The Great I Am

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GK Chesterton once opined that “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”  Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives us a perfect example:

The other day, Bob Wright, Georgia’s Episcopal pointy hat, opened a speech before some “interfaith” complete waste of time or other in this fashion:

Good afternoon. Greetings to you in the name of Yahweh the Almighty, in the name of Allah the beneficent and merciful. Greetings to you in the name of the Eternal One who gave the Buddha his great enlightenment, and in the name of the Hindus’ Supreme Being that orders the cosmos.

I guess I could thoroughly document all the ways that that’s not only wrong but actually kind of insulting to many more people than Christians.  But do you know how to tell when you’re just about finished with the Episcopalians?  When you read something like that and the only reaction you can come up with is to say to yourself, “Whatever, Bob.  And why do you hate Zoroastrians, bigot?”

Go here to read the comments.  The mindset of Mr. Wright infests many who call themselves Christians today, even within the Church.  It is hard for me to convey not only how mistaken this is, but how truly evil it is.  Christ and the Jews who did not follow Him gave us an example of what I mean:

[57] The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [58] Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. [59] They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

John 8: 57-59

Jesus in this passage stated that He is God, the great I AM that revealed Himself to Moses.  The Jews who did not believe Him were ready to stone Him for this blasphemy.

Religion is not a matter of pleasantries or polite platitudes.  It is a striving for Eternal Truth and Eternal Salvation.  The Jews who were willing to stone Jesus because they believed he had blasphemed God, even if they had killed Him with their stones, would not have insulted God a fraction as much as the banal “your faith is as good, or as worthless, as mine” musings of Mr. Wright.  CS Lewis put it well:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Christ is the great I AM and the cavalier way that Christians treat that great truth today is a mortal sin that is eating away at Christianity.

More to explorer

PopeWatch: Done

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:   Hours after the first day of

Fly Me to the Moon

  Something for the weekend.  Fly Me to the Moon seems appropriate for a year in which we observe the 50th anniversary

Brightness to the Sun

  This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth-day of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washington


  1. Reminds me of the disregard shown by the people depicted in the first reading for Friday’s Mass. (I Samuel 8: 4 – 22)

    Samuel was getting old and the people wanted him to appoint a king to judge them. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and, then, he delivered the message to the people. The Lord said to grant their request, “It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.” At the end of the message of the Lord to the people was a warning. “When this takes place, you will complain against the king whom you have chosen, but on that day the Lord will not answer you.”

    The happenings described in that message can be very well said about the enormity of current events and developments among the people.

  2. per Pat, “It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.” Dare we hope that people will reject Obama as their king? 🙂

  3. The absolute cacophony of lies and unbelief is deafening. Christian religious leaders no longer know who God is. Pat’s point is well taken– we are collectively rejecting what we do know of God, revealed, and drifting into some ideas of our own.

    … we’ve talked about part of this problem recently on TAC: about the confusion of Allah with God the Father. And confusion is understandable, after all, we have tried so hard to be nice and not triumphal about the great treasure of our religion. Be self effacing and demure about it.
    Our pope thought it important, with his limited time, to tell the world that God isn’t Catholic. (no accompanying catechesis) Why, some may wonder, be Catholic ? God Himself is not Catholic. The Almighty is way beyond that…probably He includes the whole pantheon of gods mentioned. It boggles my mind to much to try to think how God could encompass the non-god of atheism–the am not was not never will be.
    The pope seems to loosen the sense of order in the Church, opens the door to speculation about the authority of the Church to judge sinfulness. (that makes me wonder how a priest would ever know what to forgive and what to retain). And be less traditional (like the connection we have always seen of Christ washing feet of his disciples to the call of priests) (priests are nothing special) could’ve washed women’s feet, after all wouldn’t a loving Jesus do that?
    The church itself seems to have been picking away at the idea of hierarchy (order).. really should anybody actually be in charge? or should it just be what each one, (in good faith mind you) thinks is right? Primacy of Conscience. We should not identify who might be specially honorable priest unless they reach that arbitrary age of 64. Otherwise the people might know who the good shepherds are and go to them.
    The most important thing is to not be too hard on the people who kill innocent babies and sick or old people. Don’t be too strict about the meaning and purpose of sex, the unique gift to cooperate with God himself in generation
    Bishops and priests blur issues daily it seems, Why wouldn’t the world be confused; the Church sure seems to be.

