There is ONLY ONE PATH to Heaven !!! His name is JESUS CHRIST !!!

JOEL OSTEEN “DENIES JESUS CHRIST” & OPRAH WINFREY “EXPOSED”!

People need to be looking to God for their answers for their life. Though many will not agree with this short video, God does warn us that there are many that will come and deceive the lost and discourage the faithful. Raising questions that have no substance or for those that know better, no meat.

Our Lord wants you to seek His ways and not the ways of this world for this world is truly temporary and eternity is everlasting. Though this video has been out for a very long time, it is still relevant and needs to be shown over and over again… (+)

Apologetics Lesson #6: Pantheism

If Deism is the belief that God is so transcendent from the cosmos He created that He no longer participates directly in it, Pantheism must be the worldview at the other end of the continuum believing that a higher power exists as Pantheism holds that God is so immanent with the universe that God and the universe are one. As a worldview, Pantheism has plagued the religious thought of both the East and West from ancient times on up through our contemporary day.

Though there are various forms of Pantheism, most share a set of common characteristics. Pantheists will agree that ultimately there is but one substance.

Parmenides hypothesized that there is either being or nonbeing and in order to exist there must be being. And if everything possesses this quality, everything is of the same substance as to differ by nothing would be not to exist at all.

Though everything is ultimately one under Pantheism, what we perceive as multiplicity or distinction are either manifestations or emanations of the absolute unity.

In the “Enneads”, the Greek mystic Plotinus said that from this impersonal unity flowed the various levels of reality starting with unity, then inward into mind, then the world soul, then multiple souls, then to the lowest level of matter. It is man, Geisler writes in “Christian Apologetics” of this brand of Pantheism in as “the microcosm who possesses mind, soul, and matter” that the journey back to unity and oneness begins (175).

Though slightly different, other forms of Pantheism share considerable similarity. For example, in Spinoza’s pantheism, God is a substance of infinite attributes and we exist as transient manifestations of the absolute that are eventually reabsorbed back into it. And in Hinduism, though that world religion is noted for its multiplicities of divinities, in its philosophically complex variants, the various gods all the way down to the material components of the physical world are the assorted levels of the comprehensive totality known as Brahman.

Though many Pantheists claim to embrace tolerance as they contend all religions are merely human efforts to understand the same all-encompassing God, one is really taking the serpent to one’s bosom when dealing with Pantheism. For example, in much of Pantheist thought, it is held that both good and evil flow from God much in the same way there is both a light and dark side of the Force in the Star Wars epic. Other Pantheists claim that God is beyond good and evil as understood by human beings.

Such positions could be used to not only justify any number of atrocities but also to view them in a disturbingly detached manner or even positively in an around about fashion. For example, if good and evil are simply just human conceptions useful for ordering social relations, what is so inherently immoral about the Holocaust?

After all, were not the Jews the ones anyway that set the ball rolling on the theism that ended up promoting the conceptual dualism that now hinders the expansion of consciousness? Besides, by liberating them of their physical materiality, aren’t we doing them a favor by reuniting them with universal oneness? Under Pantheism, the “is” becomes the “ought” and that is why one sees cows strutting freely down the streets of India with the baby girls tossed out with the trash and abortion rampant here while exceedingly harsh legal penalties are enacted to protect the most insignificant of animals such as bugs and rats.

By Br. Frederick Meekins

Lessons In Apologetics, Part 1: Introduction & Agnostici

For anyone pursuing a degree in Apologetics that was given a dollar for every time they were asked “What is that, learning how to say you are sorry” upon answering the question of what it is that they study so many times, many would have financed a considerable portion of their academic pursuits. Unfortunately, such ignorance as to what exactly this theological discipline entails symbolizes the neglect the defense of the faith has fallen into in the contemporary church and is one of the reasons that everywhere the believer and student of religion turns today they find Christianity losing considerable ground both within and without its boundaries to a wide variety of opponents and adversaries. To the serious student of this field of study, one of the best tools around which to build a fundamental understanding of the discipline’s ins and outs is “Christian Apologetics” by Norman Geisler, one of the field’s foremost living practitioners.

