masses” who enter, we need a greeter at the door.

“Inscription on the Statue of Liberty”

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Author: Emma Lazarus

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Planned Parenthood De-funding

I was unfriended by a family member on Facebook over a disagreement about De-funding Planned Parenthood. I think it’s important to address this rather emotional issue.
To the claim that De-funding PP would hurt women’s access to health care, I point out that, in Tulsa, OK, there are 13 free clinics for women, only one of which is PP. Of these 12, all provide all the services PP claims to provide, including PAP, STD testing, and mammograms. The only service not included is abortions.
To the claim that there would be children being born into unwanted situations, I point out that, after 40 years and over 55 million abortions later, we still have children in foster care and abused. Abortion has not proven to solve these sad situations.

Then, in Margaret Sangar’s own words, the reason for the existence of Planned Parenthood.

“The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”
Speech quoted in “Birth Control: What It Is, How It Works, What It Will Do.” The Proceedings of the First American Birth Control Conference. Held at the Hotel Plaza, New York City.

Finally, the challenge must be addressed of: “you pro-lifers want to make a woman have an unwanted child then don’t want to help them support it”. The response is two-fold. First, we have to challenge our citizens to be responsible. We can’t treat people like animals, with no responsibility to control their urges or the consequences of their actions. This completely diminishes the dignity of a human being. Second, treating these people as dignified human beings, we must provide with a leg up, with programs aimed at making them self-sufficient, not more dependent. Provide support that encourages the parents to make their own way, not rely on the government to support them.

Instead of continuing to support programs that are proven to fail over and over, were must provide support which enables our citizens to be productive.

We have to provide support and compassion without claiming innocent lives in the process. Murder cannot be compassion.

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Mother or Child’s Life? Seriously?

I read an article yesterday regarding some of the questions asked at the Republican Debate. If you saw the debate, of course you are aware of the questions asked of Donald Trump but that is not why I am addressing it. The question asked of several candidates pertains to Abortion. Would you support abortion in a case that the mother’s life is in danger?

The subject of rape, incest and life of the mother as exceptions to bans on abortion came up at last night’s GOP presidential debate, and moderator Megyn Kelly proved to be dangerously wrong on this issue.

Kelly was aghast that anyone would have any hesitation about approving an abortion to save the life of the mother. She spoke of this choice as if were one that commonly and frequently must be made.

The reality, however, is that an abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother. This is, quite simply, a choice that a mother and her doctor never have to make, and Ms. Kelly has contributed to the already widespread ignorance on this subject. (AFA.net, By: Bryan Fischer Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015 11:20 AM)

This is one of those questions that is often asked and, if one replies that it is never alright to murder a children, then one is automatically labeled as someone that is somehow against women. What this article very clearly points out is the obvious that has been before us all this time. If a woman is clearly in a situation where the death of either her or her child is imminent, an Abortion Clinic is not where she would go. Abortion Clinics are not in a position to treat in an emergency situation. Recent legal challenges have proven this as well. Several states have passed or are debating laws such as one hotly contested legislation in Texas. In Texas, which has lost nine clinics, lawmakers have slashed family planning funding in the state budget, required abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers and required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

What strikes me as interesting is the fact that there is such an outcry over legislation such as this. By having admitting privileges, a doctor at an abortion clinic would be empowered to treat a woman that actually might be in danger of losing her life because of her pregnancy. Though this is a stated argument, it isn’t the aim of abortion supporters, abortion clinics, or Planned Parenthood. They are not in the business of actually caring for the lives of women, only in supporting their agenda.

If, indeed, a woman were in a situation where there might be a choice made to save one or the other, an abortion is not the prescription for her care. The doctor treating her and the child would do everything in his power as a physician to save both of his or her patients, mother and child. If the unfortunate situation took place under a doctor’s care, that one survives in spite of all the best efforts, that is a tragedy. If the child died during treatment, even if it was a choice made to save the mother and the child died, it would still not be abortion.

Abortion is a term and distinction like that between murder and accidental death. Abortion is always clearly with the intent of ending a human life, it is no accident and is not a treatment any more than euthanasia is a ‘treatment’ for illness. The loss of life while at a qualified treatment hospital in the attempt to save a life is not the same as going to an Abortion Clinic with the expressed purpose of ending a life. There is no chance of saving a life in an abortion clinic.

