Steve’s Writings

Here are a few paragraphs from my new book on Genesis which is nearly done.

Genesis 2:7 is foundational and crucial to the whole story of the cosmos, Man and salvation. God takes dust or clay from the ground and like a potter he fashions a human being. The scientific formulas used by God still elude us.

Imagine God making the first human brain from the chemical compounds he had already created as part of the earth. The intelligent design of the brain is beyond our comprehension, immensely complicated with intricate and precise electronics, hormones, connections, blood passageways, molecules, minerals, living cells and more.

And this amazing “machine” is able to learn, process and recall information, and even heal itself. It is more than a brain—it is also a “mind.” 

 Then God moves to the heart that will pump 40 million times in a year, 2.5 billion times in a lifetime of 70 years—without maintenance and without missing a beat. Right now, as I write this book, my heart has beat over 2,000,000,000 times since my birth.

Then on to the lungs which will take in necessary oxygen produced by the plants. Since my birth until now I have breathed 629,000,000 times! Then God shaped the liver, the kidneys, the glands, the reproductive organs, the stomach with its incredibly fine-tuned and intricate digestive system . . . 

 God did not just form a “machine” or an animal. He took this incredible body he had fashioned from clay and with his own breath he breathed into the nostrils the breath of life—like divine CPR. This is face–to–face, warmly personal, almost as the intimate kiss of God.

The body of clay came alive; it was animated. The created object was now a Man with body and soul; he became a living, spiritual being (CCC 362–363, 704).

The Man was dual in nature: body and soul, related to earth and heaven (1 Cor 15:45). The potter has made a Man for glory out of the clay of the earth! Man is the crown of the creation! The drama of salvation is under way, being directed and controlled by God himself. 

 Remember what Jesus does to the Apostles in the Upper Room (Jn 20:22)? How does this signify the creation of the new being—the Church?

Remember also that the wind of the Holy Spirit blew on Pentecost at the birth of the Church! You can already see a pattern forming: “For God so loved . . . that he gave” (cf. Jn 3:16)—an act of self–giving as well as of making; God invests himself in his new creation. This passage is rich with symbolic and typological meaning, ripe for the picking.

Pray for me as I work on finalizing this manuscript which is almost done! Working on it 12+ hours a day during July which I blocked out for finishing the book. It will be published by Ignatius Press and available on Verbum Catholic Software.

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I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across.

As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street and challenged my country, would I be ready and able to defend the USA? Would I know all the historical details, dates, and facts? Do I know the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court rulings or even the ancient documents that preceded the birth of our nation—the documents and events that formed the foundation for our government?

The answer is simple: “No, I would not be prepared.”

But I am an American. I love my country. I was born here and believe in the principles and love the freedom that are American. I know my country has many problems and I do not love everything that is American. But I would be unprepared to explain and defend the details and documents of my nation even though I love the USA and would readily stay an American citizen rather than join another country.

This is much the same as a “cradle Catholic” like those in the Philippines. They are often ashamed that they cannot defend the faith, but they are like me as an American. I was born American and never been in a situation where I had to defend my country in a rigorous intellectual debate. Filipinos have been Catholics for 400 years. They love their faith, the Lord Jesus, Mama Mary and the Catholic Church. But for 400 years they have been a Catholic nation and never needed to “defend” it. They only needed to love it and obey it.

But now the wolves are approaching their islands and making great inroads devouring the flock. The attack comes not only from cults and sects, but also from modernism and Americanism. They are pursued from every side. They are pushed to leave the Church, to join the cults and sects or to pursue pleasure, money, and sin.

Just like I would I need to take the time and energy to study my country and its history, so they are now required to learn their faith in a new and energetic way to defend the faith and their children. The time for comfort is over. The time to study and learn is here. No longer can the Filipinos—or anyone who has been born and raised Catholic—sit back and take the faith for granted. It is time for war! It is time for defense! It is time to get to work!

I do not criticize “cradle Catholics” for not knowing their faith. I understand the situation. But now we must begin rigorous study and learning—our children and our faith are at stake. We have no time to to waste. We are called to re-evangelize and defend Mother Church! God bless us all as we serve Our Lord.

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It looks different today, but the place is the same. It is darker now, covered with a dome that blocks the sun. There is no grass, no hillside, no trees waving their leaves nearby.

Instead there are the hushed voices of hundreds of people, the Muslim call to prayer echoing in the distance and the smell of incense in the air. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and the uneven stone floor.

