Poor Start this Morning

Since Ash Wednesday this year I have started out the day by going to morning Mass. Today, I had an appointment for some blood work at 8:40am in which I needed to fast prior so I decided to sleep in and go to noon Mass. Well all was going to plan until I woke up at 6:20am this morning since my body is now used to getting up earlier. So I got up and figured I’d do some work on the computer until it was time to leave for my appointment.

Somehow I forgot about the fasting part and since I always fast before Mass and then head to work without breakfast I figured today would be a good day for breakfast at home, Eggos & Coffee are pretty good when your use to nothing. Not until 8am did I recall the fasting requirement. Well since that point my whole day has been blown. No morning Mass, a missed appointment, and to follow all that up nicely my morning meeting at work went poorly. Hopefully noon Mass can salvage my day. Today they had a flutist and organ that played sacred music with Mass and the Agnus Dei was great. So far things are looking up. Amazing how receiving the Body & Blood of Jesus can turn things around.

George Bush, Potential Roman Catholic?

After reading a post at WDTPRS the thought of George Bush becoming Catholic intrigued me. I mean think about it, George’s buddy Tony Blair converted after leaving office last year, George’s brother Jeb has converted with the help of his wife, George appointed two Catholic Supreme Court Justices, and there are a number of people close to President Bush who are devout Catholic’s. Most intriguing to me is the President’s recent answer to Raymond Arroyo’s question about what he saw when he looked into Pope Benedict’s eyes, Bush, a Methodist, answered without hesitation “God”. I can’t say I would get that same answer from my Methodist Grandmother-In-Law.

Bush’s moral stances on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research are certainly inline with Catholic teaching and he has had the great privilege of meeting both Pope John Paul & Pope Benedict. Whether you like President Bush or not I think he certainly did Catholic’s proud, and the country for that matter, with the way he greeted and hosted Pope Benedict earlier this month. The President had nothing to gain politically by greeting the Pope at Andrews Air Force Base, something no other President had ever done for another Head of State. Since there are no more Catholic votes to be won by the President one can only speculate on what Bush’s reasons were for pulling out all the stops for the Pope’s visit.

The last thing that excites me about the thought of President Bush converting to Catholicism is the amount of religious dialog that it would create among all Americans and even around the world. Just think about how many workplace conversations between Catholics & Non-Catholics would take place on the subject of faith and religion. The office water cooler would be a buzz with theological talk by your average Joe in the pew and even by your average Joe in the recliner. Protestants would hopefully be hitting the internet and the bookstore to research what the Catholic Church really teaches. Yes a Bush conversion would cause quite the conversation.

Let us say a quick prayer for the conversion of all to the Catholic Church.

Almighty and eternal God, whose desire it is that all men might be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, grant in your mercy that all mankind enter into union with you and your Catholic Church through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Testing the Lord

In my reading of the Bible testing of the Lord is usually something one does not want to do. Examples can be found in Deuteronomy 6, Isaiah 7, Acts 5, and 1 Corinthians 10 where the Word of God tells us not to test the Lord. Jesus himself even refers to not putting the Lord to the test in Matthew 4 & Luke 4. But the one place God does request us to test Him is when it comes to tithing. Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, That there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the LORD of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?”

I think many of us look at the Old Testament and find it odd that much of the Jewish religion at that time was based on “burnt offerings”. But offering every tenth ox, sheep, or bushel of wheat, wasn’t the point. The point was that we thank God for what he has given us by giving it back to him and trusting him to provide us with what we need. In our day an age our offering for the most part would consist of our money and our time. God bestows many blessings on us and one of those blessings is money so we can provide shelter, food, and clothing to our families. We are asked to tithe our money and out time and if you ask me that is way easier, and cleaner, than killing a cow up at church.

One interesting aspect about tithing is that only you & God, and maybe your accounting, know if you are tithing. Do we trust God in his promise that he will pour down blessings upon us without measure or are we so attached to our money that we cannot give it back to God what came from Him in the first place?

Can I Get a Witness?

Catholics as a whole don’t do the greatest job of evangelizing their Catholic faith. Personally I believe witness stories are one of the best forms for evangeliziation in our society today where the personal story is king. The personal story has become king because it is authentic and true in a world lacking of authenticity and truth. So therefore I have decided to start Witness Wednesday here at www.GetToMass.com.

