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Lent

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by sklippstein, Feb 21, 2003.

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  1. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    I have a terrible problem with foul language; it comes from 5 years of military service followed by ten years of working security details in and around factories, and from 30 years of being around my father and various uncles, all of whom served in World War II and other assorted factories.

    Usually I try to make an attempt to keep it under control, unless I'm just being lazy; if I'm tired or annoyed or apathetic, it will slip out.

    On the other hand, if I'm angry or scared or in intense pain (like hitting my thumb with a hammer, say), it's gonna come out, and there ain't a single thing I can do to stop it.

    I remember trying to move a couch through my front door one time; it was a huge bulky monster that the previous owners had "left us as a gift", and we were trying to get it outside so we could blast it into pieces with dynamite so the trash men could pick it up. Anyway, one of my wife's girlfriends was there, and everything was going along sort of okay until this moose of a couch got wedged in the doorjamb. We fiddled around with it until one of us slipped and I ended up with several mashed fingers.....

    I'll never forget the look on my wife's girlfriend's face----her eyes were wide and her face was bright red, while I stood there in the cloud of blue smoke shaking my wounded hand and gritting my teeth, right before I took hold of the end of the couch and said something to the effect of, "All right, you *****, I've **** had enough of this ***** ****, now you're ***** going out the ***** door, you ***** ****** ***** *****!!!!", and literally heaved this thing onto the front porch. (It's a miracle I didn't smash the doorframe to bits. But I got it outside, anyway.)

    My wife's friend later asked me, "Where did you learn language like that?" I replied "From my father," and walked away whistling The Air Force Song.
     
  2. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    What is the purpose of lent?
     
  3. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Lent is a 40-day liturgical season which emphasizes repentance, contemplation, and moderation on the part of each individual believer, in preparation for the Easter season. To this end, the Church usually offers various devotionals geared towards cleaning your life up, trying to get a better start and do better at your spiritual walk----the equivalent of a New Year's resolution, so to speak. The Church also encourages confession during this time and most parishes offer both communal reconciliation services as well as extended private confession times. Sacrifice is a part of this season, so one is also encouraged to "give something up", such as sweets, or TV, or something that one enjoys, as a sacrifice and a mortification. Abstaining from meat on Fridays is also part of this, as well as fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

    Does that help? :)
     
  4. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    I think it is good to regularly take stock of where you are spiritually. But the posters on this thread seem to be "doing" lent as some obligation to the Church rather than a call to come closer to God.

    The sacrifice part of it ... I think is silly. What could we possibly give up that would amount to anything... when compared to Christ?
     
  5. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Sacrifice, in Catholic thought, is not a separate action from that of Christ; it is rather joined to the sacrifice of Christ. :)

    He doesn't need our contributions, of course, but He lets us help anyway because it benefits us spiritually.
     
  6. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

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    LOL...you give me lots of courage.
     
  7. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    I would think that it would be better to have our minds trained to the sacrifice of Christ rather than worrying about not having chocolate. But that is just me... all God's children are different. I think that makes for interesting dialogue.

    I think it is cool though, what you said about lent being like New Year's resolutions. I hope you do not have to be Catholic to participate.

    The part of my life that cries out for attention is my relationship to my husband. I think that is where I will devote my much needed time for improvement.

    Your prayers would help. My husband is an alcoholic. But it is for me that I am asking your prayers. I must find a way to love and not criticize.

    Would this classify as observing lent?
     
  8. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

    +0
    Some thoughts on sacrifice:

    Whenever we deny ourselves something it helps us detach from the world and our will and it strengthens us in spiritual battle. It is denying the flesh, it is THE way to overcome it, trust me on that. It is an extension of fasting.

    Lent is also like the widow that gave her last mite from her want, not from her surplus. If we give what we have from what's left over (our surplus) what are we sacrificing? But if we give from are want, like not going to a movie and giving the money to the poor instead; things like that help us grow leaps and bounds in developing virtue and it cultivates the fruits of the holy spirit. IOW it teaches us how to be better Christians.
     
  9. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    It is not, that I do not think, that your sacrifice would be good. It is the time limit that you place upon your "improvement" that seems inappropriate.

