Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Short Testimony by Teresa Beem

My love for Christ. 

I don't often talk about my relationship with Christ because it doesn't fit into the pattern of what is accepted by American Protestants (or even Catholics).

To me, I cannot speak about Christ in any way that isn't incredibly intimate… so intimate, so vulnerable that it almost hurts. I will weep. I will leave this earth and go into His presence if I speak of my relationship with Him. And that makes people very uncomfortable. Me too.

But often Evangelicals want to see if I am really "saved" by testing me with, "Do you have a relationship with Christ?" I usually stand there unable to speak because that is like saying to me, "Do you make love to your husband?" It is just so, so.... personal. It seems like something that should be only spoken of in great privacy.

I can hardly even type the word "Jesus" because to me, His name is so precious and so powerful that I feel I am taking on a nuclear explosion with His name. I say "Lord" or "Savior" and occasionally "Christ." But even that is hard for me. I always gulp and tremble with fear before writing any title or name of our Creator, for it is the name above all names. I don't like to say it or write it. For it is fire, it is supernatural.... it is....holy, so very holy.

That doesn't fit with others' experience. I feel very hurt when people think I am wrong for not saying or writing His name often. I don't like to talk about Him casually. I want to only talk about Him on my knees with my head covered. For He is good and for me, that goodness of God is so powerful that it can never be casual.

I am not preaching to anyone, just saying why I don't talk about it much. I can write and speak about theology because it tells about Him but it doesn't enter the place of my personal relationship with Him. Talking theology (scripture, hermeneutics, doctrine) is like being in the gentile area of the Jewish Temple. Theology puts a small distance between me and the holiest thing in the cosmos.

Talking about God directly is like being in the Holy Place—it should be done in whispered tones in extreme reverence. And prayer is like being in the Holy of Holies. It is so holy it is covered in a veil and you don't speak at all unless it is in a liturgical setting.

That's just me. I am not in any way saying anyone must be like that. Please don't think so.

I want to live where my life shows Christ. I want my love to be so poured out that it will say what my words tremble at speaking and at which they falter. I want to love you for Christ. That is my personal testimony.

But, for those interested, here is my little testimony:

(get past the commercial and read the rest to this music.)

When I was a child, I was highly sensitive. I loved my Savior and Lord as far back as I remember. But something happened in my pre-teen and teen years that changed everything inside of me. I saw Christ on a picture of the crucifix and didn't want to hurt Him. I looked around me, and saw all these Christians living in a way that would hurt Christ. I didn't understand. Couldn't they see? They were hurting themselves and I knew that because they were hurting themselves that they were hurting Christ. That made me confused. I didn't want to be like those Christians.

I never thought about heaven. I thought a lot about seeing Christ, but almost never about heaven itself. All I wanted to do was to see Christ. That was heaven to me. To look into His eyes and know that He knew… He knew me. And I would know Him. That was eternal joy and worth anything, any sacrifice on earth. So that I could look into His eyes and He would know that I didn't add to His sorrow. His eyes didn't have to weep or be hurt when He looked at me, the way He had looked into Peter's eyes when Peter betrayed Him. 

All my life—and now as an adult, I have not really considered heaven like others talk about it. I feel guilty and strange because I don't really care one way or the other about golden streets and animals and everlasting life. It's not that I want to reject Christian's  version of heaven. But that is not what I really desire.

This is my greatest heart's desire and that is to kneel before Him and tell Him how thankful I am for all He has done. That is my greatest reward and there is nothing on earth that I wouldn't sacrifice, not even life itself, in order to have that moment. And that moment is an eternity in my eyes. I want that moment to seize up and be eternal.

For me, being Catholic has given me a taste of my desire. Not all Catholic services do the exact same for me, but some have.

When I can kneel before an altar rail, wearing a veil and receive on the tongue, I glimpse what that moment will be like when I see

Christ. I live it now, here, when I am in mass. There is a supernatural holiness I experience in the Eucharist. I am taken to heaven and I get a glimpse of eternity.