The question asked of a Pro-Life candidate to “take a stand for women’s rights but allowing an exception regarding the life of the mother” is a trick question. The situation does not exist, one cannot allow for it legislatively because it isn’t reality. Abortion supporters know this or they would not be fighting legislation in states that make their facilities legal health care facilities. If, as in the State of Texas, an Abortion Clinic follows the law, roid’s position would be to care for the health of the mother AND the health of the unborn child as well. In that case, they could be placed in a position where they would have to abandon their mission of taking a human life and be forced to save it instead.

In the meantime, our politicians need to answer the question factually and throw it back on the person asking the question. Can you give me one instance where a woman has ‘checked into’ an abortion clinic in an emergency situation where the life of the mother was at stake? Though you might say that woman are in those situations all the time, accidents, cancer, etc., they are not treated at an Abortion Clinic and, if the baby is lost during treatment, they were not lost because of a treatment plan that had an abortion as the treatment.

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1984? DoubleThink and 2015

In his essay “Politics and the English Language“, George Orwell observes that political language serves to distort and obfuscate reality. Orwell’s description of political speech is extremely similar to the contemporary definition of doublespeak;

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, …[9]

Today, we are faced with such opposites and asked to believe them on face value, the language of the day. “Tolerance” is used to brow beat those that disagree so that those that do not hold those same views are “intolerant” and “haters”.

“Choice” is used to justify completely taking away choice from children and those that believe that abortion is murder are advocating taking away a woman’s right to choose.  Now we learn that a group that has made a campaign on describing the unborn child as no more than tissue are making money by selling the children’s organs as human tissue.

“Love” has been twisted into meaning whatever our carnal desires dictate rather than a life long commitment to raise children teaching the commitment to God, our spouse, and our children in a loving home. To disagree or to point out that an interpretation is wrong is not the same as hating another person.

I can tell you that a friend or family member is doing something that I believe is wrong without hating him or her. I have a family member that is an alcoholic, I do not condone the behavior, I do not condone the lifestyle. I may even chose not to be around that person. I do love that person and still try to be there as much as reasonable. I will not be around when they are drinking, which may be most of the time. But, despite that behavior, that person is stilled loved and will remain in my heart though I will not tell them that they have my approval.

Though the behavior is displayed more than I would like to admit, alcoholism is not WHO that person is. I do not define the person by their sins, I define them by who they are. I believe that is what God is calling me to do. I will accept a sinner into my home, just as Jesus did. However, I do not believe that Jesus defined his Apostles and disciples by their sins. He told the Magdalene, “Is there no one left to condemn you?… Nor do I. Go and sin no more.”

I condemn no one, that is not my place. I condemn behavior which I know is wrong. I taught my children what was wrong. Sometimes they chose do what I had taught them was wrong. I do not, nor can I, accept words on face value that have meanings that go well beyond what they say. I cannot believe that “Compassion” is taking someone’s life through Euthanasia, or that a “choice” is taking another life who cannot defend himself. I do not believe that “Love” can be gained by using acts rooted in hate or that disagreement is the same as “hate”.

I will proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

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Before the Resurrection, Darkness FALLS

Today is Good Friday, Jesus gave us His Body and Blood last night, God was made present to us in a manner which, 2000 years later, we still struggle to understand.

This week we go through the highest of highs as we welcome Jesus into Jerusalem with Palms, we eat his last meal and he makes his own Flesh and Blood, then, at 3 PM today, his brutal execution comes to an, almost, anticlimactic end. There is no Body of Christ after we venerate the Cross this evening. What makes our Church a Church is the Real Presence, it is consumed and the Altars are stripped bare. For the Church, our Sacred Spaces are stripped bare of all that makes then sacred. Until the Resurrection, there is no Church. Like the Disciples dispersing, like the Temple tapestry torn asunder, the Church is just a collection of empty buildings with nothing to make it Holy.

But, despair not! We already know the end of this story! He Lives! When we return to the barren tomb of our Church, the Altar will be redressed in splendor, bread and wine will be offered up, we will be fed with his Risen Flesh and Blood.

Happy Easter, He Is Lord!