    I am so very glad that Christ did not set such a narrow window of opportunity on his sacrifice.
     
  10. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

    +0
    Well Stormy, I will pray for you and you husband, but since you asked about sacrifice, this is what Catholics believe about it in or outside of the Lenten season.


    We join our sufferings to Christ's suffering on the cross and we suffer with Jesus for the needs and conversion of others. In a way it is like fasting that breaks the bonds of Satan, if that helps you understand a little better.


    We call this 'offering up' in case you have ever heard a catholic say 'offer it up' this is what they are talking about.
    We offer up our situation, sufferings cross, etc for the needs, intentions, conversion, deliverance and healing of ourselves and others. It is very powerful because it is the sacrifice/suffering of Jesus that gives it power. Apart for him we can do nothing.
    What we are doing is joining our suffering with his in a union with him that is mystical. It transcends time and space and with that one perfect sacrifice that Christ offered up once and for all for mankind to the father we are also offering up ourselves with Christ.


    St. Paul speaks about this when he says we are joint heirs with shares in his sufferings and we make up for what is lacking.
    We do not feel as if Christ lacked a thing, we know he did not but it is us that lacks when we suffer additions, from a sinful habit, illness, etc. We are making up what is lacking in Christ suffering those that are not being reached by the cross of Christ. This is why suffering for the conversion of sinners is most powerful because it is those that do not go to the cross of Christ. With uniting our sufferings with Jesus' sufferings we are bringing the cross to them through the power of prayer and sacrifice.

    Our lord does not give any of us a shortage of things to sacrifice and offer for the needs of others. This is why the Catholics say that our suffering has value and meaning.
     
  11. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    I am not sure that you want my honest opinion. I will go.
     
  12. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

    +0
    Sorry that you feel that way Stormy. I take no insult I understand that these things can be difficult to comprehend. These are the things that Catholics teach and believe but you yourself do not have to practice them as a catholic in order to be a catholic.

    It is part of our spirituality and one does not have to do this to be a good catholic. But I will say this, it is by way of our spirituality that we grow as a Christian. I am sure that is the case in any faith one would practice.

    What makes it hard to comprehend is how the Protestants view the sacrifice of Jesus and how Catholics view it.

    We do not see Jesus stepping in and taking the wrath of God as some kind of stand in for sin and sinners. We see it as Jesus transforming the fall of man back to that original state of justice that we were originally intended to have. So if you understand it like that, like we once had these gifts but they were taken from us, and now we have them back through Jesus we can once again have our ‘being’ in him.

    In the beginning we were sharers in God's own divine life. In him we found our being and we shared in his divinity, that does not say that we were divine, only that we shared in God's own divine life. After the fall of Man, we no longer shared in the life of divinity we were only mere fallen humans cut off from God.

    Jesus came as a human to share in our humanity with us but as a divine being he was a fitting sacrifice for our sins, not our personal committed sins, but our inherited state of original sin.

    Jesus as a human but as divine being sacrificed himself for us in an act of obedience to the father. Adam, when tempted in the garden of Eden disobeyed God. Jesus when tempted in the garden he remains obedient. The bible says he was obedient unto death. He was tempted and afraid to the point he sweat blood and asked that the cup be taken from him but the obedient part was “not as I will but as you will.” Adam did not do that, when Eve handed him the apple.

    The Catholic view is one more of an adoption and reconciliation back to what once originally was in the divine life of God via Jesus. We DO NOT believe that Jesus was being punished so we won't have to. That is what I personally find offensive and pitiful. That Jesus was a whipping board for a angry God that was looking to vent his wrath and sent innocent Jesus so he could do it.

    So since we were reconciled back to God and are in a state of divine grace once again sharing in his own life of grace, being his children once again and not just given some imputed record of righteousness that ‘covers’ us instead of transforms us we believe that our sacrifices become ONE together, joined, in union with the sacrifice of Christ and since we have our being in him, we can offer with him, in him and through him.

    There is also more that we believe about the cross of Christ, that he did also die for all and any personal sins we do now have in the past and will commit in the future. The sacrifice is two fold. To forgive original sin, to join back us to him in baptism and to open the gates of mercy that obtains forgiveness of our personal sin.

