The 3 Kinds of Faith? Which do you have?

The Latin Church Fathers (beginning with Augustine) speak of three levels of faith in God:

  1. credere Deum (“to believe that God is”): This is simply to believe that God exists. The devils have this kind of faith, as Saint James explains in James 2.
  2. credere Deo (“to believe toward God”): This is to trust God. If God says, “Jesus is God’s Son,” then you believe it. If God says, “I am your shepherd. I will take care of you.” You believe it.
  3. credere in Deum (in Latin, literally: “to believe into God”): This is more difficult to translate but it implies motion into God. This is placing faith, trust, even yourself into God. This is the highest form of faith.

Saint Augustine says that credere in Deum (level 3) is actually placing “yourself into God.” In the moments and seasons of tragedy, depression, dark nights, betrayal, confusion, bankruptcy, divorce, cancer, and death, this highest form of faith transcends simply believing that God exists or believing His statements.

Pain and Believing into God

“Believing into God” or “credere in Deum” (not “in Deo” – a huge difference in Latin) is what I often teach to myself and to others who are hurt so deeply.

In the moments and seasons of tragedy, you have to push everything and your own pain and soul into the bleeding side wound of Jesus and just camp out there. That spiritual movement of going into the Heart of Jesus is the highest form of faith. It is the only thing that can restore peace, sanity, and joy. I’ve been there. It’s true.

Caravaggio Thomas Wound Christ

Explore the three levels of faith. Where are you? Honestly I have moved up and down the ladder. Sometimes we can be satisfied with level 2 (credere Deo). Even if life is good, try to move beyond this daily and pray for the faith credere in Deum – to believe into God.

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall

Why Did Jesus Wash the Feet of the Apostles? Pope Francis, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine

Recently the Catholic Church has been wrestling with the significance of foot washing – the liturgical reenactment of Christ washing the feet of His Apostles on the night before He was betrayed.

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The Council of Elvira (Spain, AD 305) prohibited the washing of feet because heretical ideas were being associated with it: “The feet of the newly baptized are not to be washed by the priests or clerics” (Elvira 48). Saint Ambrose of Milan, against this rulings of the Council, considered foot washing to be “sacrament” of great importance. In Milan and other places, “foot washing” was a prelude to sacramental baptism.

The Albigensian heretics held foot washing in high esteem and assigned to it a theological importance without parallel in the orthodox Catholic Church. Up until the last century, Popes, Abbots, and Kings would wash the feet of the poor as a sign of humility and servant leadership. More on that later.

Foot Washing Enters the Mass in 1955

Up until 60 years ago, the custom of foot washing did not appear in the Roman Eucharistic liturgy. Until 1955, the Roman Missal included a rite of foot washing detached from the Mass. Pope Pius XII was the first Pope to have foot washing included in the Mass and it was stipulated that it would be the feet of men, presumably as a sign of the male-only priesthood.

Hence, foot washing is relatively new liturgical rite. 

In 2013, Pope Francis washed the feet of two women and non-Christians (Muslims) at a juvenile detention center in Rome 2013. Pope Francis revised the direction of the Roman Missal in 2016 to include men and women as a sign of inclusion.

Theology of Foot Washing? Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine:

I wrote a well-known book on Judaism and Catholicism that covers the liturgical and sacramental connections between the Old Testament and Catholic Christianity called The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity. It’s a popular text now in Catholic schools and seminaries. You can read reviews of it on amazon here.Crucified Rabbi Look InsideUnfortunately, I did not include a section on foot washing. So here goes:

Saint Jerome in his Epistle to Pope Damasus states that Christ washed His Apostles’ feet to prepare them for the preaching of the gospel, in fulfillment to the prophecy of Isaiah:

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, of them that bring good tidings.” (Isa. 52:7)

The Apostles were ordained as sacerdotal priests at the Last Supper and so the foot washing is to prepare them to carry the Gospel to foreign lands. It’s a commissioning rite to “preach the Gospel of peace.”

Saint Ambrose associates the foot washing to original sin and the Protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15 since it is with “the heel” that the Messiah and His followers will crush Satan’s head:

“Because Adam was tripped up by the devil and the venom was poured out over thy feet, therefore dost thou wash thy feet that in that part where the serpent ensnared thee there may be added the more abundant aid of sanctification, so that he be not able to trip thee up hereafter.” Saint Ambrose De Sacramentis3, 1)

Saint Augustine and Cyprian associate the washing of feet with the removal of venial sins. This is why Christ says: “He that has been washed needs not but to wash his feet, but is clean throughout.” The Apostles were already baptized. Peter asks for a second baptism (his head) but Christ refuses. The Apostles had already been baptized and their sins removed, however, the lower sins that trip us up also have to be remitted before receiving the Holy Eucharist. Hence, the foot washing was a liturgical penitential rite prior to the First Communion of the Apostles.