Basic to any academic discipline is the approach or methodology which scholars and researchers apply to the subject matter. The field of Apologetics is no different. Geisler lists the methodologies to knowledge in general and about God in particular as agnosticism, rationalism, fideism, experientialism, evidentialism, pragmatism, and combinationalism. In the course of his analysis, Geisler evaluates each in terms of their epistemology regarding religious matters and how these approaches stack up under the weight of being scrutinized by their own criteria.

The first approach to knowledge of God is agnosticism. Coined by T.H. Huxley, the term agnosticism means “no knowledge” and thus contends one is unable to know anything about God (13).

Agnosticism is itself divided into two branches. The one holds that not yet enough conclusive evidence pointing in one direction or the other regarding the existence of God has been gathered. The other holds that God is not knowable.

Of the agnostics that claim God is not knowable, this claim is based upon their understanding of the nature of knowledge. Drawing upon David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and A.J. Ayers’ Language, Truth, & Logic, these agnostics have divided the tree of actual knowledge into two branches.

The first variety of valid statements are analytic statements meaning they are valid by the terms of their definitions. For example, all bachelors are unmarried. The second type of valid statements are known as synthetic and are what we would refer to as matters of fact as they are about empirically gathered data (17).

Geisler writes of the agnostic views regarding talk about God, “For the term ‘God’ is neither analytic nor synthetic; that is, it is neither offered by the theist as an empty contentless definition corresponding to nothing in reality nor is it filled with empirical content since ‘God’ is allegedly a supraempirical being. Hence, it is literally nonsense to talk about God (18).”

To the aspiring apologist hoping to present an objective case for the Christian faith beyond how warm and fuzzy Jesus makes their innards, it may seem that the agnostic methodology has struck an early and potentially crippling blow to this noble effort. However, a bit of careful reflection may even the scales once more between the agnostic and the Christian.

The lofty sounding name given to this epistemology of language is the Verification Principle. If the Christian turns the Verification Principle back on itself, one sees it is self-referentially incoherent as the concept cannot live up to its own criteria as the Verification Principle is neither purely definitional or merely a statement of fact.

Thus to remain consistent, the agnostic must admit that, since our knowledge of the empirical and metaphysical realms is limited, by definition of man’s own finitude, this understanding cannot be totally comprehensive. Of those unwilling to admit God may exist in those reaches man cannot fully fathom, Geisler writes, “And there is simply no way short of omniscience that one can make such sweeping and categorical statements about reality…Hence total agnosticism is only self-defeating. Only an omniscient mind could be totally agnostic and finite men do not possess omniscience (27).”

By Br. Frederick Meekins

A question on the topic of “Sola Scriptura”…

Warriors, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, a question was asked as to what my opinion was on the subject of Sola Scriptura and in return as many know, I am inclined to give a response on certain topics. Even such as this. I hope you will read this and in turn, have a better understanding as to why I preach and teach the way I do. So here is my response on the topic of “Sola Scriptura”…

Sola Scriptura
(Meaning: by Scripture alone or rather only)

To help understand this topic, one needs to relate it in contents. Contents to four other facts that the Holy Scriptures and it’s understanding, alludes to. These would be, 1.) Faith alone/only, 2.) Grace alone/only, 3.) Christ alone/only and 4.) God alone/only. Which knowledge and understanding or interpretation of the scriptures is of and comes from each by and through the Holy Spirit.

The term, Sola Scriptura, stems from a period of history of mankind known as the Protestant Reformation, back in 1517 or as some say the beginning of “Western Christianity”, that is to say in the 16th century. Which is directly a result of the now 34 plus thousand beliefs of Christian faith. Meaning it is what caused the “split” of the Christian faith as we experience it today between denominations and belief.

