quod pro nobis traditum est

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Looking Back" - past articles from "The Bride of Christ"

Past articles and essays from The Bride of Christ: The Journal of Lutheran Liturgical Renewal" are now being made available at the journal's blog.

The first installment of "Looking Back" is a brief article on Holy Absolution by the Rev. Arthur Carl Piepkorn. You can find it here.

St. Augustine of Hippo

"It was not the visible sun that made this day holy for us, but the sun's invisible Creator, when the Virgin Mother brought to light, out of her fruitful womb and virginal body, the Creator made visible for us, the same invisible God who had also created the Virgin. Virgin in conceiving, virgin in giving birth, virgin with child, virgin mother, virgin forever. Why do you marvel at this, O man? God had to be born in this way, when he deigned to become man. Thus did he make her, who was made by her."
- St. Augustine, Sermo 186, 1 (cited by Mary and the Fathers of the Church, p. 220)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Art of Theology

"A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology."

-- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report (p. 130)

[HT: New Liturgical Movement]

Glimpses of the liturgy

". . . He saith to His Mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that He saith to the disciple: Behold thy Mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own."

- John 19

Friday, August 21, 2009

What does the name "Lutheran" mean?

Today's vote by the nation's largest "Lutheran" body only confirms the direction it has taken and in which it has been headed for many years. A news article describing this convention action may be found here. Since this body is named "Lutheran" such action brings confusion to those who are not Lutheran as well as many who are as to what the name "Lutheran" means. While the vote is not surprising it does bring an association to the name "Lutheran" that is not held or accepted by many Lutherans. Since this is the largest "Lutheran" body such public association with this vote and all Lutherans becomes more complicated.

On the one hand, such a vote is not unique to Lutherans. Many "mainline protestant" bodies are going in the same direction and have already voted or will vote to do the same thing. That is, it is not surprising because it is a phenomena greater than what it means to being simply "Lutheran." On the other hand, it is clear and will become clearer in the days ahead that many Lutherans who do not belong to the nation's largest body will be making clear that distinction.

The "Lutheran" identity is best determined by what is found in Holy Scripture and not by convention vote. Such a vote might be defended as an interpretation of Scripture in the current context but even that is debatable. This is a topic too big to discuss here. It is probably best here not to fret the meaning of the name "Lutheran" as it is to understand and accept that today's vote was not so much a "Lutheran" phenomena but one that reflects more clearly what it means today to be "mainline protestant." If this association is made with today's vote then the name "Lutheran" and its meaning may be freed from cultural expectations and associations and be returned to associations that are more closely tied to the Scriptural and churchly focus of its origins.

Will this happen? At least in the case of the nation's largest "Lutheran" body this is not likely ever to happen. This reality is reflected in today's vote, a vote which was expected to come for many years. This vote reflects what we can expect from what is known as and associated with as "mainline protestantism".

Thursday, August 20, 2009

St.Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

"Both grace and truth are found in the Bridegroom. 'Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ' (Jn 1:17), says John the Baptist. If the Lord Jesus knocks at my door with one but not the other--for he is the Word of God, the soul's Bridegroom--he will enter not as a Bridegroom but as a judge. Perish the thought! 'Do not enter into judgment with your servant' (Ps 142:2). Let him enter as a bringer of peace, joyous and glad; but may he come grave and adult, too, to purify my joy and restrain my overconfidence with the stern face of truth. Let him enter as one . . . deigning to become the Bridegroom of the soul that seeks him and to be known as such (Lam 3:25), he who is God, blessed above all forever (Rom 9:5)."

- St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153 (Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works, Sermon 74, p. 258)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

St. Hippolytus, Martyr

"By saying in addition, 'And of the blessing of the womb of your father and your mother' [cf. Gen. 49, Septuagint], the prophet is foretelling a spiritual mystery. For he could have said, 'And of the blessing of the womb of your mother,' to indicate, with this expression, Mary, in whose womb the Word was carried for nine months. Yet he did not say this; instead he says, 'and from the blessing of the womb of your father and your mother'. Joining the two ideas in this way, he made them a single reality, so that it would be clearly understood that both that which exists according to the spirit and that which is according to the flesh belong to this one Person. For the Word proceeded from one heart of the Father and from the holy womb [of Mary], being born from one womb of the Father, as he says through the mouth of the prophet, 'My heart speaks a good Word' (Ps 45:1).

"On the other hand, in the last days, he came forth, according to the flesh, from a virginal womb after having been carried for nine months, so that, after having been born a second time from the womb of his Mother, he might manifest himself visibly. Therefore he says, also through the prophet, 'Thus says the Lord who formed me from [my Mother's] womb to be his servant' (Is 49:5)."

- Hippolytus [On the Blessings of the Patriarchs I; PO 27, 108-12; cited in L. Gambero, 91]