    We sin, we are sorry, we ask for Christ forgiveness, he then offer himself, his sacrifice up in atonement for our sins, the same way it was done in the OT.
     
  13. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    But you do not view his sacrifice as complete? You feel that you can add something to it?

    Understand that I am not against using this time of lent to call upon yourself to unite more fully with Christ. If you are brought to a point of searching deeper within you, and drudging up that which is purely of the flesh... that does harm to you spiritually... and casting it away ... then that is good.

    But this temporal sacrifice? Where you give it up... only to pick it up again later? I find questionable.

    Christ did lay his life down... and he did pick it back up. But his life was pure. It was our sin that killed him. God raised his son... but allowed the sin to remain dead.

    We also should leave the sin that we give up. If I were Catholic, I would look upon lent as a time to give up that which harms me spiritually. I would not merely wait out the necessary time... but instead continue the battle until Christ succeeds within me.
     
  14. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    Now I am sure that you do not want my honest opinion, for it was edited out. If we have not truth between us ... then we have nothing. This conversation is allowed to be nothing more than idle talk.

    May God bless you. :wave:
     
  15. Lynn

    Lynn Veteran

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    I've been thinking a lot about what I'd do for LEnt. I thought about giving up the internet. It would be tough. BUt my husband and I were talking about it and we realized just how much we both learn at this site. I don't know if I want to give that up.

    So, I think that I will do extra prayer and fasting. With the world in the shape its in, and with my father dying, I thought that would be appropriate.

    And if any of you have time for some extra prayer, please try to remember my mom. She is having such a difficult time. My dad has alzheimer's and is going rapidly. She's having to decide about a nursing home and its tearing her apart.

    lynn
     
  16. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

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    But you do not view his sacrifice as complete? You feel that you can add something to it?

    We don't view it as incomplete. If you take nothing away from this, please at least know that.

    What does St. Paul means when he says that he makes up for the lacking of Christ’s sufferings? Read First Colossians 3-29

    We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the gospel, that has come to you. Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you, from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave, who is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross (through him), whether those on earth or those in heaven. And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister. 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, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.

    But this temporal sacrifice? Where you give it up... only to pick it up again later? I find questionable.

    You are right. It is the Catholics that reduce this down to what it is not supposed to be. We are supposed to not just give things up to take them back up. We are supposed to be transforming more into Christ's image and with each lent we should be growing more and more. The true spirit of lent is not what our culture today has defined it.

    Christ did lay his life down... and he did pick it back up. But his life was pure. It was our sin that killed him. God raised his son... but allowed the sin to remain dead.

    That is the protestant view. Christ laid it down yes, but he also says that I lay it down, no one takes it from me and I will take it back up. This is saying that he gives it willingly no one forces him to give it and we did not "kill" him with our sins. Our sins are why we had to suffer in order to purify and to atone, but he gave his life it was not taken from him nor did we or sin "kill" him.

    Sin remaining dead is not true. Sins today are alive. How would you consider all the evil the world today if it were dead?

    The sin nature remains but we have access to divine grace to overcome it when we call on that grace, the grace in which we are sharers in We have the power to over come sin by deriving from the very source of grace and that is through Jesus complete sacrifice on the cross.

    Stormy, I am sorry to say this to you but if you have been looking at the Church considering her, you have to understand that you have been indoctrinated in the protestant view of salvation and the Catholics have a different view. If you do not accept her view, then that is you prerogative to do so. I do not judge your salvation based on that decision. But I am only trying to help you see why accepting or understanding her teachings and beliefs are difficult for you.

    You can not take what the Church teaches and fit it in with the protestant view of salvation. It then becomes something hard to bare and I don't blame you for thinking it is odd when viewed out of the light it is indented to be viewed in.

    I wish you peace Stormy.
     
  17. Stormy

    Stormy Senior Contributor

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    This grabbed me by surprise. I did not think that you would see it the same as me. This is good. :)

    It was our sin that made it necessary that Christ be sacrificed. Of course I do not mean that we were in control... That we mere humans had within us the ability to kill God? :( That would be dumb.

