• Happy Thanksgiving

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! There are many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and having been busy the past couple of months, there hadn’t been much time to blog.  Thankful, the project is finally finished.  There are many things to be thankful for, mainly the basics — family, friends, a roof over one’s head, food, clothing, and the necessities.  When the holidays come around, it may be easy fall into the mundane and routine trap — everything seems to repeat itself in cycles.  Shopping season is starting all over again.  Relative so-and-so or a friend has invited you over for Thanksgiving.  Yes, it may or may not seem like the same events as last year all over again, but remember that there are many different events this year.  And, although each year may seem to repeat itself in ways, each year also brings its own uniqueness, too!  I am thankful for the following:

    1. I am thankful for God.  I am thankful that He came down the earth and became a man named Jesus Christ.  I am thankful that He died, bled, and redeemed humanity.  I am thankful that He started the Catholic Church, promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church to truth.  I take Him on His word.  I am thankful that He is still here with us in His body, His Church, which He founded over 2000 years ago.  And, I am thankful that I came that truth and returned to His church.  Of all the graces that was afforded to me in life, being in His church in the beginning was the BIGGEST grace of all.  And, being out of it for all those years, I learned and experienced what was lost and understood how wonderful One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is.
    2. I am thankful that He not only brought me back to His Church, but answered my prayers and brought my wife back to His Church by His power.  And, I cannot credit for what He has done by the power of His Holy Spirit.  And, I am grateful that He worked through His Spirit to bring another to His flock, grateful that He took a situation that was not too great and turned it over for His glory, and grateful that He still calls me His son.  He is one amazing Father indeed.  This is one amazing miracle of His that I cannot explain and that I am forever grateful.
    3. I am thankful for over 2 years of a wonderful marriage, for how the Lord has blessed it.  For those who did not believe that God told us to marry each other are proven wrong by God Himself and must answer to God later.  Yes, our marriage was a whirlwind marriage from the eyes of man, but God ways are not man’s ways.  And, this will be confirmed in the BIGGEST possible way because it is already in the process of being confirmed.

    So, this Thanksgiving, I am many things to be thankful for and many blessings beyond blessings to count. I am indeed a blessed man and praise God Almighty for that.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  And, what are you all thankful for?

  • Hello Xanga 2.0

    Hello Xanga 2.0! This is my first post on 2.0. I want to say hello to everyone who made it to the other side. Welcome! Glad you all made it. My blog looks the same. And, I am thrilled that I can still blog here and that most of you guys are still here. :-)

    How is Xanga 2.0 so far?

  • What Does Xanga 2.0 Mean to You?

    I know what some of you are thinking because I had been through the negative, the doubts, the questions, and the disbelief before.  This time – it is not going to affect me in the way that it did in the past.  It is not going to affect me in the way that did before because my faith has grown much stronger.  I had discern that God desires me to blog on the web, to the entire world, about my relationship with Him, and to share about Him to others.  This discernment took nineteen years to discern.  Yes, you heard me correctly – it took nineteen years, that’s 19 years to discern.

    It started during my freshmen year of high school when wrote about His grace.  It was about the only thing that I loved writing about as it got me going.  It gave me energy, excited me and pushed me forward.  His grace was the life that was in me and from that life, I wrote.  And, I wrote about that.  And, in writing about that, I received the English award during my Freshmen year of high school.  Not only did I receive that English award, but I also received the Integrated Science Award that same year.  In that essay, I wrote about about the sciences were integrated because God created the universe, how they were related because one mind was behind it all and to compartmentalize any of the sciences is to forget that God created the universe.  And, even if a person does not believe in God, compartmentalization of the sciences leads to abandonment of the common origin of the cosmos.  We humans are curious and to answer the questions of where we came from, how we came to be, and what brought us here, we cannot isolate knowledge.  Doing can only lead to more questions than answers.  During my entire high school career, I never received any other academic reward.  And strangely enough, I never mentioned God or religion for an essay in high school since that time.

    After my junior year, I went into a crisis of faith.  I started to question the beliefs that I grew with.  It was important to me that I believe in these beliefs because I believed in them, not because they were the only thing I knew.  I needed to know that I believed in them because I did, not because others said God exists and that Jesus is the Savior of mankind.  I needed to believe because it was my belief, not because my ancestors was a cardinal in the Catholic Church, a bishop in the Catholic Church, martyrs in the Church, nuns, priests, and devoted to the faith.  I needed to believe not because of a voice claiming He was God was speaking to me.  I needed to believe because I believed.