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Same Sex Marriage–Apologetics 101

Apologetics 101

by John Martignoni  

(Marriage and the Eucharist, cont’d.) Finally, one other area where we can use these parallels between the sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist to help us form an appropriate response, is this idea of same-sex “marriage”, so-called.  A very hot topic these days.  There is not now, never has been, and never will be, such a thing as a same-sex “marriage.”  It doesn’t matter how many judges issue how many licenses and how many wedding ceremonies take place – there will never be such a thing as a marriage between two men or two women.  God is the author of marriage.  He made it.  He defined it.  He joins the two together.  God has defined a marriage as something to unite one man and one woman.  Period.  

One man cannot marry another man and one woman cannot marry another.  Why?  The two cannot become one.  For the two to become one, there has to be a life-giving bridegroom and there has to be a life-receiving bride.  Between two men, there is no one to receive the life of the bridegroom.  Between two women, there is no bridegroom to give his life to the bride.   Consummation is not possible in either situation.  

A union, as such, between two men, would be as if Jesus wanted to give us His life in the Eucharist, but we had no way of receiving it.  It would be as if Jesus died on the Cross, but never
instituted the Eucharist.  A union, as such, between two women, would be as if we all wanted to receive the life-giving force of Christ in the Eucharist, but there was no life-giving force to receive.  It would be as if Jesus instituted the Eucharist, but then never died on the cross for us.  

There can be no such thing as a same-sex marriage, because there is no such thing as “life-giving” love, love that produces life, in a same-sex union.  Two men cannot produce a life between them.  Two women cannot produce a life between them.  It is a physical impossibility.  Therefore, same-sex “marriage” is an impossibility in the eyes of God.

St. Paul tells us in Romans, chapter 1, that the desire of a man for another man, or of a woman for another woman, is unnatural.  But you don’t have to believe in the Bible, or even in God, in order to understand that St. Paul was correct.  All you have to do is look at the body of a man and the body of a woman and you can easily discern that nature has designed a certain complementarity between the bodies of men and women.     

So, just from a simple observation, we can discern that nature designed a complementarity between the bodies of men and women.  We can discern that sex was designed by nature, to 1) be the physical union between a man and a woman, and 2) to perpetuate the survival of the species.  Same sex unions go against nature in both regards.  A man’s body was designed to join to a woman’s.  A woman’s body was designed to receive a man’s.  So, same-sex unions are contra nature.  They are inherently unnatural.  

And, if nature does indeed have a creator, then if same-sex unions are contrary to nature, it is safe to say that they are contrary to nature’s creator.  This is not about being “mean” to two people who are “in love” and it has nothing to do with “homophobia” or anything of the sort.  It actually is an act of charity to oppose what society is trying to impose.  If the Catholic Church is correct and homosexual acts are indeed acts of “grave depravity” and they are indeed “intrinsically disordered” (Catechism, #2357), then the most important thing to consider is the salvation of the souls of those committing these acts that are contrary to nature and contrary to nature’s God.

It is not mean, or somehow homophobic, or anything else of that nature to desire the good for a person and, particularly, to desire the ultimate good for a person – the salvation of someone’s soul.  The best thing a person can do if you know of someone who is struggling with same-sex attraction is to talk to them about God’s love for them…and to give them whatever support you can to help them live a chaste lifestyle.

And, it just so happens that the Diocese of Birmingham has recently seen the establishment of a chapter of Courage, which is an apostolate of the Catholic Church that ministers to persons with same-sex attraction (www.couragerc.org).  If you would like to find out more about the Courage chapter here in the Diocese of Birmingham, you can call the Courage chaplain at: 256-221-8844.  All calls are completely confidential.

Marriage and the Eucharist…the two shall become one.  I hope this series of articles has helped you to see and understand how intimately and intricately these two sacraments are linked together, and that they have helped you to look at marriage from a Eucharistic point of view, and to look at the Eucharist from a marital point of view.    

(Send any questions/comments to: jmartignoni@bhmdiocese.org.  If you would like to sign up for John’s free apologetics email newsletter, simply go to: www.biblechristiansociety.com.  You can also order his free CD’s on various apologetics topics at the website, including his CD that covers this topic which is entitled: “Marriage and the Eucharist: The Two Shall Become One.”)

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Why Can’t Non-Catholics Receive Communion?

Apologetics 101

by John Martignoni  

(Marriage and the Eucharist, cont’d.) Why are non-Catholics not allowed to receive Communion in the Catholic Church?  It’s because receiving Communion in the Catholic Church, when you are not a member of the Catholic Church, when you have not committed yourself completely and totally to the Church, is like having sex outside of marriage.

