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quod pro nobis traditum est

Saturday, June 28, 2008

who freely gives to this mortal immortality

On this day Christians remember the 2nd c. Bishop, St. Irenaeus of Lyons. Probably Irenaeus' best known writing is Adversus Haereses ("Against Heresies) where, among other things, he wrote against Gnosticism. In this excerpt he describes how Jesus, by His flesh and blood grants salvation to us in our flesh and blood.

". . . For we have given nothing to Him previously, nor does He desire anything from us, as if He stood in need of it; but we do stand in need of fellowship with Him. And for this reason it was that He graciously poured Himself out, that He might gather us into the bosom of the Father.

"2. But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption. But if this indeed do not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, nor the bread which we break the communion of His body. 1 Corinthians 10:16 For blood can only come from veins and flesh, and whatsoever else makes up the substance of man, such as the Word of God was actually made. By His own blood he redeemed us, as also His apostle declares, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins." Colossians 1:14 And as we are His members, we are also nourished by means of the creation (and He Himself grants the creation to us, for He causes His sun to rise, and sends rain when He wills Matthew 5:45). He has acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as His own blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of the creation) He has established as His own body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.

"3. When, therefore, the mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God, and the Eucharist of the blood and the body of Christ is made, from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they affirm that the flesh is incapable of receiving the gift of God, which is life eternal, which [flesh] is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord, and is a member of Him?— even as the blessed Paul declares in his Epistle to the Ephesians, that "we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." Ephesians 5:30 He does not speak these words of some spiritual and invisible man, for a spirit has not bones nor flesh; Luke 24:39 but [he refers to] that dispensation [by which the Lord became] an actual man, consisting of flesh, and nerves, and bones—that [flesh] which is nourished by the cup which is His blood, and receives increase from the bread which is His body. And just as a cutting from the vine planted in the ground fructifies in its season, or as a corn of wheat falling into the earth and becoming decomposed, rises with manifold increase by the Spirit of God, who contains all things, and then, through the wisdom of God, serves for the use of men, and having received the Word of God, becomes the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ; so also our bodies, being nourished by it, and deposited in the earth, and suffering decomposition there, shall rise at their appointed time, the Word of God granting them resurrection to the glory of God, even the Father, who freely gives to this mortal immortality, and to this corruptible incorruption, 1 Corinthians 15:53 because the strength of God is made perfect in weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:3 in order that we may never become puffed up, as if we had life from ourselves, and exalted against God, our minds becoming ungrateful; but learning by experience that we possess eternal duration from the excelling power of this Being, not from our own nature, we may neither undervalue that glory which surrounds God as He is, nor be ignorant of our own nature, but that we may know what God can effect, and what benefits man receives, and thus never wander from the true comprehension of things as they are, that is, both with regard to God and with regard to man . . ."

(Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. V, 2, 1-3; source: http://newadvent.org/fathers/0103502.htm)

Friday, June 27, 2008

the general rule of all true religious worship (long)

The following quotation I came across by a Catholic author from years past. In it he discusses worship and the true veneration of Mary and the Saints. Whether or not the reader accepts what he states it is not a bit unconvincing and a good read. Enjoy!

" . . . let us carefully consider in what way devotion to [Mary] should be practised; for, even though furnished with a lasting foundation for our piety, we may show it by what are only vain and superstitious practices. There is a true devotion, and a false one; and the next point to treat concerns the kind of worship that we owe respectively to God, to the Blessed Virgin, and to all the Saints.

"The fundamental rule of the honour we pay to the Blessed Virgin and the Saints is this: that we must entirely refer it all to God and to our eternal salvation. If it were not referred to God it would be a purely human act, and we surely know that the Saints, being filled with God and His glory, will not accept purely human devotion. What does "religion" meand but a binding to God? And how could any act that was not religious please His holy ones? Hence, all devotion to Mary is useless and superstitious that does not lead us to the possession of God and the enjoyment of our heavenly inheritance. This is, indeed, the general rule of all true religious worship: that it flows from, and returns to, God, and is in no wise diverted from Him by being extended to His creatures.

"To come to particulars in the matter: there are two special points, concerning prayer to Our Lady and the Saints, on which the Church is accused by her enemies of erroneous practices, the first of which is 'idolatry'. In other words, Catholics are often charged with acting almost like the heathen in so using their canonised fellow-creatures as to be guilty of multiplying God, by turning them into so many minor deities to whom they pay divine homage. The folly and injustice of such an accusation is very simply proved by reference to the rule just given. The only honour recognized by the Church as due to her Saints is an honour strictly in accordance with that rule; which rule is itself founded upon the central principle of our Faith; namely, on the unity and supremacy of God.

