Prayer Before Reading Our Blog

Come Holy SpiritCome Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

V. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Prayer for Enlightenment

O Holy Spirit, divine Spirit of light and love, I consecrate to Thee my understanding, my heart and my will, my whole being for time and for eternity. May my understanding be always obedient to Thy heavenly inspirations and the teachings of the holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible Guide; may my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbor; may my will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may my whole life be a faithful following of the life and virtues of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Banca ride leads family to Sto. Niño (A Conversion Story: From Protestant to Catholic)

The Miraculous Image of Sto.Niño de Cebu

A BANCA ride in the 2001 fluvial procession of the Sto. Niño set the Seville family on a one-year journey to embracing the Catholic faith.

Rasty Seville, 62, and his wife Lilibeth, 52 , said they were Protestants when they attended their first Sto. Niño fluvial procession in 2001.

A friend invited them to join them in a banca ride with 20 people on board in barangay Pasil, Cebu City.

Out of curiousity, they went along. The overloaded banca wasn't even registered for the fluvial procession.

Still, Rasty said it encouraged him to hire a bigger boat the following year.

Cebu Daily News found the Seville family, all dressed in red, set to join last Saturday's fluvial procession at the Ouano wharf in Mandaue City, their 11th trip.

Rasty's wife, Lilibeth , recalls how she ended up owning her first Sto. Niño figurine.

In a visit to a Catholic store in a mall, the store keeper called her attention to a Sto. Niño image similar to the one at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino.

The tenant whispered to her that the Sto. Niño wanted her to buy the icon.

Lilibeth said she hesitated because as Protestants, they didn’t approve of what they viewed as the worship of images.

The storekeeper said she would regret not getting it. Lillibeth left the store, bothered by the statement.

She met her husband Rasty who went to a bank and withdrew P3,000 to buy a table fountain.

Lilibeth told him about the encounter in the store and described the Sto Niño icon displayed near the glass window.

They instead returned to the store and bought the icon for P2,800.

Lilibeth admitted that she felt awkward holding the image of the Hold Child for the first time.

She said the Sto. Niño appeared to her in dreams calling her "Mommy Beth.”

"I asked him, why of all people did you choose me? I was surprised when he answered. He told me in my dreams that he chose me because I have a pure heart," she told CDN..

A year later the couple decided to convert to the Catholic faith.

Lilibeth said their new faith has bonded their family closer together.

The Sto. Niño has become a part of their family and is considered their "baby.”

A sanctuary in their home is dedicated for the Sto. Niño where they offer flowers and fruits every Thursday and Sunday.

The icon, dressed in red velvet pants and upper clothes, has become the family’s 'guide', whom they credit for many blessings.

Lilibeth said their daughter Sunshine passed the nursing board exam as well as her interview for a job in the United States.

Their Gisangag Express and construction business are doing well while their son Kris Jordan won the Sinulog Idol tilt.

Now residing in a two-storey house in barangay Cansojong in Talisay City, southern Cebu, the Seville couple and their children joined the 2013 Sto. Niño fluvial procession. The showed up in red shirts and dresses.

They rented a bigger boat this time and brought their “Baby Niño” for the fluvial procession, their 11th time in a row. /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Biblical Evidence for Holy Water (Nicholas Hardesty)

Holy Water Container

My friend Nick Hardesty has made a great biblical argument for holy water, in debate with an anti-Catholic. Some of the input initially came from myself, as he asked my advice on some ways to go about arguing it (particularly from my paper on sacramentalism), but the lion's share is his work, from his opening statement in the debate. Any further words below (apart from Scripture and very minor editing for this version) are his own (Bible verses: RSV).

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God Uses Created Things In Order to Produce Supernatural Effects In Our Lives

There are many examples in Scripture where Jesus and the apostles use created things to produce supernatural effects in the lives of human beings. Jesus’ garment healed the woman with the hemorrhage:
Matthew 9:20-22 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; for she said to herself, "If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well." Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." And instantly the woman was made well.
His saliva mixed with dirt (along with water from the pool of Siloam) gave sight to the blind man:
John 9:6-7 As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Silo'am" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
Many were healed by being anointed with oil:

Mark 6:13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

James 5:14-15 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Revelation 3:18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
Paul’s handkerchiefs cured disease and expelled evil spirits:

Acts 19:11-12 And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.
Elijah’s mantle parted the Jordan:
2 Kings 2:8,14 Then Eli'jah took his mantle, and rolled it up, and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. . . . Then he took the mantle of Eli'jah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, "Where is the LORD, the God of Eli'jah?" And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other; and Eli'sha went over.
The bones of his apprentice, Elisha, brought a man back to life:
2 Kings 13:21 And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Eli'sha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Eli'sha, he revived, and stood on his feet.
Of course, the Lord wrought innumerable miracles through the rods of Moses (cf. Exo 4:2-4; 9:23; 10:13; 14:16; 17:9-11; Num 20:11) and Aaron (cf. Exo 7:10-12,20; 8:5-6,17; Num 17:8) as well.

In Scripture, Water is Used to Cleanse, Purify, and Heal Human Beings

Believe it or not, there are examples of holy water in Scripture:

1) Water that has been blessed:
Exodus 23:25 You shall serve the LORD your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you.
2) Priest using “holy water”:
Numbers 5:17 and the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.
3) The unclean remain so until the “water for impurity” is sprinkled upon them:
Numbers 19:9,13-20 And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the people of Israel for the water for impurity, for the removal of sin. . . . Whoever touches a dead person, the body of any man who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him. "This is the law when a man dies in a tent: every one who comes into the tent, and every one who is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. And every open vessel, which has no cover fastened upon it, is unclean.

Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and running water shall be added in a vessel; then a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the furnishings, and upon the persons who were there, and upon him who touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave; and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; thus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean. "But the man who is unclean and does not cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; because the water for impurity has not been thrown upon him, he is unclean.
4) Elisha makes the water “healed” (KJV) or “purified” (NASB) or "wholesome" (RSV):
2 Kings 2:19-22 (KJV) And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
So, the idea of “holy water” and its use is not foreign to Scripture. Notice from the third passage that a person remained unclean until water was sprinkled upon him. This points to an important 3-fold purpose for water in Scripture:

This is very significant, considering that demons were considered “unclean spirits” (cf.Mt 10:1; 12:43; Mk 1:23,26-27; 3:11,30; 5:2,8,13; 6:7; 7:25; 9:25; Lk 4:33,36; 6:18; 8:29; 9:42; 11:24; Acts 5:16; 8:7) and any person was unclean if possessed by one. It only makes sense that something that cleanses, purifies, and heals can be put to good use against something as unclean as a demon.