quod pro nobis traditum est

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"On Loving the Law of God"

This post reminded me of some citations I had gathered recently after reading the essay On Loving the Law of God by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus ("The Public Square," First Things, February 2009):

Growing in Grace
Luke 2:52
et Iesus proficiebat sapientia aetate et gratia apud Deum et homines
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Faith and Love, God and neighbor
Epistle – Epiphany 4
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:8-10

Polycarp – Letter to the Philippians
“And when absent from you [blessed Paul] wrote you a letter, which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and Christ, and our neighbor, ‘is the mother of us all.’”
- St. Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, Ch. 3 (source:

Post-Communion Collect by Martin Luther
“We give thanks to You, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (source: Lutheran Service Book, p. 201)

Morning Prayer
“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
(source: Luther’s Small Catechism, Daily Prayers, p. 30)

Catholic Catechism – The Definition of Sin
Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor (emphasis added) caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “’an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law . . .’”
(source: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed., #1849, p. 453)

Below are Fr. Neuhaus' concluding words in "The Public Square", First Things, February 2009:

"As of this writing, I am contending with a cancer, presently of unknown origin. I am, I am given to believe, under the expert medical care of the Sloan-Kettering clinic here in New York. I am grateful beyond measure for your prayers storming the gates of heaven. Be assured that I neither fear to die nor refuse to live. If it is to die, all that has been is but a slight intimation of what is to be. If it is to live, there is much that I hope to do in the interim. After the last round with cancer fifteen years ago, I wrote a little book, As I Lay Dying (titled after William Faulkner after John Donne), in which I said much of what I had to say about the package deal that is mortality. I did not know that I had so much more to learn. And yes, the question has occurred to me that, if I have but a little time to live, should I be spending it writing this column. I have heard it attributed to figures as various as Brother Lawrence and Martin Luther—when asked what they would do if they knew they were going to die tomorrow, they answered that they would plant a tree and say their prayers. (Luther is supposed to have added that he would quaff his favored beer.) Maybe I have, at least metaphorically, planted a few trees, and certainly I am saying my prayers. Who knew that at this point in life I would be understanding, as if for the first time, the words of Paul, “When I am weak, then I am strong”? This is not a farewell. Please God, we will be pondering together the follies and splendors of the Church and the world for years to come. But maybe not. In any event, when there is an unidentified agent in your body aggressively attacking the good things your body is intended to do, it does concentrate the mind. The entirety of our prayer is “Your will be done”—not as a note of resignation but of desire beyond expression. To that end, I commend myself to your intercession, and that of all the saints and angels who accompany us each step through time toward home."

- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus (The Public Square, First Things, February 2009)

Requiescat in pace.

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