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Our Journey Home
Coming Home Network ^ | Larry and Joetta Lewis

Posted on 04/03/2008 3:24:39 PM PDT by annalex

Our Journey Home

By Larry and Joetta Lewis

My father is a retired Assemblies of God pastor. My parents had a deep and abiding love for Jesus Christ. Their lives expressed who Christ was.

I vividly remember being awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of their praying. Praying for each of the people in their church. Although my parents never spoke in derogatory terms about anyone, including Catholics, many of the ministers I came in contact with were not so generous. I heard more than one preacher expound on the evils of Catholicism. For many it was taken for granted that the Catholic Church was the Great Whore of Babylon and the Pope the antichrist. I was in my thirties and an ordained Methodist minister before I met my first nun, Sister Monica Marie. Joetta had taught with her at Ursuline Academy in Dallas, Texas. It was through Sister Monica Marie that Joetta experienced a dynamic encounter with the Holy Spirit. To my surprise I discovered that Sister was truly a woman of God. My heart was warmed just by being in her presence. She was totally the opposite of all I had envisioned nuns to be.

My first contact with a priest was just two years ago. While working on my Doctorate at Oral Roberts University I met Father Amalor Vima from India. As class mates we spent a good deal of time together and became close friends. It was in this environment that something happened that would revolutionized my life forever. During a reflective moment in one of our sessions, Selmar Quayo, a Methodist Bishop from Brazil, stood to his feet and said: "In my country, as a Protestant, I am in the minority. Unfortunately, there is much animosity between our church and the Catholic Church. Many of my people are filled with bitterness toward all Catholics. Yet here, Father Vima is in the minority and I’ve seen nothing from his life but the love of Jesus Christ." With tears running down his face he said, "Father Vima, I want you to forgive me."

I watched as these two men of God embraced. There was not a dry eye in the room. In that one brief moment my mind began to envision a new possibility—Protestants and Catholics all over the world coming together, embracing in love, and dropping to their knees in prayer.

In this simple act Selmar Quayo had challenged all of us to become ministers of reconciliation. My thoughts raced. "Imagine what the Holy Spirit could do if Catholics and Protestants really were one."The words of Jesus flashed through my mind, "If you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift" (Matt 5:23-24). As I watched the scene unfold I could almost hear Jesus praying, "May all of them be one, Father . . . that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21). I knew at that moment I must become a minister of reconciliation.

Years earlier Joetta and I had ministered at a Southern Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After the service, a woman came up to Joetta and asked her if she would pray for her daughter, Regan. She did not, however, want to divulge the specific prayer need. Joetta assured her that it wasn’t necessary to know the need because the Holy Spirit would intercede for Regan. For the next year, Joetta prayed faithfully for a young lady she had never met.

At that time Joetta was working as a Technical Writer for Thrifty Rent-A-Car. One day, her boss informed her that they had hired a new Software Trainer and were going to put her in the cubicle across from Joetta’s. They asked Joetta to make her feel welcome and to show her around. When the new trainer arrived, she introduced herself as Regan. To Joetta’s surprise, here stood the young lady she had been praying for all those months! God was definitely up to something. Joetta and Regan worked as associates over the next seven years. Although they never socialized outside of the work place, they began to develop a close relationship.

One day in 1995, Regan shared that she and her husband were having problems in their marriage. Kelvin was a Roman Catholic, and she was a Southern Baptist. For several years, Regan attended the Catholic Church off and on with Kelvin and although he did not fell comfortable in the Baptist Church he would attend with Regan on special occasions. This arrangement worked, until they had children and realized how strongly they both felt about how their children should be raised. To Regan’s chagrin Kelvin was adamant about baptizing and raising their children in the Catholic Church. They were at an impasse when Regan came to Joetta for advice.

Joetta told Regan that a house divided cannot stand, and that it was essential that they be in church together. Joetta suggested that, if her husband would not go to church with her, she should go to church with him. God would bless their marriage if Regan would submit to the spiritual authority of her husband. Joetta informed Regan of some classes held by the Catholic Church which she could attend, without obligation, to learn about the Catholic faith. Joetta said, "If I were you, I would want to know what my children were going to be taught, so that I could counter any incorrect teaching." For Regan’s peace of mind, Joetta said, "You go through the program, bring all of the material to me, and I’ll give it to Larry so that he can check it out and see if it is Scripturally sound."

I never paid any attention to the material Regan gave Joetta, except for two things. One was a newspaper article by a Lutheran journalist discussing Marian apparitions. The author of the article had spoken at Regan’s church and told how the Mother of God had been appearing to six young children daily since 1981. Regan was so intrigued she read everything she could get her hands on. The second thing she gave us was a cassette by a woman who had been miraculously healed at the same apparition site. This woman, a nominal Christian at best, was so impacted by the experience that she committed her life to serving Christ. I took these items and started to throw them away. On a whim I stuck them in a drawer instead.

