Holy Scripture: “It’s True. All Of It.”

creation, nature, moon

creation, nature, moon

In case you are one of the five people on earth who has not yet viewed the trailer for the new Star Wars movie, let me tell you about its short exposition of why we believe Holy Scripture even though we did not personally hear Jesus speak, have not had our cancer cured by His touch, or put our hand into the wound in His side.

In the new movie, The Force Awakens, it is some years, some decades since the Rebel Alliance fought the evil Galactic Empire.  Obi Wan, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker are at best dim memories for most folks.  Rey, a young girl who, evidently, is to become a Jedi Knight, has heard about The Force and the Jedi Knights. She wonders if all she has heard are only stories?  She tells an aging Han Solo “There are stories about what happened.” Han realizes she is using the word “story” as if to say “just stories.” He tells her: “It is true, All of it.”  This is sufficient for her. With this actual eyewitness, and what she knows about him, Han Solo saying it is true is a good enough reason to believe.

Do we each have our own Han Solo?  Why does anyone believe what the Catholic Church believes and teaches?  In terms of some of science and in terms of the logic and the reasoning of many agnostics and atheists, much of Church teaching and dogma is simply BS – baloney stories.  Yet millions have in the past and millions today do believe “all of it”.

There are a few, a very few people, John Henry Newman comes to mind, who are such intellectual giants that they study all the history, all the Scripture, all the writings of the church fathers and the doctors of the church, and they conclude, primarily from a viewpoint of logic and reason, that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, that Jesus is God, and that the Church teachings are true.  These people are very rare.

Most of us, true believers, believe because we were given the gift of faith and we had a Han Solo in our lives.  That person had someone in their lives, and so on and so on, back to that new follower around the year 60 A.D. who said to an Apostle “Is this just a story? How do I know it is true?”

This Apostle would have told a catechumen that he saw Jesus Christ with his own eyes and heard Him with his own ears, and touched Him with his own hands. The Apsotle would recount how he personally saw the miracles, heard the Sermon on the Mount and witnessed the passion and death of Jesus (e.g., see Acts 10:38-43; 2 Pet 1:16-19; 1 Jn 1:1-4; Jn 2-:26-31; Lk 1:1-4; Rev 22:8). But there would be more – otherwise, with an alleged testimony alone, there would be no reason to believe what was heard.  The “more” were the lives, and the deaths, of the Apostles and of those who had seen the Lord. In daily acts of love and kindness, and in most cases by their own  deaths as martyrs, the Apostles and the first Christians would “prove” that what they said was the truth and that Jesus was the Truth.

It was the same for me. First and foremost, my mother not only told me the “stories,” not only prayed with me, she loved me every moment.  And then I was blest with nuns who drilled the catechism into me; nuns who lived with vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; nuns whose lives to kids like me were simply lives of service to us and love, some of us the urhciest of all urchins. (Mother Xavier and Mother Cabrini of the Brigidines, thank you; Sister Mary Margaret of the Incarnate Word, forgive me.)

Blessings continued on in high school when incredibly real men, the manliest of men, the “missionaries to the most difficult missions” tried to evangelize me – the brothers and priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  They did not just say it, they lived a resounding “It is all true,” and the blessings to me cannot be measured. And so it continued in college with the service to me of the brothers and priests of the Society of Mary. I have come to realize that God knew His gift of faith to me had to be energized with His gift of these folks who by their lives told, and sometimes shouted to me, the Truth.

Following college and later education, throughout my life I have been blest with Han Solos at every turn. Not just those ordained and those in vows, but teachers, co-workers, friends, and mere acquaintances – like the guy who changed my oil, the lady at the highway toll booth, the man who sharpened my knives – who, by the way they treat me and the way they love me, tell me another part of the story.  For some of them, the only connection I have are words on the Internet – but the story is the same, the love is the same, and the truth is true.

“Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20:29). For me, as I am sure for many, if we are at all blest because of belief,  even though we have not seen, it is because others lived the story of Jesus and His Church, and they lived it for us. It is because the love of others has  proved that this “story”  is all true.

Copyright  © 2015 Guy McClung

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16 thoughts on “Holy Scripture: “It’s True. All Of It.””

  1. Claire Dalton Pak

    This is the first thing I thought of when I saw this scene. I’m a catechist at our parish and I want to use the trailer as a way to teach about the early Church, and why Christianity spread throughout the world.