    I rejected everything I knew of the faith.  I became an atheist.  What am I to conclude?  A voice was talking to me, claiming that He was God.  The voice wanted to guide my life.  The voice claimed to have guided the lives of my ancestors and the lives of those before me.  I had every right, especially in this modern age to ask myself whether I was crazy.  I was indeed concerned for my health.  But as time went on, there were things that that voice told me about my future that came true — things that only God would know.  One of the things that I am going to share is how I came back to the God.  The voice told me that the world will preach the gospel to me and I will return to Him.  At that time, I thought it was bogus (note that the internet did not exist when the voice told me about this).  But when the internet came into being and when I joined a forum, God brought the entire world together and the gospel was preached metaphorically to me around December and grace given to me on New Year’s Eve and Day, the day of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Today, I call that event the Allegory of the Gospel of Grace.

    Another event I want to share is how I got married.  God told me that me that the one who leads me to Him shall be my wife.  I had always interpreted this to be Jesus Himself and that I may end up in the priesthood.  I even explored the priesthood many times, but that did not work out.  But when the time was right, He revealed to me what that meant.  My wife came along, knew most of the things God Himself told me, which I told no one else.  She even told me that she is my wife.  How am I supposed to dispute that?  It is just that we both just knew.  Now, that’s how marriages happen in the Bible and that’s how my marriage happen.  We are happily married 2 and 1/2 years.  And, we got married twice already – isn’t that wonderful?

    Now, God makes it clear to me without dispute that I am to blog.  He told me a long time ago that this is what He wants me to do and that He will make it clear to without dispute that this is part of the path of my life.  With Xanga moving forward (raising $50,000 with the CEO put in $10,000 of his own money in the past few months to transition into Word Press engine and not shutting down – https://xanga.crowdhoster.com/relaunch-xanga), God is making it clear to me as I discern through this situation and circumstance, that this is what He desires.  The funny thing is that I do not consider myself a good writer.  English is not my first language.  I did not speak or write English until preschool.  And, it is clear here what He desires, from the English reward in my freshmen year of high school to this revival of Xanga.  Out of all the social websites, most came and went, but this one did not.  I know who is behind it, but others may not agree.  We all have our views.  I truly believe that God is speaking to me.  And, I see it clearly over a long period of my life.

    Nineteen years He has been speaking to me about what He wants.  And, I am not saying that this is the only thing He wants of my life.  What I am saying that writing is a part of it.  The journey just continues and it has reached a turn.  And, Xanga is just a part of the journey, what God has used to clarify to me what He wants me to do.  What is clear is that it has indeed impacted us as Xanga 1.0 and has already started to influence us before it as begun as Xanga 2.0.  I do not know how long Xanga is going to be around, but I know that I am to write and blog with or without it.  That much is clear to me, but what has started here with Xanga will continue.  (Here is some background information - http://thexangateam.xanga.com/774812086/xanga-20-is-almost-here/ and http://thexangateam.xanga.com/773587240/relaunching-xanga-a-fundraiser/).

    Cheers to a new beginning!  For me, it is indeed something new, something meaningful, something profound, another step in my spiritual journey and who would have through that writing and blogging would be a part of it?

    What does Xanga 2.0 mean to you?  How will you make the best of it?

    Copyright 2013 by Christenstein

  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation

    Just a few days after my marriage was convalidated, there were attacks on me.  A few people started to bring up old issues, which were over two years old.  I had already forgotten these “issues”.  And, I told them that.  I told them that I don’t remember and I didn’t.  I even talked to my counsel to try to understand what they were talking about.  I remembered, but vaguely and don’t understand what the issue is.  I tried my best to understand them, but I don’t.  It has been over two years.  And, in the end, after many discussions with my counsel, I concluded that it was in their best interest that I do not speak with them at all.  Apparently, they had dwelt on these issues for over two years and it had been eating away at their souls.  They needed help and a lot of it.  I am not the one to help them because I really do not know what I can do at this point.  My talking to them will only bring up the old feelings when the best thing for them to do is to move on and to forget – my meeting up with them is counterproductive.  Only Jesus can help them.  Only the sacrament of reconciliation can help them; only the Catholic Church can provide that.  I had already forgotten about it and for me to tell them that I forgive them would be a lie because I don’t remember anything.  And, as a Christian, I cannot lie to them just to make them feel better – that’s an illusion.  They maintain that I am not a Christian because I “obviously” hold a grudge, which makes no sense because I don’t even remember anything.