At least it is my personal opinion as to the respects to the understanding of scripture, interpretation and traditions with which most denominational thinking and traditions are based. Such as the Holy Sacraments and other examples which were laid down by the actions of Christ and the Apostolic. All of which falls back on the four understandings of scripture now known as doctrine and or theology of each body of Christ known simply as the “Church or rather Faith”.

The Church today is still and will remain split until the issue of doctrine is resolved by the Holy Trinity at the time yet to come, known as the rapture. The return of Christ which will be to claim His chosen in the Apocalypse known as Armageddon. At least that is my opinion.

However, it is by choice that mankind is given by God’s love to man through Grace alone, that can bring the body known as the flock of the church/churches, back to the center core of belief/faith through the scripture. Which in my opinion again, will be the second Reformation of the body of Christ/Church.

Again, in my opinion it is the “Independent – Universal/Catholic body of churches” be they called Catholic or Non-Denominational, which will be the leaders of this second meeting of the minds and hearts/spirit of mankind, preparing all those living, to repent and turn from the misguidance of man and Satan through their personal traditions of doctrine and theology. Returning the whole body of Christ/Church/Flock of lost souls, back to the basics of the one belief and faith in the “Holy Trinity”. Meaning the core or center of a personal or family belief as to living the Holy Word of God through the general knowledge and understanding of the teachings of the scriptures.

Man has an uncanny way of getting in between the Spirit of God and man himself which in turn, causes the confusion and the impending doom of humanity. Over all else but not limiting it to and through but to include it to the seven deadly sins which are, 1.) Wrath, 2.) Greed, 3.) Slothfulness, 4.) Pride, 5) Lust, 6.) Envy and 7.) being Gluttony.

Which in most cases can and will be the cause of yet, another split within the faith. However, there is hope, grace, mercy, and love of the Holy Trinity for mankind, that will bring calm, understanding and the faithful back to the original banner of Christ, known as the body of the Church making it one, once again through faith, reverence and devotion to Him and mankind.

There is much more that can and will be discoursed on this topic in the days and years to come but, only through the very will, of those that want the body (Christ’ Church/Flock), to know the true truth of God for themselves as well as for the world. This will then and only then be the beginning of and the ebullience or rather in enabling factor to breakdown the divisions that keep the faith of Christ apart from one another. (In my opinion).

Sincerely yours in service to the one Christ, Jesus our Lord and Savior of all mankind,
Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley, DD., O.S.A., O.S.P., S.O.BB., S.O.M.A.
Of the Celtic Cross Foundation of Ministry and the New Horizons Church of the Celtic Cross and the Traditional Old Catholic Church of the Celtic Cross, Celtic Cross Ministry and the Christian Warrior Network.

” Thy Holy Writ “

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Proverbs chapter 3, verses 5 – 8 (NKJV)

5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6) In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
7) Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
8) It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

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The Holy Bible is not a book of do not’s, but rather it is a book of does.
A book of Godly wisdom, given to those who seek what our Lord whats them to know and understand as well as obey.

Yet many ignore His advice and do not take serious His warnings. His wrath and His judgement will come upon those that refuse His ways. For they will see that His words are truth and His power is swift and just. Woe to those who do not follow after Him for they shall have their reward in hell, and it will be an eternal lie they will suffer as the demons witness and laugh at their agony, forever.

For God is Lord and His son, our Lord and He will come again and bring the sword upon those that have disrespect and hate in their heart. Yes they to shall see His coming and will not be able to hide or bluff their way out of his hand of judgement.

Yet for those who hear His words and follow them, they shall see His compassion and His mercy. For by taking to heart His instructions they shall be given the blessing and promises held within the scriptures, which He himself spoke.

May the Lord our God have empathy on those that turn from the ways of evil and may His grace be their gift. May they who believe, believe with their whole being and all that they have done may their lives be pleasing to Christ the King, so that the pearly gates of Heaven be open to them that trust in Him.

