Jesus is the only religious leader and/or founder who is unique and original in at least 25 different ways
Jesus, Son of God-Savior of the world, became a man –suffered, was crucified, and rose from the dead– the most significant events in the entire history of the world.
1) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who was foretold dozens of times in the Hebrew Scriptures, hundreds of years before He was born.
2) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who claimed to be God (and He was not an angel or just a prophet), and He is the co-eternal Son of the Father.
3) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who worked numerous, dramatic miracles and healings, overcoming natural laws.
4)Jesus is the only founder of a religion who is proclaimed Savior of the World and who willingly shed His blood to atone for the sins of all mankind out of His great love for every person.
5) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who teaches that: a) God is LOVE, b) God is His Father and the Father of every person, and c) God is a loving family of three divine persons in one God, the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
6) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who rose from the dead as witnessed by hundreds of people and He assured everyone that they too would rise from the dead on the last day.
7) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave His faithful followers the gift of the Holy Mass, the best prayer in the history of the world.
8) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who left His followers the gift of His true self in the Holy Eucharist, a real miracle.
9) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who forgave sins and gave the power to forgive sins to His Apostles.
10) Jesus is the only founder of a religion for whom His apostles and millions of His followers were martyred, giving their lives in loving surrender and sacrifice.
11) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who taught and lived unconditional love, as well as forgiveness of enemies.
12) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who provided the world a meaningful example and basis for a theology of redemptive suffering.
13) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who will judge the living and the dead and He taught much about the reality of Heaven and Hell, angels and demons.
14) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who can and wants to have a personal relationship with every person.
15) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who can understand every language and know the thoughts, secrets, and actions of every person.
16) Jesus is the only founder of a religion which asks all Christians to pray constantly.
17) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who taught everyone why matter really matters (because God has always worked through created matter).
18) Jesus is the only founder of a religion which is the supreme picture of truth, goodness, and beauty.
19) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who said He is a King and was even proclaimed King by the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus.
20) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave the world a faith with consistent, life-affirming, and cohesive teachings.
21) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who burst into the world in a totally miraculous and unique way.
22) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who is still alive while every founder of other religions is dead.
23) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave the world a faith with four distinctive characteristics: one, holy, catholic (or universal), and apostolic.
24) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave numerous reasons to people everywhere to have great hope.
25) Jesus is the only founder of a religion which improved the world in numerous ways, due in part to the fact that He is the most influential individual in the history of the world.
Jesus is the only religious leader or founder who is unique and original in at least 25 different ways
Jesus, Son of God-Savior of the world, became a man –suffered, was crucified, and rose from the dead– the most significant events in the entire history of the world.
1) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who was foretold dozens of times in the Hebrew Scriptures, hundreds of years before He was born. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote: “Jesus was the only man whose coming into the world was pre-announced. No other great world leader or religious figure ever had his coming foretold. Even Jesus’ mission was known before he entered the world. His mission was to overcome evil by his saving death on the Cross” (Fatima for Today by Fr. Andrew Apostoli). One prophecy in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah (7:14) says: “Behold, a virgin will conceive, and she will give birth to a son, and his name will be called Immanuel which means God with us” (cf. Mt.1:22-23). Isaiah also says: “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…” (Is. 61:1). Jesus Himself proclaims that this prophecy above refers to Him: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk. 4:18). See also: Is. 9:6, Zech. 9:9, Ps. 22:16-18, Mic. 5:1,Gen. 49:10, Is. 52:13 to 53:12 and many more similar Old Testament prophecies.
2) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who claimed to be God (He was not an angel or just a prophet), and He is the co-eternal Son of the Father. For example, Jesus said: “The Father and I are one” (Jn. 10:30) and He also said, “I am the Son of God” (Jn. 10:36). And Peter said: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Mt. 16:16). Jesus proclaimed the only true God when He prayed: Father…“this is eternal life, that they should know You, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (Jn. 17:3). Even evil spirits knew Jesus is God, as St. Mark writes: “And whenever unclean spirits saw Him they would fall down before Him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God’ ” (Mk. 3:11, Mk.1:23-24, Mt.8:29). Consider this: Why did the leaders crucify Jesus? Because He said He is God (Jn. 10:34, Mk.14:62ff). After the Resurrection, St. Thomas greeted Jesus as “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). If Thomas were wrong, Jesus would have corrected him.
3) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who worked numerous, dramatic miracles and healings, overcoming the laws of nature, as documented in the Bible by many eye-witnesses who knew Jesus. There has to be an element of faith, but there is much more that helps prove the veracity of what Christians believe. Jesus walked on the sea, raised people from the dead, and multiplied loaves and fish, proving He can make things out of nothing or make them multiply. He exhibited powers that no mere human has. Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA, said the following in a homily on EWTN-TV on 4/8/2016: An article of the Christian faith is that miracles are necessary to make our faith believable or credible. During the time that Jesus was on earth, miracles confirmed the truth of the Gospels. Gamaliel, a Pharisee and teacher of the law, respected by all the people, said in Acts 5:34-39, there were others who had a following at the time of Jesus but they faded away. In contrast, the truth of Jesus was confirmed by the miracles that Jesus performed.” …Fr. Wolfe added on 4/17/2016 that this comes from a decree issued by Vatican Council I confirming that miracles prove the credibility of Christianity.
4) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who is proclaimed Savior of the World and who willingly shed His blood and accepted His crucifixion to atone for the sins of all mankind out of great love with which He loves everyone to offer salvation to all (cf. Eph 2:4). People could not save or redeem themselves. They could only be saved by Jesus, infinite God and co-eternal Son of God, who participated in our humanity to give us a share of His divinity. His miraculous manifestation in the world as the Son of God, taking on human nature, is the most significant event on the entire history of the human race. Jesus died for you personally and wants to save you. He wants to save every person and give them great joy in His kingdom. Jesus had to die on a cross to atone for the sins of Adam and Eve and all humanity, because only the blood of God could atone for and defeat the sins of all.
5) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who teaches that: a) God is LOVE, b) God is His Father and the Father of every person, and c) God is a loving family of three divine persons in one God, the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus said: “As the Father loves Me, so I also love you. Remain in My love. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you” (Jn. 15:9,12). St. John writes: “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8,16). Jesus came to reveal the Father to the world and He said: Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (Jn. 14:9). Jesus referred to God as Father 17 times in His first sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, where He also taught His followers the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father. And He referred to God as Father 51 times in His final discourse at the last supper, and 170 times in all four Gospels and He refers to God only as Father. St. John Paul II said, “God in His deepest mystery is not a solitude but a family, since He has in Himself father-hood, Sonship, and the essence of family, which is love” (Puebla: A Pilgrimage of Faith, 1979). The Catholic Catechism says: The Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son (255). The Blessed Trinity is evident in the Old Testament, starting with this reference: “Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image” (Gen. 1:26). The Archangel Gabriel confirmed the Blessed Trinity, when he said to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High [God the Father] will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God [Jesus Christ]” (Lk. 1:35). The Trinity was apparent when Jesus was baptized: The Holy Spirit descended like a dove, and a voice of God the Father came from Heaven saying, “You are My beloved Son, with You I am well pleased” (Mk. 1:10-11). The three persons of the Trinity were all involved –Father, Son, and Holy Spirit– distinctly acting in different roles at the same time. Later in the Gospel of St. John, Jesus said: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, He will testify to Me” (Jn. 15:26). There is great grace and power in invoking the Trinity. This is primarily why Catholics make the Sign of the Cross often, which is a prayer in itself, a prayer asking for the blessings of the Blessed Trinity. In 1916, an angel appeared to three children (Sister Lucia, St. Jacinta, and St. Francisco) of Fatima, Portugal, to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary would appear six times in 1917. The angel taught the children this prayer: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”
6) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who rose from the dead as witnessed by hundreds of people and He assured everyone that they too would rise from the dead on the last day. The Catholic Catechism says: “The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness” (CCC, 638). Jesus rose from the dead on the third day by the power of God, attested to by numerous people who saw Him after He was crucified, died, and was buried. This is documented by numerous eye witnesses as described in the Gospels, the most thoroughly examined and tested historical records of Jesus Christ, not written in the style of myths but as eye witness accounts. Jesus always knew and predicted his resurrection from the dead many times, saying specifically what would happen to Him: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mt. 17:23; Cf. 20:19, Mk. 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, Lk. 9:22, 18:33). The enemies of Jesus confirmed His resurrection by claiming that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Mt. 28:13). No one found the dead body of Jesus. There are a few ways to account for this: A) His enemies stole His body. If they did (and they did not claim to have done so), they would have produced the body to stop the spread of Christianity. B) His friends stole the body. This was a lie that the elders bribed the soldiers to say about the body of Jesus (see Mt. 28:11ff). C) Jesus did not really die, but was unconscious when they laid him in the tomb. Even the enemies of Jesus did not try this line because they knew He died on the cross and, to make sure, they pierced His side with a lance (Jn. 19:33-34). D) God raised Jesus from the dead. This is what Jesus said would happen. It is what the evangelists said did happen. The disciples were almost immediately transformed from men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Lk. 24:21, Jn. 20:19) into men who were confident and bold witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2). One of the most convincing testimonies comes from St. Paul who oversaw the persecution and killing of St. Stephen and other Christians. St. Paul saw the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus (cf. Acts 9: 1-5, 22: 3ff, 26:12ff), and then in the Temple during a vision (Acts 22:17-21) and also Jesus appeared to him in prison (Acts 23:11). St. Paul says: “He appeared to more than 500 brothers at once, most of whom are still living… After that he appeared to James… Last of all… He appeared to me” (I Cor. 15:6,8). St. Stephen, who was stoned to death for following Christ, said he saw a vision of Jesus and said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55-56). Jesus said: “…The hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voices and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation” (Jn. 5:28-29). Christians who pray the Apostles Creed affirm: I believe in the resurrection of the dead.
7) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave His faithful followers the gift of the Holy Mass, the best prayer in the history of the world, where Jesus showed everyone how God wants to be worshiped. On every continent, almost anywhere in the entire world, you can find a Mass and/or a Catholic Church with Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist. The Mass is the greatest prayer of the Church because the Mass is the re-presentation of the great Sacrifice of Jesus Himself on the Cross to the Father for salvation of the world. THAT Sacrifice was the prayer of God to God. From the earliest days, Christians heard an abundance of the Word of God at every Mass from their priests down through every century until today…. Through the words and actions of the ministerial priesthood, standing in the person of Christ, this very same sacrifice that took place 2000 years ago is truly and actually made present to us until the end of time. St. John Paul II wrote: “The liturgy we celebrate on earth is a mysterious participation in this heavenly liturgy” (Angelus, Nov. 3, 1996). Nothing else comes close to the common adoration of God in the Mass, which is the new Passover Meal, not just a commemoration of the Last Supper…. The Catholic Catechism says: “At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. This He did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us'” (1323). The disciples celebrated the first Masses which the Book of Acts mentions: “On the first day of the week when we gathered to break bread…” (Acts 20:7). The Catholic Catechism says: “From the beginning the Church has been faithful to the Lord’s command. Of the Church of Jerusalem it is written: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…. (Acts 2:42) Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes….” (1342). Catholics believe that when they attend Mass, they are mystically transported to Calvary, where they unite themselves to the loving Father with the once-only, living sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus does not die again in the Mass, because He is not re-sacrificed but re-presented, transcending space and time. Only in the Catholic Mass and in Catholic Churches is Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist: His Body, Body, Soul, and Divinity. St. John Paul II wrote: “The liturgy we celebrate on earth is a mysterious participation in this heavenly liturgy” (Angelus, Nov. 3, 1996).
IN EVERY CATHOLIC MASS IN EVERY COUNTRY OF THE WORLD, YOU WILL FIND:
–A pure offering and worship of God, really present, from the rising of the sun even to its going down. (Mal. 1:11)
–Priests forever according to the order of Melchisadech (Ps. 110:4 KJV) [109:4].
–Around the world, day and night: The Sign of the Cross – “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt.28:19 -RSV). AND “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:8), And “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us” (Jn.1:29), And “Lord I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof” (Mt.8:8).
–Real daily bread (the Holy Eucharist) for which we pray in the Our Father… “Give us this day our daily bread” (Mt. 6:9-13), as
foreshadowed by daily manna from heaven provided by God to the Israelites in the desert (Ex. 16:4).
–Bread from heaven and witness a miracle every day, prefigured by the miracle when Jesus changed water into wine at Cana (Jn. 2:1-11) and miracles foreshadowed by the two miracles when Jesus multiplied a few loaves to feed many thousands of people (Mt. 14:13ff, 15:32ff), demonstrating that He can overcome the laws of nature and be truly present: His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearance of bread and wine (Mt. 26;26-28, Jn. 6:48-58).
—Living bread (Jn. 6:51), which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world (Jn. 6:33), that is -Jesus who said- “I am the bread of life” (Jn. 6:48) AND “the bread that I will give is My flesh… for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:51).
–All generations partaking of unleaven bread and worshiping the Lord, as a perpetual institution (Ex. 12:14-15,17).
–Incense coming from gold (colored) censers and used in the worship of God, with the incense rising up like our prayers to the throne of God (Mal. 1:11, Rev. 5:8, Rev. 8:3ff) at special Catholic Masses and funeral Masses.
–Genuflections (Rom.14:11), candlesticks (Rev.1:12ff ), and “relics of saints under the altar of those who were slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had given” (Rev. 6:9).
–Priests wearing vestments like the Son of Man (Rev. 1:13, 19:13) and like priests in the Old Testament (Ex. 28:4-5), who were “anointed and consecrated in order to minister – in the priest’s office” (Ex. 28:41) – “when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place” (Ex. 28:41).
–Jesus is faithful to His promises: “I am with you always even unto the end of the world” (Mt. 28:20) and “Did you not know I must be in My Father’s house?” (Lk. 2:49).
8) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who left His faithful followers the gift of His true self in a real and miraculous way in the Holy Eucharist through His priests at Holy Mass, where He gave them the power to change bread and wine into His Resurrected Body and Blood, in which He is truly present, so that Catholics can receive Him and be strengthened by Him daily, if they want to. In talking about the Last Supper before Jesus died on the cross, St. Luke says: “Then He took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.’ ” The Catholic Catechism says the Eucharist is: “the source and summit of the Christian life” (1324). Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:51). Jesus added: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn. 6:53) and “My flesh is real food, My blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in Me and I in him” (Jn. 6:55-56). This was such a great revelation to His disciples that many of them could not bear to hear this for “many of His disciples returned to their former way of life” (Jn. 6:66). And Jesus did not call them back and say that they were misunderstanding Him. Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus, St. Luke says: “That very day, the first day of the week, two of His disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus… Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him…. And it happened that, while He was with them at table, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him… So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem… Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Lk. 24:13ff). The Holy Eucharist is not just a symbol of God, but God made physically present in a way that people do not experience through prayer alone. When Catholics go to Holy Communion, they eat God, not doing any harm to Him, but to do as Jesus said in John 6 to have the closest possible union with Him which surpasses any other relationship with Him that they can ever have while on earth. They give Him the gift of themselves with all their sins and short-comings, and He gives them the gift of Himself without restriction and without measure. He penetrates and imbues them with His divinity, so that His glory should illuminate them, radiating their entire being.
9) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who forgave sins and gave the power to forgive sins to His Apostles. St. John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1: 29). Jesus told St. Peter: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:19). Jesus later told the apostles: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 18:18). In His first appearance to His apostles after His resurrection, Jesus told His apostles: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained’ ” (Jn.20:21-23). The power to forgive sins was a power reserved to God alone. The Bible contains examples when sins are forgiven, such as blasphemy against the Son of Man, and other sins that are not forgiven, such as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which “will not be forgiven either in this world or the next” (Mt. 12: 31-32). It also distinguishes what it calls mortal sins. The apostle St. John writes, “All wrongdoing is sin, but there is a sin leading to death” (1 Jn. 5:16). Everything Jesus did had significance. When he breathed on the apostles, He gave them a unique gift. The only other time that God breathed on anyone was when He breathed life into the first human being in Genesis 2:7. Jesus gives the power to forgive and not to forgive which means the priest must hear the sins in order to know whether to forgive or to hold them bound. The priest is acting as Christ Himself. It is as if the penitents are whispering their confessions to Jesus. Jesus speaks through the priest and gives the absolution through the priest. Confession is like a shower for the soul. James 5:16 says: “Confess your sins to one another.” There is no one better to whom Catholics can confess their sins than the priest. The confidentiality of confession is total and unending. The secrecy of confession outweighs any form of professional confidentiality or secrecy. St. Paul wrote: “And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor.5:18). Jesus told 10 lepers: “Go show yourselves to the priests. As they were going they were cleansed” (Lk.17:14). In the same way, confession to a priest cleanses the penitents from sin. When a woman who was a sinner anointed Him with oil, Jesus said to her: “Your sins are forgiven.” Again, the others at table were shocked and said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Lk. 7:48-50). (See also: Lk. 5:19-24). Regular confession “helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ, and progress in the life of the Spirit” (CCC, 1458). Most priests have heard every sin there is and they have helped many people in similar situations. Confession helps to heal the hurt caused by sin, opens you to grace that God wants to give you, helps to really know that God can forgive any sins, renews your commitment to Christ, gives you the opportunity to ask questions and get spiritual advice, and increases your humility because it is hard to admit your faults and weaknesses. When you open yourself more fully to Christ, He rewards your humility with more faith in Him.
10) Jesus is the only founder of a religion for whom His apostles and millions of His followers were martyred, giving their lives in loving surrender and sacrifice, while forgiving those who killed them, praying as Jesus did: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34). Thousands of His followers, who knew Him and/or His first Apostles personally, refused to deny Him and His miraculous powers, and were martyred for their faith. Why would millions of people throughout history have died (many in horrendous persecutions) for their belief in Jesus Christ, if He were just a liar or a lunatic? The early Christians (and later followers of Christ) were hated, scorned, excommunicated from synagogues, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded, disemboweled, and fed to wild animals. If Christianity were untrue, who would be willing to die such horrible persecutions and painful deaths? The early Christians did not renounce their faith; there is no written account that any of them ever said they just invented the existence of Jesus, His miracles, and His passion, death on the cross, and Resurrection. The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.
NOTE ON SUICIDE KILLERS: On June 28, 2017, speaking about Islamic Jihadists, Pope Francis said: “Suicide bombers are not martyrs, adding that true martyrs do not harm others as he addresses frequent attacks against Christian minorities. He repudiated the idea that suicide bombers can be considered martyrs, saying true martyrs do not harm others but rather are meek, honest and persecuted for their faith as true children of God. Christians are repelled by the idea that suicide bombers can be called martyrs. They are not martyrs. There’s nothing in them that can be even close to the attitude of children of God.”
11) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who taught and lived unconditional love, as well as forgiveness of enemies. During His crucifixion, many people thought that Jesus would lash out at His executioners, that He would pass a severe judgment on them for all His suffering. But He did not threaten or insult them or even complain. Jesus said: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do (Lk. 23:34). Earlier, He said: “You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father… For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?” (Mt 5:43-47) Most people who were condemned to death and suffered crucifixion would curse people, even their own mother for being born. But Jesus was tortured to death and yet suffered in silence. He forgave those who were taunting and killing Him. He set a high standard that many Christians have imitated, starting with St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr who cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Jesus taught love and forgiveness of other people even if they do not love you back. St. Paul writes: “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
12) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who provided the world a meaningful example and basis for the theology of redemptive suffering. St. Paul writes: “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God… (Rom: 12:1). There are two primary ways of suffering, to suffer with love and purpose, or to suffer without love and purpose. Jesus and the saints teach Christians to suffer with love and purpose, to make suffering have meaning, not to suffer with resentment and anger. St. Paul writes: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the church” (Col. 1:24). There is nothing lacking in the sufferings of Christ. What is lacking is faithful Christians not uniting their sufferings with Jesus on the cross. St. Paul wrote about Christ: “That I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10-11). The Vatican issued a document in 2003, stating: “The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the redemption. Thus each man in his suffering can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.” (Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on New Age.”) St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “For Christ suffered from friends abandoning Him; in His reputation, from the blasphemies hurled at Him; in His honor and glory, from the mockeries and the insults heaped upon Him; in things, for He was despoiled of His garments; in His soul, from sadness, weariness, and fear; in His body, from wounds and scourgings…. from the crown of piercing thorns; in His hands and feet, from the fastening of the nails; on His face from the blows and spittle; and from the lashes over His entire body… including suffering caused by His apostles, who were scandalized at His Passion. Moreover, He suffered in all His bodily senses” (Summa, Art. 5). Jesus said: “I am the vine and My Father is the vinegrower. He prunes away every barren branch, but the fruitful ones He trims clean to increase their yield” (Jn. 15:1‑2). “I tell you all this that in Me you may find peace. You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Jesus also said: ‘Whoever does not take up his cross and come after me is not worthy of me” (Mt. 10:38). Jesus on a crucifix reminds people of the great sacrifice Jesus made and the price He paid for everyone. They are reminded that Jesus understands THEIR pain and suffering. St. Peter wrote: “Christ suffered in the flesh; therefore arm yourselves with his same mentality” (1 Pet. 4:1). “But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Pet. 4:13). St. Paul writes: “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). If you are lonely or sad, offer this to Jesus. He knows your anguish and He can help you. He loves you. Give Him your anguish and pain. Ask for a healing. Let him know that you will trade your sadness for graces to help heal others and bring others to His heart. This can make you feel better to know that you can help Jesus by bringing others to Him. You can feel a sense of accomplishment, even if you are depressed. Jesus needs you. “How?” You say. “How could I possibly be helpful to Jesus and to others?” Your pain is the pain of many in the world today. Many souls feel your grief, your hopelessness. Many carry heavy crosses of illness and addiction, loneliness, rejection and anxiety. If you let Jesus into your heart, into your life, He will help you. You are important to His Kingdom and He has a plan for you. He needs you to serve Him in a way that you do not and cannot understand today, especially if you feel hopeless. He will reveal the plan but you will have to be courageous and allow Him to move you step-by-step from this place of despair to a place of hope in your heart. He will move you along, away from your sadness. Trust in Jesus and be not afraid. He is with you now and He will never leave you. Your life has immense value, even if you are sick, weak, lonely, or impaired. By trusting in God’s will and choosing life, you give great hope to many others and you can help bring people to Christ and save souls.
13) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who will judge the living and the dead and He taught much about the reality of Heaven and Hell, as well as angels and demons. Jesus is regarded as the fulfillment of Psalm 110: “The Lord says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, while I make your enemies your footstool.’ ” Jesus said to the criminal who defended Him on the cross next to Him: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43). St. Paul wrote: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). The purpose of life on earth is a test. All of life is a preparation for the final exam, the judgment by Jesus Christ at the time of each person’s death. Jesus said: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct” (Mt.16:26-27). Jesus also said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt. 7:21). Jesus emphasized the need to do what God desires. He does not want anyone to be condemned. He wants everyone to be saved. The whole purpose of life on earth is for each soul to search for and find God and discover why they are on earth, what God’s plan is for their life, and whether they want to choose to enjoy Heaven forever or suffer in Hell for all eternity. There is not one person born into the world who does not have a specific purpose. You care about the physical needs of those closest to you. Do you care about their very essence. . . the most important part of them, their souls? If you care about their well-being and their safety, do everything you can for their souls. Their souls will live forever. Jesus said: “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Mt. 13:41-43). Jesus also said that He will separate the sheep from the goats, that is those who are saved from those who are lost (see Mt. 25:31-34). Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. wrote: “There is nothing more fundamental in our understanding of God’s judgment than the fact that we have a truly free will. It is so free that we can actually say, ‘No,’ to the will of the Almighty.” Every soul will ultimately go to one of two places: Heaven or Hell. What gives your body life is your eternal soul. When you die your soul leaves and you will be judged. The Catholic Catechism says: “Christ is Lord of eternal life…. The Father has given ‘All judgment to the Son’ ” (587)… By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love…” (679) “according to his acceptance or refusal of grace” (682). During the Church-approved apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1917 in Fatima, she showed the three children, including St. Jacinta and St. Francisco, a scary vision of Hell. The third visionary, Sister Lucia, described Hell as, “a great sea of fire with demons and souls… all blackened, floating about in the conflagration, with great clouds of smoke, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified the children and made them tremble with fear, especially because their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals” (July 13, 1917). The children were even asked to say a prayer every day: “O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of Thy mercy.” St. Faustina had a similar vision of Hell in the 1930s and most people she saw did not believe in Hell until they rejected God’s love and went there (Diary of St. Faustina, 741). As proof of demons, Jesus cast demons out of people on several occasions. Jesus healed a boy with a demon: “Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once” (Mt. 17:18); and two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met Jesus. “They asked Him: What do you want with us, Son of God? If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs. He said to them, Go! So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned” (Mt. 8:28ff). Also this example: “In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’ Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Quiet! Come out of him!’ The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, ‘What is this?.…He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey Him’” (Mk. 1:23ff). Even the religious leaders who opposed Jesus, admit that He performed great signs because they falsely claimed: By the prince of demons, he drives out demons. Jesus answered them saying: A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (cf. Mk. 3:22ff)
14) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who can and wants to have a personal relationship with every person, as He has with everyone in Heaven, including the trillions of souls past, present, and future, forever and ever. Human beings find it very difficult to understand how infinite and big is the mind of God compared to a human mind. And yet, Jesus Christ is a real person who wants to know you personally. It is hard to believe that God is able to be so close to every person, but God is not limited as human beings are. In John 12:32, Jesus says: “I will draw all people to Myself.” He is not distant or unreachable. He wants a special relationship with every person, so He can show His great love for you. He will be attentive to you as if you were the only person who exists in the world. Jesus said: “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” (Mt. 6:26). You might be tempted to look into the future and expect your current pain to be repeated, day after day, but remain in this day, in the present times, because Jesus will give you adequate graces to deal with your cross today. Sometimes you might think that very few people know what you are going through. You might feel like you are the only one going through difficult times. But there are many more than you might think. Many people are discouraged and sad. God knows this and loves each person unconditionally. He wants you to pour out your heart to Him. He wants to pour out graces of love and courage, if you will talk to Him and ask Him. He wants to relieve every soul because He is the Divine Healer. God is love. Come sit with Him, be present to Him. He wants you to tell Him everything. Give Him all of your pain or loneliness. Offer it up to Him every time you feel it hurting. Share your feelings with Him no matter what they are. Ask Him to help you and to give you more strength and healing. Each person is the apple of God’s eye. He has never once had a bad thought about you.Let Him speak healing and peace to your soul, for all power in heaven and earth, in all created space, in every place is His, and He is the only one who can save you, give you peace, and give you unimaginable joy. Receive Him, be with Him, let Him love you. Come to Him and adore Him with your whole heart, soul, mind, and body, because you are a temple of the Holy Spirit. And His love for you is endless.
15) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who is all-knowing and can understand every language and know the thoughts, secrets, and actions of every person and He can speak to the mind and heart of every person at the same time in numerous ways. Jesus knows more than every person (even before they know themselves), and more than all persons combined –past-present-future– throughout the entire history of humanity. Jesus knows the intensions of each heart and He said: “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed” (Mt. 10:26). Jesus saw Nathaniel (Bartholomew) under a fig tree and Jesus said, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (Jn. 1:48). After Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well about some sins she committed in her life that no one told Him, the woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could He possibly be the Messiah?” (Jn. 4:28-29). In Acts, the Apostles prayed: “You, Lord… know the hearts of all” (Acts 2:24). St. John writes that Jesus knew “everything that was going to happen to Him” (Jn. 18:4). Jesus said: “From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM” (Jn. 13:19). Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray Him (Jn. 6:64.) His disciples said: “Now we realize that You know everything and that You do not need to have anyone question You. Because of this we believe that You came from God” (Jn. 16:30). Jesus knew what the scribes were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts?” (Mt. 9:4). Jesus cured a demoniac who was blind and mute. But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons only by the power of Beelzebul…” but He knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste” (Mt.12:24-25). Jesus immediately knew what they were thinking to themselves, so He said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?” (Mk. 2:8). Jesus said evil thoughts come from the heart and they defile a person (Mk. 7:21ff). Jesus shows why the heart is so important. By praying with the heart, one can help overcome evil thoughts.
