By: J.M. Alvarez
There are many books that defend the Catholic faith but most are ineffective in conveying God's very simple message to the ordinary Catholic layman. Most members of the Catholic laity find catechisms complicated and hard to understand. Other Christian denominations are very aggressive in promoting their own doctrines and beliefs, challenging what most Catholics traditionally believe in.
Recent surveys purportedly saying that many Catholics no longer want to go to church got it all extremely wrong! A Catholic knows that the beautiful center of his Christian life is receiving Jesus during the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist which Jesus Himself instituted, so how can he say that he no longer wants to go to the Sunday Mass?
This book will debunk misconceptions of Catholics wrongly perceived as idol worshipers or celebrators of pagan traditions. It will try to answer in very simple layman's terms the following controversial questions that even a fifth grader will understand:
-Are there places called heaven, hell and purgatory?
-Was Peter really the first Pope?
-Why are there too many Hail Marys in the Holy Rosary?
-The most Joyful Mystery: Was Jesus born on December 25?
-Is Mary the Mother of God?
-Can you find Darwin's missing links in the Bible?
-When will be the end of the world?
-How can we love our enemies?
How did Santa Claus get into the Christmas picture?
-Did God create other universes?
-What's the missing link of all missing links?
-Holy Trinity: How can The Father, Son and Holy Spirit be one?
-How powerful are prayers?
-How did the Church end up in Rome?
-Can science prove that God exists?
-Why are people afraid to confess their sins?
-Why did the Crusades fail?
-Do miracles really happen?
-Can God hear our prayers at the same time?
-What is the true meaning of love?
-Is abortion murder?
-Were the Three Kings really kings?
-Was the Cross just a vertical stake or with a cross-beam?
All the answers to these intriguing questions are simply explained using passages taken from the Holy Bible.
From the Book
THE HOLY BIBLE: THE BOOK OF LOVE
“Beloved,let us love one another, because love is of God;everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
The Lord our God instructed Moses to teach the people about God’s greatest commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5: “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.” Moses said to the people to take to heart those words. So,how do we love the Lord with our whole heart, being and strength? We must always keep His commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:11-13, 10:12 and 11:1) When Jesus was asked by a scholar of the law “which commandment in the law is the greatest? He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments’.”(Matthew 22:35-40) See also Mark 12:28-31.
But Jesus went further and brought love to the highest level by saying that loving our neighbor means loving our enemies, as well! This is maybe hard for some people to swallow! How can we love our enemies? An enemy is someone who wants to inflict harm on you or your family, physically or emotionally. How can you reconcile with someone who wants to destroy you? Or someone that you think you can never ever forgive? I remember Pope John Paul II visited his would-be assassin,Mehmet Ali Agca in Rebibbia prison in Rome and forgave him. (11) It is the rule and no one is exempted from this obligation. “But I say to you,love your enemies,and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes the sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45) Let us examine some other verses from the Bible to try and get some explanation for this. “…God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”(1 John 4:16)
The first commandment is to love God. “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:19-21) So, Jesus clearly said that if we say we love God but hate others, we are liars! We are all sinners, and that means when we commit sins, we are also enemies of God! “For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it.” (James 2:10)
Please don’t cry and don’t worry because we can still reconcile with God even if “we were enemies.” How? “But God proves his love for us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life.”(Romans 5:8-10)
But before God can forgive our sins,we must also forgive those who sinned against us.In Leviticus 19:17-18, the Lord says: “You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart. Reprove your neighbor openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” After Jesus taught the apostles how to pray, He said “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14-15) Jesus teaches us to make peace with our neighbor: “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24) If we love Jesus, we must believe in Him and follow Him! “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God”(John 16:27)
We must remain in the light if we say that we love our brother: “Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.” (1 John 2:9-10) One perfect way to remain in this light and showing our love to our neighbors is through charity. We will receive God’s “bountiful gifts” by showing Him our thanks through lending helping hands to people in need. “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) When we say goodbye to some of our hard earned money, we must feel happy that someone will benefit from our generosity. Our happiness will be genuine because“God loves a cheerful giver.”
The love of God will remain in us if we can remove hatred from our hearts and not just passively watch our neighbors suffer. “The way we came to know love was that he had laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
Reading the Holy Bible will make us feel God’s great love for humankind. Because of God’s great love for us, He lavished us with the most wonderful gift of all. “In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will” (Ephesians 1:4-5) God’s love will endure forever because He fulfilled His promise and gave us the Messiah! “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him, who is the head, Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15) God will show what true love means in the next two chapters about the most joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries that will fulfill the scriptural prophecies.