115: When Evangelicals Convert Catholics…Why? [Podcast]

I was sitting in a coffee shop on a couch near two. One was Evangelical and she had convinced a Catholic woman to start attending her church. Their conversation was interesting and serves as instruction for us Catholics on how we lose Catholics and what we can do to be better witnesses and better followers of Jesus. Listen to the podcast below to hear the story and my 3 observations:

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115: When Evangelicals Convert Catholics…Why? [Podcast]

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  • Announcements:
    • sword and serpent look insideThe podcast is now on Youtube.com
    • Sword and Serpent 2 will be released in 2016.
    • Download the Study Guide at: http://swordandserpent.com
    • New classes at New Saint Thomas Institute. We have just begun our Catholic Church History curriculum. Please visit: newsaintthomas.com for more details.

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How to Explain Sign of the Cross to Protestants

Sarah K, a Premium Member student at the New Saint Thomas Institute recently asked:

What is the history of the Sign of the Cross? How can I defend this practice to Protestants/atheists/other religions?

St Helen and the true cross

St Helen and the true cross

Many of our students responded with excellent answers (if you’re a student of NSTI, you can read them here), but here is my advice to Sarah:

Sarah,

When talking about this with a non-Catholic, you should be succinct and convincing. Protestants prefer “Scripture alone” but they can be swayed by quotes from the earliest Church Fathers. So I would recommend this line of argument:

The Apostles would place the sign of the cross on the foreheads of newly baptized people in fulfillment prophetic visions found in Ezekiel and Revelation. After baptism, Christians would continue to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, and we see evidence of it in the Bible and Church Fathers. When Christianity became legal, the larger sign of the cross made from head to stomach became adopted. But the original form is simply made with the thumb on the forehead.

SCRIPTURE
Ezekiel speaks of the “mark of the t” administered by the heavenly “man in linen” on the head of the faithful. “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”

The heavenly “man in linen” is the Second Person of the Trinity. Revelation depicts Jesus Christ as the man in linen.

So Ezekiel describes Christ placing a saving “t” or “x” shaped letter on the forehead. The Book of Revelation carries on the description of placing the cross on the forehead.

For my in depth discussion on the sign of the cross as “the mark of the Christ” in the Book of Revelation (in contrast with “the Mark of the Beast:), you can listen for free here.

CHURCH FATHERS
For Church Fathers goes with Tertullian. Writing in around A.D. 204, Tertullian explained that Christians mark their foreheads with the sign of the cross.

In all our travels and movements in all our coming in and going out, in putting of our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross. (Tertullian, De corona milites, 3)

My bestselling novel Sword and Serpent features early Christians often making the signum crucis on their foreheads. You can read a sample and reviews by clicking here at amazon.com.

Sword and Serpent

Photos: Happy 2030th Birthday to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Yesterday was the feast day of the Birth of our Blessed Virgin Mary (it’s 9 months after the feast of her Immaculate Conception on Dec 8).

Our family usually has a birthday cake and sings Happy Birthday. Here’s this years cake:

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Close up #nofilter:screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-11-39-25-am

As you know from my other posts, I believe that Christ was actually born on Dec 25 1BC (there is not year zero) and I’ve written a small book on why that’s the case and how Josephus made an error on the death of Herod.

So if traditions states that Mary was 14 around the birth of Christ, that means that this year she turns 2030 years old (or 2031 if she was 15). Happy birthday Blessed Mother!

Godspeed,

Taylor

114: Your Focus Changes Your Feelings

In this short mini-podcast, Dr Taylor Marshall shows you how you can change your feelings by changing your focus on the good in your life through gratitude and mental pictures of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit engaging with you and loving you. Don’t miss this short 5 minute podcast that could change your life and your attitude.

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114: Your Focus Changes Your Feelings [Podcast]

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  • Announcements:
    • sword and serpent look insideThe podcast is now on Youtube.com
    • Sword and Serpent 2 will be released in 2016.
    • Download the Study Guide at: http://swordandserpent.com
    • New classes at New Saint Thomas Institute. We have just begun our Catholic Church History curriculum. Please visit: newsaintthomas.com for more details.

