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The Holy Trinity – 3 in One

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. We remind ourselves of this important truth of the faith that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

There are NOT 3 gods, but rather 3 persons who are ONE God or one essence.  For centuries the brightest minds, both within and without the Church have tried to fully comprehend and explain this, but they could not.

God cannot be understood completely by mortals.  Human beings are limited to space, time and matter and can only understand things within the laws and experiences of each.

What human being has experienced infinity in order to define it?  What human being has experienced being all benevolent, all omnipotent, all sapient and all knowing?  There is none.   Human beings are finite creatures with finite minds.

It is important to understand that the Father is not the Son nor the Son the Father.  Moreover, the Father and Son are not the Holy Spirit and vice versa.  Each are distinct Divine persons who are of the same singular Divine substance or essence.

Think of it in this way:  One of western psychology’s pioneers and also an atheist, Sigmund Freud believed that human beings have the Super Ego, Ego, and Id which comprises their psyche. Each is distinct but are of one person.  Moreover, human beings have reason, conscience, and self-awareness.  Each are distinct but are of one person. The same with God, but with the difference that each (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) are distinct persons, not attributes of personality as in the aforementioned examples.

There are some sects today who deny the Holy Trinity such as, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons.  Jehovah’s Witnesses even went as far as to altering the Gospel of John 1:1 to read “.. the Word was A god…” which was done to support their idea that Jesus is some sort of a lower god or demi-god.  In Genesis 1:26, God says, “Let US make man in OUR image, to be like US.”  The words “US” and “OUR” signify plurality of persons.  God describes Himself as a community of persons.

It sounds confusing, but this shows the awesomeness of God.  God will never be completely understood by any creature.  If any creature understands God completely, then God would not be God. He would be a thing in nature that can be understood.

There is a story about Augustine of Hippo who is a Catholic saint and bishop. He is a well-known philosopher and a celebrated champion of Christian thought.
Anyhow, one day he was trying to figure out God – in particular the idea of Father Son Holy Spirit as one God – he thought and thought and thought wondering how can God be 3 persons in one – how can God be God. Well, while sleeping he had a dream that he was by the shore. He saw a small child digging a hole in the sand. Once dug, the child took a shell and went to the ocean and took water. He brought it back and poured it into the hole. The child then ran back and repeated the same action. Augustine smiled and went to the child and asked the child, “what are you trying to do?” the child answered, “I am trying to put the ocean in this hole.” Augustine smiled again thinking the child said something cute. Augustine replied to the child, “The ocean is vast and immense, there is no way you can put it all into this small hole.” The child looked at him smiling and replied, “neither can you put all of God in your mind.” At that Augustine woke and realized that no one can truly grasp God. It would be like putting the ocean into a small hole dug in the sand on a beach.  This child is said to have been Augustine’s guardian angel.Today’s readings introduce the three Divine Persons.  The first person of the Blessed Trinity or The Father is introduced in the first reading. In the first reading, Moses is telling the people of the one true God YHWH (Exodus 8:10, Deuteronomy 4:39,2 Samuel 7:22, 1 Chronicles 17:20). He begins to ask the people if they recall anything so great to ever happen before and if they have ever known of a people who heard the voice of God or any god speaking from fire or venturing out to rescue them from another nation by using tests, signs, wonders and war.  He, of course, is referring to the events of the Exodus (Exodus 13:21-22, Exodus chapters 7-20). Moses was reminding the people then and us today of this one true God. Mankind has formulated all kinds of designations and descriptions for deities trying to define the One God; however, these deities never spoke to them nor went out to rescue them from powerful nations. While these people had the right idea that a Supreme Being exists, they got the name and descriptions wrong.  Only one God has done what Moses described, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses etc (Exodus 3:6, Acts 3:13).   Moreover, some atheists and skeptics claim the story of Exodus is fiction. However, we have evidence such as the text “Ipuwer Papyrus” which describes the ten plagues that fell over Egypt which Moses reminded us in today’s readings.  God is indeed an awesome God. He is faithful and our Father (Deuteronomy 7:9, 1 Corinthians 1:9, Isaiah 64:8, Matthew 6:9).

In the responsorial Psalm, we read of the greatness of God.  His word is upright and trustworthy. God is not a liar (Numbers 23:19, Romans 3:4).  He is fair and just (2 Thessalonians 1:6). The word of God is what brings things to existence (Genesis 1:3).  This “logos” keeps our universe in existence (Hebrews 11:3, Colossians 1:17). We as His children must wait on God and trust in Him for He is our help and our shield (Psalm 91).  His Spirit gives us life, protects us and guides us as we read in the second reading.

