Wednesday, September 19, 2007

By Their Fruits You will know them.

I had this discussion on another friend-of-Candy blog. The blogger basically quoted Matthew 7:15-16 in her argument that the Catholic Church cannot be true.

Matthew 7:15-16 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their
fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

I countered this by mentioning the Catholic Church was one of the largest providers of charity, medical care, education, disaster relief in the world, and was accused of introducing a strawman into the discussion!

It turns out that by "fruits" the blogger meant "fruits of the Holy Spirit." Now I think that's a stretch considering the context of this chapter. Nonetheless, for the sake of argument let's examine this.

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are:

Gal 5:22-23 love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and, self-control.

The gist of the blogger's argument against the church was that since the Catholic Church teaches that people cannot truly know that they are saved and that they will have to be punished for their sins we Catholics cannot possibly have peace. Therefore, the Catholic church must be a false church.

I kid you not.

We could debate the theology of this position and we probably will; however, I am interested in hearing from Catholics about how much peace you feel in your lives as a practicing Catholic.


I guess then since I'm introducing the topic, I should go first. Personally I have found much peace and joy in my walk as a Catholic Christian. I find joy and peace in the sacraments, in the mass, in the prayers of the church, in the teachings of the church and the strength of the Magisterium and her teachings.

(My friend Joann- devout Catholic who died this month from stage 4 breast cancer - joyful to the end!)

I find joy in every day of the liturgical year and with our cycles of feasting and fasting. Whats more, in the fruits that I may be lacking, I find abundantly in other Catholic Christians who are older, wiser, or are just more mature in their walk with Christ as they practice their Catholic Faith.

Anyone else?

(St. Maximilian Kolbe- Catholic Priest who gave up his life for another in Nazi Concentration Camp)


Sophia's Virtue said...

As a protestant I had no peace! It was after I became Catholic that I found it. It was interesting to watch everyone around me warn me that perhaps I wasn't saved for one reason or another. Because of this I usually doubted my own salvation, thinking I didn't "do it" right or that it didn't "take". I walked the isle, I said my sinner's prayer and I meant every word. But other Christians had me convinced that perhaps I wasn't because I didn't wear dresses or didn't go to this particular Baptist/Assembly of God/Pentacostal church.

I found peace after becomming Catholic by discovering God's will for me and learning, once and for all, how to live a life that pleases Him. It's no longer "up in the air" about whether this or that is wrong. If it's wrong, the Church teaches it to be so and the reasoning behind something being wrong actually makes sense. Such as birth control. There's no argument on whether it's right or wrong anymore, it's been settled and the reasons why it's immoral make perfect sense.

I guess I have such peace because I no longer wonder what right and wrong is. I have peace and confindence because I have the Truth. Period.

Rachel said...

Being raised Catholic gave me a very strong foundation. Everyone needs a foundation. Without it, you really have nothing. YOu can build that foundation at any point in your life - just build it! I know that whatever I go through in life I am not alone. I feel God's presence with me. It gives me great strength. Saying the Rosary.. it's where I turn for just about everything. Thinking of the mysteries and me such peace. Watching my children making their sacraments reminds me of making my own and little do they know this is the stones to their foundation. Attending mass is the mortar that holds it all together. I also find great comfort at mass. Knowing what to expect, what to look do next - that routine I can go through with such ease and comfort allowing me to concentrate on that portion of the mass and feel that overflowing of love when we sing and say prayers. Asking for guidance from the saints.. petitioning them with prayer.. I guess the whole aspect of being Catholic is what I love. I don't claim to know bible verses and spout them out at will,.. but I have had people tell me often when they send me a prayer request they really feel something because they know I'm praying.. and I have had several people tell me they want to have a relationship like my husband and I share. Living my life outward and setting an example in living every day life, I hope I am setting a good example for all and in that curiousity of them asking me HOW and WHY I live like I do.. I share my religion. :)

Faithful Catholic said...

"Be still and know that I am God." from Psalm 46

Peace - without it, I would barely be able to get through a day. Everyday there exists the potential for overwhelming anxiety related to issues with which I am faced. I have spent the past four years in a walk like none I've ever been on. I have had to make life-changing decisions for myself and others. Trust in the Lord and the peace that trust brings have carried me safely to this point and, will carry me the rest of the way on this journey. Sometimes, I falter when I become overwhelmed with the details or when I question my human limitations. Then, it hits me, almost literally hits me. "Be still and know that I am God." I can stop being anxious because I know that the Lord ALWAYS provides. My peace returns. I don't like that I allow myself to be sidetracked with the material concerns that create anxiety. I find that each time it happens, it lasts less and less time than the time before. Why? Well, probably because I am learning well to appreciate His gifts and increasing my faith in His love and mercy.

I cannot say, nor would I presume to do so, that others do not have peace or joy or love, etc. I can say that I, most definitely, do have peace in my life. I also know that I am not "perfected" and will struggle with sin. I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to fill my heart and soul. I pray for salvation. And, I live for it. What I mean is that I do not believe that I'm "automatically" going to heaven because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. Every time I sin, I am rejecting him. I have to continue to resist my sinful nature. I have to confess my sins and ask for forgiveness and change my behavior. Knowing this does not in any way diminish the peace I have in my life. Knowing this brings me peace.

The Catholic Church is not a "false church." I am at peace because I know this. I am at peace because I don't have to lean on my own understanding or interpretation of Jesus' teachings. He gave us the fullness of His Truth when He founded His Church. He inspires our Pope with the knowledge and understanding to impart His teachings. He promised us He would be with us til the end of time. I believe Him. And I have peace.

motherofmany said...

Faithful Catholic- I answered your comment here as there was not room (assuming Elena will aloow my comment to remain)

And for any who are interested, the full article in question is here:

I stated that the doctrines are not of joy. Any individual could have joy, regardless of whether they live in truth or not. There are very peaceful, joyful atheists! The point was not a lack of personal peace, but of the absence of the Joy we are to have in the ASSURABCE of our slavation, which Christ himself promised us.

Elena said...

Of course I'll allow it to remain Amy. Why wouldn't I?

I guess I need clarification - am I allowed to link to your posts or not? I'm glad to do either.

Also, I quoted you almost verbatim.

Elena said...

The Catholic Church is not a "false church." I am at peace because I know this. I am at peace because I don't have to lean on my own understanding or interpretation of Jesus' teachings. He gave us the fullness of His Truth when He founded His Church. He inspires our Pope with the knowledge and understanding to impart His teachings. He promised us He would be with us till the end of time. I believe Him. And I have peace.

Amen Faithful Catholic! As the Catechism says in reference to Matthew 16:

553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."287 The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep."288 The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles289 and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.