    But were we not released from the original sin that had been our birth right? That is what I was referring to?

    Protestant view? You think? I am not sure. Some people say my opinions are more Catholic... others say that I am a Reformist. I often wonder how I became such a mongrel with my Faith.

    Do you all really fit so neatly in your little slots.

    I envy you.
     
  18. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

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    But were we not released from the original sin that had been our birth right? That is what I was referring to?

    But it is the Catholic position that we have and if you think about how beautiful a thing it is. To once again, thanks to Christ be able to have our being in him.

    Do you all really fit so neatly in your little slots.

    I believe in what she teaches. I may not understand fully sometimes but I wait on the lord to explain it to me. I trust that the Church knows better than I. I accept at first and the usually I come to embrace. The words in Marks gospel help me. “I believe, help my unbelief.”
     
  19. Theresa

    Theresa With Reason

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    "As Paul puts it so clearly in Romans 16:26 ". . . but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith." We must not only have the faith, we must be obedient to it; we must act upon it. If at the end of our life on earth God judges us worthy, according to our faith and the way we have lived that faith, He will admit us to the Kingdom of Heaven. That decision is God's alone to make and it will not be made until we appear before Him for our particular judgement. No one can make that decision for Him or promise something which is not theirs to give. We have no absolute assurance of our salvation, but we do have the hope of salvation and perseverance in witness and service and Christian growth. Without Jesus' death and resurrection, His victory over sin (death), there would be no hope of salvation. His death and resurrection give us assurance that our salvation is possible. We were created to be in total communion with God but we were also given a free will so we must choose to live out the gospel messages as best we can. We cannot earn our way to heaven by our works (this is the heresy of Pelagianism which was condemned by the Council of Carthage in AD 418), but when we come to the fullness of belief in the truth of Jesus' death and resurrection, good works become a joy; we wish to live in total union with God. When we accept this truth of our faith, we must also accept the truth of becoming a new creation. We can no longer live as those who do not accept or believe, but we must be witnesses to our belief, day in and day out, not only by the words that come from our lips, but by every action of our body. Sin becomes repulsive to us and through Christ, we have the power to overcome sin. "It is by his actions that a person is put right with God, and not by his faith alone" (James 2:24). We can deceive others, even ourselves, but we cannot deceive God.

    Did Jesus take all our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross? It is true that Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). It is also true that Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross so we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). When we read these verses without the benefit of an Old Testament understanding of what is being addressed, It certainly does appear that Jesus bore all our sins on the cross. This would make him a scapegoat; a substitute for us and our sinfulness.

    There are absolutely no biblical texts which when read in proper context portray Jesus as a scapegoat or state that He supplied total satisfaction for our sins. We are required to become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1); to join our sacrifice with that of Jesus the Christ which is being offered perpetually in heaven. Jesus' death on the cross accomplished our redemption and made our salvation possible, it opened heaven for us; a heaven which had essentially been closed to mankind since the sin of Adam and Eve.

    To understand the difference between a sin offering, through which expiation of sins is gained, and a scapegoat, through which removal of all sinfulness was done, we must look at sixteenth chapter of the book of Leviticus which describes Yom Kippur, the day of atonement (at-one-ment, being made one with God), which occurs once each year in the Jewish calendar.


    "Taking two male goats, and setting them before the Lord at the entrance of the meeting tent, he [Aaron, the High Priest] shall cast lots to determine which one is for the Lord and which is for Azazel [exactly who Azazel is, is unknown but this was translated in early texts as 'the escaping goat,' hence the English word 'scapegoat']. The goat that is determined by lot for the Lord, Aaron shall bring in and offer up as a sin offering. But the goat determined by lot for Azazel he shall set alive before the Lord, so that with it he may make atonement by sending it off to Azazel in the desert." (Leviticus 16:7-10)
    "Then he shall slaughter the people's sin-offering goat, and bringing its blood inside the veil, he shall do with it as he did with the bullock's blood, sprinkling it on the propitiatory and before it. Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary because of all the sinful defilements and faults of the Israelites. He shall do the same for the meeting tent, which is set up among them in the midst of their uncleanness. No one else may be in the meeting tent from the time he enters the sanctuary to make atonement until he departs. When he has made atonement for himself and his household, as well as for the whole Israelite community, he shall come out to the altar before the Lord and make atonement for it also. . . Thus he shall render it clean and holy, purged of the defilements of the Israelites. (Leviticus 16:15-19)