  4. The church most certainly is confused. I attended Protestant churches for 4 decades & can only recall hearing the Gospel (the death, burial, & resurrection of Jesus Christ) actually explained from the pulpit ONCE in 40 years!! Part of the comfort of attending mass is repeating what the Gospel is every service. Now I believe and understand the creed. But apparently there are many who are saying it who don’t have a clue what it means or are simply mouthing the words without any form of personal commitment or conversion.

    I know a Catholic family who took their child out of a Catholic girls high school because the unbelief of the nuns from whom she was receiving instruction was destroying the young girl’s faith.

    I attended a Methodist service once–emphasize once–because I knew that a very liberal political speaker would be making a presentation on a given Sunday morning. I had been in public meetings at our state Capitol with this political figure–I was there protesting her attempt to put reproductive health clinics in our public schools where children could get birth control including school bus trips to abortion clinics without their parents’ knowledge or consent. I attended the Methodist service just to hear what that idiot had the nerve to say from the pulpit of a church. Let me tell you–I was SHOCKED. And when the minister prayed it absolutely terrified me because he prayed to gods I had never heard of before–none of which were the God of the Bible. That service was filled with witchcraft. I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough.

    If you want to know how confused people who purport to be Christians truly are just ask them if they believe in absolute truth. Please be sure and take some nerve pills and/or blood pressure medicine or at least be sitting down before you listen to their answers!!!

  5. When Christians say that other religious leaders and their “gods” are on a respectably level footing with Jesus, they are saying that his death on the cross and resurrection were not necessary. They stand with Peter at the transfiguration after Jesus told him about his impending death and resurrection: “He took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Matt 16:22-23. That kind of inclusiveness is truly evil.

  6. You know and I know the Truth.

    There’s no easy way to convince others of what we know confess and believe with All of our hearts. On the contrary our mission is a challenge. When we live an authentic Christian life our mission becomes much easier because we realize the He, Jesus, does all of the hard work. He guides our way and places the correct words in our mouth when we must speak.

    Let’s be constantly reminded of those who have gone before us..the Saints..the Martyrs and have confidence that our God, the one true God, will accomplish his work through us if we are humble and simple.

  7. Anzlyne: Thank you and may God bless you for this. The trees have elected a thorn bush to rule over them, both in the White House and in the Vatican. “Our pope thought it important, with his limited time, to tell the world that God isn’t Catholic.” while Georgia’s Episcopal pointy hat, through the courtesy of Christopher Johnson and TAC, tells the world, that God is not human, that God is a thing, like praying to one’s couch: “and in the name of the Hindus’ Supreme Being that orders the cosmos.” The Supreme Sovereign Being is a Trinity of Sovereign Persons WHO order the cosmos, create the rational, immortal, human soul and endow the human being, man, with unalienable rights. No belief and worship of God, no unalienable human rights, for man is created by God to know, to love and to serve God. If man is a soulless thing, like “that” couch, man will be sat upon and discarded.
    Barbara Gordon: You have described what is happening in our culture. Let us remember that it is our sweat and blood, our tax dollars that enable this in our culture, this thorn bush is of our own making.

  8. People are so frightened to be not politically correct. My daughter does ballet. And on opening night of the Nutcracker, the director came out & wished everyone, in this order, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, a Happy Ramadan, and a Merry Christmas… really?? First of all, Nutcracker has a gigantic Christmas tree & party on stage for the first half, but I suppose that the politically correct crowd now calls it a holiday tree. Secondly, Ramadan, is in the summer.

  9. Very good comments ALL! Missy, for our grade school “Holiday Program” an entire 15 minutes of the “Holiday Program” was a play called “What Would Martha Do?” Concerning the trials and tribulations of Martha Stewart getting ready for the “Holidays”. I thought I would die. As I looked over the crowd literally 99% of the families there were Catholic and should have their children in Parochial School including three of MINE! My son was so embarrassed but due to family conflicts his children are not in the Catholic school. I don’t think there was even “We wish you a Merry Christmas”. I do my own religious education with my grandchildren who go to the public school. We are in such trouble. Pray Pray Pray.

