Prayers in support of this Agent For Truth effort are always welcomed and encouraged. May we all focus on giving glory to God and obeying His Commandments, especially the Commandment not to take His Name in vain. One “pet project” I have is to encourage film and television producers, directors, writers, actors and actresses to refrain from using God’s or Jesus’ Name in vain in their films and shows. I will use my “@joebanister” twitter account and the hashtag #LordsNameInVainWatch to ask for your help in making public requests to film and television personalities to stop using the Lord’s Name in vain while pursuing their profession. Let’s work together and speak up in defense of God’s Holy Name and let us shower God with our devotion so that He will more abundantly shower our nation with blessings.
Joe's Catholic Faith
Joe is a "Cradle Catholic," meaning he was baptized as a Catholic as an infant and has remained a practicing Catholic throughout his life. Joe is mindful of St. Peter's scriptural guidance:
But if also you suffer any thing for justice' sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear: and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (1 Peter 3:14-16)
Therefore, Joe has dedicated this section of his website to explaining more about the faith that has been a part of his life for nearly 60 years. Some who read this section may know nothing about the Catholic Faith, may be suspicious of Catholics and/or the Catholic Faith or may even outright despise Catholics and/or the Catholic Faith. Perhaps some will be turned off or cease further interest in Joe's efforts simply because he is a Catholic. This would be a tragedy since no one should fear or loathe someone who tries very hard to live up to one of the core teachings of the founder of the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ, who instructed, "Love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34) and "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31). How can you be harmed by learning more about or interacting with someone who is commanded to love his neighbor as himself? Joe believes that fostering understanding between human beings is ALWAYS beneficial to everyone and therefore providing an explanation exploring his reasons for being and remaining a Catholic is a worthwhile effort.
Conversions To The Catholic Faith
Whether you are familiar with the Catholic Faith or not, you will undoubtedly find this Jewish man's story of his conversion to the Catholic Faith, and the development of his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to be truly fascinating:
First, watch Roy Schoeman's brief and rapid telling of his conversion story here:
Then, watch Roy Schoeman's much more detailed speech about his conversion here:
Roy Schoeman's website is salvationisfromthejews.com/
The Holy Eucharist
Probably one of the more concise summaries of Bible-based Catholic belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church's teaching on the Eucharist. Christians from the earliest days of Christianity acknowledged the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The discussion below is not at all intended to be an exhaustive analysis but instead serve as "food for thought" for readers to consider and investigate for themselves.
-Gospel of St. John, Chapter 6 in its entirety for context, but emphasizing verses 24 through 72 (Douay-Rheims)
-Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 26, verses 1 through 29 (Douay-Rheims)
-1 Corinthians, Chapter 10, verse 16
-1 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 23 through 34
[More To Follow]
Early Church Fathers:
-St. Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 315-386): He himself declared and said of the Bread, "This is my body," who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, "This is my blood," who shall ever hesitate, saying, this is not His Blood?...Consider, then, the Bread and Wine not as bare elements. They are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Hendrickson Publisher, 7:151-152, as quoted in The Fathers of the Church, 3rd Edition by Mike Aquilina, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, pp. 189-190)
[More to follow]
Catechism Of The Catholic Church:
1406 Jesus said: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; . . . he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and . . . abides in me, and I in him" (Jn 6:51, 54, 56).
1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church's life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.
1408 The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship.
1409 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action.
1410 It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
1411 Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord.
1412 The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: "This is my body which will be given up for you. . . . This is the cup of my blood. . . ."
1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).
1414 As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God.
1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.
1416 Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.
1417 The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year.
1418 Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. "To visit the Blessed Sacrament is . . . a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord" (Paul VI, MF 66).
1419 Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.
Fr. Mike Schmitz: "The Hour That Will Change Your Life"
Fr. Mike Schmitz gave this speech at the “SEEK 2015” conference in Nashville, Tennessee hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (Focus.org), a nationwide evangelization organization of Catholic college students, in which he shared his experiences and the true intimacy that the Lord Jesus offers us in the Holy Eucharist. Keep in mind he is speaking to college students so he peppers his presentation with humor that appeals to that audience.
Truly Amazing Appearances Of The Blessed Virgin Mary Throughout History
(More details to follow)
Our Lady Of Guadalupe (Mexico)
Our Lady Of La Salette (France)
Our Lady Of Lourdes (France)
Our Lady of Quito (Ecuador)
Our Lady Of Fatima (Portugal)