"It must be of God...."
If anyone in the 21st century has ever stood in a cathedral built 500 or 800 years ago and had a feeling of awe, one can only imagine what the average person back in those days thought - the masses looking up to the tall spires, saying:
“It must be of God!”
The awe-inspiring echoing cathedrals with spires and stained glass, the pomp and regalia of the clergy and the sanctimonious sounds of the choir complete with the beautiful voices of mutilated castrato - overwhelm the ignorant masses with its grandeur.
I stood in many such cathedrals, adorned with gold from the New World stained with the blood of the original inhabitants (who were raped, plundered and murdered by the loyal subjects of Queen Isabella who, if enough of the facts of history can be swept under the carpet may soon join the ranks of holy sainthood) - one in particular was in Seville. I saw it was wholly dedicated to Mary (reminiscent of Paul at Mars Hill?). Mary was the star - Mary was the center of devotion - amid the grandeur - I saw and witnessed and felt - the coercion to be persuaded - an obscene seduction to capitulate and admit defeat, and say what millions over the centuries have said, "how can something so grandiose NOT be the truth?" A persuasion that without a knowledge of truth would find irresistible- "Hail Mary mother of grace, mediatress of peace between men and God, immaculate virgin pure from the stain of the curse of sin".... but with my knowledge of scripture - my soul cried out, 'WHAT FRUIT - WHAT FRUIT? Grapes of thorns, figs of thistles !
1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1Co 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
1Co 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1Co 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
1Co 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
That doesn't quite describe Catholicism, now does it? Quite a long ways from the humble birth in Bethlehem's manger. Makes one want to say of Jesus, 'You've come a long ways, baby!!", except for one thing - this just isn't Jesus. Never was, never will be.
There is no shortage of scripture that refutes the fallacy of bigness - but never enough to sway the masses from falling for the spectacular. That is why, in the 2nd century, carnal Christian leaders began a campaign to appeal to the masses - after all, the pagans all had their rituals, their pomp, their razzle dazzle... so flowing garments, incense, and TITLES... yes, 'priests', even though there was nothing to offer (hence the invention of the mass)...
....that ought to doll things up a bit....
2 Corinthians 11:1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Well I have to attest to the simplicity of the people of God - grown men that held out their calloused hands to me - common people - with an uncommon faith in God. No pomp - nothing fancy. No show of wealth. I know for certain... the lowly Nazarene would feel comfortable there. So did I.
DOCTOR, LAWYER, POLITICIAN, your wealth and wisdom will not buy you anything in the true church of the living God. There is only one way to find God - only one way to approach Him....
Micah 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
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