The week prior to May 25, 1996, Regan told Joetta that she was going to a Marian conference in Wichita, Kansas. She was really excited about it because both the author of the article and the woman who had been healed were featured speakers. Regan, however, was bothered by a prayer she had received in the pre-conference material that supposedly would be prayed at the conference. "I would like," she told Joetta, "for you and Larry to look it over and see what you think." As Joetta read the prayer, all kinds of red flags went up. In almost a state of panic she brought the prayer to me. It was the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As I began to read the prayer the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. "Immaculate Heart of Mary, I give to you my body and soul . . . ." I stopped in mid sentence. Rage filled my heart. "This prayer is demonic!" I said, "You don’t give your soul to anyone but Jesus. Tell Regan she can go to the Conference but whatever she does don’t pray that prayer." Within three days, something deep within my spirit told me I had made a terrible mistake. Remorse for what I had said flooded my soul.

I decided to take a copy of the prayer to Fr. Vima, "I don’t understand this prayer," I said. "How in the world can you give yourself to Mary in this way?" With a twinkle in his eye Fr. Vima gently said, "Larry, have you ever held Joetta in your arms and said, ‘I love you, I adore you, I worship the ground you walk on’?" "Yes," I cautiously replied. "Have you looked lovingly into her eyes and assured her of your complete love and devotion? Have you spoken words like, ‘I am completely yours now and forever’? ‘All that I am and all that I ever hope to be is yours.’?" I was beginning to get his point. "If the truth were known," I admitted, "I’ve used those exact words."

"Catholics," he continued, "would never say of Mary, ‘We adore you.’ We venerate her. We honor her. But, we would never say ‘we adore you’ because adoration is reserved only for God. It is something we give only to Jesus. We adore Him. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and there is no one like Him. We believe that Mary, as the Mother of God, loves and cares for us. What we’re saying in this prayer is, ‘All of me, I place in your hands and I ask you to take me to your son, Jesus.’ Mary always points to Jesus."

As I listened to Fr. Vima I began to realize how wrong I had been. Two emotions flooded over me simultaneously—shame and joy. Shame for my quick assessment, and joy at the possibilities that were opening up.

I went home and found the Marian newspaper I had put in one of my dresser drawers and begin to read. As I read what Mary was reported as saying I was struck by how biblically based her messages were—pray, repent, fast, commit your life to Christ. This was obviously not the work of Satan. I wondered out loud, "Could this really be the Mother of God." If it were, than what she said was important and worthy of our consideration. One of her more frequent statements was somewhat puzzling: "Pray the Rosary every day." Joetta and I knew nothing about the Rosary. Perhaps it was time to discover what this prayer was all about.

As Regan was leaving for the Marian conference, Joetta gave her some money to buy a Rosary. Their relationship had become strained, and sometimes emotionally charged because of Mary, and Joetta felt that if she let Regan show her how to ray the Rosary, it would at least keep them dialoguing. When Regan gave Joetta her Rosary, she said, "What’s great is that the man who made this Rosary lives just outside Tulsa, in Claremore, Oklahoma. If there’s ever a problem with the Rosary, it is guaranteed."

The more closely that Joetta looked at her Rosary, the less she liked the centerpiece. "It looks like an idol. I think I’ll call Two Hearts Rosaries and see if they’ll exchange it for something else."

"Come on out," the voice on the other end of the line said, "Bob’s work is guaranteed, and he will be happy to replace it with something you like." When we arrived, Bob’s wife Johanna asked Joetta what was wrong with the Rosary. "It’s the centerpiece," Joetta said, "I don’t like the centerpiece." Johanna looked at her quizzically, "What about it don’t you like?" "Wellit looks too, you know, Catholic!"

"The Rosary," Johanna smiled, "is Catholic!" While Joetta looked at centerpieces, Bob was sharing with me what had happened to them on a pilgrimage to an apparition site in Europe. I yelled at Joetta, "Come in here and listen to this. You won’t believe this story!" These were the first real Catholics that we had ever spent any time with, other than Sister Monica Marie and Fr. Vima.

Bob shared with us how God through Mary had transformed their lives. As he told their story, tears rolled down his face. He said he hasn’t stopped crying since he got back from their pilgrimage. In his words, his heart "just turned to mush." When they got back, Bob went in and quit his job at Amoco. He was a laboratory technician and had been with the company for over 21 years. Not too long after that, Johanna quit her job at Tulsa University. God was calling them to complete obedience and dependence upon him.

During this time, Bob met a nun who showed him how to make Rosaries. Bob decided to make two Rosaries: one to thank Mary for leading him to Jesus, and one to thank Jesus for saving his soul. The rest is history. All of Bob’s rosaries are lovingly hand-made. He sees each bead as a prayer sent out by Mary to convert and bring souls to Jesus. Joetta’s and my conversion are the direct result of those prayers.

After our meeting with Bob and Johanna, I was emotionally shaken. As we drove away neither of us said a word. It was as if we had experienced an epiphany. I can’t explain it. I felt like I had been in the presence of Jesus. Not wanting to go right home I pulled into a Taco Bueno to get something to drink. As we sat there looking at each other tears began to stream down our faces. What was happening to us? What was God asking of us?

Our lives were literally being pushed toward the Catholic Church. Regan had introduced us to the owners of the local Catholic bookstore, so we decided to go there for more information. Lee and Anita lovingly welcomed us and pointed us to exactly what we needed. When we figured our income tax at the end of that year, we discovered that we had spent over $5,000 on books, cassettes, videos, and other materials in search of spiritual truths! We couldn’t get enough. We were in Lee’s store three and four times a day. "We’re here for our Catholic fix." Lee and Anita would just laugh and point us to another book, cassette, or video. It was like an addiction that we couldn’t get satisfied. One question just led to another and another. It was a wonderful experience.