Sincerely your servant in Christ our Lord,
Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley DD., O.S.A., O.S.P.

http://www.celticcrossministry.com

“Thy Holy Writ”

Psalm, # 133 verse 1 (NKJV)

1) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

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Unity ? Oh people is it even possible ?
One part of me say yes and the other is not sure.

I say this because we as a nation are not united. In politics nor in faith. In theology and in doctrine neither are we united. Even when it comes to the word of God in the Holy Bible we have two separate versions, meaning the Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible. And of those, I’ve lost count as to how many different versions and interpretations there are. And lets not forget the Apocrypha’s that have been omitted by both.

So I ask you to think about this verse and pray and meditate with me today, and even all this week, that God our Father will see and bless our meager attempts to come together for the common good. Pray with a true heart of compassion and respect for the concerns of our faith. Ask that, His Son and their combined Holy Spirit come and bless us all and bring us together in unity. Ask that, our unity be re-affirmed in His Son and in their Holy will, when needed most. But mostly that we hold fast the common fabric that holds all 34(+) thousand different Christian beliefs together.
Our faith in Him and His divine will for all peoples.

I believe then and only then we will be truly united in the will of God against evil and corruption that plagues mankind. That we can put aside our differences and in Christian Brotherhood and Sisterhood unite with Him, for the worlds sake.

Have a blessed day and week for that matter, in the love and bond that holds us all together in His sake and cause.

Sincerely yours in service to all mankind and Jesus our salvation,
Bp. Andrew R. M. Manley DD., O.S.A., O.S.P.

http://www.celticcrossministry.com

“Thy Holy Writ”

Jeremiah chapter 16, verse 16

16 “Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

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Warriors, do you consider yourself to be truly and fully “Christian” ? Do you know what is expected of you that call yourself “Christian” ? Are you prepared to do the work of the Lord as it has never been done before ? Being Christian is not just a word, it is a life style. A life style that is good, decent, loving and kind to all in this world, not just your small piece of it. Although we all have to start someplace.

When I have talked to you about things more important to you than God, what is it do you think I am talking about ? Do you think my words to harsh or not harsh enough ? Do you regard my messages as “whatever” ? Do you think for a moment that I do not love and worry about you, your life, your families and the such ?

I guess every preacher in the world asks themselves these questions from time to time. It is our job as directed by God to help you realize the truth of his will for your life and those that you love and care about.

The Prophet Jeremiah is trying to do his best to relay the message of Chapter 16 to those who need to hear it the most. Those that are lost. So to speak. It is a warning to all who do not follow after the way of the Lord with all diligence and respect. The fishermen in this passage are the increased ministers of the word of God and the hunters are those that are truly righteous and they will make known the truth and force evil out of the darkness and into the light for all mankind to see and know.

As a community of the Christian faithful, we need to make known that we are fishers of men and hunters of righteousness and Godliness. We need to stand firm on the word of God, Christ His Son and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. As well as the lives of those around us.

A very dear friend asked me to comment on this verse and at first I was reluctant but when you do as God wants everything falls into place and the message becomes clear. Clear at least to those that want to do His will in their lives. And there are many, many of you out here that do and for this I am pleased and so to is the Father. So please bring your questions concerning the scriptures to me. For I know that you are wanting to know the ways of our governance, our lord Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that sometimes it is best to read an entire chapter or two to understand His meanings and mostly pray. Pray before during and even after and ask the Father what it is He wants you to learn and may even do with the new-found understanding that He has given you. You just might be surprised of how He will use you to do His work, either as a fisher of men or maybe a hunter of the truth for His sake for all mankind.

Pray for those that need prayer like the lost throughout the world in places like North Korea, and the Middle East. I fear it is they that this scripture is in reference to. Them and all mankind that do not accept the Fathers teachings. Just remind folks if need be that Christ was not just a prophet like Jeremiah or any other, he “IS” the Son of MAN and GOD, for all mankind. Not just one group of believers that think they are right and all other people’s are infidels or the such.