Each Wednesday I would like to have a different witness posted. Right now I don’t have any rules for the stories other than the stories needs to be yours and true. I think the stories should follow the pattern of the stories on EWTN’s Journey Home program that is aired every Monday night at 7:00pm CST. Since the stories here will be in written format they should be anywhere from a page to five pages in length. Your story should be sent via email to me at sruyle@yahoo.com. If it is in document form please only send it in text or Microsoft Word formatted files.

Witnesses may remain anonymous if they wish and should be careful when naming others in their story. I may ask for stories to be modified by the author before they are published. Pictures may also can be included if desired but should be kept to a bare minimum if any. I plan to start Witness Wednesday on May 7th. Please help this effort by sharing your story or letting others where they can.

God Bless,
John 6:54

Mary & Mary

Mary Elizabeth & Mary Ellen Govea were born at 11:11am and 11:12am Saturday April 26th the two little girls both weigh around 1 lb 6 oz. Please keep them in your prayers.

Pray Please

Please pray for the Bo & Stacy Govea Family & especially for their two Mary’s


Menu Change

I have decided to the dump the “Catholic News” menu and replace it with “Documents & Writings”. Catholic news can be found pretty much anywhere on the web these days with little effort and I didn’t think it’s necessary to have it. I prefer this site to be a Catholic Resources site. I will try to add new documents in PDF format on a weekly basis. I have started the menu out with St. Louis DeMonfort’s – True Devotion and Pope Benedict’s address to Catholic Educators. Enjoy

Back to the Future Part II

I think I need to comment further about my TLM is lacking comment in the previous post. Let me first say that my first TLM was my brother’s wedding in a SSPX chapel. It was the first time that I saw and experienced the TLM and I could see by only going once that it was where heaven touched earth. I believe that those who want the TLM should have it and I think that Vatican II made a big mistake by making such a change from the TLM to the Novus Ordo so quickly. The Catholic Church never does anything fast and the history of this event is a prime example of why the Church is prudent when it implements changes slowly and with care.

So how can I say the TLM is lacking? Let me suggest what probably will end up being a poor analogy. As a football fan I can watch any two teams play and enjoy it. As a Nebraska fan its has been engrained in my head since birth that the 1971 Nebraska – Oklahoma game was the “Game of the Century”. It was a great game but as great as it was it was still lacking a few things. Shouldn’t the greatest game ever encompass every type of scoring play? The NU-OU game lacked a safety, it lacked a two-point conversion, it lacked a drop kick (I always wanted to see one of those). There was a punt return but no kickoff return. There were 66 points scored that day so you could say it lacked great defense. So the “Game of the Century” lacked many things. If your not a Nebraska fan you might say it lacked your own team playing in it. If you’re an Oklahoma fan you might say the game lacked a clipping call on that punt return and that it lacked an Oklahoma win.

Yes I know the logical response would be to say that my “lacking” comment comes down to a matter of opinion and yes it probably does. But when I say the TLM is lacking I mean it from a sense that the common man (Non-Catholic) cannot understand the TLM if they just walked in off the street to attend Mass. The common man could view the TLM as ritualistic or cultish, which could be considered scandal. I have seen this viewpoint by my elderly Protestant grandfather-in-law, which I believe saw the TLM at some point in his life without explanation. What he saw matched up with every lie he had ever heard about the Catholic Church. The TLM is lacking in its participation of the congregation and appears only to focus on the Priest’s actions and prayers. There is more I could say but that’s not the point.

I know there are many good responses to all my criticisms and I know that the Novus Ordo is lacking in many things as well. In short our worship of our Lord Jesus Christ can always be viewed as lacking on this earth until the day he perfects us in Heaven.

Back to the Future

Well today this Novus Ordo Catholic who was born in 1973 went “Back to the Future” sacramentally. I did this by going to my first Extraordinary Mass said by a priest who is in union with a bishop who is in union with the Pope. Yes I had previously gone to a TLM twice before said by our obstinate SSPX Christian brethren, once for my brothers wedding and once with him for a daily Mass so afterwards we could discuss his participation as my best man in my own wedding at a Novus Ordo Mass. The whole thing is a story for another occasion.