Hundreds enter with you but most stop inside the massive doors not quite sure what to do now. There are no signs or directions, only the imposing sense of having arrived and awe-inspiring columns and pillars, passageways and stairs. Now what?

 Two thousand years ago the appearance was very different. No people swarmed the site and all that could be heard was the groaning of men hanging by torturous nails from rough-hewn crosses of wood. The few people who had to pass this way hurried along without much of a glance. The scene was too horrible and too common.

For all its morbidity the location was in a garden of sorts. But the executions that took place in this garden outside the city walls prevented it from being used by families as a place to picnic. The tombs nearby were not the kind of surroundings for children at play. But it was a garden with a gardener and it had a specific use.

Today there were three men hanging in this uninviting garden. Only a few curious on-lookers and friends lingered nearby. The criminals had paid the price for their crimes and not many gave them a second look. Rumor had it though, that the one in the middle was a bit unusual. Pilate had come from Caesarea and had convened a special trial to prevent a riot from taking place in the city. Word had it the the man in the middle was killed even though he had done no wrong. He was killed for expediency to keep the peace.

It was not long before a small contingency of men arrived with the necessary supplies needed to prepare his body for burial. They seemed uninterested in the two thieves on the left and right but went straight for the man in the middle. He was a mess. The soldiers must have really had their sport with him back at the Antonia Fortress. His naked body hid none of their sadistic pleasures.

He was taken from the cross. His mother was there, one of the few left to view the sickening spectacle. A rich man had taken interest in this corpse and placed it in a tomb he’d recently cut into the side of the rocks for himself. Tombs had chambers and the dead were laid on flat niches carved into the stone. Only the wealthy could afford such a burial.

As the sun made it’s final dip below the hills to the west, the men exited the tomb with blood still on their hands and they rolled a massive stone in front of the tomb to keep others from entering and to keep the stench inside as the flesh began to decompose. The deed was done, the aftermath cleaned up and the body buried. It was over.

The organ begins its thunderous pulse through the ancient building as words in Latin are sung, not with the polished precision of an accomplished choir but with the often discordant notes sung by regular folks. Millions of people from ever language, tongue, tribe and nation of the earth have gravitated to this one-time garden. Many have spent their life savings to come here.

Others, especially in centuries gone by, have spent months on tossing ships and trudging through hot deserts deprived of all creaturely comforts just for this moment — the moment of stepping through these massive doors to the sound of Latin, the chanting of the monks and the pulsing of the organ.

Many have backed their way out to take a second look. How could this and the garden be the same place. There is no physical comparison. Yet they are the same place. The hill on which the crosses stood in the morbid garden is still here. Devotion and love have changed its appearance over the centuries. There are now oil lamps, altars, candles, statues and ancient icons and mosaics depicting the scene and interpreting its meaning for untold millions.

Jesus hung on a cross on this rocky crag of a hill two thousand years ago. I tell my pilgrims, “Get in line, step up to that altar, bow down and move under the altar. Put you hand down into the hole and you will feel the stone where the foot of the cross was standing. Remember, if you put your hand there 2,000 years ago, it would come up sticky with his blood.”

A statue of Mary to the right side, reminds us she was one of the few stragglers that lingered after the crucifixion. He statue is encased in glass and the artist was truly an artist. Her face is haunting. Her eyes have a great peace mixed inextricably with a stare of horror. It is obvious she trusted the plan of God but was still wracked with pain at the death of her Son. You cannot pull your eyes away from the sword jutting out of her chest. Thirty three years earlier the prophet Simeon had told this young mother that a sword would pierce her soul as well.

And not a stone’s throw away the place of the cross is still, even after two millennia, the tomb where the body was laid. It doesn’t look like a tomb carved into a rocky hillside. It is an obtrusive metal framework holding up stones blacked by centuries of soot from candles and olive oil lamps. Again, it is love and devotion that changed its appearance. It is love because from this tomb everything changed. No science fiction writer or Greek philosopher could have conceived of such an story. Sometimes truth is stranger that fiction.

After the men left the garden long ago everyone thought it was over — it was done. He was dead and buried and it was time to go on in life without their friend. But it was not over. It had only just begun. In the darkness of the morning two days later something happened that changed the world and all of eternity forever. With the massive stone still in place and guarded by Roman soldiers, the dead body sat up, romoved the heavy stone and stepped out alive.