I’d love to read your feedback: While you listen to today’s podcast, would you please take 30 seconds to write a review? Please click here to Rate this Podcast!

Please Share Your Feedback:

  • POPULARITY: 1,013,034 downloads on iTunes as of today.
  • SHOUT OUTS: A huge “shout out” to all 513 (!) of you who wrote amazing 5-star reviews at iTunes. Please rate this podcast by clicking here. From there you can leave a review. I appreciate you for this! Thank you!

Subscribe to This Weekly Podcast:

  • Apple/Mac Users: Please subscribe via iTunes by clicking here and then clicking on “View in iTunes.”

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Saint Hubert – Patron Saint of Bowhunters (and Jagermeister)

Whenever I talk about hunting, I get critics who think I’m a mean red-neck killer. Before the critics cast their stones, let it be know that I hunt because:

saint Hubertus taylor marshall bowhunting

  1. Hunting provides organic, grass-fed, hormone free meat for my family of 8 children.
  2. It feels exhilarating to serve food to your family that you trained for, hunted, butchered, prepared, and cooked.
  3. I like having a tangible connection with the food that I prepare and eat.
  4. Hunting is the #1 way to promote funding for wildlife conservation.
  5. I love the outdoors.
  6. It’s a craft or an art that requires practice and dedication.
  7. All of our ancestors did it.

We were recently discussing the Troops of Saint George achievement in “Hunting” and I suggested that we focus on Saint Hubert, the patron saint of hunting:

Saint Hubertus was born around the year AD 656. Saint Hubert’s wife (the daughter of a count) died giving birth to their son who would eventually become a bishop. Heartbroken by the death of his wife, Saint Hubert retreated from the court and gave himself up entirely to hunting.

On Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert went hunting. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag, the animal turned and he beheld a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying:
St.Hubert Ottawa“Hubert, unless thou turn to the Lord, and lead an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into Hell”.

Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself and said, “Lord, what would Thou have me do?” He received the answer, “Go and seek Lambert [bishop of Maastricht-Liège, Tongeren], and he will instruct you.”

He was condemned by God not for hunting but for withdrawing from the world and shirking his duties as a member of court and as a Christian (he was out hunting on Good Friday!).

Saint Hubertus is honored among hunters as the father of ethical hunting behavior. It is said that Saint Hubertus established the hunting principle of conserving wildlife, not killing a mother with its young, and preferring older bucks and bulls past their breeding prime. He also advocated only shooting an animal when a humane, clean and quick kill is assured.

After leaving the wilderness as a hunter, he became a priest and eventually the successor bishop to his master Saint Lambert of Maastricht. He was famous for his asceticism and preaching.

He is thus the patron saint of hunters, and bowhunters in particular.

For those interested, here’s a podcast I did about one of my hunts for Indian Nilgai.

Question: Share your thoughts about ethical hunting and/or Saint Hubert. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Fun facts:

  • Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died while on a hunt for the members of the International Order of St. Hubertus.
  • The Jägermeister logo is taken from the vision of Saint Hubertus. Jägermeister means “master hunter.”

jagermeister

 

113: Did The Holy Spirit Appear As A Real Dove? And Saint Raymond Nonnatus [Podcast]

My goal this week is to answer the question about the nature of the dove at the Baptism of Our Lord and to speaking briefly about Saint Raymond Nonnatus.

Saint Raymond Nonnatus

113: Did The Holy Spirit Appear As A Real Dove? And Saint Raymond Nonnatus [Podcast]

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  • Proverb of the Week: Proverbs 23:19-21
  • Featured Segment: Did the Holy Spirit appear as a real dove? And Saint Raymond Nonnatus
  • Latin Word of the Week: Vox
  • Tip of the Week: Fitbit
  • Announcements:
    • sword and serpent look insideThe podcast is now on Youtube.com
    • Sword and Serpent 2 will be released in 2016.
    • Download the Study Guide at: http://swordandserpent.com
    • New classes at New Saint Thomas Institute. We have just begun our Catholic Church History curriculum. Please visit: newsaintthomas.com for more details.