"We Christians adore but one God; single, omnipotent, creator and dispensor of all things; in whose name we were consecrated at baptism; and in whom alone we recognise absolute sovereignty, unlimited goodness, and perfect fulness of Being. We honour the Blessed Virgin and the Saints, not by a worship of necessary service, or of subjection --for, in the order of religion, we are free as regards creatures, and subject only to God--but by an honour of brotherly love and fellowship. In them, we pay homage to wonders worked 'by the right hand of the Most High'; we revere the communication to them of His grace--the diffusion, through them, of His glory. In short, what we honour in them is the very fact of their dependence on that Primary Being to Whom alone our true worship relates; the sole principle of all good, and the end of all our desires, as of theirs. We must, then, entirely repudiate the fear, professed by our enemies, that the glory of God can be diminished by our conceiving high notions of Mary and the Saints. Would it not be attributing miserable weakness to the Creator to imagine Him jealous of His own gifts, and of the light He sheds on His creatures? Just as well might we expect the sun, if he had life, to be jealous of the moon, who shines merely by reflection of his own rays! No matter how highly we may honour Mary's perfections Jesus Christ could not possibly envy her, seeing that He is Himself the source of every grace she possesses. Let the critics who accuse us of idolatry in our worship of the Saints remember that they condemn, with us, the Ambroses, the Augustines, the Chrysostoms, on whose doctrine and example they know our practice to be founded, and whom they themselves acknowledge as authorities.

"The second accusation commonly made against us is that we make for ourselves many mediators, instead of relying on 'the One Sole Mediator, Jesus Christ, Who saved us with His blood'; and our motive for this error is often, further, said to be that--like certain ancient philosophers--we deem God Himself, even though made man for us, to be inaccessible immediately from His extreme purity. Now, if any Catholic ever allows such a notion as this to lay hold of him, and make him put the Saints, to the smallest extent, in the place of Christ, it can only be because of his most culpable ignorance or neglect of his own Church's teaching. No one is taught so plainly as we are that we were created by God for immediate intercourse with Him; but that we lost our privilege, for time, by sin; and that we should have lost it also for eternity if the Son had not reconciled us to the Father by taking our sins on Himself. Hence, we ask absolutely nothing except in the name of Our Saviour, as every child who has properly learnt its catechism is fully aware. All we do, in begging the Saints' prayers, is to beg the prayers of those among our own brethren who are specially dear to that Saviour Himself because of their supreme love for Him. We all--Protestant and Catholic alike--ask for the prayers of our living friends and fellow-Christians, and all believe that 'the prayer of the just man availeth much'. The doctrine of the 'Communion of Saints,' as Catholics put it into practice, is merely the carrying out of this principle with regard to those who are already in the company of God, but whom we believe to be, through His power, still present in spirit among us, and to have our interests at heart though no longer with us in the flesh.

"There is yet another principle involved in the true doctrine of honour to the Saints, which must be touched upon before we leave the subject; and that is the great advantage to ourselves contained in practising devotion towards them of a right sort. The Christian is bound to imitate what he honours, and the object of his worship must also be the model of his life. His God is a perfect God; and hence he must try to make himself perfect, and worship only those who have given honour to their Maker by imitating His perfections. When we venerate the Saints it is not to increase their glory: that is full; they have their perfect measure of it with God in heaven. We pay them homage--over and above the motive of giving glory to God--that we may incite ourselves to follow them, and we ask their prayers for the same purpose. This is the sense of the Church in instituting the feasts she does in honour of the Saints; and it is shown in the collect for St. Stephen's Day, which says: 'O Lord! give us grace to imitate that which we honour'. It is the constant tradition of the Church that the most essential part of devotion to the blessed in heaven is to profit by their example. Without this, all homage is vain. Whatever individual saint we are devout to, we must try to acquire that one's special virtues, and most of all are we bound to do this where the Queen of all Saints--the Virgin of virgins--is concerned. If we deeply revere--as every true Catholic does--the virginal chastity which enabled her to conceive the Son of God in her womb, we can duly express our veneration only by doing our best, according to our states of life, to imitate it in our own souls. So far does St. Ambrose go in his conviction of the power which the reverent imitation of Mary's virtue may confer on her true clients, that he says: 'every chaste soul that keeps its purity and innocence untarnished conceives the Eternal Wisdom in itself; and is filled with God and His grace after the pattern of Mary'."

(Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by Jacques Benigne Bossuet, tr. F. M. Capes, pp. 8-13)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Mass

The following excerpts from the Augsburg Confession and the Apology of the Augsburg Confession are provided regarding usage of the word "Mass" and the return to the frequent offering of the Sacrament among Lutherans:

Confessio Augustana, Art. XXIV, De Missa

Falso accusantur ecclesiae nostrae, quod missam aboleant. Retinetur enim missa apud nos et summa reverentia celebratur.
(Triglotta, p.64)

Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence.
(Triglotta, p. 65)

Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. Actually, the Mass is retained among us and is celebrated with the greatest reverence.
(Tappert, Latin, p. 56)

Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. In fact, the Mass is retained among us and is celebrated with the greatest reverence."
(Kolb / Wengert, Latin, p. 69)

Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. The Mass is held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence.
(McCain, et al, p. 73)

Apologia Confessionis, Art. XXIV, De Missa

Initio hoc iterum praefendum est nos non abolere missam, sed religiose retinere ac defendere. Fiunt enim apud nos missae singulis dominicis e aliis festis, in quibus porrigitur sacramentum his, qui uti volunt, postquam sunt explorati atque absoluti. Et servantur usitatae ceremoniae publicae, ordo lectionum, orationum, vestitus et alia
similia.
(Triglotta, pp. 382, 384)