    1. Dear Claire-Your coment made me feel so good. Thank you. You might also like, for catechesis, Every Person Is A Divine Revelation at the catholiclane site. In the past I remember many years teaching CCE-and a “hook” to what was current ususally worked, esp with 6th graders. Thank you for your service to others. Your service is another reason “Christianity spread throughout the world.” Guy McClung

  2. In John 9 Jesus heals a blind man. The man does not know who Jesus is, but he does know the voice of the healer. When Jesus asks the formerly-blind man, in the voice the man knows, “Do you believe in the Son of Man,” the man, trusting in Jesus, says “Who is he that I may believe in Him?” Jesus says to him that “You now see him” and “He is standing in front of you.” Today Jesus does not personally in the flesh “stand in front” of each of us; but He does use members of His Mystical Body to “stand in front of” His sheep. Interestingly in John 9 Jesus says “While I am in the world, I am the light of
    the world;” but today Jesus, in this way, is not “in the world.” He is in the world in us. And so it makes sense in Matthew 5 when Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Each of us is now Jesus the “light of the world” for others, a Han Solo for the Light Side Of The Force. Some men and women in the Church have
    relinquished or destroyed their own moral authority and their credibility; and some have extrapolated this to the alleged loss of credibility of Jesus’s entire Church; but anyone who lets the Light Of The World shine on others through them is a credible messenger of Jesus.

    Guy McClung, San Antonio

  3. We indeed have to thank God every day – all day for those that have brought us his message in thought and action. James it is time to listen and not speak. Listen to our Pope Francis, who cannot speak without pronouncing the Love of God. It is the Holy Spirit who inevitably leads us into understanding and accepting that all encompassing Love, which is real – tangible.

  4. Very nicely put, Guy but you miss the entire point of contention about the credibility of the CC. It’s not in the miracles or life of Jesus that even those of little faith have a problem with what is passed down. Let me attach
    but two addendum to the words of our Savior to make an obvious point that you seem oblivious to.
    Matt 19:14 “ Let the children come to Me for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” ( And Oh, by
    the way, this doesn’t apply to babies who die before being baptized as they will never see God )
    Matt 15:11 “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man but what commeth out of the mouth which
    makes him unclean.” ( Unless of course you eat meat on Friday in which case all bets are off unless it changes.)
    It’s this gross insult to both reason and intellect that has emptied the churches and scattered the flock while
    the finger of blame lies not in the early church who would reel at such pronouncements but in the theologians
    speaking for a worldly church who are counted among the “very rare.”

    1. It would help if you would actually familiarize yourself with what the Catholic Church actually teaches before making such charges. A good place to start would be the Catechism.

      For your first point, see

      1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

      Your second point is best addressed by Luke 16:10:

      He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that which is greater.

      There are, of course, many exceptions to the “no meat on Fridays” rule, and in many cases it is no more than a venial sin anyhow. Certainly it is not the food itself that is wrong or unclean — otherwise, the Church would be vegetarian — but there is a time and a place for every good thing. It’s not a sin to eat broccoli, even on a Friday, but if you’re munching on broccoli in the pews, you will be (or at least should be) turned away from Communion, because you are breaking the Communion fast. (You are also acting like a jerk if you are eating your veggies in church.) Eat all the broccoli you want after Mass, though. Neither the “no meat on Fridays” nor the “no broccoli during the Mass” rule is burdensome, though.

    2. Get back to us when you love making knowledgeable comments. For example, it is not a “catch-22” to say that we know the way God usually shows His mercy, but that He is of course free to show mercy in ways we do not know. That’s actually the opposite of a catch-22. Also, no one had mentioned or even implied Limbo until your comment.

    3. ” For example, it is not a “catch-22″ to say that we know the way God usually shows
      His mercy, but that He is of course free to show mercy in ways we do not know.”

      Then the CC has no business presuming that God will not.

      ” …no one had mentioned or even implied Limbo …”

      Because it is an embarrassment that such a great theologian(s) as St Augustine and
      others thunk it up to balance, on the backs of grieving parents, the literal take that
      spoiled his view on Baptism being the only way. This is what happens when you take
      things too literally.

