Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Another Protestant Abandons the Cult "Abolish Human Abortion"

The Westboro Baptists of the Pro Life Movement, "AHA" continue to alienate the body of Christ in both Protestant and Catholic circles. Here's the latest article where the author explains his attempts to speak the truth in love to them. His conclusion is that they have become the enemies of the gospel.
   My take on these folks are that they are only charading  as anti abortion but fattening their wallets and gaining notoriety with the proceeds from their merch sales and membership fees.  If they were serious about ending abortion, they would protest their own churches that don't lift a finger to end abortion. Rhology, whose real name is Alan Maricle, attends Berry Road Baptist that preaches one watered-down sermon a year on abortion. Why doesn't he direct his Church Repent project  there?  Or his spiritual mentor Dr. James White? His church never does anything to end the holocaust yet Alan continues to receive and promote the teachings of Dr. White, even publishing pictures of him standing with Dr White on his blog. Dr. White's ministry does nothing to save babies and Alan has no problem with that. Yet when there is a Catholic anti-abortion march, guess whose standing on the sidelines cowering in the shadows heckling Catholics? Yep the minions of AHA!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

 "Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life.

 It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty: "Behold, God is great, and we know him not." Therefore, we must "serve God first".

 It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: "What have you that you did not receive?"  "What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?"

It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.

 It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him: 
My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.

My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.
 It means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity. A prayer of St. Teresa of Jesus wonderfully expresses this trust:

Let nothing trouble you / Let nothing frighten you
Everything passes / God never changes 
Patience / Obtains all 
Whoever has God / Wants for nothing
God alone is enough."

CCC 222-224

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Home Mass

We had the great privilege of having a priest friend stay with us this weekend. We received the precious body and blood of our Lord and Savior in our living room. I wondered if this is what it felt like for the early Christians who met in their homes to celebrate the "breaking of the bread." ( We didn't have to fear having the door broken down and being imprisoned and killed for our faith though.) By the way, the breaking of the bread was the term they used to describe partaking in the Lord's Supper, not just a common meal.
   The liturgy we prayed today is almost identical to that described by Saint Justin Martyr in the second century.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Feast of Saint Pope John Paul II

Today the Church celebrates the life and heroic virtue of Pope JP2.  He was at the end of his pontificate when I entered the Church.  In a very short time I felt bonded to him and read all I could of his encyclicals.  I wept the day he died and marveled how the Church chose another successor of Saint Peter as they have done for the past two millennia .
   Saint Pope John Paul 2, pray for us to love God as you did and live our lives in awe and respect for the life God has given all of us.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Feast of Saint Therese

Today the Church celebrates and honors this quiet little girl French girl who became a giant of the faith. What can I say about Saint Therese that hasn't already been said?
Not a whole lot. She entered a convent at fifteen years of age after going to Rome to try to get an exception from the pope. The pope told her to go back to France and submit to her bishop! She later died a horrible death from tuberculosis at twenty four years of age in 1897. Saint Therese was a cloistered Carmelite nun and never left the convent, yet  a relatively short time after her death,  was canonized. She would have been only 52 when she was made a saint. Her writings were translated into multiple languages and disseminated throughout the world. Saint Pope John Paul 2 declared her a doctor of the Church (of which there are only three women.)
   She said she wanted to spend her heaven doing good on earth and she has kept her promise!
So many prayers asking for her intercession have been answered.
  Saint Therese, pray for us. Amen

If you haven't read her autobiography, I highly recommend it. The Story of a Soul, which can be found free on the internet.

Here's a little tune I wrote to honor the Little Flower, Saint Therese

Friday, September 19, 2014

AHA Cult Member Assaults Pro-life Leader Abby Johnson

I have posted on this fringe radical anti-Catholic hyper-Calvinist cult posing as a pro-life group in the past. They use a pretense to "abolish" abortion as a means of spewing their vile anti-Catholicism and attack any faith that is not accepting of their strange twisted view of the bible.
   Abby Johnson, former manager at planned parenthood, now a Catholic convert and frontlines pro-life leader was assaulted at one of her speaking engagements by a member of AHA. This is not surprising given other members are former felons, church bombers and cult members.  Once again, spread the word regarding this faux pro-life group.  How many babies were slaughtered while this AHA member chose to harass a woman who has now dedicated her life to saving the unborn?