My greatest desire on earth is to live where I can go to daily mass and receive that way. To me, that is heaven—the kingdom of heaven Christ brought to earth at His first coming. 

That is all. It was painful to write. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cardinal Dolan and His St. Patrick Day Parade Abomination

St. Patrick, Pray for Us…

Each year New York City has a parade to celebrate the life of the 5th-century Catholic missionary and saint, Patrick of Ireland. St. Patrick was a courageous, dedicated man of God who despite great sacrifice and persecution converted thousands.

Through the years, the St. Patrick Day Parade in New York has lost its purpose. Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington recently wrote that today's St. Patrick Day Parade should be cancelled for it has become an excuse for drunkenness and debauchery. The latest step down towards hell has been the parade commissioners' decision to allow a gay pride group called "Out@NBCUniversal" to march. 

"A gay group of employees from NBC will march in next year’s New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade behind their own banner…"

But what is even more abominable is that Cardinal Bishop Dolan is going to march as Grand Marshall in the parade and has publicly stated that he supports the commission's decision to allow the gay group to participate. And have you heard one squeak from the USCCB or any bishop about this? No. Their silence is solidarity whether they want to believe it or not. 

United States Catholics need to wake up and realize that our bishops have had a catastrophic collapse of courage. Most bishops are verging, or so it seems, on abandoning God by their complicity with sin or their silence in confronting it. 

God had some fearful admonishments for His unfaithful leaders in the Old Testament. St. Paul warned the church at Corinth that
these stories are to be "as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." (I Cor. 10:11)

Let us take a look at what God had to say about His appointed shepherds who were not devoted to their covenants:
His watchmen are blind. All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. "Come," they say, "let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so." Isaiah 57: 10-12

For the shepherds have become stupid And have not sought the Lord; Therefore they have not prospered, And all their flock is scattered. Jer. 10: 21
Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard, They have trampled down My field; They have made My pleasant field A desolate wilderness. Jer. 12:10

The wind will sweep away all your shepherds, And your lovers will go into captivity; Then you will surely be ashamed and humiliated Because of all your wickedness. Jer. 22: 22

Our Shepherds will be punished for
allowing wolves 
in to destroy the sheep. 

Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture! declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: "You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds," declares the Lord. Jer. 23: 1, 2

Those slain by the Lord on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be lamented, gathered or buried; they will be like dung on the face of the ground. Wail, you shepherds, and cry; And wallow in ashes, you masters of the flock; For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions have come, And you will fall like a choice vessel. Flight will perish from the shepherds, And escape from the masters of the flock. Hear the sound of the cry of the shepherds, And the wailing of the masters of the flock! For the Lord is destroying their pasture, And the peaceful folds are made silent Because of the fierce anger of the Lord. Jeremiah 25: 33-37

[The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel commanding him to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel.] "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them. " Ezekiel 34:1-10

There is a sound of the shepherds' wail, For their glory is ruined ….Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, 'Blessed be the Lord, for I have become rich!' And their own shepherds have no pity on them.
Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm and on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered and his right eye will be blind." Zech. 11: 3-5, 17

Please pray and weep for the bishops of the United States. The above words were written as a warning to them. 

To read more:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Obeying Leaders Whom We Have Seen....

Note: This post is for mature, born-again Christian audiences only.
For decades I have imagined heaven. I don't mean that I have imagined an eternity of living in perfect bliss walking on golden streets, petting lions. I know this is paradise for many people. I focus on another moment.

This is what I have been living for, waiting for, longing for: the moment I can look into the eyes of God. That will be my eternity. If there is nothing of heaven but that instant, it will be the perfect eternity. I in His eyes and He in mine. There is nothing more I shall ever desire, for there is nothing greater.

At night, when all is dark and I am alone with that vision of seeing God face to face, I beg God that everyone see Him as I see Him in my heart.

"Why, oh why do You not reveal Yourself to everyone?" I plead ardently.  It has sorrowed my heart, wounded me. "Why can't we see You.. just, just for a glimpse?" Yet, decade after decade He is silent and unseen. 

 I have tried so hard to understand why God is invisible. For the world would instantly change if they could but see Him--look into His eyes.

