The Problems in Selling Our Faith
Richard Salbato July 28, 2007
Last Sunday my pastor transferred to a new and bigger parish. After the last Mass we had a party for him and almost everyone in the parish showed up to wish him goodbye. After 8 to 9 hard years in this parish people got to know and love him. His advantage in the long run was that he was not afraid to teach true doctrine and talk about the hard things. He was not afraid to tell people that they could not violate God’s laws and still go to Communion. He pushed confession almost weekly, and often talked about the True Presence.
Personally I thought he tried too hard to be entertaining and interactive in his sermons and allowed too much talking in Church but then he also had some good advice for me regarding my writings. The night before he left he called me and we talked for two hours. He wanted to know why I was so kind and humorous in person but so hard in my writings.
He told me of the parish cliques that were here when he arrived and how hard it was to overcome them wanting to run the parish. From the time I came to this parish I knew he was leaving, so it was not appropriate for me to recommend any changes to his hard work. But now with a new pastor and after some time to see his assets and weaknesses I will offer my help if he wants it. Remember always that he is the boss and even if you do not like what he does he should be supported in all but sin.
Now, as to my writing style, Father, I want to tell a joke. There was a man who went to jail in a cell with one other person. He laid down on his bed and heard someone down the hall shout out: “93!” and everyone laughed. Quickly another shouted out “23!” and everyone laughed. This continued on for half and hour until he finally asked his cell mate what was going on. The tattooed cell-mate, still laughing, replied: “Oh! We have a book of 100 good jokes and everyone here has read it so often we all have in memorized. So when one of us thinks of one of these jokes we just shout out the number and everyone remembers that joke and laughs at it.”
He thought about that for a while and decided it was time for him to be accepted in this new society of criminals. Without reading the book, he shouted out: “88!” and no one laughed. Thinking that that might be a poor joke, he tried again: “27!” but again no one laughed. He tried two more times and then asked his room-mate what we wrong.
“Some people can tell jokes and some cannot.”
Well! Father, I cannot tell jokes especially when writing about subjects like this one. Besides now that I am humble, I am perfect already. This subject, I am sure, will be of interest to you because you were always advising us to evangelize.
Selling Faith with Example
When it comes to conversion to the faith, selling our faith to others, the most important thing is example. We must live our lives in such a way that it is self evident what we believe and how strong our belief is. I conduct a bible class for Catholics and non-Catholics. I first talk science and prove the existence of God. Then I consider if God communicates to us at all. Then I ask what God wants of us and this brings on the main question. God commands that we love God, with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves. How do we love God? That is the most important question but the other is also important because do we decide how to love our neighbor. We may decide that loving our neighbor is to give him a beer or a drug. We may decide that loving God is looking at the sky and respecting his creation and nothing more. Then I show that God taught is how to love God in the first three Commandments and how to love our neighbor in the next seven Commandments. Christ and his Apostles expanded this or you might say explained it.
In the first three Commandments you learn that there is only one God, that you do not treat him commonly and that one day a week is set aside for Him only. I then approach the concept “Church”. Did God found an organized Church or just a group of believers in many Churches. When I show that He came to establish one and only one church, I answer the last question, “Why did He come to establish a Church?”
God had to have a Church for two great reasons: to pass on
his teachings and faith from generation to generations without changing it and
to offer his Continual Sacrifice of the Crucifixion. I will spend an entire class on teaching the historicity
of the Bible and its infallibility. I
will then spend class after class after class teaching the importance of the
“We are the
Visiting Our Church
All of that is to prepare for what always comes, that day
when the person asks to go with me to one of these Masses and see for himself
the true and living God in our Churches.
Now is the time to do what I said in the beginning of this Newsletter,
teach by example. For the first time he
is going to see the real physical God in a Tabernacle and in the
Saint Padre Pio
“Enter the church in silence and with great respect. … Then take holy water and make the sign of the cross carefully and slowly. … As soon as you are before God in the Blessed Sacrament, devoutly genuflect. Once you have found your place, kneel down and render the tribute of your presence and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Confide all your needs to him along with those of others. … When assisting at Holy Mass and the sacred functions, be very composed when standing up, kneeling down, and sitting, and carry out every religious act with the greatest devotion. Be modest in your glances; don't turn your head here and there to see who enters and leaves. Don't laugh, out of reverence for this holy place and also out of respect for those who are near you. Try not to speak to anybody, except when charity or strict necessity requests this. … In short, behave in such a way that all present are edified by it and, through you, are urged to glorify and love the heavenly Father.
“On leaving the church, you should be recollected and calm. Firstly take your leave of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; ask his forgiveness for the shortcomings committed in his divine presence and do not leave him without asking for and having received his paternal blessing. … In short let your whole exterior be a vivid image of the composure of your soul.”
Read Saint Padre Pio’s complete letter where these short statements were taken from at: http://members.aol.com/fmrega7/PadrePioLetter.htm
http://www.frankrega.com/ http://www.sanpadrepio.com/ www.thepoverello.com
Frank M. Rega
is the author of "Padre Pio and
and of the forthcoming "St. Francis of
God’s Home Among Us
I cannot add anything to Saint Padre Pio’s words but in continuing on with the example I must give to a new convert, I now look for the architecture. It does not matter if a church building is rich or poor, and in fact, I prefer it if it is poor. I used to work with the American Indians and most of their churches were built by farmers, stone by stone. Even though crude in construction, they spared no effort, money, and talent in making the altar as worthy of God as they could. They knew what I know, that the Tabernacle must be a worthy home of Our God, it must be the greatest peace of art and effort in the entire community. Nothing should be more beautiful than the Tabernacle of a city.
This Tabernacle sits on and above the Holy of Holies. This is holy ground and must be treated like Moses treated the ground around the burning bush and as the High Priests treated the inner temple of their Church. The inner temple had a great curtain to divide it and we replaced it with the Iconostasis Wall, and later the Altar Rail. The entire picture must somehow mirror the picture of the Heavenly High Mass in Apocalypse 4 and 5.
When you think about the fact that selling our Faith is
mostly our example and that the heart of our faith is the Mass, I do not need
to point out what the problems are in selling our faith. Some can argue that pedophilia or homosexual
priests, or bad priests and bishops are a problem. But the biggest problem is that we Catholics
treat God commonly in church and in the
Examples of this can be found in http://www.unitypublishing.com/liturgy/VaticanMass2004.htm
And we will see how obedient they are in the new (true) English translations to the Novus Ordo that have been ordered.
Now on July 7th the old Tridentine Mass will become the law of the Church and it is the desire of the Holy Father that this Mass be universally available. Now that means that the architecture of the altars in these churches has to change. Let us see if this happens and if not, will this Pope enforce the laws in a way that the last Pope did not.
Now to summarize what I am saying here. A parish should become one that I can take a non-Catholic to and not be embarrassed by what he will see considering he will be looking for signs of our faith that God is in that Tabernacle.
From the 3rd of July until the 10th of
July, 2007 I will be in