    You see?  Christ Jesus, the Savior of mankind, in His infinite wisdom, for His creatures instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation so when situations and circumstances like these occur, a Christian can seek and get forgiveness from Him, from Christ Himself instead of from man.  These Christians come seeking forgiveness from me for something that happened so long ago, something that I do not remember, something forgotten.  These Christians have turned me into their savior when I am not.  I had already moved on and they should have also.  The only way for them to receive forgiveness is through the Church, through the sacrament of reconciliation.

    In many ways, I do feel sorry for my protestant brothers and sisters.  Having misinterpreted the faith and not having full understanding of its consequences on their lives and their soul in real practice.  I pray that they will come to understand how their doctrine is causing destruction to their souls at this moment in time and there is really nothing I can do.  Only Jesus Christ and His Church can do what they seek and I pray they find the Church and that they find the sacraments for the sake of their souls.

    As for my soul, “It is well, it is well, with my soul….”

    And, to lie would make it not well with my soul….  happy

    Copyright 2013 by Christenstein

  • Another Encounter

    Last Friday night, my wife and I went to our church to start adoration, which just start for the first Fridays of each month.  She had been praying for adoration to start at our church for some time.  Adoration is a Catholic term for adoration the body of Christ, which we believe the bread to be truly the body of Christ because Jesus Himself says that it is.  

    When my wife and I left the church, a demonic influenced person came up to me right away, out of all the people who left the church at the same time.  Understand one thing, many people left the church at the same time that I did and this person came up to me (this is a common occurrence in my life, the ones influenced by the demons like to interact with me because they know I know.  It happens often in the Bible too, the ones influenced by demons come to Jesus and talk to Him.  It is no different here.  They recognize us and we recognize them.).

    The person came up to me right away and bothered me (and, yes, it is targeted).  The person told me his name, asked for my name, asked for money, followed me, repeated himself many times.  He started to mock my authority in Christ Jesus, knelt down to me, followed me on his knees through a public sidewalk into the private parking lot, and begged me for money.  He said, “Your bother needs help.  Your bother is needs money.”  I saw right through it all, the kneeling down was the demonic mocking the kingship of Christ Jesus and the brothers of Christ.  I sensed the presence of a demon.  Not to mention, he already acknowledged who I am and my authority in the spiritual realms.  I just tried to tell the person that he was thinking illogically and was repeating the same things again and again, but the person wasn’t paying attention to my logic.  An appeal to his human side was not working, so I had to address the demon, which wasn’t something I was planning on doing.  And, as illogical as he is, you will notice that he will respond to my placing boundaries on him or more accurately on the demon influencing him.

    When the person touched me, I replied, “touch me again and I will make sure that I press charges for assault and battery.”  The person just looked at me with wide eyes (the same demonic presence that I had seen in other demonic presence before).  I wasn’t giving this demon permission to touch me, so he backed off and started to walk away to another person who was in the parking lot.  The other person told him to leave.  He was about to bother someone else, but I told him, “This is private property and you are trespassing.  You do not permission to be here.  Please leave.”  I did not give the demon permission to be here.  So, he left.  Once you know your authority and assert it, it is relatively easy to deal with the demonic.  He just left.

    My wife thought that a fight was going to break out between because of how the guy looked ready to punch someone.  But, once you know who you are dealing with, you can see through the lies that the father of lies have erected and tell the enemy to leave your presence in the same way that Jesus did.  It does not matter how intimidating his eyes may look or how scary and close to a fist fight you may be.  You know you have the authority.  You know who is the Master of the universe.  You should just calmly assert the authority that you inherited as co-heirs in the Kingdom of God.

    Copyright 2013 by Christenstein

  • Daily Mass

    My wife and I go to daily mass and listen to the scriptures every day.  If we were to go to mass for three years everyday, we would have listened to the entire Bible.  We listen to the Old/New Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament (a second reading for Sundays and special days), and the Gospels.  We are so blessed to be able to hear the word of God every day and to be able to reflect on those words.

    Not only do we get to hear the word of God every day with thousands of Catholics around the world.  We also get to take communion with them too!  Our lives are so blessed we all get to experience the same thing with other Christians in the entire world every day.  Now, that’s the unity that all Christians should have and we experience that common bond with Christians around the world every day.  And, we can discuss the readings with other Catholics around the world if they have read it, reflected on it, and mediated on it for that day.  

    It is wonderful to be part of a church, but more wonderful to be a part of God’s Kingdom.  Praise the Lord for His Church.

    Copyright 2013 by Christenstein.