A lot of folks reason that since sex is a gift from God – after all God gave us our sexual desires – then it can’t be wrong to use that gift and act on those desires.  It doesn’t matter if one is married or not.  Especially if it’s two consenting adults.  Well, we’ve shown that God’s way of doing things involves 3 steps: 1) Commitment, the man shall leave his mother and father, 2) Marriage, he shall cleave to his wife, and then 3) The two shall become one.  The physical consummation of the marriage is the sign that there is a lifelong commitment already in place.  It is the sign that these two people have given their very lives to each other.  It is the sign that God has joined these two people together.  

Sex outside of marriage is a lie.  You are speaking a lie with your  body.  You are saying I am committed to you for life with your body, when actually no such commitment exists.  It is a lie, a very serious lie.  You are lying to the person you are committing this act with.  And, even if you are “in love”, it is still a lie.  Why would you want to engage in a lie with someone you are supposedly in love with?  When you put step #3 – the two shall become one – before steps 1 or 2, you are messing with God’s plan for marriage.   And whenever you mess with God’s plan, something unpleasant will eventually result.  

Sex outside of marriage is getting things out of order.  There is no lifelong commitment in place, therefore the sign of that commitment, physical intimacy, should not take place.  To be sexually active outside of marriage is to be consummating a commitment that does not exist.  It is engaging in a lie.

Drawing the parallel, a lot of non-Catholics believe that they should have the right to receive the Eucharist in our Church. They even get offended when they are told that they can’t.    A lot of Catholics believe it’s no big deal if non-Catholics receive the Eucharist.  But allowing non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist is, again, tantamount to approving of sex outside of marriage.  If a person is not a Catholic, then that means that they are not fully united to the Church.  They have not made a total  commitment to the Church. The Eucharist is the sign and source of unity among Christians, and particularly so for Catholic Christians.  It is the sign that the two have become one, and that the many have become one.  If someone is not a Catholic, even though they may believe what Catholics believe about the Eucharist actually being the Body and Blood of Christ, they cannot receive Communion.  They are not fully united to the Church, no lifelong commitment has been made.  No commitment…no consummation…no Eucharist!  

When we receive the Eucharist, we are saying, with our bodies, that we believe what the Catholic Church teaches…in its entirety.  We are saying we believe not only what the Church teaches on the Eucharist, but we are also saying that we believe what it teaches on the priesthood, on the Communion of Saints, on the Sacraments, on Mary, on the Mass, and on and on.  If someone who is not Catholic receives Communion, then they are saying to us, with their bodies, that they believe all that Catholics believe.  That they have made a commitment and they are consummating that commitment.  But, they don’t believe as we do!  And they haven’t made that commitment!  That’s why they’re not Catholic.

Therefore, for them to receive the Eucharist, would be a lie.  They would be lying with their bodies before God and before man.  Just as those who engage in sexual relations outside of marriage are lying with their bodies to each other and to God.  So, if anyone ever asks you why Catholics do not allow non-Catholics to receive Communion, you can simply say that it’s because we don’t believe in sex outside of marriage.  That is why we do not allow non-Catholics to receive Communion in the Catholic Church…we do not want them to engage in a lie.      

And that is why we, as Catholics, cannot receive Communion in Protestant churches.  We would be saying, with our bodies, that we believe as they believe.  But we don’t, so it would be a lie before man and God to receive Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, in a Protestant church.  

So, again, if anyone ever asks you why non-Catholics cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church, simply ask them if they are in communion with the Catholic Church.  Ask them if they believe all that the Church teaches, on everything, not just on the Eucharist.  If they say no, ask them why it is they want to receive Communion in the Church when they are not actually in communion with the Church?  Ask them why they want to receive the sign of unity, when there is no unity?  Make it clear to them that the act of receiving Communion in our Church is a declaration that they believe as we believe.  And, if they don’t believe as we believe, then, should they receive the Eucharist, they are committing a lie with their bodies and it would be an egregious offense against the Church and against God.  Tell them it is just like sex outside of marriage.  They want the consummation before they’ve made the commitment.

Next week: Same-sex “marriage”…

(Send any questions/comments to: jmartignoni@bhmdiocese.org.  If you would like to sign up for John’s free apologetics email newsletter, simply go to: www.biblechristiansociety.com.  You can also order his free CD’s on various apologetics topics at the website, including his CD that covers this topic which is entitled: “Marriage and the Eucharist: The Two Shall Become One.”)