16) Jesus is the only founder of a religion which asks its members to pray constantly. At the last supper, Jesus said: “Whoever loves Me will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn. 14:23). Do you know how wonderful it is to have God be fully alive within you? It should be a constant interior reminder to whisper your gratitude and praise of God for every gift that He has given you, starting with the gift of life itself. St. Paul said: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17). Prayer is essential if Christians are to do what St. Paul also says: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (2 Rom. 12:1). The three persons of the Blessed Trinity are available within you and their presence should be a reminder to pray constantly. St. Paul writes: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you…?” (1 Cor. 6:19) Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God. This will grow out of and help to foster a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. The Catholic Catechism says: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to Himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for” (No. 27). The Catholic Catechism continues: “But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain” (2562). “The heart is our hidden center… the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives…. the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant” (2563). Think of having a heart to heart conversation with a best friend. One way to learn to pray with the heart is to pray more. This is an individual decision. If you really love someone, you will find time to talk to that person more. The same is true with God. You can learn to pray to Him with your heart. Start with a repentant heart and pray for the strength and knowledge to understand what to do. God sees your heart and knows you really want His help. Ask for His help, then begin your prayers by offering God all you conceal in your heart, everything. God already knows, but He wants you to give it to Him, the good and the bad. Ask for the grace to be willing and strong enough to tell Him all of your transgressions of body, mind, and spirit. Hold back nothing, admit all your bad choices and thoughts. Then ask God to forgive you from the bottom of your heart. If you are sincere, God will forgive you. By beginning in this way, the things you mentioned should not distract you from praying with your heart. Let your whole being be washed with the cleansing power of God’s graces. (This experience should also help you make a good Confession later.) Then speak to Him with a clear conscience. Praise God and pray to Him fervently, making petitions, begging His blessings and thanking Him. Then, think about anyone you have offended and offer forgiveness by asking God to forgive all those who have trespassed against you, all who have caused you to suffer. Forgive them in prayer and ask God to bless and help them. Then pray for the spiritual and physical welfare of those who are close to you, asking God to bless them. Thank God for having answered your prayers. Most important, ask God for the gift to know His will, for the strength to do what He asks of you. Pray for the courage and wisdom to walk only the road that leads to heaven. Pray without ceasing. Pray the Rosary every day and fill your day with little prayers so that the Holy Spirit will guide you. If you really want to be happy in this life and in eternity, you must also make regular time for prayer. Be not afraid. Never doubt, never tire, for Jesus will listen to you every minute of every day.
17) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who taught everyone why matter really matters (because God has always worked through created matter). The first and foremost proof that matter matters is the very Incarnation of Jesus, where the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:14). Some people believe it is impossible that this could happen. They erroneously say: The infinite God would never become a man. This is even what some theologians believe the fallen angels said, which led to their banishment from Heaven, because they could not accept the fact that they would continue to worship the Son of God who would take on human flesh, made of the dust of the earth, and be crucified and die to redeem humanity. Besides His Word and inspirations, God also speaks to human beings through material matter. As author David Lang writes in his book, Why Matter Matters: We are rational beings possessing a spiritual soul, but we also have physical bodies equipped with sensory organs… we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch (p. 17). Regarding the Sacraments, Lang writes that most of them “contain simple, commonplace material substances having the marvelous ability to elevate our minds to the realm of divine mystery. But again, we need to experience such visible signs on account of our natural mental difficulty in beholding spiritual truths directly…” (p.18) A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace in order to sanctify the faithful, to build up the Body of Christ, and to give worship to God (See: CCC, 1123). God also works through people. In a sense, faithful Christians are a sign or symbol of the love of God by the way they live the Gospels and show the joy that God wants all people to experience. It is grace that saves people, but God needs the cooperation of human beings to bring others to Him. We have a partnership with God. He has a part to do and we have a part to do. We cannot do His part and He will not do our part. People make gestures all the time with their hands, like a victory sign or a handshake, use flags and banners, decorate with ribbons and candles, and wear rings and uniforms. Fr. Dwight Longnecker wrote on 7/23/2017: “Catholicism not only has the seven sacraments, she has a sacramental vision of reality. That is to say, Catholics understand that God works in and through physical stuff. He works in and through human history. He works in and through the created order…. His working in and through his creation and in and through human history is summed up in the incarnation of his Son…. As a consequence he said, ‘This bread is my flesh. This wine is my blood. Unless you eat and drink you do not have life within you.’ The sacramental vision of Catholicism simply extends this to baptism, matrimony, ordination, confirmation, confession and anointing of the sick. God comes to us in and through water, oil, fire, the marital kiss, the laying on of hands and more in a lesser way we say he comes in and through the statue, the icon, the painting, the scapular, the holy medal, the breviary, the book, the bell, the candle and the cross….” Throughout history, there have been efforts to remove and destroy religious objects and images. Some such efforts came from iconoclasts in the 700s, who falsely regarded religious symbols as idolatry, which also became popular with the Protestant Reformers. However, the beauty and the marvel of highly decorated churches with paintings and religious images inspire people and make their hearts soar toward Heaven. The beauty of churches is a way to explain and promote Christianity and especially Catholic worship. Dostoyevsky wrote that beauty will save the world. And beauty will help to save Catholic and other Christian churches.
18) Jesus is the only founder of a religion which is the supreme picture of truth, goodness, and beauty. Jesus is unique in His brilliance and His appeal. Many people who spend time reading the Bible, especially the Gospels, have found that their hearts burn within them as they contemplate the timeless teachings of Jesus Christ. He teaches every virtue by His words and actions. British journalist, author, and Catholic convert, Malcolm Muggeridge, writes that the parables of Jesus are little masterpieces of narration, much sheer genius is in Him, how He says things. He is a supremely effective communicator (Jesus: The Man Who Lives). His truths resonate with the inner most desires of human beings. Transcendentals like the truth, the good, the beautiful lead us to God. Catholics believe Truth is absolute and objective. Truth is not relative and changing. Truth exists for all time. Truth is universal and knowable. Truth cannot be revised by a church leader, or by a group of the hierarchy, or a vote of a congregation or a church body. Truth judges human beings; human beings do not judge or decide what is truth. They can discover truth; they cannot make up truth. Just as there are absolute laws in nature, like the speed of light and the laws of gravity, there are absolute laws or truths about God and all of life, such as God exists and cares how you behave and God loves you immensely and Jesus died to save you personally. Christianity continues to have appeal, even though the message is not easy or convenient: Change your life, lay it down for others, serve and put others first, love your enemies, forgive and pray for your persecutors. Most people know truth when they hear it because they know that is how God made them. Jesus taught respect for free will and never forced anyone to convert. Christianity grows not by coersion, but by the attraction of the Lord’s love. Regarding beauty, for more than 1,500 years, God inspired Catholics to erect beautiful cathedrals, churches, monasteries, and shrines in almost every part of the world, which continue to attract millions of visitors worldwide from all faiths or no faith. Beauty attracts people to God because beauty is an attribute of God. The beauty of the church helps people to know and celebrate the awesomeness of God. One of the main purposes of building beautiful churches is to inspire and uplift the heart. When the eye is raised, the heart is lifted up in a church with high arches, lofty stained glass, and decorated ceilings. The eye, the mind and the heart ascend in an act of worship simply by entering a lofty building and expressing the awe of God’s creation. The beauty and richness of marble and stone and glass take the worshiper into a new dimension, preparing everyone for an encounter with the living God in the Holy Mass. Sacred art, breathtaking architecture, glorious sacred music, and timeless liturgy give people a taste of heaven. It can evangelize, by expressing the beauty, permanence, and transcendence of Christianity. Many people have walked into a beautiful Catholic church and have said: “I need to join or come back to the Church.” St. Augustine (354-430) wrote: “How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face- tears that did me good.” On Nov. 21, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI said in a meeting with artists: “Dostoevsky’s words that I am about to quote are bold and paradoxical, but they invite reflection. He said: ‘Man can live without science, he can live without bread, but without beauty he could no longer live, because there would no longer be anything to do to the world.’ ” Beauty itself is luminous and is meant to bring people on the path toward the light of faith. The Church says one of the greatest treasures the Church has is its sacred music, because the Church unites sacred words with inspired melodies, especially related to Gregorian Chant. Pope St. Pius X said that the more sacred music closely resembles Gregorian Chant, the more it is fitting for divine worship. There is something eternal and transcendent about those sacred melodies and good polyphony or multiple voices glorifying God. Gregorian chant is beautiful and it is the Church’s love song to her Lord; it expresses the love-longing of a faith-filled person’s heart. Gregorian chant is a soothing balm for weary souls and a source of comfort for unsettled hearts. Most of the words of Gregorian Chant come directly from the Bible. Its solemnity and seriousness communicate clearly that it is distinct from worldly music. Dr. Alan Watkins, a senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London said “the musical structure of chant can have a significant and positive physiological impact,” and that chanting has actually been shown to “lower blood pressure, increase levels of DHEA and also reduce anxiety and depression.” The 2nd Vatican Council said that Gregorian chant should be given “pride of place” in liturgical music (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 116). In the 1990’s, an album named Chant by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo (Spain) became the best-selling record of Gregorian chant ever. Other monasteries have also had great success with their own CDs of Gregorian chant.
19) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who said He is a King and was even proclaimed King by the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus. The prophet Daniel wrote: “As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming… all peoples, nations, and languages serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed” (Dn. 7:13-14). The Angel Gabriel, announcing to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a Son, said: “the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1, 32-33). When Jesus was born, wise men from the East came looking for the “King of the Jews” (Mt. 2:1–2). When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit upon His glorious throne (Mt. 25:31). The pagan ruler, Pontius Pilate, had a sign placed above Jesus on the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (Jn. 19:19). Pope Pius XI wrote in 1925 when he established the Feast of Christ the King: “Moreover, Christ Himself speaks of His own kingly authority: in His last discourse [separating the sheep from the goats], speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in His reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked Him publicly whether He were a king or not; after His resurrection, when giving to His Apostles the mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, He took the opportunity to call Himself king” (Mt. 25, 31-40), confirming the title publicly (Jn. 18: 37) and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given Him in heaven and on earth (Mt. 28:18). These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of his power, the infinite extent of his kingdom. What wonder, then, that He whom St. John calls the “prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5) appears in the Apostle’s vision of the future as He who “hath on His garment and on His thigh written ‘King of kings and Lord of lords!’?” (Rev. 19:16). It is Christ whom the Father “hath appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2) (Quas Primas, 11). Although Jesus is a King, His kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). This is one reason He requires detachment from earthly things and a spirit of self-sacrifice and love towards all. As Pope Pius XI declared in 1925, that the power of Jesus “embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from His empire. He must reign in our minds which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts… He must reign in our bodies…” (Q.P.33). “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony” (Q.P.19). Not only Catholics, but also some other Christian faiths celebrate the Kingship of Christ. Most Christians love to pray the Lord’s Prayer, especially praying to our Father for Thy Kingdom come, which Christians know will happen on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus is sovereign king over all.
20) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave the world a faith with consistent, life-affirming, and cohesive teachings. Jesus said: “I am the light of the world” (Jn. 8:12). He also said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). There is order and reason in the teachings of Christ and they make sense. The Catholic Catechism says: “It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls” (95). Even before Jesus was born, His entry into the world had a life-affirming effect on another baby yet to be born. Soon after Mary conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who had also conceived a son in her old age. When Mary entered the house and greeted Elizabeth, the infant (St. John the Baptist) leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:38-41). Later, Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father” (Mt. 18:10). “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10). When Jesus walked the earth, He showed great love and respect for all people, regardless of their age, color, disability and anything else. He also said: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Mt. 7:12). Jesus called special attention to some of the Commandments, saying: “You shall not murder…” (Mt. 19:18). The Catholic faith teaches that all people are equally valuable because they are equally created in the image of God, including the unborn because they only differ in size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. The book of Jeremiah says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jesus teaches mercy, grace, compassion, and the power of fresh starts through Confession. He simply loved and from that love He dealt with one situation at a time. In every story in which Jesus is faced with someone who is hurting, He focuses on that person and what they need. (See beautiful examples: Mk. 5, Jn. 11, Jn. 8.) There is great order in the Church as evidenced in its liturgical seasons, vestments, and the cycle of readings covering most of the Bible every three years, as well as many dioceses worldwide and a hierarchical structure –the pope, cardinals, bishops, and priests– to serve the needs of the faithful, and also many options for consecrated service with many orders of religious sisters, priests, monks, and related faith communities, all of which help to live and transmit the fullness of the faith to the entire world. Jesus is Truth. He does not contradict Himself. Interpreting Scripture apart from Tradition was foreign to the apostolic Church, as St. Paul attests: “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” (2 Thess. 2:15). The Catholic Catechism says: “Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind’s origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving Him and loving one another” (387). The Catholic Church (and Eastern Orthodox churches) have consistent moral teachings for 2000 years, while other Christian churches can only trace their moral teachings going back a maximum of 500 years. And even then, these other churches can change moral teachings by popular vote. St. Paul writes: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Rom: 12:2). The Catholic Church believes there is a Natural Law written in the heart of every human being, whose voice is one’s conscience, urging everyone to do good and avoid evil. All people have inalienable rights that come from God, not from human beings or political bodies. Many Catholic converts relate that they often saw the Catholic Church as the primary guardian of truth and culture. Christianity should not be a free-for-all religion where the latest fads and rebellions against God are approved and even promoted by churches. It is not loving to lie to people, it is loving to tell them the truth, even when the truth hurts. For example, in 2016, Pope Francis said that gender theory, “that everyone can choose their own sex,” is “the exact opposite” of God’s creation. Catholic bishops and theologians strongly emphasize that, if Christians cast aside mortal sin for gender changes, for adultery and for cohabitation, there will be a slippery slope to abandoning other historic, non-negotiable teachings. Catholics, in particular, are called to give a charitable witness in defense of the traditional and infallible moral teachings of the Church. Sexual acts are only permitted and willed by God inside a valid marriage. There are no exceptions. A priest cannot give absolution to penitents who do not have a firm purpose of amendment. Everyone is called to chastity not sexual confusion and disorder. When people say, “You cannot impose your personal morality on us,” they are imposing their personal moral code on other people, as if there are no objective moral standards. For clear and solid guidance in this regard, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is filled with Scripture and profound insights into the teachings of Jesus.
21) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who burst into the world in a totally miraculous and unique way since He was conceived in the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit without the involvement of another human being. The Angel Gabriel said to Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Lk. 1:28). Jesus is God, full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14), but Mary is the only mere human in Scripture given the name “full of grace.” (NOTE: St. Jerome -d.420- translated the Greek, kecharitomene: full of grace.) Mary asked: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Lk. 1:34). Her question reveals that Mary had consecrated her virginity to God and wanted to remain a virgin. The Angel Gabriel said: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk. 1:35). Mary is the only human to be infused with the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38). Mary said yes in a most humble way, and she immediately set out to help her cousin. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb” (Lk. 1:41). John leaped at Mary’s voice. Elizabeth said to Mary: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Lk. 1:42). What other mere human is most blessed? God protected Mary so satan could not corrupt her, as a shining example of God’s power over satan. Elizabeth said to Mary: “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk. 1:43). Elizabeth recognizes Mary as the new Ark of the Covenant. (The original Ark contained the 10 Commandments in stone, manna, and Aaron’s rod. Mary contained Jesus: the living Word of God, the living bread from heaven.) Elizabeth said to Mary: “Blessed are you who believed (Lk.1:45), in contrast to the non-belief of Zechariah (Lk.1:20). Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Lk. 1:46). Mary’s soul magnifies or amplifies the Lord, not herself. Mary said: “From now on will all ages call me blessed” (Lk. 1:48). Do you call Mary: the Blessed Virgin Mary? Mary said: “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk. 1:49), starting with being conceived without sin (her Immaculate Conception) to be a fitting throne where Jesus reigned for nine months. Mary said to Jesus at Cana: They have no wine. (Jn. 2:3) Mary is the only one who saw a need and told Jesus, because only Mary at Cana knew who the real Father of Jesus was and only she knew that He could perform a miracle. At one point much later, a woman from the crowd called out to Jesus: “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” Jesus replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk. 11:27-28). Jesus praised Mary for her faith and fiat (let it be done to me) and for hearing and keeping the word of God as His first and best disciple. Jesus on the cross said to His mother: “Woman, behold, your son” (Jn. 19:26). The greatest treasure on earth that Jesus was closest to was His mother, whom He offered to the world. He is so giving and sharing that He gives her to all people as their mother too. Everyone is called to imitate her. He knows all of your needs. He knows she can and will help you and will bring you closer to Him. Jesus said to the apostle John: Behold, your Mother (Jn. 19:27), even though John’s own mother, Salome, was present (See Mk. 15:40). Most non-Catholic Christians say God just used Mary’s womb to bring Jesus Christ into the world and any woman could have done what she did. But she was chosen and prepared by God for her very unique role. How can they totally ignore the Bible, where it calls Mary: full of grace, and most blessed among women, and my soul magnifies the Lord, and from now on will all ages call me blessed? Why is it so hard for some people to understand that Jesus, infinite God, deserved a pure tabernacle, full of grace and without sin? Those who belittle or defame Mary are actually belittling and defaming Jesus, because He deserves the best God could create for His Co-eternal Son, Savior of the world. They say Mary was an ordinary Jewish woman who just happened to be the mother of Jesus. This has never been the attitude of the Catholic Church, Early Church Fathers, and hundreds of saints and holy writers of the Church for the past 2000 years. It was not even the attitude of most major founders of the other Christian churches in the 1500s.
22) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who is still alive while every founder of other religions is dead, including founders of Bahai, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and all others. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves He is alive and His words are true, that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and He is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Since Jesus sits at the right hand of God, He has already judged all of the dead founders of other religions. As Malcolm Muggeridge, a prolific British journalist, author, and Catholic convert, has written: “If the story of Jesus had ended on Golgotha, it would indeed be of a Man Who Died, but as two thousand years later the Man’s promise that ‘where two or three are gathered in My name (Mt. 18:20), there am I in the midst of them,’ manifestly still holds, it is actually the story of a Man Who Lives” (From Jesus: The Man Who Lives, p.191). Thousands, probably millions, of saints and others have had mystical experiences of Jesus Christ, and/or near death experiences which helped convince them of the reality of God, as well as the existence of Heaven and Hell. Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. PhD., believes that Near Death Experiences (NDEs), which are investigated by experts, are one of the evidences that help non-believers begin to accept the probability that God exists. He said NDEs are also helping to persuade many people today that Heaven and Hell are real. He discusses several well-investigated NDEs in chapter 5 of his book The Soul’s Upward Yearning (2015). (He is former president of Gonzaga University and is currently the President of the Magis Center, which produces documentaries, books, high school and adult-ed curricula, and new media materials to show the close connection between faith and reason. He is author of many books and articles.) Vatican Council I issued a decree confirming that miracles are necessary to prove the credibility of Christianity. Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA, said the following in a homily on EWTN on April 8, 2016: “An article of the Christian faith is that miracles are necessary to make the Catholic faith believable or credible. During the time that Jesus was on earth, miracles confirmed the truth of the Gospels. Gamaliel, a Pharisee and teacher of the law respected by all the people, said in Acts 5:34-39, there were others who had a following at the time of Jesus but they faded away. In contrast, the truth of Jesus was confirmed by the miracles that Jesus performed.” Fr. Joseph added on April 17, 2016 that this statement is an article of the Catholic faith and it comes from a decree issued by Vatican Council I confirming that miracles prove the credibility of Christianity. (Fr. Wolfe is EWTN Chaplain & Administrator, Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL.) Just before he was martyred, St. Stephen was filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56). Do you want to follow the living or the dead? Jesus is alive, yesterday, today, and forever. There is no comparison between Jesus and the founders of other religions. No other human person or prophet even comes close to the Lord Jesus. He founded the Catholic Church, the original Christian Church, the real full Bible Church. Catholics admire the many committed Christians whose dedication to Jesus Christ and the Bible inspires many people. However, there was no denominationalism prior to Reformation in the 1500s. For more than 1500 years, there were no Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Churches of Christ, Baptists, Pentacostals, Lutherans, Fundamentalists, Mormans, Jehovah Witnesses, Evangelicals, Nazarenes, non-denominationals, Brethren, Amish, Mennonites, Quakers, Dutch Reformed, Assemblies of God, Salvation Army, etc. Today there are more than 25,000 denominations or independent churches. Jesus started one Church not numerous churches. The splintering of followers of Christ is a huge embarrassment, opposing the prayer of Jesus: that all may be one (Jn. 17:21). Jesus prayed for unity among his followers on the eve of His passion and death on the cross (see Jn. 17), however, much prayer and love by all Christians is needed to help bring this about.
23) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave the world a faith with four distinctive characteristics: one, holy, catholic (or universal) and apostolic, which are inseparably linked with each other as found in the Catholic Church. The Church is united by charity in perfect harmony, or concern for one another, rooted in the love of the Blessed Trinity. The Catholic Church is united in the profession of one faith received from the Apostles, expressed in the Creed which is prayed every Sunday in divine worship by more than one billion Catholics worldwide, professing the same faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is much division in the world, but Catholics are united throughout the world when they participate in the Mass, praying the same prayers, reflecting on the very same Scriptures every Sunday and receiving the same Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Some Christian leaders removed 7 books from the Bible during the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. As proof of this, there are no copies of Christian Bibles before the Reformation that did not have these 7 books in them (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and 1 and 2 Maccabees). You cannot remove books from the Bible and still have the fullness of truth. Some people say Catholics added these books but it is not so. They were always there starting in the 300s when the first Bibles were assembled and approved by councils of Catholic bishops. Copies of the Bibles exist from the 300s and other centuries up to the Reformation, and until now, and all these books have always been in the Catholic Bibles. It is a huge contradiction that most Protestants accept the other books of the New Testament as approved by the Tradition of the Catholic Church and Councils of Catholic bishops, but then say they live by the Bible Alone (Sola Scriptura) and not by Sacred Tradition. If it were not for the Catholic Church, there would be no Bible and no Christianity. (In the 300s, the persecution of Christianity ended and this is another reason the first Bibles were started to be copied by hand primarily by monks in monasteries.) The Catholic Church has 7 sacraments. Other Christian churches have only one or two sacraments, or none at all, which is another indication that they do not have the fullness of the Christian faith. The Catholic Catechism says: “The Catholic Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf. Eph 4:3-5), at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome. The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is ‘the sinless one made up of sinners.’ Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy. The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is ‘missionary of her very nature’ (AG 2). Catholicism and the Catholic Mass are the same wherever you go in the world. The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: ‘the twelve apostles of the Lamb’ (Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf. Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops” (CCC, 866-869). The pope is essential, or else all persons become their own pope. Other Christian churches have huge divisions because they have no ultimate authority to decide how the Bible should be interpreted. If the Bible were its own authority, there would not be thousands of other Christian churches with new ones created every year with different interpretations of the Bible. The Catholic Church has the fullness of the Christian faith.
24) Jesus is the only founder of a religion who gave numerous reasons to people everywhere to have great hope, which comes from Jesus Himself by His rising from the dead and, 40 days later, by His ascension into Heaven. Jesus proved that He is real and Heaven is real. Those who love God and do His will can have great hope that they will be able to enjoy endless happiness in Heaven for all eternity. Christians also have hope because they know God is with them and whatever happens, they know they are being pruned by God’s divine will or permissive will in order to bear more fruit for the kingdom of God (cf. Jn. 15:2). They also have great hope because they know they can pray to God for guidance and support, and actually experience His presence at critical times in their lives. Most people do not recognize the many small miracles they experience. In contrast, there are so many human preoccupations that focus on the superficial, material things in life, self-idolatry, and the rejection of the divine and mystical aspects of life, or they teach that God is mean and vindictive. There are many poor, mistaken people who think that the world and the time spent on earth are all there is or all that matter. Every person in the world faces sadness and discouragement. Everyone is wounded in some way and may often feel alone. But Jesus brings hope to every person who asks for His help. He will come and be present with you in your most difficult times. Just invite Him into your life, pour out your feelings to Him. Listen and He will speak to you through your inspirations, through His Word, and through those around you who desire to walk with Him. He is never too busy with other people. He wants to listen to you, day after day, and into eternity, so that He can help you overcome your sadness or loneliness. He wants your soul to fly to great heights on earth so that you will find happiness here and in eternity. Jesus revealed a whole new approach. Take some time and imagine the many joys of heaven, where there will be no bitterness, or vindictiveness, or backbiting, or sadness, or loneliness, or death. Heaven is real and you have much to look forward to. You are entitled to have great hope because you will not feel sadness and loneliness here forever. You might think that you will be sad forever, but you will only be on the earth for a short time. Jesus is loving, truthful, honest, generous, caring, and trustful. You can see this whenever you read anything about Him in the Bible. He offers the great promise of everlasting life so He can shower every soul who desires Him with wondrous blessings for all eternity. The outreach of God is enormous; His gifts are infinite. He will never run out of new things for the saints to do and enjoy in Heaven, never. St. Paul writes: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love Him…’ ” (1 Cor.2:9). Jesus needs each person to serve Him cheerfully so that you can help bring others to Him, and you can realize you too are important in the plans of God. He has nothing but the best plans for you. His plans are Divine plans. As you look back over your life -days, months, and years- down the road, you will look back and think of the events that did not make any sense to you at the time. At some point, you will see the Divine beauty of His plans. There is an order in salvation, but you often cannot see it. Hopefully, you can find much comfort in the truth that God brings about much good from the bad things that happen in life. Respond to the graces that come your way because such graces may not come again, or they may not come again for a long time. Be not afraid. He is with you now and He will never leave you. Jesus made multiple promises to those who follow Him, and every one of them is true. Some of these promises are: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Mt. 5:4). “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt.11-28). Jesus also said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). “You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (Jn 16:20). St. Thomas More said: “Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” St. Faustina, one of the greatest mystics in Church history, whom the Church approved with her revelations, wrote about her spiritual travels to Heaven in her diaries: “Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its unconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death…. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit… This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures” (11/27/1936). She said the sight of God in heaven did not bring her fear, but joy: “The sight of this great majesty of God, which I came to understand more profoundly and which is worshiped by the heavenly spirits according to their degree of grace… My soul was filled with peace and love…”
25) Jesus is the only founder of a religion which improved the world in numerous ways, due in part to the fact that He is the most influential individual in the history of the world. Jesus has been worshiped and proclaimed over more centuries and in more ways than anyone else in human history. Jesus is proclaimed Lord and Savior by about 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, and about 800 million other Christians in the world, and about 260 million Orthodox Christians (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life -2011). Catholic priests have celebrated, and continue to celebrate, thousands of Masses making present the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, every day all over the world. The Bible is the best selling and most printed book worldwide, year after year. There have been more uplifting works of art honoring Jesus, more songs sung about Him, more worship services, liturgies, and prayers to Jesus, and more books written about Him than anyone else in history in the entire world, affecting untold billions of people over the past 2000 years. Someone once said that Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3 years. Yet the influence of Jesus’s three year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these other men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity. The history of the world is divided based on the life Jesus, B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (After Death [of Jesus Chris]). And yet, He never personally wrote a book or any known letter. He never wrote any songs, and He never traveled more than 200 miles from his home town, yet the name of Jesus is known in most parts of the world. However, in the 21st century, the culture worldwide is deteriorating, as relativism and paganism attract more adherents. Catholics and other Christians continue to stand up for Jesus and stay strong in proclaiming the truth in a world where many people have lost their way. Regarding the Catholic Church, a video by Catholics Come Home states:
Our family is made up of every race. We are young and old, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints. Our family has spanned the centuries and the globe. With God’s grace, we started hospitals to care for the sick. We establish orphanages, and help the poor, [the lonely, the homeless, the imprisoned, and the premier defender of human rights worldwide]. We are the largest charitable organization on the planet, bringing relief and comfort to those in need. We educate more children than any other scholarly or religious institution. We developed the scientific method and the laws of evidence. We founded the college system [in 12th and 13th centuries]. [Note the history of graduation caps, gowns, and mantles of honors at all levels: They are directly traceable to garments worn by the Catholic clergy, hierarchy, and students used during the development of the college system.] We defend the dignity of all human life and uphold marriage and the family. Cities were named after our revered saints [including St. Louis, MO; St. Paul, MN; St. Augustine, FL; San Antonio, Corpus Christi, TX; San Francisco, CA], who navigated a sacred path before us, guided by the Holy Spirit, we compiled the Bible [I.E. The New Testament]. We are transformed by Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, which have consistently guided us for 2,000 years. We are… the Catholic Church… with over one billion in our family, sharing in the Sacraments and fullness of the Christian faith. For centuries, we have prayed for you and our world, every hour of every day, whenever we celebrate the Mass. Jesus, Himself, laid the foundation for our faith when He said to Peter, the first pope, “You are rock, and upon this rock I will build My Church” (Mt. 16:18-19). For over 2,000 years, we have had an unbroken line of shepherds guiding the Catholic Church with love and truth, in a confused and hurting world. And in this world filled with chaos, hardship and pain, it’s comforting to know that some things remain consistent, true, and strong, our Catholic faith, and the eternal love that God has for all creation. If you’ve been away from the Catholic Church, we invite you to take another look. Visit CatholicsComeHome.org today. Ours is one family united in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. WE ARE CATHOLIC. WELCOME HOME.