I went to the noon Mass at Blessed Sacrament in Kansas City, KS. For someone from Johnson County, KS where I reside the neighborhood that Blessed Sacrament is in might also be deemed extraordinary. (really it’s fine, just pay attention to your directions) I got there a half hour before Mass started. I entered through the side door and made the mistake of turning left instead of right when I came in, if you go left you walk into the Sacristy so take a right. After opening the wrong door I did a u-turn and went through the sanctuary door, dipped my hand in the holy water, made my sign of the cross, headed to an open pew, genuflected, got situated, knelt down, and started to pray. There were only 5 people in the sanctuary when I came in all of them well past the age of 70.

The altars, plural, at Blessed Sacrament are awesome. Three ornate altars which serve as examples of what our newer churches should get back to, they are altars meant for God and the flowers that decorated them were everywhere. It was absolutely beautiful. After about 10 minutes the elderly gentleman 2 pews in front of me started to pray the rosary so I got out my rosary and joined in. He had a German accent, which actually was pretty cool because it made me think that good ole Pope Benedict was leading me in an English rosary. His Glory Bes were always said Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Which for this Vatican II baby is always difficult to hear. The Latin say’s Espiritu how does that translate into Ghost and not Spirit? But I digress.

The lights were off in the place so I wasn’t 100% sure Mass was going to happen with the lights off and 6 people in the pews but then people started rolling in and the lights came on. Women with their veils on, middle aged men, and lots of kids … lots of kids. Mostly little ones from babes to 5 years old and they all knew what to do. Holy water, sign of the cross, and genuflect. God bless them.

Then out came the altar servers who I would say ranged from age 7 to 12 to prepare for Mass and man, were they impressive! I cannot put into words how impressed I was with their service. I never was an altar boy in the Novus Ordo when I was younger because I never saw the point. They seemed to just stand there the whole time. In the TLM they do everything but stand. They kneel, bow, genuflect, move prayer books, lift vestments, fold altar linens, respond with prayers in Latin, and have a number of choreographed movements that seem akin to the guards at Buckingham Palace minus the leg kicks, military spins, and salutes. I think had I grown up in the TLM, I still wouldn’t have been an altar boy, I would have been too intimidated. I think any boy or girl who serves at the Novus Ordo should go watch these little guys in action. After watching the TLM there is no wonder why altar boys during Vatican I were the recruiting ground for future priests. So then the bell rang to start the Mass, which is just cool. I wish all daily Novus Ordo Masses would start out the same way.

Next a priest and four altar boys came out from the Sacristy and Mass started. Now I don’t have a Missal so I just listened for the Latin parts I knew like the Kyrie and the Agnus Dei and followed along with the rest of the congregation as when to sit, stand, and kneel. Everything was in Latin except the readings and the homily. How any Protestant converted to Catholicism prior to the Novus Ordo Mass I’ll never know. I’m sure it was mostly marriage converts though.

As beautiful as the TLM is, it is also lacking. I’m sure that last comment just sent a few “traditional” Catholics through the roof, but I do mean what I say. I know that if I knew my Latin better I would get more out of the Latin Mass and that by learning the Latin I would learn more about my faith and I do plan to do that. But how does one preach the Gospel to Protestant Christians or Non-Christians if the Latin gets in the way? This is where I think Vatican II got it right by allowing the Mass in the vernacular and removing some of the ritual, but unfortunately the liberals within the church saw their opening and took it. As a side comment where did all these liberals within the Catholic Church at that time come from? Were they not a product of the TLM? Just something to think about…

The liberals within the Church took the Novus Ordo Mass and ran with it pretty much as far as they could, and they got pretty far, and some are still running with it. Thankfully the Holy Spirit has given us Pope Benedict to help us to restore the Novus Ordo to what I feel (feel=opinion) its original purpose was, which is to be a Mass for the common man, one that anyone could understand and think through without instruction. Benedict has done this by providing his flock free use of the TLM. While I don’t see the Novus Ordo changing the TLM, I do see the TLM changing the Novus Ordo. More Latin is being worked into it, greater reverence is being seen, better translations are coming, and the liberal hijackers are dying off.

I enjoyed my experience today, but I look forward to my Novus Ordo Mass tomorrow. In some ways my experience today was like going back in time and I highly recommend to all Catholics. To experience the Extraordinary Mass is to embrace being fully Catholic but Traditionals also need to embrace the Novus Ordo. Pope Benedict I think realized that in order for the Church to be prepared for the future it needed to go back and ensure its roots had room to function. The Catholic Church didn’t last 2000 years by chance and so in this Catholic’s head we have gone “back to the future”.