I’d love to read your feedback: While you listen to today’s podcast, would you please take 30 seconds to write a review? Please click here to Rate this Podcast!

Please Share Your Feedback:

  • POPULARITY: 1,004,362 downloads on iTunes as of today.
  • SHOUT OUTS: A huge “shout out” to all 513 (!) of you who wrote amazing 5-star reviews at iTunes. Please rate this podcast by clicking here. From there you can leave a review. I appreciate you for this! Thank you!

Subscribe to This Weekly Podcast:

  • Apple/Mac Users: Please subscribe via iTunes by clicking here and then clicking on “View in iTunes.”

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Catholic Video: What is the Historical Date of Mary’s Assumption?

In what year did Christ raise and elevate the body of His Blessed Mother into Heaven? Some say in the AD 40s or 50s. I argue based on data in the New Testament that Mary was assumed in AD 63. Please watch the video lesson that I’ve prepared on this topic for NSTI.

[If you don’t see the video in your browser or email, click here to begin watching.]

This is lesson 7 of Church History: Module 2 – Redemptive History: Christ of the Covenants. To sign up and watch the rest of the lessons and modules in this Catholic Church History Course (and earn a Certificate), please visit: New Saint Thomas Institute’s Certificate in Catholic History:

Question: Do you agree that dating the Dormition/Assumption to AD 63 makes the most sense? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

And here are some interesting resources for you as we celebrate Our Lady’s Dormition and Assumption:

  1. Did the Virgin Mary Die? The Answer May Surprise You (The majority tradition in Catholic history is that Our Lady did experience the separation of body and soul.)
  2. Audio: Mary as Assumed in Revelation 12 Podcast: Our Lady of the Apocalypse
  3. Did Christ receive an assumption or ascension or both?
  4. The year of the assumption according to Maria Agreda
  5. The Assumption of Saint Joseph – A forgotten tradition
  6. If you deny the Assumption – You have fallen away!
  7. Saint Gregory of Tours on the Assumption
  8. The Assumption of Mary in the Book of Psalms
  9. Does the Rosary Pre-Date Dominic?
  10. Mary’s Special Role over Purgatory
  11. Mary’s Empty Tomb Information
  12. Did Pope Pius XII Teach that Mary died? Yes he did

Enjoy!

to Jesus through Mary,
Taylor Marshall

Can Priests Wear Perfume?

I was recently preparing a class on the Iconoclastic Controversy and the Second Council of Nicea (AD 787) for the New Saint Thomas Institute and while reading the canons of Nicea II, I came across this peculiar canon about “bishop bling” and “priestly perfume”:

All indulgence and adornment bestowed on the body is alien to the priestly order . Therefore all those bishops and clerics who deck themselves out in brilliant and showy clothes should be called to order, and if they persist let them be punished. The same holds for those who use perfumes. (Canon 16 of Second Council of Nicea of 787)

I’m aware that there is a cologne on the market which is allegedly a reproduction of the one worn by Pope Pius IX, but let’s be honest:

pope_cologne

A) Men wear cologne for women – and aspiring to smell like a 19th century Pope is not going to win you points with the ladies at the next YCP function.

B) Technically, an infallible council put the kibosh down on priestly perfumes. So priests, just say no.

Question: Has anyone heard of this priestly perfume canon or smelled the “Pope’s Cologne”? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

St Clare: Virgin Warrior against Islamic Terror!

You may think that a medieval shieldmaiden looked like this:

lagertha

But in reality, she looks like Saint Clare of Assisi:

st clare assisi

St Clare is a Virgin Warrior against Islamic Terror!

In AD 1240, Saint Clare shielded her convent from Muslims through the power of the Eucharist.

The Muslims (and the Vikings) were increasingly aware that Catholic convents contained gold, treasure, and…virgins.

As the Muslims invaded the walls of her convent, Saint Clare of Assisi entered into spiritual battle and she took up the most powerful shield known to men or angels:

“By imperial order, regiments of Saracen soldiers and bowmen were stationed there (the convent of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy), massed like bees, ready to devastate the encampments and seize the cities. Once, during an enemy attack against Assisi, city beloved of the Lord, and while the army was approaching the gates, the fierce Saracens invaded San Damiano, entered the confines of the monastery and even the very cloister of the virgins. The women swooned in terror, their voices trembling with fear as they cried to their Holy Mother Clare.

Saint Clare, with a fearless heart, commanded them to lead her, sick as she was, to the enemy, preceded by a silver and ivory monstrance in which the Body of the Holy of Holies was kept with great devotion. And prostrating herself before the Lord, she spoke tearfully to her Christ:

‘Behold, my Lord, is it possible You want to deliver into the hands of pagans Your defenseless handmaids, whom I have taught out of love for You? I pray You, Lord, protect these Your handmaids whom I cannot now save by myself.’

Suddenly a voice like that of a child resounded in her ears from the tabernacle: ‘I will always protect you!’ ‘My Lord,’ she added, ‘if it is Your wish, protect also this city which is sustained by Your love.’ Christ replied, ‘It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.’

Then the virgin, raising a face bathed in tears, comforted the sisters: ‘I assure you, daughters, that you will suffer no evil; only have faith in Christ.’

Upon seeing the courage of the sisters, the Saracens took flight and fled back over the walls they had scaled, unnerved by the strength of she who prayed. And Clare immediately admonished those who heard the voice I spoke of above, telling them severely: ‘Take care not to tell anyone about that voice while I am still alive, dearest daughters.’” (The History of Saint Clare the Virgin by Tommaso da Celano)

This episode is the reason that Saint Clare is so often depicted holding a Eucharistic monstrance (sometimes against the Muslim invaders in the photo below):

st_clare eucharist

I was recently at the tomb of Saint Clare in Assisi. I have a twin daughter named after Saint Clare and so this 800 year old saint from Assisi holds a special place in my heart. Here’s a photo of my with my twin daughters praying at the tomb of the Saint Clare:

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And me with my daughter named after Saint Clare still down in the crypt of Saint Clare of Assisi:Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.44.40 AM

And with another daughter sneaking in from below:

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St Clare is the patroness of television, and you can read about how she had a flat screen TV 800 years ago by clicking here.

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

Today begins NO alcohol, sugar, TV, films for 90 Days – Exodus 90

When I heard that Catholic men are doing it, I was interested:

90 days. No televised sports. No sugar and sweets. No Social Media. No alcohol. No meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. Rosary. Strenuous exercise. They call it Exodus 90.

I know men from the Troops of Saint George and from The Maccabee Society who have finished Exodus 90 and they have great things to say about it. So today some friends and I begin our first day. What is Exodus 90? From there site:

Exodus 90: The Purpose
The goal of Exodus is to achieve the freedom necessary to fully engage the love of God and the love of neighbor. Exodus is based on a challenging 90-day period of purification, a dying to self, which is supported by a fraternity of like-minded men for greater interior freedom and, eventually, a more purified and selfless love.

Most importantly Exodus is for men who have difficulty finding God and desire to radically unite himself to his Heavenly Father. Exodus is not a program of penance and self-abasement. It is a program for men who seek, together, to strive for more-perfect FREEDOM. This is the cornerstone of the exercise and much will be lost if that is forgotten.

So today begins Day 1. I’m excited. If you’re interested or know a man who may be interested, check out Exodus 90.

And of course, checkout of these other resources:

Troops of Saint George – Outdoor Adventure Apostolate for Catholic priests, men, and sons.

The Maccabee Society – Online Journal for Christian Men.

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall