Are Prayers Effective?

There have been several scientific studies on the efficacy of prayer. The Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP), financed by the John Templeton Foundation, found that prayers had no effect on the recovery of 1,802 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Patients at six US hospitals were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Group 1 patients received intercessory prayers but were told that they might or might not receive prayers. Group 2 patients did not receive prayers but were told that they might or might not receive prayers. Group 3 patients received prayers and were told that they would receive prayers.

Three different Christian groups were asked to pray for the patients, using only the patients’ first names and the initials of their last names. The Christian participants could pray in whatever way they like; however, they must include the phrase “for a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications” in their prayers.

The authors of the study found that “[in]tercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications”.

Does this mean that prayers are not effective?

In my opinion, all scientific studies on the efficacy of prayers are doomed to failure and there are three reasons for it:

First of all, God should never be put to the test.

Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 6:16)

Secondly, God is not a vending machine that dispenses things on request.

Thirdly, God is not obligated to answer every prayer made to Him.

While it is true that Jesus told us in John 14:13, “And anything that you will ask in my name I shall do for you, that The Father may be glorified in his Son”, God knows what is best for us. God does not always answer our prayers the way we want.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:7–11)

Not all prayers are answered the way we want. In Luke 22 31–32, we read that Jesus prayed for Simon Peter to stand firm in his faith: “And I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail, and when you are restored, confirm your brothers.” Jesus’ prayer was not answered the way He wanted; Simon Peter did disown Jesus three times as Jesus predicted: “Before a rooster shall crow, you shall deny me three times.” (Luke 22:61)

I believe in the power of prayer. Praying for others is the easiest way to help others. Nevertheless, it is always up to God whether or not our prayers will be answered and how they will be answered.

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Veneration of Relics

It was reported on that “[t]housands of Canadians across Canada have attended public veneration for the right forearm of St Francis Xavier”. Veneration of relics has been a practice of the Catholic Church for centuries. The relics venerated include heads, hair, fingers, fingernails, arms, tongue, dried blood, skin.

Catholics are told that it is proper to venerate the relics of martyrs and saints. In his letter to Riparius, a presbyter of Aquitaine who preached against the worship of relics, St. Jerome wrote, “We do not worship relics, we do not adore them, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the Creator. But we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore Him whose martyrs they are.” (Letter 109)

The Catholic Church and St. Jerome are both wrong.

First of all, we should worship only God. Veneration of relics is actually a violation of God’s First Commandment, which states:

I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.

Secondly, relics are body parts of the dead, and dead bodies remain dead.

They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased; they shall not rise …. (Isaiah 26:14)

There is a story in the Old Testament about a miracle being performed when a dead body touched the bones of a holy person:

Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. (2 Kings 13 20–22)

However, there is much about the story that we do not know. Who was the man? How did he die? Is it possible that he wasn’t really dead when he was being buried?

Catholics have been given many reasons for venerating relics. What they do not know is that the tradition of venerating relics leads them away from God, Whom alone they should adore and worship.

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Mother of God

Just as the Trinity doctrine is a man-made doctrine, “Mother of God” is also a man-made title conferred on Mary by the Council of Ephesus in 431. In my opinion, it is not proper to call Mary “Mother of God”.

God created the heavens and the earth. It boggles the mind that people could even have suggested that God have a mother. It boggles the mind further that Catholics still believe so.

If you ever attended a Catholic Mass, you would hear the priest say during the Eucharistic Prayer to God:

… Have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with the blessed Apostles, and all the Saints who have pleased You throughout the ages, we may merit to be coheirs to eternal life, and may praise and glorify You through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Catholics have been brainwashed through the centuries. They meekly and passively accept what the Catholic Church teaches, without ever using their God-given intellect to think things through. No wonder they don’t find it nonsensical to hear the title “Mother of God” in the Eucharistic Prayer.

Mary is Jesus’ mother, she has a special place in Heaven, but she is not the Mother of God. Mary set us a shining example: she showed us what it means to do the will of God. Mary deserves our reverence, but she should never be called “Mother of God”.

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Why is There Always Evil? Why Doesn’t God Wipe out Evil?

While the Bible is a very important book for Christians and Catholics alike, there are many questions to which the Bible does not seem to have an answer. Here are two questions many people ask: Why is there always evil? Why doesn’t God wipe out evil?

The world belongs to Satan, as we read in Luke 4:5–6;:

And Satan took him up to a high mountain, and he showed him all the Kingdoms of the earth in a short time. And The Devil said to him, I shall give you all this dominion and its glory, for it is delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I want.

There is evil in the world because Satan owns the world. However, there is also good in the world because there is a divine spark, which we call a conscience, in us that urges us to do good. There will always be evil because evil serves a purpose. Evil is the opposite of good. Evil is here so that we can recognize and appreciate what is good. Evil is here so that we can have the opportunity to choose good. Evil is here so that we can develop spiritually, to become what we were meant to be.

Thus he also has to know of the power of evil; he has to get to know it so that he can despise it and choose between one and the other. For this reason evil cannot be expelled from the world or the human being could never make a free decision of will. And this is God’s influence on human beings, which is not denied to him because he can, at the same time, release the powers of good, that is, the human will is prompted to aspire for good or for bad. (The Word of God, Proclamation 3359)

You humans have to believe that you are the fallen original spirits, that the path across this Earth is transient and only requires a test of will in order to regain your true nature, to create and work in My kingdom as blessed spirits once again, providing you don’t fail and then have to repeat the development through all works of the Creation. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8944)

Some people may say, “If God is loving and omnipotent, why doesn’t He wipe out evil?”

Yes, God is loving and omnipotent, but it doesn’t mean that He will wipe out evil. God wants us to make a free decision of will. Man is the crowning glory of God’s creations. Man is the only creation given a free will. All other creations, living and non-living, are here to serve. They provide man with a means to live so that man can focus on the real purpose of his earthly life, that is, to return to God of his own volition. Just as the Tree of Knowledge existed to test the will of Adam and Eve, evil exists to test the will of their descendants.

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Going to Mass

To Catholics, there is no other religious service more important than Mass, which is a non-bloody re-enactment of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, God is not satisfied with this external ritual.

And the same happens nowadays: a formal religious service giving due consideration to all rites and customs, demonstrating to the world the union with God whilst the heart of the individual is far removed from this intimate bond with Him. It is just pretence and deception; there is no longer any truthfulness in people’s way of life. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8686)

I Am not satisfied with the fact that you perform external rituals and acts in the belief that I Myself will then be in you, that you unite yourselves with Me when you take part in the ceremonies which you understand as the Lord’s Supper, as Holy Communion. (The Word of God, Proclamation 7909)

According to Paragraph 2181 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, not going to Mass is a grave sin.

The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

For this reason, some Catholics continue to go to Mass even though their hearts are not in it. Catholics have been taught the wrong doctrines all their lives. They are afraid to question, not to mention part with, these wrong doctrines, in the fear that they may go to Hell if they dare to do so. And so they will remain in error until they are enlightened by grace.

Nowadays people will not want to part with the doctrines handed down to them by people either and will therefore always remain in error, because they refuse to accept the pure truth which can only be granted to them from above, from the Eternal Truth. Yet such a gift of grace requires free voluntary acceptance. The truth cannot be forcibly conveyed to people who are unwilling to accept it. And therefore it is difficult to root out misguided teachings even if these are substantiated and amended to them as being wrong. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8686)

As long as they remain in their wrong thinking they will not be able to partake in the bliss of the kingdom of the beyond, which can only ever guarantee enlightenment. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8686)

Jesus never instituted Mass, a man-made religious service which is utterly worthless in the eyes of God.

And you, who receive the truth from God, shall challenge this pretence of worship and remember that even Jesus during His life on Earth did not support those who upheld wrong doctrines and tried to justify their pretence of worship as the only one pleasing to God and who condemned everything that contradicted their teachings. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8686)

The importance of enlightening you regarding the contamination of the doctrine which is supposed to come from Me is shown by the fact that people who mainly observe human additions are ignoring My teaching. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8829)

As soon as you realise that the sole purpose of your earthly life is your transformation into love, you will understand the significance of My teaching of love and liberate yourselves from all ceremony which, in My eyes, is nothing but ceremony, worthless formality. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8829)

God wants us to transform ourselves into love, not attend worthless services.

What then is the use of such “divine service” where you fulfil duties which I cannot value? And you believe you can make up for all your heartless actions by more eager church going and fulfilment of performances invented by men. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8829)

Your thinking will be right, your spirit will teach you from within, and you will free yourselves from all wrong doctrines. You will seek solitude more often and receive a richer blessing than by the “divine service” in which you now participate. (The Word of God, Proclamation 8829)

You people only have one way to achieve maturity of soul on Earth: you have to live in love. Thus you can do what you like; you can zealously observe the laws decreed by people, you can comply with all regulations which are supposedly necessary, but your spiritual development will not progress one iota if you disregard love. (The Word of God, Proclamation 7690)

You live a wrong life if you feel committed to denominational customs and traditions, to ceremonies and implementations of duty; you are wasting the energy of life which is given to you by Me for gaining spiritual strength on Earth, and this can only be acquired by deeds of love. (The Word of God, Proclamation 7690)

How can you humans reconcile My wisdom with what you have built, with what you believe to be the “Church of Christ”? How could I find pleasure in traditions and customs, in activities which are presented to you as “My will”? I can and will only take pleasure in those carrying out works of love. (The Word of God, Proclamation 7690)

Going to Mass will not lead us to God; doing deeds of love will.

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Is God Present in Churches

I have been to quite a few famous churches in various cities, St. Peter’s Basilica, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Patheon, Santa Maria Del Fiore, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Holy Sepulchre Church, Church of the Annunciation, to name a few. While most of these churches look splendid and magnificent, I never sensed the presence of God while I was there.

One therefore ought to ask these two questions: Is God present in these magnificent churches? Is God present in any church at all?

I believe not.