More Bible Please

Another reason my Presbyterian friend said she left the Catholic Church is because she said the Catholic Church isn’t as “Bible focused”. Oh contraire Monfraire. Many Protestants do know their Bible chapter and verse but just as many Catholics know their Bible stories just as well, their just not as good in their ability to find it in the good book. In addition a Catholic who attends daily Mass will hear almost the entire Bible in a 3-year period. Yes, I agree most Catholics don’t attend mass daily but hearing the entire Bible in a 3-year period is pretty impressive for any Christian. Not to mention the Priest must preach from the whole Bible and not just specific areas that he likes.

In a book by David Currie called “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” gives an example of two large churches he went to in Chicago, one fundamentalist and one evangelical, In a strict time sense they spent less than 6% of their Sunday service in reading from scripture. Grant it, that’s 2 hand picked examples, but in contrast a Sunday Catholic Mass spends more than 26% of its service reading from scripture, (1st Reading, Psalms, 2nd Reading, & Gospel plus most of the sayings and response during the mass are taken straight from scripture) obviously it probably depends on the length of the readings each Sunday, but when Protestants say there is more Bible in Protestant churches I just don’t see it or buy it. When 1/4th of the Mass is reading from the Bible I don’t see how you can go wrong. There might be more preaching or Bible discussion in the Protestant service but I doubt there is more actual Bible reading.

But when a Protestant attends Mass they might get caught up in the ritual of the Mass and forget the Bible reading. This is certainly understandable to me. I, I know where your coming from. I also get caught up in the fact that the BODY & BLOOD of Jesus Christ becomes physically present during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Who wouldn’t be caught up in that? Protestants may consider it just to be ritual and symbolic but that is not what the Apostles taught and believed, even Martin Luther knew better.

The Bible is the word of God for sure. But there is more to Christianity than what is written in the Bible, it even says that in the Bible, see 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours”. In addition to that there needs to be some type of authority when trying to understand scripture passages correctly. There are parts of the Bible that contradict itself if you take only a literal meaning of what is being said.

The Catholic Church has protected the oral traditions and the written ones. Many of these oral traditions became what are written in the Bible today. But considering the times of Jesus not everything could reasonably be written down. The Apostles weren’t walking around with laptops and laser printers. Oral traditions are to be expected. And, before the Bible there were no “Bible” readings. That means 300 years of Christians lived without the Bible, going with only oral-tradition. Those oral traditions are incorporated in the Mass, and the Sacraments. To live only by the word of the Bible is in folly. Like I said above Bible teachings must be interpreted properly which means you need an authority. That is why Christ gave primacy to Peter and built his Church upon him. Just like the United State Supreme Court you must have a final Authority or else you will have anarchy. Considering it’s estimated that there are more than 20,000 protestant denominations out there that is exactly what exists. (NOTE there are lots of different numbers floating around on how many Christian denominations there are and I’m just trying to be conservative)

When it comes to reading the Bible you must know what to take literally and what not to, I’m always surprised that Protestants are so willing to accept the Bible even though Catholic Bishops and the Pope put it together. Those Catholic Bishops & Pope believed in Purgatory, venerated Mary, and confessed their sins to a Priest. They actually knew people who knew people who knew people that walked and spoke with our Lord Jesus Christ. Some how those Catholic Bishops & Pope can be trusted to put the Bible together but those of today are considered by some Protestants to be spreading false doctrine or even be the Anti-Christ. What kool-aid are they drinking? Did Jesus somehow break his promise to us when he said “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 ? Certainly there were some incorrect things going on at the time of Luther specifically when it comes to indulgences, but I don’t think that gives one the right to break away & lead others down a path that is basically saying “Jesus, I don’t trust your plan, I think there is a better way and I’ll be in charge”

So in closing I say this, Protestants seem to hold the Bible in higher regard than Catholics only because that’s all they have to rely on they have no other authority and even say just that. Now that comment may have just thrown me into the “Arrogant Catholic” group, which my Presbyterian friend also complains about, and I don’t mean to be, but I think one needs to go back and take a serious look at other writings of the Apostles, Saints, and people of the early Church to see and understand everything that was going on at the time of the writings of the Bible. If you look at what those people believed and did, you will see their thoughts and actions are the same things that today’s Catholic Church teaches, does, and believes.