We began going to bed later and waking up earlier trying to jam as much reading into the day as possible. We decided to maximize our time. I began taking Joetta to work and picking her up so that we could read out loud coming and going. I would pick her up for lunch, put a couple of lawn chairs and TV trays in the trunk and drive to a park so that we could read without interruptions. We took turns—one would eat while the other would read out loud. We did everything together. God was graciously speaking to us together. Drawing us at the same pace deeper into himself.

We read the Catechism from cover to cover. The Catechism is the greatest systematic theological work we have ever read. Answers to long sought after questions were coming like torrential showers.

I remember one Saturday morning in particular. We both woke up about 4 o’clock in the morning. We sat up in bed with our Bibles in one hand and Catechisms in the other. I would say, "Joetta, listen to this. This is fantastic. This just brings everything into focus!" Before I would finish, Joetta would interrupt and say, "Larry, wait, wait. Listen to this!" She would then read from a different section of the Catechism. We would read supporting scripture verses, go to the writings of the Early Church Fathers and then check a commentary. Before we knew it, it was 1 o’clock in the afternoon! We were like sponges. Issues such as the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine, the role of Mary in the Church, prayers to the saints, Scripture and Tradition as authoritative vs. Sola Scriptura, Papal authority, Purgatory, and Salvation as a process vs. Salvation as a completed work we began to see in a whole new light. It was like finding all the lost pieces in a huge theological puzzle. The full picture was becoming clear.

The Lord was taking us down two paths simultaneously: one intellectual and the other emotional. We had been praying the Rosary, and parking ourselves on Bob and Johanna’s sofa, asking question after question about Catholic doctrine, tradition, and culture. We asked God to somehow reveal to us if He was drawing us to the Catholic Church, because none of this made any sense to us. We had spent all of our lives in Protestant churches and were quite content in our ministry. We desperately needed to know about the Church to which God was calling us, so three short weeks into our conversion I prayed this prayer. "Father, if you are drawing us into the Catholic Church, I want a sign, and I want it big."

Several days later, we were coming home from a short trip to Dallas. As we largest, most vivid sun either of us had ever seen. It went from horizon to horizon, and it looked like we were going to drive right into it. An indescribable array of colors—orange, red, and pink. It was magnificent, so much so that our young grandson, who was sleeping in the back set sat up and said, "Grandpa, grandpa, do you see that? Isn’t it beautiful?" As brilliant as it was we could look right at it.

As the sun went down we put in a cassette tape by Dr. Scott Hahn and continued toward Oklahoma City. As I looked into the night sky I prayed again silently, "Oh God, if you’re drawing us into the Catholic Church, give us a sign and please make it big!"

At the same time, unknown to me, Joetta was staring out the passenger window silently praying, "Blessed Mother, if you’re real, we have to know beyond a doubt." Suddenly, I heard Joetta gasp and say, "Oh my, Larry, Larry, look!" As I looked to the right I saw what looked like a chain of stars falling in slow motion at a downward angle from right to left. Just before the stars reached the horizon they shot straight up and then fell back toward the earth again falling right in the center of the highway. Usually a falling star shoots downward and moves so quickly you don’t have time to tell anyone about it. We were speechless, because we both saw it! Finally Joetta broke the silence, "You did see that didn’t you?" We were both visibly shaken.

I put in a cassette by Catholic singer Dana in which she sings through the Rosary, and for the next hour and thirty minutes we prayed the Rosary with her. We finished just as we reached the exit road going toward our parsonage. As we turned under the freeway and went up over a little hill, there, sitting on the road in front of us was the most beautiful, enormous, vivid quarter-moon we had ever seen. Like the sunset, it seemed to literally sit in the middle of the road and extended as high into the sky as we could the sun. For 2 1/2 miles, we watched in total silence.

As we turned into our driveway the moon disappeared. "Joetta, what does all of this remind you of?" "Revelation chapter 12," she said: "‘A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.’" At that moment we knew that the Holy Spirit was not only bringing us to the Catholic Church, but that Mary was leading the way.

 Two months later Joetta and I knelt in a small chapel on the University of Tulsa campus and prayed the prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our love for her is without bounds. I had been afraid that she would somehow take away from my love for Jesus, but what I found was that my love for Christ has deepened beyond measure. Truly our cup runs over!

On September 12, 1997, I surrendered my ordination papers to Bishop Bruce Blake of the United Methodist Church. In doing so, I laid down 30 years of Protestant ministry to become a Catholic. To many of my colleagues, this seemed a horrible mistake, but to Joetta and I, it was "coming home."

In January, we made a pilgrimage to Rome to symbolize our desire to place ourselves under the authority of Pope John Paul II and the Roman Catholic Church. This March, Joetta and I made a pilgrimage to a Marian site in Eastern Europe to thank the Blessed Mother for bringing us into the Church. We now look forward with great anticipation to being received into full communion in the Catholic Church this coming Easter Vigil. This will be the culmination of a 23 month, life transforming odyssey. Thank you Mary for loving us home.

 

Larry Lewis has a Master of Divinity degree from Phillips Theological Seminary and is currently a Doctoral candidate at Oral Roberts University where his doctoral research is in Catholic apologetics. The Lewis’ have three married daughters and five grandchildren.



TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism
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1 posted on 04/03/2008 3:24:40 PM PDT by annalex
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To: 353FMG; AlaskaErik; Always Right; Antoninus; ArrogantBustard; CTK YKC; dan1123; DogwoodSouth; ...
50 Days of Easter 2008 Celebration ping, dedicated to converts to the Catholic faith. If you want to be on the list but are not on it already, or if you are on it but do not want to be, let me know either publicly or privately.

Happy Easter. Christ is risen!

Alex.


Previously posted conversion stories:

Anti-Catholicism, Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality
His Open Arms Welcomed Me
Catholic Conversion Stories & Resources
My Personal Conversion Story
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
Catholics Come Home
My Journey of Faith
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM
"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura
"Have you not read?" The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation
The Crisis of Authority in the Reformation

2 posted on 04/03/2008 3:25:39 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Hey Anna,

Please remove me from this ping list. Have no idea why you think I’d be interested in such.


3 posted on 04/03/2008 3:28:20 PM PDT by Gamecock (Viva La Reformacion!)
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To: Gamecock

I seeded the list with whoever responded to the several initial threads on this topic.

You have been removed and prayed for.


4 posted on 04/03/2008 3:30:59 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Larry and Joetta were friends of ours in Broken Arrow. Larry died from a sudden heart attack about five years ago. Let me poke about the archives, and I’ll find the memorial I wrote for the homeschool association newsletter; “Polycarp” posted it here for me, along with the obit.


5 posted on 04/03/2008 3:31:49 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Everything is either willed or permitted by God, and nothing can hurt me." Bl. Charles de Foucauld)
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To: Tax-chick

Please do. What a story.


6 posted on 04/03/2008 3:33:45 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Here’s the obituary from the “Tulsa World”:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/831071/posts


7 posted on 04/03/2008 3:34:13 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Everything is either willed or permitted by God, and nothing can hurt me." Bl. Charles de Foucauld)
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To: annalex

SUCCESS

Last week, a man died in Tulsa - a man who, by the world’s standards, was a fool and a failure. Ten years ago, Larry Lewis was a prominent and successful Protestant minister and gospel singer. He pastored a United Methodist church and was working toward his PhD at Oral Roberts University. Then, God’s mysterious providence began to lead Larry in an unexpected direction.

A coworker of Larry’s wife Joetta began studying the Catholic Faith. Hoping to convince her friend of the errors of Catholicism, Joetta brought home Catholic materials for Larry, with his Bible knowledge, to refute. To their surprise, they found that all the Catholic teachings were consistent with Scripture. In a remarkably short time, the Lewises realized that they faced a frightening future.
Larry could not continue as a Protestant minister, knowing that he could never feed his flock the true food, the Body and Blood of Christ. He resigned his position, sacrificing his status, his salary and his pension. A week later, Joetta was laid off from her job, leaving the couple without income.

The Lewises were received into the Catholic Church in the late 1990’s at St. Benedict’s. Unsure what their future held, they went on a pilgrimage to Rome. They returned with a commission from the Holy Father, to serve the Church by working for reconciliation among Christians. The Lewises shared their story and their vision of “One Body” with Catholic and Protestant groups around the country. Their ministry touched many souls.

Then, after only a few years in his new apostolate, Larry suddenly died at the age of 58. To all outward appearances, his great sacrifice produced very little fruit. Why, then, was the crowd at his funeral singing joyfully to God, through their tears? Because Christ has overcome the world. Because, knowing Larry Lewis and his story, they knew that he gladly gave up everything else out of love for Christ in the Eucharist and the Holy Catholic Church. Because they knew that true success is determined by who you are, not by what you do or have, and Larry was a person who could give up his career, his security, and his family’s approval out of love for the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Mother. He was successful beyond all human comprehension.

How do we measure success, as homeschooling parents? What do we want to see our children achieve? Maybe we see “success” in high test scores, victories in academic or sporting competitions, popularity, admission to prestigious universities, scholarships. Do we look for our children to “achieve” a commitment to authentically Catholic life, or a faith that will stand up to trials? If we imagine their bright futures … high school, college, graduate school, careers … do we also see the other side of the world’s view of “success” … years of single life, endless threats to purity, late marriage, debt, workaholism, contraception, infertility, day care, divorce … indifference to the Catholic Faith?

As adults, is our “success” measured by our professions, salaries, houses, cars, trips, social prominence … or by our growth in holiness, our increasing ability to lay down our lives for others, our growing detachment from the things of the world, our greater love for Christ, His mother, His commandments, and His Church?

Maybe any unexpected death could raise questions of this kind. If these reflections seem a little extreme, it’s because Larry Lewis was not just “any” friend or fellow parishioner. He was a giant. In the last two years, God has taken two of the “mighty men” of our Diocese: Larry and Deacon Lee Ellis. We can be sure that God also wills to raise up many more to fill their places. Who will they be? Some were in the congregation at Larry’s funeral. Some are sitting near us, in our parishes, every Sunday. Some may be our sons, or our husbands. All of them need to be called forth, encouraged, and challenged to see beyond the world, to see God and give everything for Him, right now, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Robin Mark, a Protestant musician and evangelist in Northern Ireland, is like Larry Lewis in working tirelessly for reconciliation among Christians. He wrote these words, which speak eloquently of why Larry Lewis was a success, in the only true meaning of the word:

“When it’s all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters:
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?