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands … (Acts 7:48)

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:24)

It does not correspond to My will that ostentatious and splendid buildings get erected for Me at a time when it is particularly important for people to look within themselves and not towards things which still belong to the world and which do not encourage striving for My kingdom with its magnificence and glory. Everything that captivates your eyes or appeals to your senses prevents you from introspection, from the contemplation of your inner self, which is so essential for you because the end is not far. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)

Why do you think that you must honour Me with magnificent buildings? Why do you always externalise everything instead of working on improving your souls more eagerly? You people still do not understand that I cannot be found where you want to place Me. You all have the means to let Me be present in you. And therefore it is foolish of you to want to build houses for Me which serve no other purpose than to periodically assemble people who live according to wrong concepts. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)

Those who want to speak to Me can do so in their hearts and wherever they are; they truly need no assembly halls which so appeal to the eye that they make all deep reflection impossible. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)

But how can your soul awaken to life by external events, by worldly pomp and splendour, by constant feasts for your eyes and ears, by everything that affects a person’s external senses but cannot give life to the soul. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)

Do good to your neighbour, ease his burden, try to help in every possible way, care for and give to your fellow human being what he is spiritually and physically in need of; but do not erect dead structures whose production does not comply with My will, especially since the physical hardship on Earth is so great that it would be far more pleasing to Me if you would lessen this adversity. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)

A pure human heart capable of love is the only temple in which I Myself will dwell, and therefore I need not be sought in particular places at certain times and in a particular form. (The Word of God, Proclamation 4519)

God is not present in churches made with hands, be they magnificent or not. God is present in people’s hearts which blaze with love for Him and for their neighbour.

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Violence, War and Destruction

Every day we hear about violence, war and destruction. It therefore begs the question: Why is there never-ending violence, war and destruction?

The answer is actually quite simple. God created the material world to shelter us, the fallen spirits, so that we can eventually return to Him. The material world, however, belongs to Satan, whose goal is to thwart God’s plan of Salvation, that is, to forever enslave the fallen spirits and the spiritual substances bound in matter.

Everything visible to your eyes testifies to God’s love; it was created to help the fallen substance, to elevate it from its sunken state, and therefore every work of Creation should be seen as an emanation of divine love and be respected and valued accordingly. None of God’s creations may be wilfully destroyed, for then its function, its intended purpose, will be prevented. (The Word of God, Proclamation 3300)

Everything that is transient in the world belongs to My adversary, that is, all matter shelters imperfect spirits which My adversary once turned against Me and which therefore still oppose Me. Material Creation came into being through My will, and he has no authority over it. And yet this world belongs to him, for he can boast that the spiritual substances bound in matter are the product of his will. (The Word of God, Proclamation 4965)

Satan on his own cannot wreak havoc. He needs human beings to do his dirty work, and will use all means to do so.

My adversary has no control over the spiritual substances which are still bound in matter. However, he tries to use it all the more on the final material form which shelters the spiritual being, on the human being in the stage of free will. He cannot force the human being to become enslaved by him, yet he can seduce him in every way and try to cause him to maliciously destroy material creations as well. Thus he uses the human being to accomplish his will after all: the destruction of matter. (The Word of God, Proclamation 4965)

He tries to arouse or to increase the human being’s greed for matter and thereby also trigger instincts in him which do not shy away from destroying matter in order to enrich himself or to amass possessions, thereby taking their actual purpose of releasing themselves through being of service away from them, because the human being himself prevents the inherent spiritual substance from being helpful. (The Word of God, Proclamation 4965)

God values construction. Satan incites destruction.

Every work of Creation by God or by a human being who just wants to work constructively should be respected. The destructive principle denotes the actions of God’s adversary. (The Word of God, Proclamation 3300)

To destroy such creations results in the interruption of the spirit’s progress of development and can never be justified before God, as in fact all destruction of matter has to be motivated by love to be justifiable before God. Consequently, if destruction takes place for the purpose of producing objects which are helpful to people, which serve a useful purpose, the destruction is justified for the love of other people. (The Word of God, Proclamation 3300)

God demands love for one’s neighbour. Satan encourages love for oneself at the expense of others.

Thus unkindness is the soul’s eternal ruin, for a soul who still languishes in profound darkness is wretched. It has become a victim of the one who is devoid of love himself and also wants to prepare this state for souls who allow themselves to be influenced by him, who are full of self-love and only ever treat their fellow human beings unkindly, because they are seduced by Satan, because he wants to transfer his own feelings to people in order to enslave them. Unkindness is the death of the soul; it poisons people’s thoughts, so that the results of thinking are lies and ill will which generate acts of hatred and in turn will result in evil again. (The Word of God, Proclamation 5322)

And neither can it be otherwise, for where there is love there is God, where unkindness and hatred reveal themselves there is Satan. (The Word of God, Proclamation 5322)

God is where love is. Satan is where hate is. Satan’s goal is to deprive us of the opportunity of returning to God. As long as the world lacks love, Satan is in control and there will be never-ending violence, war and destruction.

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