    "When he has completed the atonement rite for the sanctuary, the meeting tent and the altar, Aaron shall bring forward the live goat. Laying both hands on its head, he shall confess over it all the sinful faults and transgressions of the Israelites and so put them on the goat's head. He shall then have it lead into the desert by an attendant. Since the goat is to carry off their iniquities to an isolated region, it must be sent away into the desert." (Leviticus 16:20-22)

    The goat which was killed was to provide atonement for the defilements of the holy places (sanctuary, meeting tent and altar) so that further individual offerings during the year would be pleasing to God. This was not only an atonement, but also a consecration of these holy places. Jesus' death on the cross did away with the necessity for this repeated sacrifice. "But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took His seat forever at the right hand of God; now He waits until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated." (Hebrews 10:12-14)

    The scapegoat however, was not killed. The priest imposed hands on this goat and confessed the people's sins, thus bringing about a transmission of the sins to the goat. Carrying its evil burden, it was led off into the desert thus removing the evil from the people's midst. This ceremony did not remove the obligation for the individual to make individual atonement for his specific sins. Since Jesus is not a scapegoat, how are our sins removed? Jesus took care of this by empowering His Apostles and those they ordained and their successors with the ability to forgive sins. "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (John 20:23) How do we know that this ability was passed along to those the Apostles ordained and their successors? Because Jesus told them "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (John 20:21). How was Jesus sent by His Father? With authority; what He did was binding. He ordained the Apostles and gave them the same authority, which included among other things, ability to forgive sins.

    Jesus' sacrifice on the cross has accomplished our redemption (Matthew 20:28). No longer are souls trapped for eternity in the bosom of Abraham (sheol/hades/purgatory). No longer is an animal sacrifice necessary to consecrate the altar. He paid the price so we may one day enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This does not mean however that there is no need for us to recognize our individual sins and make restitution for them. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross (and re-presentation on our behalf in heaven) does not free us of our responsibility for repentance but instills within us His own spirit of sorrow and hope. God demands repentance and atonement from all sinners. Sins are not 'covered' by Jesus' blood and thus made invisible to God. Martin Luther compared saved mankind to dung heaps covered with the snow of Christ; but Jesus had another name for those who were pretty on the outside but rotten inside, he called them "whitewashed tombs." Jesus did not tell the paralytic man that his sins were covered, He said "Your sins are forgiven." In fact, Jesus' ministry can be summed up as one which taught and forgave sins. Forgiveness washes the sins away so that no stain remains. Nothing unclean will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Revelation 21:27). But how does one obtain forgiveness for sins since Jesus no longer walks this earth forgiving sins and Hebrews 10:11-13 tells us that the Old Testament sacrifices for sins were ineffective and Jesus' one sacrifice perfected forever those who are being made holy? The answer can be found in Romans 12:1: We are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. Jesus sacrifice did away with the requirement for an annual day of atonement and also for our individual requirement to publicly offer an animal sacrifice throughout the year whenever we had sinned. Instead, we are to offer ourselves in an unblemished state. How do we, sinners that we are, become unblemished? On the first Easter Sunday, three days after His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus appeared to His apostles and gave them the power to forgive or retain sins; just as He had done throughout His earthly ministry (John 20:23). Forgiveness removes the stain. Since the apostles were not going to live forever, in order for this commission by Jesus to remain effective (Jesus never did anything in an interim manner) the successors of the apostles and those they appointed to represent them continue this practice. "

    St. Charles Borromeo website-Point Paper-"Did Jesus Really Die for my Sins so there is nothing I can do?"

    Theresa
     
  20. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

    +0
    Thanks, Theresa for posting this. This is something that all catholics should be made aware of. How Christ sacrafice really worked on the cross.
     
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