Have a blessed day folks and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
God bless…

Sincerely your servant in the name of the Christ, Jesus

Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley DD., O.S.A., O.S.P.

http://www.celticcrossministry.com

One of Seven Holy Sacraments…

The Seven Sacraments
Honored and held in Reverence
by this ministry and our church affiliations of
The Celtic Cross Foundation of Ministry, The Evangelical Church of the Celtic Cross, The Old Universal Church of the Celtic Cross and
The Independent Catholic Church of the Celtic Cross

By Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley DD., Th.D., M.R.Php., B.D.,    O.S.A., O.S.P., O.S.B., S.O.BB.

The Sacrament of Baptism

The Sacrament of Penance or known as Penitents

The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist also known as Communion

The Sacrament of Confirmation

The Sacrament of Matrimony which is Marriage

The Sacrament of Holy Orders other wise known as Ordination

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

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They are to be classified as an outward sign given and instituted by Christ as examples of giving grace. Jesus Christ is the sacrament. For he gave his life to save mankind. He and His gift to the world was an outward symbol of his love, grace, mercy, humility and humanity to the generations of mankind. It is fitting and proper that we continue to pass on through the generations these examples which are the foundation of all Christian Faith. It is Christ that intercedes with the giving of the sacraments which allows His grace to continually effluence mankind.

In the days of Pentecost, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles so to help them to govern over the flock as He did. He was and still is today the good shepherd and as a good shepherd watches over and still tends to His chosen through the means of the Holy Sacraments.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 17, verses 18, 20 & 21 is quoted as “ As the Father has sent me, even so I send you”. Christ is the head of all Christian faith and churches. This is reaffirmed through the scriptures of the book of Colossians, chapter 1, verse 18 which states that, Jesus is the head of his body the church. So that makes the church itself a sacrament, instituted by Christ to give grace to all Peoples.

These sacraments are the holy examples given to the body of His church so to aid one to lead a good life in this world and help save mankind by giving us all the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus put forth and instituted the sacraments as part of the Liturgical of early Christendom and are now tradition to be passed on for all future generations. We celebrate in the mysteries of Christ’ life. Through His sacrifice on the cross, in His dyeing and through His resurrection. The word Sacrament is derived from the Greek word for mystery and was translated in the Latin to be sacramentum, now in the English translation to be sacrament.

The following forgoing are exemplified in reference to Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 19, also chapter 3, verse 9 as well as in Colossians, chapter 1, verse 27. With the grace of salvation given to mankind by Christ’s Crucifixion are now formally expressed through the giving of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Communion, Penitent’s the Anointing of the Sick and Dyeing along with the granting of Ordination or as some call it, Holy Orders and Marriage. Keep in mind that the word Sacrament still means and is called the Mysteries of faith in tens of thousands of Christian Churches around the globe even today.

Many Christian Churches recognize these seven sacraments and hold steadfast on their inherent value or rather importance to what the early Christian leaders felt was to unify all followers of Christ’ and the Apostolic teachings. Think of it this way, if we were to break down the sacraments into say three distinct categories their inherent value can be understood in better relation as to why they are so important to all Christians. One, the initiation. The Initiations are the Baptism, Confirmation and Communion. Two, restorative or rather restore. The Restorative attributes are the sacraments of Penance as well as the Anointing of the Sick. I say restorative because both offer one healing and a renewal in life and even after life. That leaves us with two more and they are classified to some as inherent vocation. Which means that they are life altering in that they both unite two into one meaning to unify or join together unto the Holy Trinity. The are the vocation of Ordination / Holy Orders and Matrimony / Marriage.

