Part 3: The Fullness of the Truth

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It's a common question posed to Catholics. Father Chris Alar, MIC, director of the Association of Marian Helpers in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, explains why the Catholic Church has the fullness of the truth in this third installment of a four-part series from the Marian Helpers Center on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

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Maccabees - Jun 20, 2015

In looking up the Scripture he said for Maccabees, I came across a link of a bunch of bible versions which quote it, showing that there's actually quite a few Bibles that still contain Maccabees... so I suppose that more folks can look it up in their own Bible than we'd assume if they've got one of those... however it's not a popular one, so it ought to be pointed out.

Using a very Catholic Bible online from the US Bishops website (

I find the entire quote relating to Purgatory from Maccabees to be interesting, because it's also related to the military, which was part of the discussion from this. Plus it shows how even little things, such as what kind of necklace symbols we wear, makes a difference, so we should be careful what imagery we promote. Can't go wrong with promoting the Divine Mercy image! We should pin it to our clothes and wear it on necklaces! And also the Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception... can't go wrong with that... gotta remember to pray for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, and remember to pray "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee" (also as in the miraculous medal symbol). These Christian symbols are better than the amulets which were forbidden in this text, because we want to please God and think of Him always and make others think of loving Him when they see us...

"Expiation for the Dead.
Judas rallied his army and went to the city of Adullam. As the seventh day was approaching, they purified themselves according to custom and kept the sabbath there.
On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his companions went to gather up the bodies of the fallen and bury them with their kindred in their ancestral tombs.
But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had fallen.f
They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden.
* Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.g
He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind;
for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.
Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin."

Their footnote says this:
"* [12:42–45] This is the earliest statement of the doctrine that prayers (v. 42) and sacrifices (v. 43) for the dead are efficacious. Judas probably intended his purification offering to ward off punishment from the living. The author, however, uses the story to demonstrate belief in the resurrection of the just (7:9, 14, 23, 36), and in the possibility of expiation for the sins of otherwise good people who have died. This belief is similar to, but not quite the same as, the Catholic doctrine of purgatory."


954 The three states of the Church. "When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is"':492

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.493

955 "So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods."494

956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."495

Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.496
I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.497

957 Communion with the saints. "It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself"498:

We worship Christ as God's Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!499
958 Communion with the dead. "In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and 'because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins' she offers her suffrages for them."500 Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.

959 In the one family of God. "For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity - all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ - we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church."501"

[492 LG 49; cf. Mt 25:31; 1 Cor 15:26-27; Council of Florence (1439):DS 1305.
493 LG 49; cf. Eph 4:16.
494 LG 49.
495 LG 49; cf. 1 Tim 2:5.
496 St. Dominic, dying, to his brothers.
497 St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke (Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.
498 LG 50; cf. Eph 4:1-6.
499 Martyrium Polycarpi, 17:Apostolic Fathers II/3,396.
500 LG 50; cf. 2 Macc 12:45.
501 LG 51; cf. Heb 3:6.]

The last passages, from the Catechism, explain more fully about the connection with Maccabees, as referred to in CCC paragraph 958... and so this about sums it up. I love that we can intercede for the living and the dead, this is a work of mercy we can always do, even when we can't seem to do one of the other ones at the time. Praying is still doing something... but if possible to say merciful words and/or do merciful deeds, let's try to do that, because Jesus is in disguise all around us, and we need to console His Heart :)

dear MLS: - Jun 20, 2015

summary: how to explain to people who question us with the Lutheran interpretation that we're saved by "faith alone" (since he added the word "alone):
Romans 3:28 "You are saved by faith -- and not by works [of the law]" (not by faith alone... when we say works as Catholics we means works of love/ charity... in James: but faith without works is dead... (justified by works not by faith alone)... it's good to have good examples... saints are our examples in the faith...they prove that celibacy is possible to love God in that way... we don't worship the Divine Mercy painting itself, we worship Jesus himself which it represents and reminds us of... icons illustrate and teach us the Scriptures... the Sacraments are the way God has chosen to give us grace... who are we to tell Him that we don't want what He's given us?... Purgatory is another thing to explain --- 1 Corinthians 3:15 "man can be saved only through fire" (wait a minute: no man is saved in hell, and there's no fire in heaven, so it must be about purgatory)... in 2 Maccabees 12:44 (in the Catholic Bible) they made atonement for the DEAD so they might be delivered from sin (there has to be a middle ground, because in heaven they don't need aid, in hell they can't be helped!)... how many of us are so pure to go straight to heaven? we need purification... also, regarding church scandals, let's remember we don't want to abandon the mission and practice of our faith just because we feel scandalized... don't jump overboard of Noah's Ark... don't leave the Catholic Church, she'll get you through the waves of... the Ocean of Mercy! :D (the last phrase is my own little way of describing his analogy).

mls - Jun 19, 2015

Can we get a transcript of these presentations? I am hearing impaired and I use my kindle to read