When it’s all been said and done,
All my treasures will be nothing;
Only what I’ve done for Love’s reward
Will stand the test of time.

Lord, your mercy is so great,
That you look beyond our weakness,
And find purest gold in miry clay,
Making sinners into saints!

And I will always sing Your praise,
Here on earth and ever after.
For You’ve shown me Heaven’s my true home,
When it’s all been said and done,
You’re my life, when life is through.


8 posted on 04/03/2008 3:37:58 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Everything is either willed or permitted by God, and nothing can hurt me." Bl. Charles de Foucauld)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Tax-chick; Polycarp
Let me quote from you, since you won't do it yourself:


SUCCESS


Last week, a man died in Tulsa - a man who, by the world’s standards, was a fool and a failure. Ten years ago, Larry Lewis was a prominent and successful Protestant minister and gospel singer. He pastored a United Methodist church and was working toward his PhD at Oral Roberts University. Then, God’s mysterious providence began to lead Larry in an unexpected direction.
A coworker of Larry’s wife Joetta began studying the Catholic Faith. Hoping to convince her friend of the errors of Catholicism, Joetta brought home Catholic materials for Larry, with his Bible knowledge, to refute. To their surprise, they found that all the Catholic teachings were consistent with Scripture. In a remarkably short time, the Lewises realized that they faced a frightening future.
Larry could not continue as a Protestant minister, knowing that he could never feed his flock the true food, the Body and Blood of Christ. He resigned his position, sacrificing his status, his salary and his pension. A week later, Joetta was laid off from her job, leaving the couple without income.
The Lewises were received into the Catholic Church in the late 1990’s at St. Benedict’s. Unsure what their future held, they sold their house in Tulsa and went on a pilgrimage to Rome. They returned with a commission from the Holy Father, to serve the Church by working for reconciliation among Christians. The Lewises shared their story and their vision of “One Body” with Catholic and Protestant groups around the country. Their ministry touched many souls.
Then, after only a few years in his new apostolate, Larry suddenly died at the age of 58. To all outward appearances, his great sacrifice produced very little fruit. Why, then, was the crowd at his funeral singing joyfully to God, through their tears? Because Christ has overcome the world. Because, knowing Larry Lewis and his story, they knew that he gladly gave up everything else out of love for Christ in the Eucharist and the Holy Catholic Church. Because they knew that true success is determined by who you are, not by what you do or have, and Larry was a person who could give up his career, his security, and his family’s approval out of love for the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Mother. He was successful beyond all human comprehension.
How do we measure success, as homeschooling parents? What do we want to see our children achieve? Maybe we see “success” in high test scores, victories in academic or sporting competitions, popularity, admission to prestigious universities, scholarships. Do we look for our children to “achieve” a commitment to authentically Catholic life, or a faith that will stand up to trials? If we imagine their bright futures … high school, college, graduate school, careers … do we also see the other side of the world’s view of “success” … years of single life, endless threats to purity, late marriage, debt, workaholism, contraception, infertility, day care, divorce … indifference to the Catholic Faith?
As adults, is our “success” measured by our professions, salaries, houses, cars, trips, social prominence … or by our growth in holiness, our increasing ability to lay down our lives for others, our growing detachment from the things of the world, our greater love for Christ, His mother, His commandments, and His Church?
Maybe any unexpected death could raise questions of this kind. If these reflections seem a little extreme, it’s because Larry Lewis was not just “any” friend or fellow parishioner. He was a giant. In the last two years, God has taken two of the “mighty men” of our Diocese, Larry, and Deacon Lee Ellis. We can be sure that God also wills to raise up many more to fill their places. Who will they be? Some were in the congregation at Larry’s funeral. Some are sitting near us, in our parishes, every Sunday. Some may be our sons, or our husbands. All of them need to be called forth, encouraged, and challenged to see beyond the world, to see God and give everything for Him, right now, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Robin Mark, a Protestant musician and evangelist in Northern Ireland, is like Larry Lewis in working tirelessly for reconciliation among Christians. He wrote these words, which speak eloquently of why Larry Lewis was a success, in the only true meaning of the word:

“When it’s all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters:
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?

When it’s all been said and done,
All my treasures will be nothing;
Only what I’ve done for Love’s reward
Will stand the test of time.

Lord, your mercy is so great,
That you look beyond our weakness,
And find purest gold in miry clay,
Making sinners into saints!

And I will always sing Your praise,
Here on earth and ever after.
For You’ve shown me Heaven’s my true home,
When it’s all been said and done,
You’re my life, when life is done.

Catholic Caucus: Death of Catholic evangelist Larry Lewis


10 posted on 04/03/2008 3:39:47 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

I was tidying up the paragraphy :-).


11 posted on 04/03/2008 3:41:39 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Everything is either willed or permitted by God, and nothing can hurt me." Bl. Charles de Foucauld)
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To: sandyeggo

They were adorable, an exemplary marriage. They walked around hand in hand, glowing with love and holiness. Thinking of them makes me long for Heaven.