This last one mentioned, Marriage is no less sacred as that of any other one of the six sacraments. It is for this reason and backed by the Holy Word of God, that marriage is and always will be, between a man and a woman. No other union is acceptable to the Holy Trinity and sacred values passed down to mankind through Christ, Himself. He made it what it is. Mankind has no right to perverse this sacred sacrament. No matter what man sanctions as rule in the land. God rules of the Church and the sanctity of these sacraments. Especially the sacrament of marriage.

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The sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination are given but once. Once for they are sufficient as a seal upon one’s soul as affirmed in the following scriptures. 2nd Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 21 & 22, Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 30 and the book of Revelations offer us a firm relation to it as a permanent seal in chapter 7, verse 3. There by making each sacrament an individual link to an external showing of public and even privet ritual or rite such as in a rite of passage, which it is. The symbolization of water used in baptism becomes a physical sensation that is felt by the element itself. By purifying and or cleansing ones person of past iniquities. It offers a renewed spiritual enlightenment of being “born again” pure and without sin.

This is essential for all persons of any era. Meaning the Past, Present and even Future. Every act of any of the sacraments offers a special ecclesiastical understanding and acceptance on the individual going through the ritual. It therefore becomes, the key which unlocks the proverbial closed heart and mind of mankind and opens it to the deity known as the Heavenly Father. It is the very basis of a foundation which builds on faith, communication and trust between man and the Holy Trinity.

It is no longer that man is alone in this world, but rather that through these rituals, one can begin to grow and see the world for what it really is and with a newness that only the grace of God on that person can give and even experience. It becomes for that person a form of continued growth in spirit and enabling them to begin to finally transform and unlock and let free, the true heart and soul that is unique to a lasting relationship between man and God.

The word baptism from the Greek means to immerse, dip or plunge. If the individual is an infant or adult it is customary to anoint them with Holy Oil. The Holy Oil is called the oil of catechumens. And so to give you a little better understanding of this I refer to the reference of Wikipedia which states that, the “oil of catechumens is to help strengthen the person about to be baptized, and prepare them for the struggle (ascesis) of the Christian life”. And that it “is the ointment of those preparing for baptism. It wards off what is evil. It brings wisdom and strength.” It also is to be blessed by a Bishop during the Holy Week and given to each congregation by the minister or priest. It is primarily used during baptism, and any occasion which requires a sanctified blessing. Such as with the other sacraments.

Allow me to also note here for further clarification, on the tradition of the baptismal rite. The ritual is usually witnessed by the parents, godparents, or individual making the profession of faith. The importance of the parents being present is to offer them an opportunity to reaffirm not only themselves of their own baptism but rather to solidify that they promise to bring the child up in the Christian way of life and guiding them along the path of life aiding the child to grow spiritually and firmly grounded in the Christian doctrine of the Holy Word of God. Not mankind and its many denominations. Though there is a place for all Christian denominations and non-denominations as long as what they teach is the true Holy word of God and not conjecture of theology or philosophy.

The presence of the “God Parent is to affirm that if, something untimely were to happen to the parents, that there will be another member of the Christian family (ie; fellow brother or sister in Christ, be they blood or not) that is trusted and respected by the parents and the church to step in if necessary and continue to raise the child within the organization and instruction of the body of Christ.

The traditional ritual of the baptism consists of a duly appointed and ordained minister immersing the baby or individual in water or by pouring water on their head, while saying “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Then the baby or elder individual is anointed with the blessed chrism oil.

The sacrament of baptism is the basis of the whole Christian experience. The very foundation if you will. It is a requirement and completely necessary for the saving grace of God to take place in one’s life. I refer to the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 5, which conveys that the person is a new in Christianity and is but a child no matter what age one takes the sacrament and then becomes by doing so, a child of God. Belong to Him and His family, for eternity.

I have to make mention here a note as to how special the rite of baptism truly is. In order to come to this phase of commitment with your spiritual newness, you must first be sent to Christ and accept all that He is and then you have to be accepted by Him (Christ Jesus), to warrant the calling to be baptized. For no one can go to Jesus unless the Father sends them and no one can come unto the Father unless Christ send them. That alone shows how special any individual (infant or adult) is to the Holy Trinity.