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Pro-creative love… – Apologetics 101

Apologetics 101

by John Martignoni  

To continue with our parallels between Marriage and the Eucharist, when we receive the Eucharist, when we receive Christ into our bodies, we are receiving the very life of Christ within us.  Galatians 4:19, “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you.”  Christ be formed in you.  Through the Eucharist, Jesus is planting the seeds of life – His life – within us.  

When a wife receives her husband in the marital embrace, she is receiving his very life within her.  He is planting the seeds of life within her.  Through contraception, the life-giving aspect of that act is held back.  What if Jesus held back the life-giving aspect of the Eucharist from us?  What if Jesus decided not to give Himself fully to us?  What if Jesus prevented us from receiving life in the Eucharist.  What if Jesus prevented us from having His life conceived within us through our reception of the Eucharist?  What if Jesus, in a spiritual sense, contracepted?  Could anyone ever consider that to be a good thing?  

And what exactly is it that we are holding back from our spouse through contraception?  Is it just one little aspect of who and what we are as human beings?  Could you say, “Well, I’m not going to share this one aspect of me with my spouse, but I’m willing to share all the hundreds and hundreds of other aspects of myself with my spouse.  In other words, I’m willing to share 99.9%, but just not 100%.”  I don’t think so.  

Listen to this passage from Genesis, chapter 1, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  And in Genesis 5 it says, “When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image.”  God created man in His image and likeness.  Man participates in this act of creation to produce children in his image and likeness.  Scripture tells us that man is doing something God-like in the act of physical generation.  The act of creating life, is, in my opinion, where man most closely imitates God and most closely cooperates with God.  The act of creating life is where man mirrors God most closely.  Think about it.  God and man, working together to bring new life into the world!  A new body with a new, eternal soul, into this world.  Is this just .1% or some other small percent of who we are?  Is the aspect of our humanity where we participate in the act of creation with God Himself, is that aspect of our humanity just one aspect among hundreds of others?  

No!  When we contracept, when we do not share ourselves fully and completely and openly and without reserve with our spouse, we are not sharing with our spouse one of the two major aspects of who we are as human beings.  We were created to love and to give life.  That is what the marriage act is all about…giving love and creating life.  To withhold either love or life from our spouse, is to withhold a major aspect of who we are as human beings.  

God is love.  And because He is love, He gives life.  His love is procreative…pro-creative.  His love gives life.  When we separate love from life, as when we do when we use contraception, then our love is no longer like God’s love.  It is not pro-creative love.  It is anti-creative love.  It is selfish love.  And when we separate love from life, when our love is no longer pro-creative, but anti-creative, selfish love, we start experiencing serious consequences – not just as individuals, or as married couples, but as a society.  Just look all around you at the hell that has been created by the separation of love and life…astronomical divorce rates, abortion, out-of-wedlock births, test tube babies, human cloning, pornography, homosexual marriage, AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases, and on and on it goes.  

When we receive the Eucharist, when we receive Christ into our bodies, we are receiving the very life of Christ within us.  Again, He is planting the seeds of life within us.  When a wife receives her husband, she is receiving his very life within her.  He is planting the seeds of life within her.  Again, what if Jesus decided to contracept in a spiritual sense?  What if Jesus held back the life-giving aspect of the Eucharist from us?  What if Jesus decided not to give Himself fully to us?   What if Jesus held back the very aspect of the Eucharist that the Eucharist was designed to convey…Life!?

That’s what we do when we contracept.  We hold back the life-giving aspect of the marital embrace – the very aspect that the marital embrace was designed, by God, to convey.  Can that ever be a good thing?  God put the two aspects, love and life, together in the physical union between husband and wife.  When we contracept, we are separating what God has put together.  We are separating love from life.  And doesn’t Scripture say, let no man rend asunder what God has joined together?
Next week: Why non-Catholics cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church…

(Send any questions/comments to: jmartignoni@bhmdiocese.org.  If you would like to sign up for John’s free apologetics email newsletter, simply go to: www.biblechristiansociety.com.  You can also order his free CD’s on various apologetics topics at the website, including his CD that covers this topic which is entitled: “Marriage and the Eucharist: The Two Shall Become One.”)

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Marriage and the Eucharist – Apologetics 101

Apologetics 101

by John Martignoni  

Marriage and the Eucharist.  We ended last week with John 6:54, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.”  The Eucharist is all about giving us life…eternal life.  By receiving the Eucharist into our bodies we are receiving God’s own life into ourselves.  We are receiving Life itself.  