12 posted on 04/03/2008 3:43:09 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Everything is either willed or permitted by God, and nothing can hurt me." Bl. Charles de Foucauld)
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To: annalex

Please remove me from your ping list —


13 posted on 04/03/2008 3:48:59 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: annalex; Dr. Eckleburg; Alex Murphy; Quix; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...

‘All of me, I place in your hands and I ask you to take me to your son, Jesus.’ Mary always points to Jesus."

14 posted on 04/03/2008 3:56:49 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Uncle Chip

You are removed and prayed for.


15 posted on 04/03/2008 3:58:18 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex; Dr. Eckleburg; Alex Murphy; Quix; Mrs. Don-o
As I read what Mary was reported as saying I was struck by how biblically based her messages were—pray, repent, fast, commit your life to Christ.
16 posted on 04/03/2008 3:59:27 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Tax-chick

You also edited the last word!


17 posted on 04/03/2008 3:59:32 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

The revised version is correct. I had it wrong the first time.


18 posted on 04/03/2008 4:30:29 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Everything is either willed or permitted by God, and nothing can hurt me." Bl. Charles de Foucauld)
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To: NYer
commit your life to Christ.

Yes. Directly to Christ. Not through His mother.

19 posted on 04/03/2008 4:35:06 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: NYer
Thanks, but I prefer not to be pinged to these "journeys" which to me are sad tales of misdirection and ignorance of Scripture.

‘All of me, I place in your hands and I ask you to take me to your son, Jesus'

More sadness. Asking Mary to take you to Christ when Christ tells us over and over and over we are to come directly to Him for all blessings.

"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." -- Matthew 11:27-30


20 posted on 04/03/2008 4:44:50 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Christ tells us over and over and over we are to come directly to Him

The scripture you posted does not say that, "doctor". Please post the scripture that supports your opinion.

21 posted on 04/03/2008 4:52:34 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Yes. Directly to Christ. Not through His mother.

One is not committing their life to Christ when they dictate for themselves what that commitment will look like.

It is mohammedans who are lead by their own interpretation of ancient writings: not Christians.

22 posted on 04/03/2008 4:55:46 PM PDT by papertyger (The left fosters lawlessness & bad culture by denying the legitimacy of the law and Western culture.)
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To: NYer

Please remove me from your pinglist


23 posted on 04/03/2008 4:56:17 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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To: papertyger
One is not committing their life to Christ when they dictate for themselves what that commitment will look like. It is mohammedans who are lead by their own interpretation of ancient writings: not Christians.

I have no idea what you're trying to say.

Regaredless, no one is saved "through" Mary.

24 posted on 04/03/2008 4:57:27 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Quote-o-matic broke?


25 posted on 04/03/2008 4:58:03 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Please post any Scripture at all that tells us to come to Christ through His mother. Any.


26 posted on 04/03/2008 4:58:17 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: annalex
Nope. But when I post so much of it, and you ignore all of it, well...apparently it's falling on deaf ears.

Again, please post the Scripture that supports any of your bizarre, hyper-inflated opinions of Mary.

27 posted on 04/03/2008 5:00:07 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Luke 1. He came to us through her.

Will you — it is about 5th time I ask on two threads — substantiate your mariophobic opinions with any scripture? You, not me, are supposed to be the Bible-alone superstitionist, remember?


28 posted on 04/03/2008 5:01:33 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Please post any Scripture at all that tells us to come to Christ through His mother. Any.

John 2.

29 posted on 04/03/2008 5:01:48 PM PDT by papertyger (The left fosters lawlessness & bad culture by denying the legitimacy of the law and Western culture.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

You alleged a scriptural contradiction in Catholic Mariology. Please show the contradiction.


30 posted on 04/03/2008 5:02:34 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
I have no idea what you're trying to say.

Then I suggest you are not qualified to offer unsolicited advice.

31 posted on 04/03/2008 5:03:49 PM PDT by papertyger (The left fosters lawlessness & bad culture by denying the legitimacy of the law and Western culture.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Again, please post the Scripture that supports any of your bizarre, hyper-inflated opinions of Mary.

It sure looks like an angel to me, but that's not how it's listed (and I don't see how it'll support the Savior on her shoulders)...

Christmas Inflatable_ Virgin Mary Model

32 posted on 04/03/2008 5:06:43 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: Dr. Eckleburg

“His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.” John 2:5


34 posted on 04/03/2008 5:10:10 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: sandyeggo; Dr. Eckleburg
You can tell it’s made in China.

I couldn't tell. Then again, I didn't peek at her backside or lift up her dress to look for the requisite "Made in China" label.

35 posted on 04/03/2008 5:11:12 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: A.A. Cunningham; Dr. Eckleburg
“His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.” John 2:5

"Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." John 2:4


"The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy. It's that I just don't care."

37 posted on 04/03/2008 5:17:42 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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To: annalex
Look, I love and admire the Catholic church but the one thing that has kept me out of it, and away from it (there are other points of doctrine, but this ones "the biggie") is the whole Mariolotry thing.

There is no scriptural basis for the "veneration" of Mary. None. It is purely made up out of whole cloth. My own take is that it came about with pagans who were used to worshiping a goddess (there was the huge cult of Artemis, in Ephesus, the same city where Mary ended up with John according to tradition) and as Christians were in competition they naturally gravitated toward the "mother of God".