Also, before someones says, well the infant didn’t have a choice to accept what baptism is or even means and that it is not right to force it upon them. Wrong ! God and Christ with the Holy Spirit touched the parents and Godparents as well as the Church leaders. They, meaning the Holy Trinity and those called upon by them, had them ( the parents and godparents) bring forth the child and  given the sacrament. Remember, No One, means NO ONE, comes unto them, God or Christ unless they themselves invite you (infant or not) and then they send their loving and graciously merciful, Holy Spirit upon all of them and cause them to act and carry through with the ritual and rite of baptism on behalf of the said infant or child.

Well, for now I will leave you with these thoughts and over time I will write about the other six sacraments in detail as the Holy Trinity touches my heart to do so. However, for now this is enough meat for you to digest (so to speak). Until next time, may the love of God be with you and the calling of Jesus Christ upon your life lead you straight to Heavens gate and may it be opened unto you upon your arrival. In Jesus’ Holy and Blessed Name. I pray for you. Amen

God bless you always, sincerely your servant in Christ Jesus,
Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley DD., O.S.A., O.S.P., O.S.B., O.S.MM.
Founder of the Celtic Cross Foundation of Ministry and the Evangelical Church of the Celtic Cross, Old Universal Church of the Celtic Cross and the Independent Catholic Church of the Celtic Cross
03/2013

The Legend of St. Valentine

Saint_Valentine_February_14thThe history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings
In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

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This story of St. Valentine is brought to you courtesy of the History Channel.
http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

Happy Saint Valentines Day Everyone…

Change and Faith, Unite…

Folks I don’t write often in this following way but do to my calling to ministry and the position the Lord has placed me, I give you these following comments and ask you to take to heart the intent that we are all one in Christ Jesus.

ICCCC ULCCC UNITED

With the announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation from the papacy I am encouraged for the church. Not that He is “retiring” for reasons only known to himself and to God but that the wisdom and strength it took to come to the realization that his effectiveness and health may not be up to the tasks of the office for which he holds.

It is an opportunity that we who call ourselves Christian can do our part by lifting our prayers and concerns to the heavenly Father and plead our case and want for the church. His church. A church of the people and of God as the head.

Many Catholics have faltered these past years because of the style of governance coming from the Vatican, yet now it is our turn to be heard. Even though Pope John Paul the II and Pope Benedict the XVI have placed a very Conservative leadership with their appointees to the rank of Cardinals. We can be diligent in our faith and understanding here in the west as well as around the world, that Christ hears our cry for true change and reform in the church.

I know that through continuous prayer and devotion to the Holy Trinity change will come. The church has the unique opportunity to respond favorably to the billion plus Catholic patrons to the growing need and urgency from the next pontiff whom the Cardinals will elect to the office.

So let us pray together that our prayers will not only be heard but acted upon accordingly. I do not expect sweeping reforms from the new Pope however, there is hope that many issues that face the church today maybe appeased through the wise council of those with the insight and foresight to vote accordingly with the people. No matter what folks, we need to accept the new papal leadership with open arms and have the faith of Christ himself to know that He truly is the one in control.

I encourage any and all people who read this to be steadfast and patient in the coming months. And as we go into the Easter season with the hope of the Resurrection of Christ, we to will experience a new resurrection of the church.

Weather you are Roman Catholic, Independent Catholic or a Non Catholic, the institution of the church and its longevity is of all of our concern. It will be a test of true faith of the people to come together at this time of great importance for the most powerful faith in the world. The Christian Faith and all that it entails.

Sincerely your servant in Christ Jesus,
Bishop, Andrew R. M. Manley DD., o.s.a., o.s.p.
Independent Catholic Church of the Celtic Cross
and the Celtic Cross Foundation of Ministry