Then suddenly, He revealed why this is. In a moment I understood. I want to explain to you what He explained to me, but it will take quite a while. Please be patient as I try and unfold for you what He revealed to me. 

It started in the Garden of Eden. Man was given dominion of the earth. 

And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. " ….Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Gen. 1: 26, 28

Adam failed his task. Adam failed to take authority over the snake and rebuke him. (Wasn't the snake a creeping thing he was to take dominion over?) Now he lost his part of his authority over the earth. It would no longer obey him. Now, he would work for his sustenance on the earth. (Gen. 3: 17-19) 

God told Noah that he was to take authority over the earth. "The fear and terror of you will be in every living creature on the earth, every bird of the sky, every creature that crawls on the ground, and all the fish of the sea. They are placed under your authority." Gen. 9:2

Noah ended up drunk and Canaan, his grandson, was cursed. 

Genesis 23 tells the story of Jacob, who fled home after stealing from his brother, now was returning home, repentant and afraid. God sent an angel to wrestle with Jacob. (v. 24-30) 

"Your name will no longer be called 'Jacob,' but, 'Israel,' for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed," the angel said. Jacob was astounded and exclaimed, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved!"

God fought Jacob in order to make him a man.

The Bible is one long history of God trying to make men take their rightful place of responsibility and authority. Obviously that is not the main point of history, but if you look at scripture closely, it seems to be a definite subplot. Man, especially man, is to take his rightful place as king and judge. But He first has to make men, menmen of God.

When Moses didn't want to lead the people out of Egypt, God's anger was kindled and He told Moses that He would send Aaron, his brother, to be with him as he spoke to Israel and pharaoh.

"I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do…he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him." Ex. 4: 15, 16

Notice that Moses was constantly relating to God that His people were complaining. Finally, Moses tells the people that, "your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord."  When they spoke to Moses, it was as if they are speaking to God Himself. For Moses was in the earthly place of God for them. Ex.16: 8

I have never heard anyone ever talk about that last or the upcoming verse. But they prove my point. God places His leadership in His own place, for us to see Him. When we see God's leaders, we are supposed to be seeing Him. Read what happens next. It will shock you. 

After all the grumbling Israel was doing against Moses, the Lord told Moses to prepare His people for an event on Sinai. But why? Listen to what God said.

The LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever." Ex. 19:9

Mount Sinai was not only about giving the law to Israel, but about establishing forever Moses' authority. If there is any doubt of this, God shows us what happens if even Moses' siblings try and usurp Moses' authority.

Miriam began to talk against Moses because he had married a Cushite. "Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?" She began to stir up mutant in Israel. The Lord appeared at the entrance of the Tent of Meetings and summoned Miriam and told them that Moses was more than a prophet, for He spoke to prophets in dreams and visions. But Moses God spoke face to face. Verse 9 records that, "The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them." And God inflicted Miriam with leprosy. Moses intercession saved her. (Num. 12)

Next we have Israel's kings:

King David was the youngest of the siblings. David slew Goliath. That is what men of God do. Finally, a man after God's own heart: fearless, a man of action, a man of compassion and even a man who respected the seat of the King's authority. For David would not touch God's anointed authority, King Saul, even as corrupt as he was. 

God gave His authority to His leaders in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word,  Radah, (meaning "dominion") is the same dominion God has over the earth and means to dominate, subjugate. Solomon was given this dominion over Israel (I Kings 4, 5, 9).

The Men of the New Covenant

Christ came to fulfill Moses authority and King David's. (Numbers 24: 14-19, "Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion…" See also: Judges 5: 13) This domination/authority was given by God to His Son, Jesus Christ, in the New Testament (Greek: Exousia. See Matt. 28: 18. Eph. 1: 21, Col. 2: 10).

Our Lord then passed on His authority to His twelve Apostles (Matt. 10: 1, Luke 10: 19).