It's not that I don't have profound respect for Mary as the mother of God. It's just that there is nothing within scripture that indicates Mary has any special position outside of agreeing to bear the Messiah and cooperate with God. That's it. She's only mentioned about a half dozen times in the gospels. There's no mention of her at all in any of the rest of the New Testament writings (I know that Catholics argue that the "woman clothed in the Sun" in Revelation is Mary, but I disagree).

It's an undue emphasis and focus on Mary that keeps me away from the Catholic church to this point. There's no basis for it except a tradition that developed within the church (in my opinion, at least) out of old goddess worshiping pagans who were brought into the faith.

Christ repeatedly says he is the only way to the Father. 1 Timothy says there is one mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus. Hebrews talks about Jesus as our great High Priest and there is no one between man and God but Jesus. No priests. No Mary. No one. Just Jesus. It was for this very symbolic reason that the curtain of the temple was torn in two. The barrier between men and God was removed. Jesus has now made a direct relationship with the Father possible.

I know that the Catholic Church claims Mary isn't "adored" but only "venerated" but this is a bit disingenuous because it is quite clear that when you see these various peoples in the third world carrying around statues of Mary on biers, and kneeling before them, etc, they are quite definitely "worshipping" her - I doubt the average lay person, especially in the third world where there is little education, knows the difference (splitting hairs) of "adoration" vs. "veneration". They are quite clearly praying to Mary in the worship sense.

Putting anyone in between Jesus and the believer is not only wrong, it's idolatry. Nowhere does the Bible indicate Mary has any special status in the afterlife, nowhere does anyone else in the New Testament treat her as having any special status in the afterlife (she's not even mentioned).

Okay, this got longer than I planned...

38 posted on 04/03/2008 5:18:40 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: Alex Murphy
"Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." John 2:4

Did He do something, or not?

39 posted on 04/03/2008 5:21:36 PM PDT by papertyger (The left fosters lawlessness & bad culture by denying the legitimacy of the law and Western culture.)
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To: Boagenes
There is no scriptural basis for the "veneration" of Mary.

Your first test is invalid. You assume everything from God has to be in Scripture. The voice of the seven thunders is purposely omitted, yet will that not be from God?

40 posted on 04/03/2008 5:26:49 PM PDT by papertyger (The left fosters lawlessness & bad culture by denying the legitimacy of the law and Western culture.)
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To: papertyger
Ummm, scripture is all we have to go on, that we can be sure goes back to the apostles (if you're a believer, anyway). The Catholic Church began to invent all sorts of things along the way, starting very early on. I don't accept anything made up by men as being on equal basis with scripture.

For instance, the "assumption of Mary" - that was simply made up. It wasn't even declared "from the seat" until the mid 1800's. But there's no evidence for it, no basis for it, none. The church has a long tradition, and the church fathers wrote a lot - and there is nothing indicating Mary died anything other than a natural death. The same can be said of the issue of her perpetual virginity.

This gets into the thing that keeps me from the church (though other things attract me to the church, the liturgy, parts of the tradition, etc) - a lot of stuff that got added along the way. I mean, the Borgias bought into the Papacy, they had orgies in the Vatican. Am I supposed to believe that anything "from the seat" (or whatever they call it) by men like that is on par with the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John or the Apostles Paul, Peter and James? Sorry, can't accept that.

41 posted on 04/03/2008 5:32:21 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: Boagenes
there is nothing within scripture that indicates Mary has any special position outside of agreeing to bear the Messiah and cooperate with God

Right. And also be the mother of the disciples. You don't think this is extraordinary?

1 Timothy says there is one mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus. Hebrews talks about Jesus as our great High Priest and there is no one between man and God but Jesus. No priests. No Mary. No one.

I am not aware of any scripture that would say that saints cannot intercede before Christ, or priests cannot do what priests are supposed to do. Re-read the passages you are referring to -- they don't say it.

undue emphasis and focus on Mary that keeps me away from the Catholic church to this point

I think you just told me that there should be no priests; are you saying that Catohlic Priesthood you could possibly live with, but not the Marian devotions?

they are quite definitely "worshipping" her - I doubt the average lay person, especially in the third world where there is little education, knows the difference (splitting hairs) of "adoration" vs. "veneration".

The difference is profound; it is not splitting hairs. When you see people in the Third World -- or any other world -- offer the holy Sacrifice of the Mass to Mary, that would be when mariolatry will occur. The reality is that Protestants do not really worship anything, because they don't have the Mass. So to you kneeling and prostrating is worship. That is entirely your defect of faith.

Nowhere does the Bible indicate Mary has any special status in the afterlife

Apocalypse 12.

42 posted on 04/03/2008 5:37:44 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Boagenes
I don't accept anything made up by men as being on equal basis with scripture.

So you are not Protestant either. What religion are you?

43 posted on 04/03/2008 5:38:53 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Boagenes
Shame on you, you're to pray 10 of these to Mary before you retire for the night

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.

44 posted on 04/03/2008 5:39:30 PM PDT by whatisthetruth
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To: Boagenes
There's no basis for it except a tradition that developed within the church (in my opinion, at least) out of old goddess worshiping pagans who were brought into the faith.

If it is a tradition that developed within the Church, not as a nod to pagans, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, how would you know the difference?