"I always thought this day may come...and it finally did tonight. 

A member of Abolish Human Abortion came to my event tonight and assaulted me...with my 6 week old son just inches away. 

After a wonderful evening with an amazing organization built on prolife unity, a boy named Christopher Rush with AHA came up to me and attempted to argue with me about my Catholic faith. I recognized him from several ugly Facebook messages. After I disengaged and was walking away, he pulled up a video camera and waved it so I could see it. I put my hand in front of it and he grabbed me and started throwing me around by my arm as I was trying to get it out of his grip. A man and woman stepped in to assist me and Christopher finally let go of me and threw the young woman against a table. He started to scream at the top of his lungs and then threatened to punch me.

The police quickly responded and detained him. After some prayer, I chose not to press charges. However, because of the assault, he was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. I have also filed a restraining order against him at the suggestion of the police department.

I'm not sure I have ever been in such close proximity to so much hate. It is incredibly disheartening to know that these people are actively part of a movement that strives to be peaceful and prayerful.

After he was released, he was in the parking garage waiting to further his attack. Thankfully, I was given a ride by someone else so I wouldn't have to walk across the campus back to the garage. They were rightly concerned that he may be there looking for me. After he screamed at the group of women in the garage for a few more minutes, he got in his car and peeled out.

Looking back, I am just very thankful that my baby boy is safe and was unharmed from the attack. My arm will heal, but I'm not sure how I could get over something happening to my baby.

In the end, I told him that we were praying for him. Please be praying that he is able to find peace in his heart.   "  Abby Johnson

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What If Luther Was Wrong?

Think of the implications ......

(T shirt courtesy of Michael McCleary)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Swedish Mega Church Pastor Converts to Catholicism

Ulf Ekman gives this reason for why he decided to leave his ministry as the leading charismatic pastor in Sweden:  The truth.

"For us, truth was the very thing that mattered. We have always believed in the Word of God and that there is an absolute truth, revealed by God. Now, more and more, we had come to see that there is a concrete historic Church founded by Christ, and a treasure, a deposit of both objective and living faith. This attracted and drew us into the Catholic Church. If we believed that the fullness of truth is embedded in and upheld by the Catholic Church, then we did not have any choice but to fully unite with this Church."

"The sacraments have become a tangible reality in our lives and they sustain us in a concrete way. Something – grace, I am sure – is here in a way that it was not before. A fresh breeze is blowing through our lives. We look forward to exploring and fully identifying with all that we now are a part of. It is very exciting to live fully for Jesus Christ – in the Catholic Church."

Read the whole article here.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Review of "Ragamuffin: The True Story of Rich Mullins"