The second reading focuses on the third person of the Blessed Trinity whose coming we celebrated last Sunday on Pentecost. This Spirit reminds us that we are sons of God, not slaves (Galatians 3:26). We are able to call God “Abba, Father!”  We are united with the Blessed Trinity in the Spirit, not to be God, but to be sons and daughters of God (1 John 3:2).  This Spirit is our guide and our courage who gives us gifts that allow us to grow in the Holy Trinity and be witnesses to this union of love to the world (John 16:13, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:7-13, Romans 12:3-8).

Finally in the Gospel, we read of Jesus’ last words to the disciples before the Ascension.  He reminds them that all power in heaven and earth were given to Him because He is the Word of God (John 1:1).  Jesus instructs them to go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Here we read Jesus dictate to His disciples the persons who constitute God. This is a truth that can never change because it comes from Christ who is the Truth (John 14:6).  God is One in three Divine distinct Persons.  Some atheists tweet around this meme of Christ praying at the Garden of Gethsemane and next to it they write that Christ is praying to Himself and asking Himself to spare Himself from what He is about to go through.  This, of course, shows the ignorance of many atheists who do not understand the Holy Trinity, among many other things.  Our job is not to try to understand this, but to trust this triune God who created us and loves us so much that the second person of this Trinity came, took on flesh, suffered and died for all of us (John 3:16).  We must trust this God who rescues us from oppression as He did in the Exodus and who sends us His Holy Spirit to remind us of what Christ taught and guide us.  Again, no one can truly understand the Holy Trinity using man’s knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:16, Romans 11:34).  We can understand the Holy Trinity with love because God is love (1 John 4:8).  As Catholics, we must go out and evangelize reminding the world of the One God in three Divine Persons.

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/053115.cfm
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Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen  

“Charlie Charlie” Challenge

Just when you think people cannot do anything more stupid, a new thing comes along.  Just about a month ago, there was the “#kyliejennerchallenge” where young people were inflaming their lips using bottles and suction, now we have the “Charlie Charlie Challenge.”

This challenge is based on a Ouija board-like game which is used to summon a Mexican demon named “Charlie.”  A graph is drawn on a sheet of paper. On each quadrant of the graph, the words yes and no are written.  Then two pencils are placed one on top of another in a cross.  Next, the participant summons this demon “Charlie” and asks it “yes or no” questions.  The pencils then appear to move pointing to the response.

I am a big skeptic when I learn of claims of magic and what not, so I personally do not believe this game has anything magical to it.  The movement of the pencils can be explained via physics. The breath of the participant can move the pencil which is suspended on the other pencil as gravity is pulling on it and friction is taking place where both meet.  Momentum then takes over allowing the pencil to continue moving until the kinetic energy dissipates.  However, despite having a natural explanation, evil is still being welcomed with these items and the intent of the participant(s).

Catholic priests have already raised their red flags against this game. They claim that this is a dangerous game because it is summoning demons. When one calls upon a demon even if it is a common name like “Charlie,” the invitation is still being sent. A demon is like a stray animal.  If you pay attention to it, feed it or invite it into your home then it will come in and will not leave so easily. It will claim your home as its new territory.  There is no reason whatsoever to summon a demon unless you want to be harassed by it.  Demons do not like human beings.  They will do anything to get us to turn from God and destroy ourselves.  This “Charlie” game is being marketed to impressionable kids in order to bring them to the dark side.  Summoning demons and resorting to divination and magic is a sin.  The Catechism has this to say:

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.

Demons can attach themselves to people via oppression and can even take over their bodies and mental faculties via possession.  These can only be done when a person freely invites a demon or demons into their lives.  I urge parents to keep an eye out for this game in their homes and educate their kids on the seriousness and danger of summoning demons under any guise.  Let us pray to St. Michael the Archangel to keep these demons away from our children.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

If kids spent more time plotting graphs (algebra) instead of making these stupid “Charlie” graphs, then they would profit academically from it.  I have always loved plotting graphs.  They are fun.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/26/charlie-charlie-challenge_n_7439434.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-32887325.=ki

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/charlie-charlie-challenge-catholic-priest-5763103

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/priest-warns-pupils-the-charlie-charlie-challenge-is-demonic-activity-10275830.html

http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=60751

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/26/living/charlie-charlie-challenge-feat/

http://www.today.com/parents/charlie-charlie-challenge-emerges-spooky-new-teen-craze-t23071

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/11628862/What-is-the-Charlie-Charlie-Challenge.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthecouch/2015/05/wheres-charlie-what-catholic-parents-need-to-know-about-the-charlie-challenge/

Pentecost – Come Holy Spirit, we really need you!