Was there any authoritative body existent in the time Christ walked the earth that would have found for Jesus over the Pharisees when they claimed his disciples were "harvesting" on the Sabbath?

A plausible accusation does not prove the agreement of God.

The problem here is you will trust a book that can be twisted according to its own texts, but you will not trust the Church Jesus built because it does not square with your prejudice against doctrinal development.

45 posted on 04/03/2008 5:41:09 PM PDT by papertyger (The left fosters lawlessness & bad culture by denying the legitimacy of the law and Western culture.)
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To: Boagenes
Just want to touch one quick thing on your post. I agree wholeheartedly that there were a lot of scummy Popes. If you find a Catholic who claims they were free of flaws, knock 'em on the head for me! But...I think you have an strange view of when "ex Cathedra" applies.

It is not normal for the Pope to speak "ex cathedra." Nowhere near everything he says qualifies for this status. In fact, most scholars believe such authority has been used only 7 times in the last 2000 years. Not a common occurance, by any strech. Wikipedia actually has a decent list:

Now, if you'd like to have a discussion on any of these, feel free to ask, and I'm sure that there are many Catholic FReepers who would be more than willing to talk with you!

46 posted on 04/03/2008 5:43:31 PM PDT by thefrankbaum
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To: thefrankbaum; Boagenes

Incidentally, I can understand the difficulty with the Immaculate Conception going from scripture alone, but the Assumption is right there, Apoc. 12.


47 posted on 04/03/2008 5:46:37 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Boagenes
Ummm, scripture is all we have to go on, that we can be sure goes back to the apostles (if you're a believer, anyway).

Again, you are assuming nothing was supposed to change. I'm not saying you are wrong. I'm saying that presumption needs to be validated.

The Catholic Church began to invent all sorts of things along the way, starting very early on. I don't accept anything made up by men as being on equal basis with scripture.

Then how do you exempt the New Testament from your lack of acceptence?

For instance, the "assumption of Mary" - that was simply made up. It wasn't even declared "from the seat" until the mid 1800's. But there's no evidence for it, no basis for it, none. The church has a long tradition, and the church fathers wrote a lot - and there is nothing indicating Mary died anything other than a natural death. The same can be said of the issue of her perpetual virginity.

The Church disagrees with you. What investigation have you conducted into the validity of the Catholic claims as opposed to the Protestant claims?

a lot of stuff that got added along the way. ...Am I supposed to believe that anything "from the seat" (or whatever they call it) by men like that is on par with the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John or the Apostles Paul, Peter and James? Sorry, can't accept that.

That, of course, is your choice, but do not confuse your preference for one source over another as dispositive.

The modern student can't even get a straight story about the Reagan administration; I'm sure not going to give the benefit of doubt to those opposed to the Church. Particularly when I spent twenty years a "slave to sin" as a "saved" Bible christian, but I was released from that torment as a Catholic.

48 posted on 04/03/2008 5:56:58 PM PDT by papertyger (The left fosters lawlessness & bad culture by denying the legitimacy of the law and Western culture.)
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To: papertyger
Well, that's the rub, isn't it? I do feel I am under guidance by the Holy Spirit, and it's what tells me instinctively, in the gut, in my being, that the entire Mary thing is bunk. I'm talking a deep, visceral conviction that it's absolute rubbish made up whole cloth.

That, in fact, is the one thing that has kept me from "crossing the Tiber" even though I am equally dissatisfied with Protestantism at the moment.

Seriously, how can Mary "hear" all the "prayers" directed at her if she isn't omnipresent? It's ridiculous. And I've thought it through repeatedly - any attempt to get around the fact that Mary is only a human soul and cannot possibly interact simultaneously with potentially billions of human prayer "requests" ends up back at omnipresence no matter how you slice it. And that's ridiculous.

Not to mention, why on earth does anyone feel the need to put anyone in between themselves and Jesus when all you really need is Jesus (as Jesus himself says). It's illogical.

49 posted on 04/03/2008 6:30:53 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: Boagenes
Hmm what's in this glass here?

I think I sent you a private commo that was spoze to be public. Excuse me for the repetition.

The dogma of the Assumption does not touch on the question of Mary's natural death. So the lack of evidence of early thought that she did NOT die a natural death would have no determinative bearing on the dogma.

Ummm, scripture is all we have to go on, that we can be sure goes back to the apostles (if you're a believer, anyway). The Catholic Church began to invent all sorts of things along the way, starting very early on. I don't accept anything made up by men as being on equal basis with scripture.

This, like your characterization of Marian dogma and devotion as Mariolatry, skews the argument. I'm not going ot defend mariolatry, and if I thought Church traditions and dogma were just "made up by men" I'd look at them differently myself. You may not trust God's promise to His Church, and so you may find Scripture "all we have to go on". Certainly, if the teachings of the Church were just "inventions" I wouldn't rely on them either. But maybe they're not inventions.

The Doctrine of Papal infallibility is not about the virtue of Popes. It's about God's promise to guide His Church. You can get clear water from rusty pipes and earthen vessels can hold treasures. The pipes are still rusty, the vessels earthen. It's the old book-cover thing, or a variation on it.

One advantage of being careful about how you approach the controversy is that you may find (I don't know) what you are accepting which may be just as questionable as what what you currently cannot accept.

50 posted on 04/03/2008 6:44:31 PM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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