The Marks of the True Church HOLY|
Contrary to what many may think, nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. If they truly want to live their Faith as it was taught from Peter to Pius XII, they must know the Faith and live it as Traditional Catholics. That is the only way to KEEP THE FAITH!
"Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. Even as Thou hast sent Me into the world, so I also have sent them into the world. And for them I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth." Our Lord's words in John 17: 17-19
A mark is a sign by which something may be distinguished from all others of the same kind. By its marks we can recognize the True Church as the one founded by Jesus Christ, distinguishing it from all other churches, however similar.
The chief marks of the Church are four. We covered ONE in the last issue. In this issue we cover HOLY.
Christ intended His Church to be HOLY. It must teach a holy doctrine in faith and morals, because its Founder is holy. It must provide the means for its members to lead a holy life.
Christ prayed for His Apostles as recorded in John 17: 17-19, "Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. Even as Thou hast sent Me into the world, so I also have sent them into the world. And for them I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth."
Our Lord warned also of the necessity to preserve this sanctity and how to discern such in Matthew 7: 15-17, 20, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit....Therefore, by their fruits you will know them."
Finally, Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness in John 14: 12, "Amen, amen, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he also shall do, and greater than these he shall do."
Other denominations and their founders are not holy in the same sense or degree as the true Catholic Church and its Founder are holy. Many non-Catholics may be upright and good because they have retained many doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church, but by rejecting even one iota, they are not Catholic. Thus the answer to the non-Catholic status of the post-conciliar church today. If it is linked to the Church founded by Christ, then that would mean Christ died in vain and all who preceded us over the past nearly 2000 years were wrong. That is not possible for we say every day in the Act of Faith - "I believe these and all the truths which Thou hast revealed, Who canst neither deceive or be deceived." Since so many in the Novus Ordo church have been deceived the pronouncements and agenda of the Vatican II church cannot possibly be from or of Him and therefore is not part of His Church. It is important to note that if it is not from and of God, then it must be from and of His adversary - satan. Many founders of non-Catholic churches were far from holy and followed the devil though quite possibly they didn't realize it at the time. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, more specifically Lutheranism, was an apostate Augustinian Friar, who married a nun who had left her convent and turned against her vows. During his life he taught contradictory doctrines, some of them immoral. King Henry VIII, the founder of Anglicanism, who earlier in his life was proclaimed by the Pope as "Defender of the Faith," turned on his Church, married five women successively after divorcing his lawful wife Catherine of Aragon. He had two of his wives put to death. Other founders are of the same class. Not one of them even approaches the infinite holiness of the Divine Founder of the Roman Catholic Church. Voltaire, when a young man asked him for advice about starting a new religious movement, is believed to have said: "First get yourself crucified, then rise from the dead."
No founder of any other church is as holy as Jesus. And among the children of the Church we may mention as examples of holiness the canonized Saints who exemplify the mark of sanctity. The Catholic Church teaches the highest and holiest doctrine ever presented to any people, a standard of perfection. The same precepts delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai, the same warnings uttered by the prophets in Judea, the same sublime lessons taught by Our Lord: these the Church has taught from her inception. The Church teaches its children to know, love and serve God, and thus to become saints by striving for holiness. It urges on them the truth as Christ affirmed in Matthew 16: 26, "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?" The Church exhorts its members to imitate Christ.
The Catholic Church provides powerful means for holiness in prayer and the Sacraments. By the Sacraments a Catholic receives abundant graces. One who is faithful in the reception of the Sacraments will never fail to live a righteous life and die a happy death. Every Catholic is obliged to say morning and night prayers, and to resort to prayer in every necessity and temptation, as well as the prayer of thanksgiving. All are required under pain of sin to attend Holy Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
The Catholic Church produces holy members in its saints and martyrs. In every age and country the Church is the Mother of saints, martyrs, confessors, and holy men and women from all walks of life who live in Christ. This does not mean, however, that all Catholics are holy. Unfortunately, some do not live up to the teachings of the Church; that will be their condemnation if they do not wise up and obey the Church. We must remember that even among the Apostles there was one Judas Iscariot. Our Lord Himself taught in the parable of the wheat and the cockle that the good and the bad will grow up side by side in His Church. We must also remember that Peter, before the Holy Ghost descended upon him, denied Christ three times.
The Catholic Church still has the gift of miracles. Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness. Each holy soul proposed for canonization must have worked two miracles before beatification, and two more before canonization unless they were martyrs. Contrary to post-conciliar positions, miracles are something Holy Mother Church has never taken lightly and must confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, that miracles have taken place, mostly by cures of a physical nature that modern medicine and science cannot explain.
Finally, The Church carries on countless works of holiness. It is the great Mother of Mercy and Charity to the helpless, instructing children in schools, caring for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly, the deaf, the blind, the dumb, the orphaned, the abandoned and downtrodden. Holy Mother Church at all levels engages in all kinds of missionary and charitable activity carrying out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. These are done to and for our neighbor not out of a sense of humanism as the modern church professes, but for love of God as the Act of Love signifies - "I love my neighbor as myself for love of Thee."
The Acts of Faith, Hope and Love said fervently each day help us grow in holiness as well as doing all in our effort to make ourselves available for the Sacraments, even it that means moving closer so that one can attend the Traditional Latin Mass where one will be assured of receiving solid catechetical teaching and the true Sacraments. When it comes to salvation, there really is no other alternative.
Next issue: The Marks of the True Church CATHOLIC