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My New Book “Papacy”: National Catholic Register’s Nice Review (and my response to 2 points)

April 1, 2019

First, I want to thank John Grodelski and National Catholic Register for deeming my new book worthy of a book review. It was fair and balanced review for which I am grateful. You can read his review and my response below or here on my website documents page. ****************************************** An Introduction to the History of […]

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Who Chose the Books of the Bible? Are the Books “Self-authenticating”?

January 8, 2019

Are the Books of the New Testament “Self-Authenticating” or was the Catholic Church Necessary to Define the Canon of Scripture? By Steve Ray Hello Protestant Friend: I was very happy to receive your twenty-five-page letter which claimed that sola Scriptura (Bible alone) and sola fide (faith alone) were the faith and teaching of the Apostles. […]

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Jesus Was A Jew and Why You Can’t Understand the Bible without Knowing That

December 28, 2018

Since we are at the Western Wall today, where the Temple stood in Jesus’ day, it is appropriate to discuss this. Jesus loved the Jewish Temple and called it his Father’s house. ************************************************ Jesus was a Jew. This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus […]

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Interview on my new book “The Papacy” with Catholic World Report

December 8, 2018

CWR: When you were a Baptist and looking at the Catholic Church from the outside, what did you think about the papacy? Stephen K. Ray: A year before I was born my parents became Baptists; they prayed for kids and I was born a year later. My father was taught to be very anti-Catholic. He […]

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Catholic Church: “Don’t Read the Bible!”

December 1, 2018

We often hear that the Catholic Church has forbidden the reading of the Bible! Have you heard this? Yeah, me too! But, this is another one of those big myths which has worked its way into the popular dialog but one that has not been proved from Church teaching and documents. There are two good […]

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What Does the Word Catholic Mean? A History of the Word “Catholic”

October 29, 2018

As a Protestant, I went to an Evangelical church that changed an important and historical word in the  Apostles Creed. Instead of the “holy, catholic Church,” we were the “holy, Christian church.” At the time, I thought nothing of it. There was certainly no evil intent, just a loathing of the Catholic Church and a […]

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Is Faith Alone the Basis for the Final Judgment?

October 17, 2018

Is Faith Alone the Basis for the Final Judgment?  By Steve Ray Dear Jerry: I had no intention of writing you again this soon but after having dinner with your brother the other day and picking up a copy of a booklet you gave him entitled Studies In Contrasts: The Doctrine of Salvation (by Herb Vander […]

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“An Interview with Catholic Apologist Steve Ray”

August 29, 2018

An Interview with Catholic Evangelist Steve Ray Posted by Justin McClain on Thursday Aug 23rd, 2018 at 3:31 PM “My family and I have discovered that the Catholic Church is the best-kept secret in all of human history.” I recently had the opportunity to speak with Catholic evangelist Steve Ray. Since I am a high school […]

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What Do We Mean by “Unanimous Consent of the Fathers”

April 19, 2018

Unanimous Consent of the Fathers By Steve Ray The Unanimous Consent of the Fathers (unanimem consensum Patrum) refers to the morally unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers on certain doctrines as revealed by God and interpretations of Scripture as received by the universal Church. The individual Fathers are not personally infallible, and a discrepancy by […]

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Steve’s Short Story “The Last Nightmare” Might Scare the Hell Out of You!

April 13, 2018

The Last Nightmare A Short and Terrifying Story by Steve Ray Everything went blank for a moment, but that moment seemed like eternity. He felt a motion, not with wind and breeze, but a motion none the less. He was traveling, moving, floating, transcending-he wasn’t really sure. The sudden blackness gave him time to regain […]

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How Big Was Jesus in Mary’s Womb at the Visitation – and what could he do?

April 8, 2018

“How big was baby Jesus in Mary’s womb when Mary visited Elizabeth?” That is the question I asked myself while visiting the Church of the Visitation in Israel. What I learned was quite revolutionary and amazing. This is one of the best pro-life arguments from Scripture and one I’ve not heard discussed before. It also […]

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Final Judgment based on “Faith Alone’?

January 26, 2018

Is “Faith Alone” the Basis for the Final Judgment? Dear Baptist Friend Jerry : I had no intention of writing you again this soon but after having dinner with your brother — and seeing a copy of the silly Protestant booklet you gave him entitled Studies In Contrasts: The Doctrine of Salvation (by Herb Vander […]

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Mary and the Other Body of Christ; How Many People were in the Upper Room and Why?

January 5, 2018

Since we are IN this room today, I thought I would share this again… The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous […]

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