  10. Something to take comfort in.

    You, We were born raised and graced to be in this moment. To be present in this struggle for souls. It’s very humbling to me but the Lord saw this time period.
    He had each of you in mind for this era.
    He knew that your talents and acceptance of his Grace would be sufficient and profitable for souls.
    God has great confidence in you!
    Martha Stewart Holiday skits and Coexist bumperstickers. It will continue on and on but no one can take your place in this era of Our Lord. All hell may very well be unleashed on earth but it’s not enough. Poor Satan. Can’t beat the lowliness of a poor Jewish girl who said Yes my Lord…let it be done..for “I am the handmade of the Lord.”

  11. What the Episcopal ‘bishop’ did was inexcusable. Again, a sign that the Episcopal Church has taken in the slogan “the culture transforms the Church”.

    However, since Pope Francis’ quote “God is not a Catholic” has been quoted a couple of times I wonder if anyone really asked themselves what he really meant or just assumed we know what he meant. I know I ‘read’ this but do not see it in the same light as some here have. I read it as “Catholics” do not own God. In fact, the word “Church” in Greek is Kyriake, meaning “belonging to God”. We belong to Him; He does not belong to us. See what I mean?

  12. One notable gems in the bishop’s address:
    “We realize that each tradition at its core and at its best agrees that the cosmos has a brilliant and benevolent bent and that all creation and every human being has worth and dignity that is non-negotiable.”
    The bishop supports a personhood amendment to Georgia’s constitution and perhaps he wanted to give the mayor something to think about. Also, while he invited atheists to work toward a better government, the bishop never stopped saying that God is real and active in our lives.

  13. Instead of focusing on what the Episcopal “bishop” said, I would like to return to Donald’s comment at the end of this post: “Christ is the great I AM and the cavalier way in which Christians treat that great truth is a mortal sin that is eating away at Christianity”

    Jesus is “I AM”, each every time Jesus says “I AM” in John’s Gospel whether it be “Before Abraham was I AM” or one of the seven “I AM” statements: i.e. I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life; I AM the Light of the World; I AM the Bread of Life come down from heaven….; I AM the Good Shepherd; I AM the resurrection and the life, et al. Jesus is identifying Himself as the enfleshed (incarnated) I AM.

    When other New Testament authors and texts speak of the Jesus Christ as “LORD”, they are saying precisely the same thing. He is ‘the LORD’, the “I AM WHO I AM”. He is the fullest revelation of the “I AM”: “Whoever sees Me, see the Father”, Jesus says in John’s Gospel

    We are witnessing the rise of a neo-Arianism today, a denial of any substantial (remember He is consubstantial: homoousios with the Father) unity between the Incarnate Son/Word and the Father. For many Jesus is simply a great moral teacher, an example for us, to be sure, but not LORD and Savior

    As Catholics we need to ‘return to the sources’, in this case our wonderful Nicene-Constantinople Creed. Whether we profess it in the vernacular or Latin we need to return to that text and prayerfully reflect on what each phrase, each word means and to be able to give ‘reason for our faith’ as St Peter put it in his First Letter.

    Islam directly contradicts our confession of faith, that Jesus is “LORD”, the Great “I AM”. If we cannot go deep into what this faith means and what it means for us we will never be able to pass it on to a younger generation or any who come to us from outside the Church.

    However, there is another dimension of the Nicene Faith that does not frequently get mentioned. Who is over the Church?

    See the Arians new exactly what they were doing. In attempting to conform the Christian faith to the Greek Philosophical categories (instead of doing the opposite) the Arians were also secularizing the faith. if Jesus Christ is not the Son of God in the fullest sense of those words, then the Emperor (or whatever other high public office figure you have-such as President) is over the Church and the Faith. There is no real mediator or mediation between God and man; the ‘Emperor” represents God to the people.

    However, if Jesus Christ is truly LORD, homoousios, consubstantial with the Father, than it is the bishop in the image of Christ, who is over the Church (and the Bishop of Rome over the whole Church)

    The neo-Arianism we witness today is a great threat to the Church and her faith.

  14. Botolph: “God is not a Catholic”. Yes. God is Catholic. God cannot be otherwise, but Catholic. If Jesus were not Catholic how could Jesus found and institute the Catholic Church? Inclusivity of atheists, and all the rest, does not impinge on the Catholicity of God. God is Catholic for all people.
    The Real Presence on the altar and the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist are infinitely Catholic.
    If Pope Francis keeps throwing pearls before swine, they will turn on him and tear his to shreds.