  • Returning to Catholicism

    It has been a long and arduous faith journey.  The Lord had a lot to teach me about redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, grace, and love through His Church, the Catholic Church.  While I understand that this post may offend many of my brothers and sisters in the faith who object to some aspects of Catholic doctrine, I respectful ask those brothers and sisters to hold their tongue and to respectfully unsubscribe from this blog if they cannot stand what is happening.  Any negative comments and belittling of others’ beliefs will not be welcomed.  Of course, intelligent discourse is encouraged, but name calling and demonizing others’ interpretations of the Bible are not welcomed.

    Before I continue this post, there are many disclosures that I would like to make.  First and foremost, my family comes from a line of martyrs.  Some of my ancestors died for their faith.  And, there is a Bishop and Cardinal in the Catholic Church in the ancestral line.  In fact, one of my ancestors wrote five books that sold over millions of copies worldwide and translated into many languages.  Given this strong Catholic background and the faith of my ancestors, there were many unanswered questions in my life about Christianity — especially about Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation.  I have known some to attack the Catholic Church without learning about what it truly teaches.  I, however, spent over five years of my life as a Protestant and was very involved – learning all I could about Protestantism.   I understand the Protestant mindset as much as as the Catholic mindset. So, don’t attack me about this or that doctrine because I had heard and evaluated all those tedious and tired old arguments and had come to terms with them in my heart.

    Now, I am going to tell you what happened.  My wife and I got married.  The church that we were at did not seem to celebrate marriage in the way that a church should.  They implied that marriage is a poison to their church plants and that married couples should not be in the leadership of their church plants at least during the first year.  While this may make perfect sense in the secular world and the world where the divorce rate is around 50%, it makes no sense whatsoever to the Christian mindset and those with a truly transformed mind – marriage is forever.  Apparently, this church does not believe it to be so.  My wife and I felt God calling us to a church that actually believes in marriage, believes that GOD Himself institutes marriage as the Bible says, and that it is forever because GOD has joined and nothing can divide.  The fact that this church entertains the possibility of divorce reveals that they are defeated already as they have entertained something false.

    The Catholic Church believes that marriage is forever.  There is no divorce in the Catholic Church, period.  While I am not going to get into specifics and details about other things, I am going tell you parts of the story to communicate how God led not only me, but also my wife, a Protestant to the Catholic Church.  There is no question in my mind that God speaks to me.  I had communicated this on the blog a million times and no amount of discussion is going to change my mind about the truth.  He had been telling me about His Church for a while and how He wanted me back.  I had an honest conversation with Him about my issues with the (1) doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and (2) doctrine of the Infallibility of the Pope.  And, I also told Him that if this is really His Church, then my wife will return to it too since we are one family.  He told me, “Nothing is impossible with Me.

    Last year during New Year’s Eve, my wife and I were having a date and then movie.  We were having a great time.  Suddenly, we were surprised by the gift of a generous woman – she paid for our meal (see blog). Today, I am going to reveal that the name of that woman was Mary.  After the meal, we went to the movie theater to watch a movie and the person who took our tickets was named Joseph.  Mary and Joseph.  Mary and Joseph.  Think about that for a moment.  Think about the possibility of that occurring (of course it’s 100% because it had already happened, but what are the chances of it occurring).  Think about the possibility of that occurring on the eve of Mary’s feast day in the Catholic Church.  Think about the possibility of that occurring after I had a conversation with God about my wife and Catholicism.  My wife knew right away what God was telling her – yes, God speaks to her too!  God told her to marry me, that’s the story of our marriage and some people never accepted it – some even thought we made it up.  Now, God speaks to us again through others and tells us to return to the Church started by Jesus Himself, not by Luther, not by a man, but by God!

    Now, God leads us both back to the Catholic Church very clearly.  I didn’t need to convince my wife.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit and God Himself that led us back.  Mary and Joseph are honored in the Catholic Church, so it was clear to my wife that God was answering her prayer for direction.  Anyway, it was an answer to my prayer too because it clearly revealed to me that the two doctrines that I had issues with were true and correct (I do not need to explain this to you – if you don’t get than you don’t get it, there are others who will and there are others who have).  God Himself backed it up and those who have eyes will see.  Some call this event a miracle and some even felt chills down their backs when the story was told to them (as I said those who have eyes will see).  While some of you may not believe it, it is your prerogative.

    My wife is becoming Catholic this Easter vigil.  I did not need to convince her.  I did not need to tell her anything about doctrines and such.  God wanted us both back in His Church and He led us there (His sheep hears His voice).  The first time that we entered the church where my wife is to become Catholic, it was the feast of the transfiguration.  The day of her rite of election has the transfiguration as the Gospel reading.  What are the chances of that?  What is the message that God is telling her?  