At the outset we must again make the preliminary statement that we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it. For among us masses are celebrated every Lord's Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other like things.
(Triglotta, pp. 383, 385)

To begin with, we must repeat the prefatory statement that we do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it. In our churches Mass is celebrated every Sunday and on other festivals, when the sacrament is offered to those who wish for it after they have been examined and absolved. We keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of the lessons, prayers, vestments, etc.
(Tappert, p. 249)

At the outset it is again necessary, by way of preface, to point out that we do not abolish the Mass but religiously retain and defend it. Among us the Mass is celebrated every Lord's day and on other festivals, when the sacrament is made available to those who wish to partake of it, after they have been examined and absolved. We also keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of readings, prayers, vestments, and other similar things.
(Kolb / Wengert, p. 258)

At the outset, we must again make this preliminary statement: we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously keep and defend it. Masses are celebrated among us every Lord's Day and on the other festivals. The Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other such things.
(McCain, et al, p. 246)

Rights extended to apes

Here is a news article regarding the recent decision by the Spanish parliament to extend rights to apes.

One response I received on passing on this article is worth adding here: "It was bound to happen! Maybe unborn babies will be next."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

a glimpse at the place of rubrics

Any sporting event, music concert or art show, from the amateur to the professional levels, would not be possible without the basic rules that make the uniting of people and discipline together in a venue that makes for either competition or entertainment. Oftentimes the basic rules are not always "out front" but without them sporting events, music concerts or art shows would not even be possible.

Such is the place of rubrics in the liturgy. The analogy here is not with sport, music or art in themselves but with the basic position and posture of those who are called to conduct the liturgy. The rubrics are not always evident and understood in the Mass. However, without these "basic rules" the pastor/priest and people do not have a sense of the place of God or their relationship with Him. Without rubrics, the liturgy does not flow gracefully as that place where prayer and proclamation and sacrament are united in action, just as God and people are united in Christ.

Rubrics, therefore, are not given as a legalistic ritual but are provided as a graceful discipline for the pastor/priest in his conduct of the liturgy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

quote of the day

"We must never forget that the Church is built around Christ and that, as Sts. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great have all said, following St. Paul, the Eucharist is the sacrament of the Church's unity, because we all form one single body of which the Lord is the head.

"We must go back again and again to the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, where we were given a pledge of the mystery of our redemption on the cross. The Last Supper is the locus of the nascent Church, the womb containing the Church of every age. In the Eucharist, Christ's sacrifice is constantly renewed, Pentecost is constantly renewed.

. . .

"May all of you become ever more deeply aware of the importance of the Sunday Eucharist," he said, "because Sunday, the first day of the week, is the day when we honor Christ, the day when we receive the strength to live each day the gift of God."

[Pope Benedict XVI, June 22, 2008 - http://www.zenit.org/article-22990?l=english]

Trinity 5 - Homily



In today's Gospel lesson [Luke 5:1-11] Jesus is beginning His ministry. His work of healing the sick and casting out demons attracted many so that "they pressed about Him to hear the word of God." Because of this He went into Peter's fishing boat in order to go a little way from land to make it possible for Him to teach the people from the boat. On Peter's boat we see how the Lord blesses the catching of fish and then changes it into the ministry of catching men. First, Jesus teaches the people then, while still on the boat, He gives Peter a new vocation, that of catching men. This Peter and the other Apostles will do as they lead the Church with the apostolic doctrine, which is Christ's teaching . . .

Thursday, June 19, 2008

together

Can the physical and spiritual be united? Faith believes that one receives the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. An illustration of this is when the Body of Christ is received on the tongue. At this moment one tastes the mercy of God.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr



Boniface (c. 672 - 754) evangelized Germany and the Netherlands.

"In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life's different stresses . . . What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ."

(letter; source: http://saints.sqpn.com/saintb15.htm)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Bride of Christ - seeking past issues



The Lutheran liturgical journal, The Bride of Christ, is seeking past issues to complete its library. You can see here which issues we are seeking. We hope to be able to make these available online sometime in the future.

Thank you to a couple of sources already we have almost all issues from 1989 - 2003. We appreciate any additional help you can provide!

Monday, June 02, 2008

not as ordinary bread and ordinary drink

"And this food is called by us the Eucharist. Of which no one is allowed to partake but he who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed in the bath for the forgiveness of sins and to regeneration, and who so lives as Christ has directed. For not as ordinary bread and ordinary drink do we receive these, but in like manner as by the word of God Jesus Christ our Savior was made flesh and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so also the food, which is blessed by the prayer of the Word which proceeded from him and from which our flesh and blood by transmutation are nourished, is, we are taught, the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles in the memoirs which they composed and which are called gospels have declared that they were commanded to do as follows: that Jesus took bread and gave thanks and said, 'this do in remembrance of me, this is my body', and in like manner he gave thanks and said 'this is my blood' and gave it to them alone (Apology, I, 62)."

- St. Justin, Martyr (cited in Quasten, Vol. I, 216)