  15. Botolph. You gotta be kidding me? Right? “And what was God before the Son was incarnate of the Virgin Mary?”But, I see you are not kidding me. So, I will correct you. “And WHO was God before the incarnate of the Virgin Mary?”
    “I AM WHO I AM” is the name of God. “I AM” the Father and Creator, “I AM”, the Son, the Redeemer, “I AM” the name of the Holy Spirit, the Love between the Father and the Son, the Sanctifier, The Supreme Sovereign Being, existence, love, Three Supreme Sovereign Persons in one God.
    The Sovereign Person of God in Whom all mankind is made (mankind includes all women for women are kind of man) is referred to in all cases as a Sovereign Person “WHO”. Never, Never, Never, “what” or, “that” or “Which”
    Only the Catholic Bible refers to God as “WHO art in heaven” All the other translations reprint “which art in heaven” blasphemy, referring to God as a thing. I could never, never say Botolph, which sits in the chair, or Botolph that is on vacation, or Botolph what usurps God’s sovereignty, for God WHO is in heaven has graciously endowed Botolph with all unalienable rights, free will and intellect.
    Cecil B. DeMille’s film, The Ten Commandments refers to the God of Moses as “that”; “that” God of Moses. If man wishes to respond to his dignity, man must first respect and respond to his God as God is “I AM WHO I AM”.
    Note. Dr. Zeuss’s “The Grinch who stole Christmas” is an excellent study of all the little WHOs in WHOVILLE, Who had not yet achieved their knowses, read (noses). I must be adamant if not polite because man is created to know. to love and to serve God and God is WHO.

  16. Mary De Voe,

    Mary I am not denying the Most Blessed Trinity-look at my post concerning neo-Arianism. I am not saying “the Son came into being at the Incarnation”. What I am trying to understand is how you can claim God to be a Catholic when it is we who belong to Him, not He to us.

  17. Botolph: You just met my mother in me. You gotta love her.
    Notice in Michelangelo’s Pieta, Mary does not touch the Body of Jesus. There is cloth between Christ’s Body and Mary’s hand. Christ’s arm touches Mary’s hand. In the same way the cope touches the monstrance with the Real Presence.

  18. What I am trying to understand is how you can claim God to be a Catholic when it is we who belong to Him, not He to us.
    Anyone who wills to belong to God wills to be Catholic. God wills to belong, and does belong, as our Creator and Redeemer and Sanctifier, to all people. But only the people who will to belong to God can be called Catholic. God is Catholic. It is we, the people, who are not Catholic. Let us stop blaming God for our lack of Faith.

  19. Mary De Voe,

    To be honest, I had never noticed the fact that Mary’s hand does not touch the Body of Jesus. I first saw the Pieta at the New York World’s Fair in 1964 (?) might be off a year or two lol I have seen it several times back in its place of honor in Saint Peter’s in Rome-yet never noticed that. I do remember as a youth at the Vatican Pavilion at the NY World’s Fair of being moved to tears at both Michelangelo’s beautiful sculpture and at the “moment’ the sculpture was ‘attempting’ to portray.

    You are correct in your interpretation-that it is just like the priest’s vestment at Benediction prevents his hands from touching the Monstrance containing the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

  20. what an idea: anyone thinking they could own God. I wouldn’t think that. But I would claim to be in His family. If I was as as I would be, I would identify with HIm so closely you could see the resemblance.

    Some people would not say God is Catholic because they think Catholic is a human designation like a denomination. But is not. It is His Body. No denomination, nor even a non denomination can say that He belongs to them ( Methodist God, Hindu god, etc) because He doesn’t belong to them. Anyone who belongs to God belong to him through the auspices and works of His Church. Which is Catholic.
    I say God is Catholic, I don’t say He is a Catholic. Makes sense to me.
    Jesus is Christian…its His last name 🙂 Jesus is Christian. That makes God Christian.
    The pope’s comment may be read in different ways and he may be perfectly right: Jesuitical thinking – right and yet wrong.
    Pope’s comment “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God” was made to an atheist. Which probably made no difference at all to the atheist in his choice against God. What was the pope’s point? …did he think the atheist might consider accepting God if He is dissociated with the Church? Aaach… pope, pope, pope–what a representation of the Good News – all good all the time, no difficult teachings, no judgment. Don’t worry about that talk about vomiting the lukewarm or that if you are not with Him you are against Him..
    If Catholic is too hard, pick one of the gods listed by the Episcopalian bishop of this post– or make up your own.