    4. “Then the CC has no business presuming that God will not.” That’s why I (1) included the paragraph number from the Catechism and (2) bold-faced the relevant portions. You are accusing the Catholic Church of making an assumption that is directly refuted in the Catechism. The Catholic Church does not make any presumption whatsoever about the mercy of God.

      Limbo — and by this you mean the Limbo of the Infants — is a red herring.

      As an aside, you seem to be writing your comments in a word processor and cutting and pasting them into Disqus. If you’re going to do that, be careful to remove the hard carriage returns, or your formatting will suffer.

    5. ” The CC doesn’t make any presumption whatsoever about the mercy of God.

      But it does presume to list what it considers venial and mortal So if God is the final judge it is presumption to preach a most severe consequence. The CC is the only church to my knowledge that hands down these sentences at the same time it lays
      out the 2nd condition for sin – you must know it’s wrong – which nullifies the sentence. Using the intellect and reason of 21st century people and factoring in a checkered history of abuse and power it is no wonder there is a very large number
      of ex, lapsed, cafeteria and dissenting registered by birth Catholics out there going from irrelevant to indifferent. And as far as the Communion issue it MAY have been an issue to those concerned at ONE time but something tells me it’s not any more. I am only here to point out obvious contradictions amassed under the tutelage of two fine orders of nuns under the heavy influence of Jesuit thinking. So if I get annoying … blame them.

      Not technically savvy enough to appreciate the advice on Disqus which just caused me a whole bunch of grief. I don’t know what a hard carriage return is.

    6. Once again, READ THE CATECHISM. The Church says that some sins are grave, and a grave sin is potentially a mortal sin. Because two of the conditions of mortal sin are known, really, only to God (the sinner himself not even being sure in many circumstances), it is not actually true that the Church “does presume to list what it considers venial and mortal”. Those two conditions are that the grave sin must be entered into with full knowledge and full consent of the will.

      Technology notwithstanding, I see no evidence that the intellect of 21st century man is improved over that of his ancestors. Compare any speech from the 2016 election season to a random speech from the 1916 election season and I think you’ll see what I mean. That’s a real downer of a subject, though.

      Listen, I’ll go so far as to agree that your bitterness towards the Catholic Church, and your confusion about what the Church teaches, is in no small measure the fault of Catholics in your life who should have done a better job. In just the same way, I encounter students all the time who owe their fear and hatred of math and science to bad teachers. I just hope that I’m not doing that kind of damage myself — I know I should be a better instructor and a better Catholic. But if worst comes to worst, you can still read the Catechism for yourself, just like you can read math books for yourself. That isn’t the easiest way to learn and it’s not the ideal way to learn, but sometimes it has to do.

      A carriage return is what we used to call it when we used real typewriters. I mean the end of a line, the thing you cause to happen when you hit return. I often cut and paste from web pages to save time in typing out Bible verses or passages like the one from the Catechism above. This picks up html code telling the browser to start a new line, only it’s not obvious at first because on the original web page a new line is appropriate. I usually find a few overlooked carriage returns, or whatever you want to call them, in anything I have cut and pasted, so I edit them out as soon as I see them.

    7. I’ll go so far as to agree that your bitterness towards the Catholic Church, and your confusion about what the Church teaches, is in no small measure the fault of Catholics in your life who should have done a better job.

      No bitterness here. No confusion either. Vat II spelled it all out. In the next
      several hundred years the CC will have refined its dogma and tradition to include
      and LEAD the world into a all encompassing view of God. This will include the teaching
      of the transmigration of souls. St JP II and Francis didn’t visit those Buddhist monks for
      photo ops, Howard, they broke the ground for a new understanding of some very
      obvious gospel passages that point to this refined understanding of what hell and
      purgatory really means. The “red herring” Limbo is a smoking gun that the CC’s most holy and esteemed theologians made serious mistakes in their purview of theology -they lived in barbaric times that hindered their ability to think freely. St Augustine would be in the ICU being treated for shock if he knew that the CC finally allowed its members to think freely about what he believed was written in stone tradition – that is the literal believe in Adam and Eve. Today we understand the allegory and it in no way lessens Genesis. Fast forward to AD 2515 and you can see why today’s trads and conservatives will be left in the dust in their understanding of God. Anyway thanks for responding and have a great day.

    8. Sorry, but the many mistakes you have made in your claims is clear evidence of confusion. However, neither of us is going to convince the other, particularly over this medium.

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