Today we celebrate Pentecost or the day when the Catholic Church was officially born in the public.  In the first reading, we read the account of this coming of the Holy Spirit.  The Blessed Virgin Mother Mary and the Apostles gathered in an upper room and prayed for 9 days (Acts 1:14).

They then received the Holy Spirit who descended upon them as tongues of fire. Each received the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the gift of tongues so that people could understand them in their native language as they preached the Gospel of Christ. This ability to communicate in various languages while speaking only one is connected to the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. The people of Babel were ambitious, never thinking of God, only themselves.

Like today, they place science and technology as means to give humankind a sense of self-divinity. We can split atoms, go to the moon, collide protons, clone animals, land space crafts on comets and immediately we think we are gods. The arrogance of the people of Babel brought God to confuse their language. Their sins united them, so to speak. The confusion of their tongue humbled them and delayed any advancements they were planning.  However, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave the Blessed Mother and the Apostles the gifts of tongues allowing them to once again speak in one language that was intelligible to everyone else but with the message of Christ, not one like those of Babel who were self-centered humanists.

Pentecost means the ‘fiftieth day’ and was the day on which the ‘Feast of Weeks’ or ‘Shevout’ was celebrated.  On this day, all Jews recalled the day the Commandments were given to Moses 50 days after their Exodus from Egypt (Leviticus 23:15-21, Deuteronomy 16:9-11).  There was a big harvest on this day. Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit to the Apostles (Luke 24:49).  He told them that the Helper or Paraclete would come to them reminding them of all He has taught them and will guide them in Truth (John 14:15-31).

These are important verses that are ignored by our separated brethren who often claim that the Catholic Church is corrupt and apostate.  In America’s infancy, groups such as the Finneyites rose up preaching a form of “primitivism,” or what they called a return to the “original Christianity.”  We see many of their sects today such as the Baptists, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists, Evangelicals, Mormons, Adventists and so on.  Anyone who believes that Christ’s Catholic Church became corrupt is basically calling Jesus a liar.  If Jesus indeed promised that the Spirit would guide the Church in Truth, how can it become corrupt?  How can the Church fall away from Christ?  This is a misconception our separated friends must really meditate on.  They must cast away that ignorant rhetoric from the harsh anti-Catholicism that existed in the past – post-reformation and into America’s infancy.

It is the Holy Spirit who gave life to the universe, the earth and man (Genesis 1:2, Genesis 2:7).  The Spirit will renew the face of the Earth as we read in today’s Psalm.  It is via this Spirit that we can profess faith in Jesus as Lord as the second reading (first option from (1 COR 12:3B-7, 12-13) tells us. This Spirit gifts us the gifts necessary for us to spread the Gospel to others and grow in the Gospel internally. We must not fight the Holy Spirit, but let Him transform us as we read in the second option from Galatians 6:16-25.

Lastly, in the Gospel, both options tell us of Christ’s promise of this Helper. We need this helper today more than ever. Our Church is being attacked from within and without. Many among us have lost our way, even among the clergy.  Churches are closing, people are leaving the faith.  A culture of death, sexual confusion and egoism is on the rise.  The world seems to have gone to hell, so to speak. We must ask the Holy Spirit to come to us and renew us so that we can combat the evils in the world which come from the father of lies (John 8:44, Ephesians 6:12). The Spirit will come when we are united in prayer.  In this Holy Spirit, we must go out and proclaim Christ in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  We all know that Christ and His Gospel is extremely out of season in our day, nevertheless, we must be courageous because God’s Spirit which was given to us is not a pusillanimous or timid Spirit  (2 Timothy 1:7).  We may not have the ‘eye of the tiger,’ but we have the Holy Spirit and the world will hear us roar just like on the day of Pentecost.

  • Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to come once again and renew the Catholic Church and the world.
  • Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to rid the Church of scandals; to rid the Church of her Judas’ who continue to betray Jesus.
  • Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to renew our faith and to restore or bring the gift of faith to those who lost it or never bothered with it.
  • Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to tell us what to do in these trying times.  To instruct us how to confront with love and reason the errors of today such as Relativism, Atheism, Secularism, Homosexual behavior, the distortion of Marriage, the selfishness and ego of Feminism, Indifferentism, Personhood distortion and attack on life, and gender confusion.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love, sent forth your spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

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Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052415-pentecost-day.cfm