 As many long term readers of this blog know, I am a huge Rich Mullins fan. I have listened to his music since the 1980's. When I discovered him, I was in medical school and had just recorded my first song with my hammer dulcimer. I thought I was doing something new and revolutionary, adding HD to contemporary Christian music lyrics.  After I heard Rich, I quietly decided that I would "hand my pinball crown to him" realizing he was already doing what I dreamed of doing.
    Years later, Rich's pursuit of simple living and Franciscan spirituality started me on a journey that would eventually lead to my reversion to the Catholic faith.  I later discovered that Rich was pursuing becoming Catholic and was a week away from entry into the Church before his untimely death.  After his death I kept his photo on the top of my hammer dulcimer and would ask him to pray for me before every concert as I opened with an original dulcimer tune in the style of Rich.
   Now fast forward to this spring when Rich's brother and a movie producer released "Ragamuffin: The True Story of Rich Mullins."  I was initially excited to see the movie though I was concerned that there would be little to no mention of his desire for Catholic conversion.I ( I had written to his brother David after I became Catholic and he told me "Rich had no intention of ever becoming Catholic.")  As a matter of fact, his journey to the Catholic Church was removed from the story with surgical precision and one would never know that Rich spent his last days going to daily Mass on the reservation.
    Unfortunately, as I watched the movie, I saw a side of Rich that was carefully hidden from his record buying public all these years.  The Nashville CCM industry did a wonderful job making sure know one knew the double life Rich was leading. One can only wonder why is brother now felt the need to tell the true story. Was he always jealous of Rich? Is it that the record royalties are all dried up now?
     I was devastated by the time I walked out of the little storefront church showing the film. What I learned about Rich is that he had a lifelong struggle with alcohol and possibility other substances and was prone to fits of rage and often alienated those closest to him. As a physician, I recognize that Rich probably suffered from chronic depression worsened by his unresolved conflict with an abusive father. He self -medicated by chain-smoking and binge drinking. However, in between his episodes of debauchery, he would be onstage making young people believe that he was pursuing God with all his might. He often criticized folks in his concerts for relying on comfort and believing in the American "prosperity gospel. "  Yes, he presented himself as a flawed individual, yet he continued to preach from the stage and "minister" to those who attended his concerts.  He is now being held up as a great example of how God loves and uses a flawed and "complex" individual. Many are reviewing the film saying it gave them hope.
    The problem is the "True Story" never presented the real story. Rich was an alcoholic with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness who was a gifted songwriter and became a celebrity among the contemporary evangelical culture. The Real Story is that at some level Rich knew his way of practicing  Christianity was not providing him the grace and strength to overcome his addictions.  He knew he was living a double life.  This ultimately led to his pursuit of Catholicism and his desire to go to confession and receive the Eucharist as outlined in this letter from his friend Father Matt McGuiness.  Rich knew there was something more to Christianity and thankfully started to pursue it through learning about the Catholic faith.  Sadly he never got there on this side of the veil.  The movie never even touched on Rich's pursuit of Catholicism and thus the "True Story" ended up as a sad and sordid tale of a gifted Christian artist trapped in mortal sin, desperately trying to change, but not knowing how.  It was not redemptive in any sense of the word.
    My biggest criticism of the movie and the Ragamuffin Gospel in general is that those who follow it will do just as the movie showed- never getting past their sin, never repenting, just accepting that "Jesus loves me the way I am."  Of course, "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" and He loves us as the Father loved the Prodigal son covered with mud and pig excrement. But, He then asks us to come to his house to be forgiven and change the way we live.  The movie never showed that Rich was trying, through his pursuit of the Franciscan lifestyle (ie Catholicism), to get his life together.  I believe his desire to leave the Nashville music/ party scene and ultimately end up attending daily mass on the Reservation was proof of this trajectory. It is extremely sad and disturbing that his brother would make a movie showing the darkness and duplicity of Rich's troubled life ignoring the very truth that would have made all the difference in the world for him.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Matthew 25 and the Immigrants

In a community in California, a bishop has asked his diocese to assist the immigrants with temporary housing, food and clothing.  This has created an uproar and Rush Limbaugh has interviewed parishioners from this parish who are opposed to this plan.
    If this was a ghetto in Jerusalem in 30 AD, and a group of Samaritans (women and children) migrated into Jerusalem because of a plague in Samaria, what would Jesus and his disciples do?  Would he tell the disciples to contact the Roman authorities to take care of this problem? I suspect Jesus would kneel at their feet and bind their wounds and give them cool water to drink and bread to eat, despite the risk of contracting infectious diseases that they brought with them. He would tell his disciples that whatsoever you do for them, you have done it unto me, even if they had "lice crawling down their faces."  Putting politics aside, I would expect nothing less from the Catholic Church to offer this assistance. They are following Matthew 25.


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