Is Right to Allow Women?

Prior to Francis, the men chosen to receive foot washing symbolized the 12 Apostles. As described above, foot washing seems to be a priestly rite preparing the Apostles to have the “beautiful feet” foretold by Isaiah. Since men alone can be Catholic priests, only men were chosen for the washing of feet.

One might argue, however, that Christ calls all men and women to proclaim the Gospel with beautiful feet. Proclaiming or sharing the Good News is not exclusively a sacerdotal action. Moreover, Saint Paul states that all Christians are called to crush Satan under their (beautiful) feet (Rom 16:19). The Coptic liturgy includes the act of the priest washing the feet of the entire congregation! So there is liturgical precedent for including women in the washing of the feet.

Is it Right to Allow Non-Christians?

What I cannot reconcile theologically is the act of washing the feet of non-baptized members of other religions, namely adherents of Islam, within the Eucharistic liturgy. Peter’s words and Christ’s response presume that the recipients are “washed already,” that is, baptized. Foot washing is an intra-baptized experience.

There is precedent for foot washing as a pre-baptismal rite (in the catechetical context of Easter baptisms), but it’s not clear that the Muslims receiving papal foot washing are preparing for baptism.

My personal belief is that foot washings should be returned to their pre-1955 status. Popes, Abbots, Kings, Presidents, parents, et al. can wash the feet of anyone they like as a sign of humility outside the Eucharistic liturgical rites of the Church.

If a Pope or King washes the feet of another outside of the liturgy, then it is simply a sign of humility. When it’s placed inside the context of Eucharistic liturgy, then we strain to attach a theological meaning to it…and that’s where we run into trouble.

If we want to show outward acts of “inclusion” to the non-baptized, we could give give them blessed bread or other gifts. Or we could wash their feet in contexts that aren’t sacramental. 

Question: I would love to hear your thoughts on foot washing. Please keep the comments respectful. No bashing of the Vicar of Christ on earth. He is our Holy Father. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

There are Guitars in the Bible

I like the Latin Mass. I don’t like the guitar Mass. However, there are “guitars” in the Bible, and even in the Heavenly Liturgy.

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A medieval Praise and Worship Band

The Greek word kithara appears 4 times in the New Testament – 3 times in the Book of Revelation.

{Here’s my audio Catholic commentary on the book of Revelation: click here.}

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and twenty four presbyters fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them kitharan, and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of saints. (Rev 5:8)

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the kitharas of God. (Rev 15:2)

In English, it is sometimes translated as “harp,” but chordophone or “guitar” is actually a better translation.

The Greek word kithara comes into Latin as cithara and from Latin into Spanish as guitarra. The biblical guitar is a chordophones of 4-18 strings. 

The saints in Heaven are playing the kithara. Why? It’s the instrument that King David played. In fact, the word psalm means in Greek means “to pluck [a string].”

The problem is that the guitar is associated with rock n roll and rock n roll is not suitable for divine liturgy. The guitar or chordophone might find liturgical use, but in the meantime, let’s keep it out of the liturgy.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Top 10 Manly Christmas Gifts for Men (2015 Edition)

It’s time for the 2015 Manly Christmas Gift Guide!

For the sixth year in a row, I am featuring the Top Ten Manly Christmas Gifts for Men – stuff that men want but don’t ask for.

Manly Christmas Gifts

* If you received this post by email, you’ll want to click “Always Display Images” in your email client so that you can see the manly gift images.

Every year you’ve come to expect it, and every year I get ready for angry liberals complaining about my advocacy for pocket knives, guns, scotch, pipes, and leather.

After doing this list for six years, I now get stopped by wives who say, “Thanks for your annual Men’s Christmas Gift Guide. My husband loved the thermos and knife that you recommended.” Recently, a Catholic dad related to me, “My wife followed your Christmas manly gift guide. Thanks for recommending the scotch decanter. I love it.” Last year we even caused Amazon to sell out of pocket Bibles.

Like last year I have an improved list with more information on knives and how a lady can choose the right knife for the men in her life.

Men, it’s not bad taste to forward this post to your wife’s email account.

When your man gets back to work after Christmas and someone asks, “So what did you get for Christmas?” let him say something more than “Oh you know, a couple of new shirts and a tie.”