    Copyright 2013 by Christenstein

  • Wonderful Christmas

    My wife and I had a very wonderful Christmas with both sides of the family and with Jesus.  We celebrated mass three times —  in the evening on Christmas eve, midnight mass, and morning mass on Christmas day.  You cannot celebrate the birth of Christ so much because it is a wonderful miracle that God became man.

    During the four weeks before Christmas, we prepared for Christmas by daily meditations and participating in the Advent tradition.  There were many reflections and meditations which we found very helpful and beneficial, especially relating to the hope that is in Christ Jesus, the peace that is in Christ Jesus, the patience that is in Christ Jesus, and the love that is in Christ Jesus — all relating to waiting for the celebration of His birth as well as anticipating His second coming.  There is hope in knowing that He will come again.  There is peace in knowing that He will bring it when He does.  It was a really a test of patience having to deal with talking about Christmas for a month and waiting for it to arrive — all that anticipation made the celebration much much more meaningful this year.  And, of course, we learned more about His love through the meditations and reflections during the Advent season.  It was a great experience and we think we will incorporate Advent into our traditions.

    We had a lot of fun this December!

    May the Christmas Season continue to be with you all!


  • Dying to Self

    John 12:24-26

    I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life. If a man serves me, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

    Jesus tells His disciples and us a parable to illustrate the importance of dying to self and honoring God.  The best example of dying to self and honoring God is Jesus’ bodily death and resurrection.  The cross, central to the Christian life, reveals to us the importance of dying to self and allowing God, our potter, to mold and shape us into the instruments that He created us to be.  The cross reveals to us that Jesus gave up everything He had for His Church.

    Following Jesus’ example, we are challenged to die to ourselves and love His Church.  Saint Lawrence allowed the grace of God to flow through him and into the world.  His story was one incredible story of boldness and a deep assurance on God’s word and His promise to provide.  The prefect of Rome wanted Saint Lawrence to gather all of the Church’s wealth and give them to Him.  Instead of handing the wealth over, Saint Lawrence gave the wealth to the poor.  When the prefect of Rome asked Saint Lawrence where the wealth of the church is, he pointed to the poor and said, “Here is the treasure of the church.”  For his boldness, he was burned alive.  He gave up everything to preach the gospel and remind the Church how precious they are in the eyes of the Lord.

    Jesus sees us as His treasure.  He tells us that we are pearls in a field that a person would sell everything he had to obtain.  Having reflected on these scriptures and on the example that Saint Lawrence reveals, I am challenged to see whether I treasure the Church and whether my life reflects that my brothers and sisters, the bride of Christ, is as close to my heart as it is close Christ’s heart.  For Saint Lawrence, it is clear that the Church was close to his heart and what he did reveals the love that Jesus has for His church.  I am encouraged to reveal Jesus’ love for His Church in whatever way He shows me, whether it be small or big, it is all to honor the Father.

    A Reflection on Devotion for Today’s Readings

    Copyright 2012 by Christenstein

  • Faith: Coming to Jesus

    The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

    Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

    Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

    He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

    The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

    He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

    “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

    Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. (Matt 15:21-28)

    Some time ago, when I read this passage, I thought it was about the faith of the Canaanite woman in Jesus to heal her daughter.  And, it does seem that her faith is unwavering as she continues to plead with Jesus to heal her daughter.  What we see here is a faith that is acted in actions, a living faith.  The Canaanite woman did not only believe that Jesus could heal her daughter, she acted this belief and continued to ask Jesus to heal her daughter despite the refusal.

    Sometimes, I wonder if we come to Jesus in the way this Canaanite woman did.  I wonder if we believe in Him so much that we continue to go towards Him instead of away from Him.  I wonder if our faith changes our lives and that we put our faith into action.  What I find interesting here is that Jesus literally turns her away.  I believe that Jesus did this to show us what it means to have living faith.  Here, the Canaanite woman believed and she put her belief into action.  Later, Saint James tells us that faith without deeds is dead. Some people think that Jesus was impressed with people’s faith when they come to Him against all odds.  I believe that Jesus already knew their faith; because faith is a gift from God, God already knows our faith.  Here, I believe that Jesus was not astonished with the Canaanite woman’s faith, but stated “Woman, you have great faith!” so that we can see what an example of what living faith is all about.

    Faith without deeds is dead.  Here, the Canaanite woman continued to look towards Jesus and did not turn around and leave like some others did. With our faith, do we continue to seek Jesus and continue to go towards Him.  Do we ever turn our back on Him and leave?  Will our faith withstand the test of the world and will we endure to the end?  Will we invite others to come to Jesus too and to experience His love and compassion just as Jesus did here?

    Copyright 2012 by Christenstein