Listen to what Paul says in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you.”  We need to have Christ formed within us.  Christ, through the Eucharist, is giving us His very life.  Christ, through the Eucharist, is planting the seeds of eternal life in our bodies.  Seeds that will hopefully grow, aided by the Holy Spirit, until Christ is fully formed within us.  Through the Eucharist, through receiving Christ into our bodies, the two have become one.

In the marital embrace, the wife receives her husband’s love and his very life within her. And he is planting the seeds of life that could very well grow until a life is fully formed within her.  The two, husband and wife, have become one.  And the two becoming one is most readily apparent when the marital embrace results in the conception of a new life.  The two have become one have become three.  It is here, in the life-giving and love-giving act of marital intimacy, that the family of man most closely mirrors the family of God…the Trinity.  

Can you see how the Sacrament of Marriage is inextricably linked to the Sacrament of the Eucharist?  How God’s relationship to us is most clearly mirrored in the relationship of husband and wife?  How the Holy Spirit proceeds from the life-giving and love-giving relationship between  the Father and the Son, just as a child proceeds from the life-giving and love-giving relationship between husband and wife?  In the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit in a sense “overshadows” us and we receive Jesus into our bodies.  The Annunciation, was, in some ways, a pre-figuring of the Eucharist.  The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the two became one became three.  

The Bible starts off, in Genesis 2:24, with marriage.  All through the Bible, Old Testament and New, the relationship between God and Israel, and then between God and the Church, is described in marital terms.  And then, in the Book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible, at the end of time, we have the eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb…the eternal union between Christ and His Bride, the Church, in the New Jerusalem.

Do we approach the Eucharist within a marital framework?  Do we see it as the very intimate act that it is?  Do we allow ourselves to be completely open to receiving Jesus…to receiving His love…to receiving His life?  Do we keep in mind His total self-giving…His being poured out on the cross for us, whenever we receive Christ in the Eucharist?  Are WE offering ourselves totally and completely to Him?  Are we pouring ourselves out for Him?  Are we allowing Him to change our lives?  Are we allowing Him to plant the seeds of eternal life within us?  Are we allowing Jesus to be formed within us?  Or, do we allow the receiving of the Eucharist to become routine?  Just one action of many that we participate in at the Mass?  Do you mentally tell yourself, “Okay, Father’s holding up the host, we’ll be out of here in 15 minutes.”?  

Do we approach relations, and particularly our physical relations, with our spouse within a Eucharistic framework?  Do we realize that whenever we “know” our spouse, that we are re-presenting ourselves fully and totally to him or her?  That we are back on our wedding day and are re-presenting ourselves before God?  That we are participating in an act of love that gives life, and that this act is a sign of the life-giving love that God gives to us?  Do we contemplate these things?  Do we raise physical intimacy with our spouse to a sacramental level, instead of a mere physical act?

Now, having drawn some of these parallels, let me ask the question: What if Jesus did not give all of Himself to us?  What if Jesus held back the life-giving aspect of the Eucharist?  In other words, what if we received His body and blood, but Jesus then did something to prevent that Body and Blood from producing life within us?  We received the Body and Blood, but it was somehow prevented from forming Jesus within us?  I think you may have an idea where I’m going here.

The question of contraception.  Society says, no big deal.  Most Catholics say, no big deal.  But, looking at the marital embrace within a Eucharistic framework, do you maybe see now why it is such a big deal?  When a man and a woman use contraception, then the man is saying to the woman, “I am giving myself to you, but I am not giving myself completely and totally and without reservation.  I am holding something back.  I do not wish to share the life-giving aspects of this act with you.  I do not want the two to become one”  Or, the wife is saying, “I do not want to receive all of you with no exceptions.  I do not wish to receive you completely and totally and without reservation.  I do not wish to receive the life-giving aspects of this act from you.  I do not want the two to become one.”  
Next week: Pro-creative love…

(Send any questions/comments to: jmartignoni@bhmdiocese.org.  If you would like to sign up for John’s free apologetics email newsletter, simply go to: www.biblechristiansociety.com.  You can also order his free CD’s on various apologetics topics at the website, including his CD that covers this topic which is entitled: “Marriage and the Eucharist: The Two Shall Become One.”)

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