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This is one of the controversial issues of other Christian denominations with Catholics. Do we, Catholics, really worship Saints?
The first of the Ten Commandments makes it clear that worship is due to God alone. In Deuteronomy, the Lord tells the people through Moses: “You shall not have other gods beside me, ..You shall not bow down before them or serve them(Deut 5:7, 9)
Catholics affirm this truth.“Only the Almighty Creator of the universe, the one in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28),is worthy of our worship - of the adoration that involves giving ourselves completely to Him. No saint or even angel should ever be adored in that sense.
At the same time, however, we obey the Biblical instruction to “pay to all their dues, .. honor to whom honor is due” (Rom 13:7). Though we don’t worship the saints and angels in heaven, we do in fact honor (or venerate) them, because they are worthy of great honor. This is a biblical distinction.
Why do they deserve such honor? Because they now stand before Him in heaven face-to-face, and they have become like Him (1 John 3:2). They have become, by God’s grace, His glorious image (2 Cor 3:18), partakers in His divine nature (2 Pet 1:4). They share his holiness (Heb 12:10), His glory (Rom 8:17; 1Pet 5:1), His knowledge (1 Cor 13:12), and His authority to judge and rule (1 Cor 6:2-3; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 3:21).
The next question is Is praying to the saints Biblical? Like the “Hail Mary” prayer, is it Biblical? Yes, Catholics say prayers to Mary like the Hail Mary." Where does it say that in the Bible? Yes, this is true; Catholics pray the “Hail Mary” prayer. But remember again "WE DO NOT WORSHIP MARY and other Saints)". An interesting fact about the Hail Mary prayer though, is that, it is from Scripture, and the first half is almost word for word from the Bible.
HOLY MARY (you have found favor with God Luke 1:30 partial MOTHER OF GOD ("mother of my Lord" - Luke 1:43 partial) PRAY FOR US SINNERS (just as we pray for one another) NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. AMEN.
Are we somehow denying God the honor due Him when we honor His Saints? By no means! They are His perfected handiwork (Eph 2:10) - and we praise the craftsmanship, all the accolades go to the Craftsman. If even “the heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of His hands” (Ps. 19:2), how much more so do human beings, who have been perfected in wisdom and justice, who ‘shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament; And .. shall be like the stars forever (Dan12:3).
Finally, we should note that, as the old saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of praise.” Of all the ways we can honor God’s saints, the best way is to imitate their faith in Him (Heb 6:11-12; 13:7).

Evelyn Abutan

SOURCE: The New Catholic Answer Bible

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Forgiveness - an 11-letter word that looks simple but made complicated by man.
I have had the opportunity of listening to the song written and sung by Matthew West entitled "Forgiveness", which was based on a story sent to him by a mother who lost her daughter to drunk driving. The forgiving part happened when the mother went to see the drunk driver in jail and forgave him and helped him appeal to cut his jail sentence in half!
Scriptures says in Matthew 6:14, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you..."
Being a mother myself, I can never imagine myself being in her position - but she did what God would have done - she forgave the young man who killed her daughter.
We don't need to be in this kind of situation to test our Christian ability to forgive - mistakes are made, a wrong word is uttered or we are rubbed the wrong way and it happens - we curse, we hate, we seek revenge - our minds are filled with rage and all we can ever think of is that we want to hurt those who hurt us.
It often happens to the people closest to us - a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend. Careless words and thoughtless actions are said and done when we get upset or mad. We are hurting and therefore we want to hurt others too - hurting people hurt people.
At times I ask myself, why do I get mad? What triggers it? Why do I want to get even? Was my life threatened that it enraged me so much? Did the other person do something to me that is simply unforgivable?
And I realized that most of the times, the root of our anger and unforgiveness in our daily lives is pride. We cannot simply accept that someone said or did something to us that hurt us, mostly our pride.
Somebody may have said something we feel is uncalled for because it hit a nerve or two. Or someone did something we did not like that we felt insulted. Whatever it is, it is always something that we think we do not deserve, something that we think is unfair for us.
But come to think of it - is it really that bad that we should lose sleep over it? Is it really that unfair that we keep on thinking about it? Is it really so unjust that we talk about it all the time and harbor resentment against the other person?
Sometimes we say that we have already forgiven the offender, but have we really? Then why do we still think about it, talk about it and feel bad about it? How then can we say that we have truly forgiven?
We may say that we are justified to be angry, to be upset, to not forgive easily because we have been maltreated or that we have been offended several times and we believe that we do not deserve such treatments and that once or twice is more than enough.
And how many times should we forgive? Are we justified in our anger and hatred when we have been hurt or insulted more than once?
In Matthew 18:21-22, when Peter asked how many times he should forgive a brother who sinned against him, he asked Jesus if he should forgive until seven times. Jesus instead told him, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. "
70 x 7 times - that is a lot! What does this mean? Did Jesus really want us to count the times that we were hurt and when it reaches 491st time we are already justified to fight back, to hurt that person back?
I don't think so. I believe that Jesus only used this number to tell us that we should forgive as many times more than we can count in our hands - He is telling us to lose track of count and forgive anyway.
Besides, just like what the lyrics of the song says, when we do not forgive, the person who we hurt the most is ourselves. Carrying grudges and plotting ways of how to get even with the person who hurt us is not only detrimental to our health - but also a poison to our soul.
Jesus taught us love and humility and I believe that these two qualities are what we need to be able to truly forgive and live a life of happiness and peace.
Blessed lenten season to everyone!
Jesus Christ is my life, my joy, my all.

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"Truths about Love: God Loves Unconditionally"

"Musings on Music "

Have you ever wondered why God is so interested in us out of all His creation?

Have you ever stopped and thought about why He treats us with such esteem despite our wicked and weak nature? And why He loves us and continues to seek us even when we turn our backs on Him or hide from His presence?

Have you ever wondered why God continues to care for us and answer our prayers even when most of the times we are so proud to claim credit for our talents and accomplishments that we forget to thank Him and give back the glory which is really due Him?

These are the questions that I had as I listened to Laura Story's song entitled Grace. After I learned the song, I would sing it almost every night and contemplate on its lyrics especially the chorus part - the conversation between man and God:

"I ask You how many times will You pick me up, when I keep on letting You down? And each time I will fall short of Your glory, how far will forgiveness abound?"

I am reminded of my weak human nature and I feel the guilt of my sinfulness, my stubbornness - how can I be so hard-headed that I keep on sinning against my God? And yet every time I fall down, He never fails to extend His hand to help me up, to encourage me to try again?

"And You answered, 'My child, I love you and as long as you're seeking My face, you'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient Grace'."

I realized that God loves me despite my sinfulness, my human weakness, my inability to resist sin and temptation. As I revel at the lyrics of this song, I still could not comprehend how God can be so mindful of me despite my insignificance - I am a mere human being and God does not even need me, yet He created me in His image and gave me a crown of glory and honour and made a little lower than angels and put me in charge of all His creation! (See Psalm 8:4-6)

I am nothing without Him and He will still be God without me yet He cares for me as if I am the most important thing in the world? Why? Because He loves me! And He will continue to pour upon me His grace as a sign of His love for me - like the doting father of the prodigal son, God will continue to wait for my return and will always welcome me back with open arms - all I need to do is turn from my old ways and run back to Him!

Jesus Christ is my life, my joy, my all.

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