Top Ten Manly Christmas Gifts for Men (drumroll…)

Below is a guide for Manly Christmas Gifts: your husband, brother, or grandpa. Seriously, you can’t wrong with the following ten gifts. They’re all winners. So here we go:

You’re Invited to Rome for a Pilgrimage (Pilgrim vs. Tourist)

Have you ever wanted to go to Rome, the Eternal City – not as a tourist but as a pilgrim

If so, you’re invited to our 2016 NSTI Pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, and Siena with solid priests, reverent Masses at sacred sites, confessions, relics, basilicas, martyrs, Padre Pio, Eucharistic miracles, catacombs, and Catholic classes taught by me along the way on “Rome and the Origins of Catholicism.” This is a unique pilgrimage that combines spiritual growth, academic discovery, and lots of food, folks, and fun.

Video: What You’ll See in Rome:

Here’s a video of me explaining (with photos) of what you’ll experience on this special pilgrimage. Spots are are limited due to hotel and coach space. Watch below or click here to watch:

Please reserve your spot by clicking here.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Video} The Fall of Lucifer and Saint Michael’s Victory

How did Lucifer, the highest angel fall? What was Saint Michael’s role?

In this sample video from the New Saint Thomas Institute, I explain how it happened according to Saint Augustine:

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Who was the Second Pope: Intro to Saint Linus

And his thoughts on chapel veils...

We all know that Saint Peter was the first Pope, but who took up the reins after the Emperor Nero crucified Peter upside down below the Vatican Hill?

Tradition identifies Saint Linus as Pope #2. In today’s video, I give you a short intro into this sainted pope and martyr – who shares a feast day with Padre Pio:

If you don’t see the video in your email or rss, please click here to watch it.

If you’re interested in going on a pilgrimage to Rome with me in 2016, please click here for details.

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{free Catholic book} St Augustine in 50 Pages: Plus Live Catholic Webinar Tonight! St Augustine’s Life and Theology with Taylor Marshall

Tonight’s the big night! I’m so excited. We’re having our live free Catholic webinar on Saint Augustine of Hippo and a free book for everyone who attends:

Saint Augustine ebook cover cropped

Everyone who attends tonight will receive a free eBook version of my book Saint Augustine in 50 Pages. We had over 1,500 live participants last week but our technology failed. I’m very sorry about that and I appreciate your time. This week, we are keeping the numbers lower. There are spaces available, so please reserve your spot below:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 4.56.42 PM1. What is a Live Catholic Webinar? free Catholic Webinar is me speaking live to you (and hundreds of others) through your computer screen in real time. It’s the New Evangelization in action. You can speak back to me and ask questions live via chat. In the past, we’ve had thousands join us live as participants on topics like the Blessed Virgin, the Eucharist, Divine Mercy, and Apologetics. This recent one was on Saint Augustine.

2. What is this St Augustine Webinar? Tonight is our LIVE CATHOLIC WEBINAR: “Saint Augustine – His Life and Theology”. I’ll go over his early life, conversion and career as a bishop and writer. Saint Augustine ebook coverThen I’ll highlight the key elements of his theology. And everyone in attendance will receive a free copy of my book: Saint Augustine in 50 Pages.

3. Do I need to register again for the rescheduled St Augustine Webinar if I had registered last week? Yes, you must register again. The old webinar and links (issued Aug 20-27) are corrupt and will not work. Please start over and register again. Registrants from last week will not be carried over to this rescheduled Webinar. If you already registered previously, you’ll need to reserve your spot again. It takes about 5 seconds to register. Which leads to….

4. How do I register for the Saint Augustine Catholic Webinar on Thursday Sept 3 2015 at 8pm US Central? Please register and claim your spot by clicking on this new registration page.

I’ll see you live next Thursday night (Sept 3)! Space is limited. We have 1095 registered as of this morning. We will allow an additional 205 free spots and free books. Please register here.
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to Jesus through Mary,

Taylor Marshall

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4 Constellations in the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation makes references (structures itself) to a pattern of constellations. I’ve been discussing the role of constellations in my audio commentary on the Book of Revelation.

The books of Ezekiel and Revelation both describe cherubim guarding God’s throne. They have the attributes of:

  1. Pasted_Image_9_1_15__10_42_AMMan’s face
  2. Bull
  3. Lion
  4. Eagle

Saint Irenaeus associated these four creatures with the four Evangelists in his book Against Heresies:

  1. Man = Matthew
  2. Mark = Lion
  3. Luke = Bull
  4. Eagle = John
WARNING: I’m about to talk about constellations, but I am not endorsing the mortal sin of astrology (Deut. 18:9-13; 2 Kings 23:3-5; Isa. 8:19-20; 44:24-25; 47:8-15). Constellations and their cycle through the year are natural occurrences set up by God at creation. The Bible often refers to constellations.

Very few are aware, however, that these four celestial cherubim are references to the four constellations at the change of each season:

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  1. Man = Aquarius (the human water carrier)
  2. Bull = Taurus
  3. Lion = Leo
  4. Eagle = Scorpio (Babylonians considered Scorpio to be an Eagle constellation)
For a Catholic exposition on the zodiac, see Saint John Damascene On the Orthodox Faith, Book 2. The “zodiac” are the 12 constellations through which the sun moves over our 12 month cycle of a year. God placed them there but they don’t have power over us.

These twelve constellations correspond to the way that the 12 tribes were arranged around the Tabernacle in the Old Testament (Numbers 2), because the 12 tribes were like the cherubim guarding the tabernacle of God’s presence. Each tribe corresponded to one of the 12 constellations surrounding the earth. The four principle directions were given to the following:

  1. Reuben (Aquarius)
  2. Ephraim (Taurus)
  3. Dan (Scorpio)
  4. Judah (Leo) – “Lion of Judah”

As you know there, are 12 constellations in the zodiac and these four are the “four corners” of the 12 constellations:

  1. *Aquarius – human water carrier
  2. Pisces – fish
  3. Aries – ram
  4. *Taurus – bull
  5. Gemini – twins
  6. Cancer – crab
  7. *Leo – lion
  8. Virgo – virgin
  9. Libra – scales
  10. *Scorpio – scorpion (eagle for Babylonians)
  11. Sagittarius – archer
  12. Capricorn – mountain goat

Saint John in Revelation gives the four constellations in reverse order because he is viewing them not from earth but from above in Heaven. Saint John mentions these four living creatures and the Revelation of Christ to Saint John seems to be based on a series of constellations:

  • Revelation Chs. 2-3: Seven Stars of the Pleiades (the seven stars of Pleiades in inside Taurus)
  • Revelation 5: Lion of Judah (Leo)
  • Revelation 8: Eagle flying in midheaven (Scropio)
  • Revelations 9: Scorpion warriors (Scorpio)
  • Revelation 12: Virgin Mother (Virgo)
  • Revelation 15: Pouring out Chalices (Aquarius)
  • Revelation 22: River of Life (Aquarius)

The interplay of constellations in the structure of Revelation shows us that this is a heavenly vision. Saint John is above the heavens and seeing celestial mysteries as they are revealed by Christ. Moreover, the pattern from Taurus to Aquarius is God taking us through a heavenly liturgical year as we watch the destruction of the Great City (Jerusalem in AD 70) and the consecration of the New Jerusalem (the Catholic Church – from then until now).

If you’re interested in learning more, please begin the free audio commentary of the Book of Revelation by clicking here.

 

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{Catholic Webinar Rescheduled} St Augustine Catholic Webinar Suddenly Broke

I’m so sorry that last night’s webinar broke down: We were about to have our biggest Catholic Webinar ever – and then the links broke. We are rescheduling this Catholic Webinar and the registration link for the rescheduled version is below:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 4.56.42 PM1. Why did last night’s Catholic Webinar on St Augustine fail? Despite having over 1,500 people registering for the Saint Augustine Webinar, our technology broke down. Why did this happen? We aren’t sure but the links to enter the live webinar chat room were corrupted. But don’t worry. We are rescheduling to next week: see point 3 below:

2. What is a Live Catholic Webinar? free Catholic Webinar is me speaking live to you (and hundreds of others) through your computer screen in real time. It’s the New Evangelization in action. You can speak back to me and ask questions live via chat. In the past, we’ve had thousands join us live as participants on topics like the Blessed Virgin, the Eucharist, Divine Mercy, and Apologetics. This recent one was on Saint Augustine.

3. Are you Rescheduling this St Augustine Webinar? Yes! We are RESCHEDULING our LIVE CATHOLIC WEBINAR: “Saint Augustine – His Life and Theology” to next Thursday, September 3. We will limit enrollment numbers so that we don’t have any more problems.

4. Do I need to register again for the rescheduled St Augustine Webinar? Yes, you must register again. The old webinar and links (issued Aug 20-27) are corrupt and will not work. Please start over and register again. Registrants from last week will not be carried over to this rescheduled Webinar. If you already registered previously, you’ll need to reserve your spot again. It takes about 5 seconds to register. Which leads to….

5. How do I register again for the Saint Augustine Catholic Webinar on Thursday Sept 3 2015? Please register and claim your spot by clicking on this new registration page.

Maybe the devil didn’t want us to have this Webinar. Please join me in saying a Hail Mary for the success of this new and improved Catholic Webinar.

Please register, and I’ll see you live next Thursday night (Sept 3)!

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Every set back is a set up for something better.

to Jesus through Mary,

Taylor

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