    In the fog of the pope distancing God from His Church, Scalfari asked the pope, “ is there a single vision of the Good? And who decides what it is?”
    Our Catholic Pope answered: “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is good… That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

  21. This comment – If Catholic is too hard, pick one of the gods listed by the Episcopalian bishop of this post– or make up your own. was not meant to be directed to the pope and I wish I hadn’t said it.

  22. Botolph: “What I am trying to understand is how you can claim God to be a Catholic when it is we who belong to Him, not He to us.”
    God is espoused to us as a Catholic Bridegroom. God belongs to us as a Catholic Bridegroom because God wills to belong to us. “No one takes my life from me. I lay my life down and I take it up again” “My delight is to be among the sons of men.” Jesus, Himself, called Himself the “Son of Man”. In the Old Testament, there appeared in the furnace a fourth figure WHO looked like a man. In Revelation, God appears as a man seated on the throne. In the mystery of the hypostatic union, Jesus is true God and true man. God is indeed with us. God is Catholic. We, the people, belong to God through creation. God belongs to us through His willing it.
    and as Azlyne says: “I say God is Catholic, I don’t say He is a Catholic.” Thinking on that statement, God is Catholic and God is a Catholic for as Azlyne says Christ’s Church is Catholic. Christ’s Church couldn’t be Catholic if Christ was not a Catholic.
    “Our Catholic Pope answered: “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is good… That would be enough to make the world a better place.” almost sounds like the heresy that God and the devil are equal but opposite. At least the guy above called God “The Supreme Sovereign Being.” There can be no two Supreme Beings as one would preempt the other. Actually, two Supreme Beings would cancel each other out and then there would be no “Supreme Being”. makes sense?
    Azlyne, I appreciate you thoughts and the fine language you used to express the truths of our Faith.

  23. Anzlyne, I appreciate you thoughts and the fine language you used to express the truths of our Faith. Is there any chance you would change your name to Mary. I know how to spell Mary.

  24. “….we have to encourage people to move toward what they think is good.”
    Pope Francis-

    I’m still shaking my head.

    If the smoke of Satan had entered in to the Holy Church I am saddened to believe that our Holy Father inhaled some of it. A few days ago a commentator on this site suggested we “buckle up.” Oh boy. Buckle up indeed.
    This is only the beginning of Frankie’s wild ride. Relativism from our Leader.
    Who would of thunk it?

  25. Mary De Voe, Anzlyne and Philip,

    As this discussion has progressed I began to realize the ‘source’ of these ‘statements’ from Pope Francis. They are from the pseudo-interview that Pope Francis had with the very liberal atheist Italian editor of the what in Italy wwould be similar to the New York Times. The editor is in his 80’s. While I know some very astute octagenarians, I believe this one is losing it.

    When he had the interview, he had no recording device, no notes, nothing. The interview did take place but what he published as the interview was completely reconstructed from his memory. That is terrible journalist practice at best. It has at this point been completely shunned by any and all who are truly interested in Pope Francis’ view etc, It is no longer considered to be a real interview of Pope Francis.

    I am on my part have two things to say. First, I believe the poor man is actually suffering from early signs of dementia. At Christmas he wrote up a big article saying Pope Francis had done away with sin-which of course is not only not factual but a complete fabrication. I believe that editorial nailed his proverbial journalistic coffin

    Secondly in my first responses with Mary De Voe, while I thought the statement, “God is not a Catholic” odd, even if explainable, I confess I didn’t do my homework and uncover the truth that it was actually the Italian editor’s comment not the Pope’s. I will be very careful from now on.

    Just forget this interview. We will never know what Pope Francis actually ever said. Be not afraid. The words are the words of an italian atheist.

  26. In today’s Gospel, St. Mark 2:28 quotes Jesus Christ: “Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus Christ is one of us and a Catholic. God is Catholic.

  27. “Greetings to you in the name of Yahweh the God who actually exists, in the name of Muhammad’s psychotic hallucination, in the name of the Eternal Death that Buddha preached, and in the name of Hinduism’s cosmic frat boys. Greetings to the fool who says ‘there is no God’.”

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