And in obedient to faith in the New Covenant, we are commanded to recognize and submit to His appointed authorities. (Rom. 13: 1-3, 5, I Tim. 2:2, I Peter 2: 13, 2 Peter 2: 10, Jude 1:8, 25.) Especially to our spiritual authorities:

And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don't associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. 2 Thess. 3:14 
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Heb. 13: 17 (See also: I Cor. 16: 16, I Peter 1: 14)

St. Paul claims this authority (I Cor. 9: 12, "If others share this authority over you, don't we even more?" 2 Cor. 10:8, "if I boast some more about our authority, which the Lord gave…" 2 Cor. 13:10, "when I am there I will not use severity, in keeping with the authority the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down." See also Rom. 15: 18, 2 Cor. 2:9, Phil. 2: 12.)

Titus, as bishop, has this authority (Titus 2: 14, "encourage and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you." Titus 3: 1, "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey..")

Everything in scripture is driving us towards being like God, with His authority. We are to be kings and judges. But, like Christ, we must first learn obedience. We must be perfect and that is by being obedient to our earthly authorities. The first being our human, biological father. Then our spiritual fathers. 

We cannot see God on earth, yet. Because if God were to have revealed Himself that clearly to our senses: our eyes, our touch, our hearing… we would not feel the need of being obedient to His appointed leaders. God has a system whereby we must be Him to the world. We are to represent God, we who are born again.  And yet the greatest responsibility is not just Christians, but those who are called to certain leadership: the men.

Fathers, pastors, priests, bishops, popes. We are to first be obedient to them. They must be seen first as authorities, then we can see God as our authority and obey Him. This is similar to what St. 
John warns us about with loving our brother. 

If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. I John 4: 20

Perhaps it is this way with God and His leadership. Perhaps until we can learn to obey our earthly fathers, physical and spiritual, whom we can see, we cannot obey God, whom we have not seen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Priests Going Rogue and Prayer For Our Bishops

I love being Catholic. 

That is because I love doctrine. I really don't get too upset about hypocrisy and people failing to live up to the things they believe are true. I don't look to people. 

To me, perfect doctrine, perfect TRUTH paints a picture of who Christ is and helps me to worship and know Him. Doctrine is my way of having a very close relationship with Jesus. Therefore, I love religion and its doctrine. I love a community of believers no matter how rotten, hypocritical, asleep, unrepentant and weak they are. They are my Christian family. I truly love religion and all its rites and rituals that God set up for us through our leaders! So what if we fail to be perfect. Let's all just keep walking together towards perfection!

(Here's just a glimpse of perfection. Just thought I would throw it in for.... inspiration.)

Therefore I am not spiritually ruffled by bad Catholics. 

And here's the big huge.... EXCEPT. And now I will complain, but for a moment:

I have been grieving since Sunday over what I see more and more occurring in my beloved Church! This is just the latest of a growing list of things my husband and I have been witnessing in Catholic Churches across the nation. 

Since our priest was on vacation, a fill-in priest came and gave the mass. During the homily, he calmly told the parishioners that a group of "celibate, old men" had no authority to make rules for married people. He
described a man who, after a divorce, committed suicide because he could no longer receive the Eucharist. (I think the guy was contemplating remarriage or something like that... the priest was mumbling at this point.) Then, very clearly, he told anyone sitting there who had been denied communion because of a divorce to come and receive the Eucharist. 

After church in the foyer a lot of people had the shocked look of, "did he just say what we think he just said?" Others were just livid..."YEAH!! HE DID!!" 

To make absolutely certain that the priest didn't misspeak (or was on some type of medication) my husband followed him back privately and asked him to clarify. Well, the priest felt free to become emotional and with scorn told my husband that the Curia was the group of those "old, celibate men" who had no right to make any rules that deal with marriage. Then he began to list all the Catholic abuses of power including the idea of mortal sins. He, point blank, told my husband that there was no such thing as mortal sin. 

Well.... I need to take a breath here and finish. 

I have repeatedly written bishops when priests seem to go rogue. I did this time too. 

Instead of just becoming discouraged, I have started a page of prayer for our bishops. It's rough out there.
We need to be holy for our bishops and pray for their courage to fight for the faith at this time. Please join me. Click the link below: