Catholic Webinar: Was Christ Born on Dec 25? Yes!

Has the Catholic Church been factually incorrect by celebrating the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ on December 25? Did we borrow the date from pagans? Doesn’t the Bible say that Christ was born in Spring?

These are common questions during December and I want to help you know the actual history behind the December 25 date for Christ’s birthday and why it is very likely the day of His birth. Join us for this free live Webinar: God’s Birthday – Was Jesus Christ really born on Dec 25?

Last time we had over 1,000 live participants. Please sign up and reserve your spot by clicking here or the button below:

Register here button

In this Webinar you will:
  1. Discover why the Early Church Fathers believed that Christ was born on Dec 25
  2. Understand how modern research about the priestly cycle of St John the Baptist’s father helps us calculate a Dec 25 birthday for Christ
  3. Receive answers to the most common objection against Christ being born in late December
  4. RECEIVE A FREE BOOK OUTLINING THE ARGUMENTS AND HISTORICAL FACTS PROVIDED IN THIS WEBINAR.

Register here button

Please register by clicking here and don’t miss this informative online event.

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Men (Dr Marshalls 2016 Edition)

It’s time for the 2016 Manly Christmas Gift Guide!

For the 7th 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 7 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.” 2 year ago we even caused Amazon to sell out of pocket Douay Rheims 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:

[Catholic Video] Squanto: The Catholic Hero of Thanksgiving

Squanto, the famous Native American that saved the Puritan Pilgrims, was a Roman Catholic!

Learn the startling history of Squanto as the Catholic hero of the American Thanksgiving holiday in this 2 minute video:

Don’t see the video in your email? Click here to watch it.

Do you enjoy my Catholic videos? Please subscribe to my Youtube Channel by clicking here.

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

Today I am 10 Years a Catholic! It’s harder than I expected…

Today Joy and I turn “ten years old as Catholics.”

Prior to being a Catholic, I was an Episcopalian priest and becoming Catholic is the most important thing that I have done in my entire life.

Ten years later my thought is: “Wow, it’s a lot harder than I expected!” We are joyful, but don’t let this glossy photo fool you into thinking that we have everything together.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 11.15.46 AM

Joy and I had breakfast this morning after Mass, and we celebrated and discussed our last ten years inside the Catholic Church. We are taking all the kids out for dinner tonight to explain to them how important our conversion was.

We have eight beautiful children and our marriage has been deeply blessed by Catholic teaching. The Eucharist and Confession stand out as the greatest blessings.

The hard parts?

What are the hard parts? Initially (for me) it was being a layman and not being a clergyman. This is a much younger Taylor as an Episcopalian priest with Fr Benedict just before I became a Catholic:

groeschel-marshall2

10 years later, that “priestly” feeling has faded to silence. I am very content and fulfilled as a Catholic layman. Through books, podcasts, NSTI, and speaking I thank God that I have been able to be used by Jesus for other people. On my podcast, we have reached over 900,000 downloads and we are heading to one million. It’s humbling and encouraging. Despite me being a sinner and unworthy of His favor, God had much bigger plans for me.

For Joy, the initial hard part was trying to navigate Catholicism and all the groups within the Church. When we converted there were some who wanted to use us for their cause (eg, married priesthood or whatever) and she didn’t like that.

Ten years later the hardest part of being Catholic is:

  1. Catholic politics and division
  2. Having a big family

I speak for Joy and me on these two points:

1) Catholic politics and division; I’m dizzy

When I was an Episcopalian, I wrongly believed (oh so wrongly) that the Catholic Church was a Shangri-La of doctrinal unity, devotion, and custom. I was not aware of all the movements, debates, liturgical abuses, and dissent within the Catholic Church. My exposure to Catholicism was reading books by Saints and Church Fathers. I assumed that every Catholic read, study, and agreed with the Catechism.

I received a number of shocks: “Wait, you mean that not all seminarians are taught Thomas Aquinas?”

I was shocked to learn that there are actual Catholic nuns that did not believe every jot and tittle of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 

Since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, I feel dizzy as a Catholic. Like I’ve been spinning on that carousel at the park. I’m not falling down. I’m not sick to my stomach. But I’m dizzy.

Ten years ago, I would not have expected to feel this way. So I hunker down in my Catechism and in the magisterium of the Church. I’m spending more time reading theology and the Church Fathers especially. I’m going back to the roots. Of course, I recognize Pope Francis as Pope and I pray for him daily. I am now 10x more aware of my devotion to the papacy and to the Pope’s need for prayer.

As I read Church History, I realize that the Barque of Peter has always been a rocky boat (I have post on that coming out this Wednesday). So it was my own naivety that led to my misunderstanding of the Catholic Church that I was entering. My conclusion is that the Catholic Church is a giant family, and like a family, it’s complicated.

2) Having a Big Family

Speaking of family, Joy and I now have 8 kids. Joy was pregnant with number 4 when we entered the Church ten years ago. So 5 children have been born and baptized inside the Catholic Church.

We always wanted 8 kids, even before we were Catholic. Now we look at each other and say: “This is hard. Why didn’t anybody warn us how hard this would be? Everyone said big families were fun! They didn’t mention the unfun parts…”

You often hear me on my podcast celebrating marriage and family and talking about joy and peace. I’m speaking to myself more than I am to you. It is very hard. I would say it’s even a cross. But a cross is a joy. Each of those 8 children is a blessing – each is an everlasting soul. They are my heart.

After 10 years, I have to recommit myself to my vocation. My vocation is Joy and those 8 children. The screaming kids. The spilled drinks (every day). Joy sometimes being too tired to talk at night. The late nights. Housework. Dishes for 10 people. Laundry for 10 people! Studying for tests. Monitoring media, video, inputs. Teenagers. Teenagers. Lots of broken things. Budgets. Costs. Debates. It’s not easy.

But there are also the cooing babies, cuddles with a tired 2 year old, the joy of seeing a child learning to walk, the first words, the first day of school, the First Communions, the laughter at the dinner table, the gigantic birthday parties, and the rewarding “grown up talks” with a teenager. And we look forward to the graduations, the marriages, the future births, and whatever else God may have stored up.

And when I pray at Mass in the morning, I see their faces and pray their names. I can’t help but love Joy and those 8 babies and I want nothing more in the whole world than to spend eternity (millions x millions of years) with them in Heaven dancing with Jesus.

Now for the Good of Being Catholic:

The greatest joy of being a Catholic is the joy. Without the Faith, I would be a depressed wreck without hope and without peace. Maybe I’m crazy, but I have had visions. I’ve seen things in the supernatural. I know that Jesus is real. I have felt Him. I have been with Him.

I have knelt before the bones of Peter. I have cried before the miraculous image of Guadalupe. I’ve prayed before the Shroud of Turin. I’ve been to Mass with two Popes. Those things are great and edifying – but they aren’t the center of my Catholicism.

Rather, in the simple quiet of my daily Mass in Bedford, Texas and at night praying the complicated Rosary with my distracted children – I know that Jesus is burning in my heart. That’s where I find it. That’s what I searched for 10 years ago. And that is what I have found.

It’s a war. Even this past weekend, I wanted to give up. But Jesus keeps burning in me. The same Jesus of the Gospels. I know that he won’t give up on me. I need Him.

Here’s to another 10 years and in saecula saeculorum.

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

Question: In the comments below, please tell me how long you’ve been Catholic and tell me what is the best and the hardest thing about your journey as a Catholic. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Unholy Trinity of Evil in the Book of Revelation

Revelation 13 and 19 describe three preternatural demonic personages that attack Christ and His Church and are finally cast into the lake of fire:

  1. “the great dragon…that ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan” (Rev 12:9)
  2. the Beast of the Sea (Rev 19:20; who also appears in Daniel 7)
  3. the Beast of the Land who is called “the false prophet” (Rev 19:20)

Just as Christ has a mark (baptism) placed on His people. So also does the Antichrist or Beast have a mark that he places on his people.

If you’d like to better understand the image of the dragon and his two beasts as an unholy mockery of the Blessed Trinity, please explore these two free commentary lessons that I recorded on the topic:

Listen to: Revelation Podcast on Chapter 13 (Identity of the Beasts)

Listen to: Revelation Podcast on Chapter 19 (Eucharist as Apocalypse and the Destruction of the Beasts)

You can begin the entire Catholic Revelation audio series by clicking here.

Book Of Revelation

Saint Joseph, Old Man or Young Man (Plus Apparitions of Joseph and His Assumption)

March 19 is the feast of Saint Joseph. Here are five posts to help you grow closer to Saint Joseph. I’m particular zealous about the debate of Saint Joseph being old and grey or young and strong. I favor the “young Joseph” theory for theological reasons as you’ll see in the article below:

saint joseph

  1. Saint Joseph, Old Man or Young Man?
  2. 12 Reasons Why Joseph was Married to Mary (from St Thomas Aquinas)
  3. St Joseph as Belonging to the Order of the Hypostatic Union
  4. The Sinlessness and Assumption of St Joseph
  5. Two Apparitions of Saint Joseph

Question: If you have any questions or comments about Saint Joseph, please don’t hesitate. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Saint Oswald the Leap Year Saint

It was his custom every day in Lent. Saint Oswald would wash the feet of the people of his diocese (York, England). In fact, he died on on February 29 in the year of Christ 992 (leap year) while washing feet.

Tract_by_Abbo_of_Fleury

Leap year reminds us that every four years we must adjust our solar calendar in order to remain true the clock of the universe.

What do you need to do to adjust yourself to God’s plan?

Saint Oswald as a bishop made an adjustment. He washed feet everyday in Lent. And he died doing so. It’s reminder that we need to make adjustments, and that such an adjustment might in fact be our new path to becoming a saint.

What adjustment will you make today? Perhaps, like Saint Oswald, you’ll be doing it some years from now in the moment you die.

Suggested “leap year adjustments”:

  1. Pray a morning offering when your eyes open every morning.
  2. Write a Thank You note daily.
  3. Tip at 20%.
  4. Read the New Testament daily for 5 minutes (set a timer).
  5. Call the elderly in your family.
  6. Go to confession weekly.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

How to do something great

How do you do something great?

I just got back from Mexico for a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe with members of NSTI. One thing that struck me is the constant imagery of Saint John Paul II throughout Mexico: statues, images, icons, and even JP2 in the graffiti. Saint John Paul II made 5 visits to Mexico and his impact is still rippling through the nation.

jp2 graffiti

Seth Godin talks about similar impact “ripples” with business. Harley Davidson isn’t just a successful business. It’s a movement. “Nobody get Suzuki tattooed on their arm,” Seth says, “but they do get Harley tattoos.”

So when you brainstorm ideas (books, stories, movements, conferences, businesses, websites, homeschool lessons, architecture, classes, etc.), ask yourself is this “tattoo worthy”? Personally and theologically, I’m against tattoos (sorry Harley dudes), but what I mean is: “Is this idea so good that people would brand themselves with it.”

If the idea is so life-changing (good or bad), then people will personally identify with it physically and emotionally. People at the USCCB should contemplate this more deeply because most Catholics don’t identify with the body of bishops because they are not inspired by what they do/say as a conference of leaders. The Republican party is in the same position. Nobody wants to say, “Yes, let me slap a GOP sticker on my vehicle.” Harley does a better job getting people excited and invested in their brand.

For “changing the world,” look again at John Paul II in Mexico. His impact was so deep in Mexico, that even graffiti artists depict him on roadsides. If you want to be a saint (you do, don’t you), you should inspire a movement that leads people to transcendence. That leads people to greatness, sanctity…and to Christ.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Crucifix and Your Work

Every day we do things that we love and things that we do not love. Place a small, non-ostentatious crucifix near your work. On the kitchen counter. In the laundry room. On your desk at work. If you are on a laptop at a coffeeshop, open tab and Google search one of the famous crucifixion paintings and leave it open in that tab. Here’s mine today:

Peter Gertner Crucifixion

Do your daily tasks under the shadow of the cross. You’ll find happiness and peace there throughout the day.