SOURCE OF NO. 25: The part from Catholics Come Home is adapted from the epic video by Catholics Come Home, a lay Catholic organization faithful to the Church’s teachings. You can see this and their other videos at CatholicsComeHome.org.
A NOTE ABOUT RELIABILITY OF THE BIBLE: The Bible is the most historically trustworthy collection of documents from ancient history. Compared to all other ancient documents, the New Testament is many times more reliable and more sure because there are in existence today more than 500 early handwritten copies. (Handwriting copies was the standard way of producing written documents during the early centuries of Christianity.) People who are willing to dismiss the Bible as mythology, would have to do the same thing with all of ancient books.
Bibles came from Catholic tradition since Jesus did not give a directive to prepare a Bible, and the apostles and early disciples never even knew there would ever be a Bible. For more than 300 years after the Resurrection of Jesus, there was no Bible. Having Bibles –and which books to include– came from Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. There were many dozens of inspired writings (or books) that were used in Christian liturgies (i.e. Catholic Masses), which could have been included in the Canon of Scripture. Why did the Councils of Catholic bishops not include such items as the Didache, or the Letter from Clement or Barnabas, or why include the Book of Hebrews and the Book of Revelation, which is mysterious and puzzling, but it too was included by the Councils of Catholic Bishops? (The Bible Alone theory was not even possible for more than 300 years because the Bible did not exist.) The list of books were debated and approved by Councils of Catholic Bishops including the Council of Rome (382 A.D.), Council of Hippo (393 A.D.), and Council of Carthage (397 A.D.).
Some Christian leaders removed 7 books from the Bible during the Protestant Reformation in the 1500-1600s, because elements of these books disagreed with the newly devised teachings of the Reformers. As proof of this, there are no copies of Christian Bibles before the Reformation that did not have these 7 books in them (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and 1 and 2 Maccabees). You cannot remove books from the Bible and still have the fullness of truth. Some people say Catholics added these books but it is not so. They were always there starting in the 300s when the first Bibles were assembled and approved by councils of Catholic bishops. Copies of the Bibles exist from the 300s and other centuries up to the Reformation, and until now, and all these books have always been in the Catholic Bibles. It is a huge contradiction that most Protestants accept the other books of the New Testament as approved by the Tradition of the Catholic Church and Councils of Catholic bishops, but then say they live by the Bible Alone (Sola Scriptura) and not by Sacred Tradition. If it were not for the Catholic Church, there would be no Bible and no Christianity. (In the 300s, the persecution of Christianity ended and this is another reason the first Bibles were started to be copied by hand by committed Catholics and eventually by monks in monasteries.)
A NOTE ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD: God is the only being that is uncreated because, if He were created, He would not be God. You would have to search for a different first cause of everything. Atheism or denying the actions of a higher power requires more faith than belief in God requires. Every civilization in the history of the world believed in a divine or higher power. There is a similarity between believers and atheists: Both require faith! Both beliefs are based on things they cannot prove. Atheism is a leap in the dark, but many atheists are unwilling to admit this. Neither side can prove their position based on scientific or empirical evidence. However, there is a growing body of empirical evidence that there is life after death, such as the many studies about near death experiences. Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. PhD., former president of Gonzaga University and president of the Magis Center, said he believes that Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are helping to persuade many people today that Heaven and Hell are real. He discusses several well-investigated NDEs in chapter five of his book The Soul’s Upward Yearning (2015). He is author of many books and articles. See also interview of him on EWTN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI_MVhE-5xs. As physicist Paul Davies has said: “Science takes as its starting point the assumption that life wasn’t made by a god or a supernatural being,” and acknowledges that, partially out of fear of “open[ing] the door to religious fundamentalists… many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit that they are baffled” (The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life by Paul Davies, pp. 28, 17-18). Many non-believing scientists and others who consider themselves atheists cannot measure what they cannot understand or explain. Atheists deny with their lips what they know in the depth of their hearts. In the quiet of the night, many know God exists but most of them try to convince themselves that they do not believe in God, often because they do not want to behave as they know they might have to. The existence of deep love and friendship are a couple of the evidences that God is real and gives meaning to life on earth.
Some non-believers may find it helpful to start with this consideration. Those who have a difficult time believing in God could consider Pascal’s Wager where he said: If God exists and you believe He does not exist, what do you have to lose? EVERYTHING! However, if God does not exist and you believe He does exist, what do you have to lose? NOTHING! Another way to look at this is: If you are living like there is no God, you better be right! There is also an extension of Pascal’s Wager: If you worship God, praise Him, and keep His commandments, and if He does not exist and does not care how you behave, what do you have to lose? NOTHING! However, if you do not worship God and do not keep His commandments, and if He does exist and He does care how you behave, what do you have to lose? EVERYTHING! This is a very basic place to start. There are many stories about non-believers who have said a prayer like this: God, if You exist, give me a sign. In various ways, God will reach out to you if you sincerely desire to know Him and what He desires from you. If you have trouble believing in God, try meditating on your death, every aspect of it. Will you pray and/or be afraid or terrified to meet God, especially in light of the many things you did or did not do in your life? God has nothing but the best plans for you. God’s plans are Divine plans. God speaks to everyone: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you… plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me…” (Jer 29: 11-14).
Atheism and paganism end in despair. They have no answer about why they are here or where they are going. They often have no hope. They have no sense of being part of something great and wonderful. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, those who do not have faith in God have the highest suicide rates, while those who have a religious affiliation have the lowest suicide rates (APA: Religious Affiliation, Atheism and Suicide, 2004). Persons who kill themselves will miss great opportunities that may await them, or great advances in medicine or in other areas that could have a very positive effect on their lives. People who commit suicide lose all of their options, so just take it one day at a time. There is no second chance. Do not be deceived: When you die, you will not just cease to exist and return to dust. St. Paul says: “Human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ… will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him” (Heb. 9:27-28).
MORE WAYS TO DEFEND THE EXISTENCE OF GOD AND JESUS CHRIST: Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, said that today it is urgent to take an apologetical approach to Catechesis. Catholics must build an apologetical approach into elementary, confirmation, and high school Catholic education. Catholic children need ammunition to defend their Catholic faith and belief in God. Parents should be encouraged and trained to help in passing on the Catholic faith to their children and others around them. It is important to give them tools to answer these questions: 1) What is the objective evidence for God? 2) Why would an all-loving and all-powerful God allow suffering? 3) What is the objective evidence for the historicity or actuality of Jesus? CONSIDER THIS: One student could ask a piercing question and challenge the faith of all fellow students in a Catholic religion class. That question could be: What if God does not exist and Jesus never walked the earth? Most Catholic students today are not prepared to answer this question. Some are, but many have not been given the tools. There is a wealth of information available today so that both students and adults can defend their belief in God and the Catholic faith. An example of objective evidence for the existence of God is from physics and science. Also space-time geometry can also be used to prove the existence of God. Since science points to God, the blending of faith and reason must be taught. Many students are easily swayed into believing that science and faith are incompatible because they believe the new atheists like Steven Hawking (and many of their teachers and professors). Students are taught that there are various models of the universe, such as multi-verse, or bouncing universe, or string theory, but every model MUST have a beginning. Fr. Spitzer emphasizes this fact that students must be taught this at all levels. Steven Hawking says everything could have come from nothing, but Fr. Spitzer says nothing comes from nothing. Nothing can only do nothing. The universe, when it was nothing and it did not exist, could do nothing because it did nothing. (To believe everything could have come from nothing is a blind faith in nothing, which is far more unrealistic and requires more faith than believing that God created everything.)
Another example is objective evidence of the existence of God is entropy – the second law of thermodynamics says that all energetic systems will move from a state of order to a state of disorder and it will happen irreversibly over the course of time. You are going to have movement from order to disorder. There is a huge amount of order in our universe today. If the universe had been around for an infinite amount of time, what state should it be in – what state? A complete state of disorder, that is to say, random, microwave, background radiation, which is good for nothing and cannot do anything except exert pressure to continue the universe in its outward expansion. But, we have all kinds of things in our universe besides microwave background radiation, like stars and planets… Something is amiss, Fr. Spitzer says. It probably means that the universe has not been around for an infinite amount of time and certainly probably means too it has not even been around for a single bounce (which probably invalidates the bouncing universe theory). Do our kids have a right to know these things? YES. They have a right to know space-time geometry proofs and why they indicate a beginning.
They have a right to know the evidence for entropy. They have a right to know all of the anthropic coincidences. Those anthropic coincidences are so important to seeing the intelligence of God, not just the creative power of God, but the intelligence and the mind of God. We have 20 of these universal constants, which are numbers that control all of the equations of physics and describe all of the laws of nature in our universe. These 20 constants have very specific numbers. They had them from the beginning; they have them today. If those numbers were off ever so slightly, higher or lower, the universe simply could not have sustained any life form whatsoever. The odds against this happening are so tremendous, even Steven Hawking admits that without a multi-verse, this cannot proceed.
If our gravitational force or our weak force constant (two constants) were off by one part in 10 to the 50, that is a decimal point, 49 zeros and a 1 – a really small fraction – higher or lower – then either the universe would have exploded continuously in its expansion or the universe would have collapsed into a black hole. Fr. Spitzer said he could give many other examples and he does in the on-line course materials that he and his institute have made available to anyone free of charge. He and the Magis Center [Magis stands for Magisterium] developed the Reason Series, a curriculum for various school levels and for adult education. (See https://www.magiscenter.org/.) Fr. Spitzer said we need to give kids the evidence for God from physics. It is not hard. Teachers do not even have to know physics. If there are questions from students related to the Reason Series, they have an on-line forum for confirmation teachers, home-schooling parents, and religion teachers in Catholic schools. Fr. Spitzer urges Catholic adults to present this information. You should not avoid it because you fear it. Kids are already being swayed and influenced by the other side. See the videos, class outlines, and information on his website, especially the two encyclopedias on: 1) God, physics, creation, philosophy, atheism and suffering, and 2) Jesus Christ, historicity, resurrection, miracles, divinity, and unconditional love.
IF YOU KNOW THE TRUTH AND DO NOT PURSUE IT OR RETURN TO IT, YOU WILL BE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD. Many people may have had no one tell and show them that the purpose of life is to know, love, and serve God in this life in order to be happy with Him in the next. When you see people immersed totally in the pursuit of material things, pray for them and be a courageous witness. Often they have not yet realized that the things of this world are temporary and fleeting. Heaven is far more beautiful than anything anyone can imagine. True happiness comes from God and from doing His will. Often even very smart people are blind to this truth. All civilizations have known God exists, just as all people truly know as soon as they enter eternity. As St. Augustine wrote: “Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.” Life is so short; God is so real. Please do not waste a moment of your life. Do not wait to give your life to Jesus. Do not wait until you graduate from high school or college. Do not wait until you are older or married, or have children, or have the job and all the things you want. No one knows if and when these things will happen. Please do not wait a second. Believe this: you do not know how long you have to live. Give your life to Jesus today, and serve Him now. Decide to live your life for Jesus now! From this moment on, place yourself in His hands. What Joy you will see in heaven, if you ask Jesus to live in you now and to work through you each day. What a great gift this is to God! Only a life lived for God matters when you come to the end of your life. You do not know when it will be. Do not wait. Live for God, seek God, love God always.
A NOTE ABOUT ALLEGED MASS MURDER BY CHRISTIANS: There are people who make false accusations that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. Regarding actual wars of religion, if you search all the documents related to wars and oppressions from religion, you will find a wide range of estimates, all of which the grand totals are miniscule compared to the mass murders by atheist governments in the 20th century. For example, during the Crusades: Over the course of 300 years, secular websites give estimates of total deaths at 200,000 to about 2 million (and these were primarily defensive wars of Christians against the Turks who brutally invaded and persecuted the historic lands of Christianity). During the Inquisition: The Vatican recently opened up meticulous records kept over the 400 years of the Inquisition’s heyday and in Spain and Portugal perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 were killed. Secular websites have estimates from a few thousand to 200,000, which cannot be documented. In contrast, many millions of people have been killed in the 20th Century, most of which was done in the name of atheist and secular ideologies. For example, both Communism and Nazism were the first political regimes in all of history that made atheism an official part of their platform. In each system, the State became a false god, replacing the Church. Who was the greatest mass murderer in the world: Hitler? Pol Pot? Stalin? No. It is Mao Zedong, the leader of China’s communist revolution. Mr. IIlya Somin, professor of Law at George Mason University, writes: “From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people — easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.” In under five years, a government led by one atheist murdered 45 million of his own people. (See The Washington Post, The biggest mass murder in the history of the world, Aug. 23, 2016.) On August 7, 2017, Jay Richards points out: “Those regimes led by mass murderers with their gulags, death camps, man-made famines and killing fields were socialist. That’s not slander. It’s what these countries called themselves. USSR stood for the ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’.… Socialism, you might say, was the necessary evil to reach the bliss where no state would be necessary. That was sort of the theory anyway. In practice, socialism has just been evil. Unremitting evil, wherever it’s tried. Have a look at North Korea and now Venezuela. Socialism doesn’t lead to a higher plane of existence or a stateless utopia. It leads to a bottomless pit of immorality, poverty, and death.” (See: https://stream.org/on-communism-and-socialism-many-americans-are-still-clueless/.) Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., host of Catholic progams on EWTN-TV, often recommends secular studies from the University of Hawaii to counter the claim that organized religion has caused more suffering, wars, and violence than any other cause. However, countless millions have been killed by secular leaders who worshipped themselves or by governments controlled by militant atheists who were driven by a hatred for God and religion. Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel’s estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110 million people between 1917 and 1987 (See: https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE5.HTM). Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin. The total for the communist democide before and after Mao took over the mainland is thus about 77 million murdered. This is in line with the 65 million toll estimated for China in the Black Book of Communism, and Chang and Halliday’s estimate of “well over 70 million.” This exceeds the 62 million murdered by the Soviet Union 1917-1987, with Hitler far behind at 21 million wiped out 1933-1945. This totally disproves the claim by atheists that a world without God would be a peaceful world. The Catholic Catechism says: “Without the light the Gospel sheds on God and man, societies easily become totalitarian” (2257).
A NOTE ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: Since truth is objective and real, then Catholics should not pretend that truth does not matter. Some mis-guided Catholics and many non-Catholic Christians falsely believe that they cannot lose their salvation no matter what they do, that hell is not eternal, that the devil is not real, that miracles and mystical phenomena cannot happen, that abortion, euthanasia, and sexual intimacy outside of traditional marriage is okay, or that Jesus did not come and establish a church, etc. However, Jesus said: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18 -KJV). The only church that can trace its lineage unbroken to the time of Christ is the Catholic Church. Jesus did not want His followers to be orphans or to be in a ship without a captain. Jesus came to save humanity AND to establish a church, the Catholic Church. If people are living in error and Catholics do not at least TRY to give them the truth, then the Catholics will be held responsible for not helping the others to see the many benefits of the fullness of the Catholic faith. Catholics cannot force anyone; they can propose to others what they know is true, and the others must decide for themselves what they will do or if they will at least search for the truth. Seven years after the last Apostle died, St. Ignatius (third bishop of Antioch, Early Church Father, and personal acquaintance of the Apostles) (107 A.D.) called the Church of the Christians the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church that Jesus founded never collapsed because Jesus promised it never would. As recorded in the Bible, Jesus said the powers of hell would never prevail against His church (Mt 16:18). The Church is not just an invisible reality. How did Christ set up the Church? He did it with a visible hierarchy, with the 12 apostles He chose, and the fact that they filled open positions, and bishops were the only ones who could ordain priests. What about questions of doctrinal disputes and disagreements on discipline? They demand a visible church, which is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the oldest Christian Church in the world with the oldest church government. The Catholic Church will still be here when Jesus comes again on the Last Day of the world. It will still be led by St. Peter’s direct successor until the end of time. The Apostles, Early Church Fathers, and a constant line of popes and bishops believed and taught the Catholic faith since the Apostle Peter served as the first pope and leader of the Catholic Church. Ignatius of Antioch wrote: “Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (107 A.D. to Smyrnaeans 8:1-2). For 2000 years, these and innumerable other Catholics believed, taught, and lived the teachings of the Catholic faith. Countless people have died for the Catholic faith. It is universal and everywhere. It is worldwide and an international family of God, with historic Catholic churches among peoples in almost every land. It is respectful of all other religions. There is no place in the world that Jesus Christ and His Church is not proclaimed, overtly or secretly. St. Augustine wrote: “To fall in love with God is the greatest of romances, to seek Him the greatest adventure, to find Him the greatest human achievement.” St. Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone…” (Rom. 1:16). Anyone who looks into the Catholic Church with its 2000 years of Church history and the Early Church Fathers, to that person will come an amazing realization that the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus founded and it will exist until the end of time.
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