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quod pro nobis traditum est

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Beliefs

These three articles cover related topics and issues regarding the relationship between Christianity and liberalism or secularism:

In Britain people are following an atheist trend and 'de-baptizing' themselves. See the article here

Here is an article discussing the relationship between the Nazis and Christianity.

Finally, here is a discussion of Liberalism as Religion.

religion and the stars

"Rather, what arouses is the intriguing presence of any cosmos at all. For us, the setting sun, the number pi, Seattle, a father's role in the family have nothing to do with one another. Even those who profess the Christian faith live in a dead and silent world: religion has retreated into the foxholes of the heart and says nothing about the stars."

- Anthony Esolen, Introduction to Dante's Inferno, xvi

Christological hermeneutic

"[Bede] comments on the Bible, interpreting it in a Christological key, that is, combining two things: on the one hand he listens to exactly what the text says, he really seeks to hear and understand the text itself; on the other, he is convinced that the key to understanding Sacred Scripture as the one word of God is Christ, and with Christ, in his light, one understands the Old and New Testaments as "one" Sacred Scripture. The events of the Old and New Testaments go together, they are the way to Christ, although expressed in different signs and institutions (this is what he calls the concordia sacramentorum)."

- Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 18 February 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

St. John Damascene



"But this blessed woman, who was deemed worthy of gifts that are supernatural, suffered those pains, which she escaped at the birth, in the hour of the passion, enduring from motherly sympathy the rending of the bowels, and when she beheld Him, Whom she knew to be God by the manner of His generation, killed as a malefactor, her thoughts pierced her as a sword, and this is the meaning of this verse: Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also" (Luke 2:35). But the joy of the resurrection transforms the pain, proclaiming Him, Who died in the flesh, to be God."

- St. John Damascene (Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Ch. XIV; newadvent.org)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lent, a time for the Incarnation

In Lent we are headed to the Cross. In our tradition the Cross is greatly emphasized, and with good reason. The Cross is where Christ meets the enemies in battle. The one sacrifice for all time is the redemption of the world. The crucifixion reminds us of the Father's great love and the Son's great sacrifice for sin. Without the Cross there is no salvation. Without the Cross there is no Resurrection. We preach Christ and Him crucified.

Yesterday's Feast of the Annunciation took us back briefly to the Incarnation (a little Christ-mass in Lent?). For one day in Lent the purple was exchanged for white and the focus was on the mysterious and miraculous birth of our Lord through Mary, the blessed ever-Virgin. For with God nothing is impossible.

It is puzzling, as I have heard in recent years, the Incarnation and the Cross pitted against one another, with the former being the one downplayed if not disparaged. Scripture and the faithful Tradition do not do this. Rather one precedes the other and without either there is neither, but both are equally the works of God.

Lent is possible because of the Incarnation. The Cross is the direction of the Incarnation. In the Holy Eucharist we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. It has also been stated that "The Holy Communion is the continuation of the Incarnation." (The Presence, 43)

In the greatest miracle Jesus became one of us and dwelt with us. The Angel announces that Mary is "blessed among women." She responds to grace, "be it done to me according to thy word." The Crucified One is called "Emmanuel," "the Son of the Most High." "the Son of God." He says, "not my will, but Thine be done." We look ahead to the Cross and the Resurrection, not forgetting that the grace and blessing given to Mary is also poured out on us through the one-time Sacrifice, which is eternal. The Angel Gabriel announced to Mary, "And of His kingdom there shall be no end." At the Feast the Incarnate One gives us a foretaste of things to come.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary



"Not only our memory but somehow our eyes as well contemplate the conversation between the angel Gabriel and the wondering Mary; likewise the conception by the Holy Spirit is wonderful both in its promise and in the faith that received it."

"By the Spirit, Christ is born from the body of his unsullied Mother; by this same Spirit, the Christian is reborn from the womb of holy Church."

"The earth of human nature was already cursed in the first liar. Only in this birth from the Blessed Virgin did it produce a blessed shoot, an exception to the vice of its roots. Its spiritual origin is acquired by anyone who is regenerated. And for every man who is born again, the water of baptism is like the virginal womb. The same Spirit that filled the Virgin now fills the baptismal font; hence, that sin, which was once removed by a holy conception, is now taken away by a mystic ablution."

- Leo the Great (excerpts of sermons cited by Gambero, pp. 307-8)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Laetare



"I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord.
Let peace be in Thy strength: and abundance in Thy towers."
(Gradual - Psalm 122:1,7)

Archangel Gabriel



The Archangel Gabriel is one of three archangels mentioned in Scripture. He is mentioned four times, and, of those, twice in the New Testament. Here he announces the birth of John the Baptizer and then announces to Mary her blessing of being chosen to be the Mother of the Saviour. Thus he is considered the angel of the Incarnation and an angel of mercy. (adapted from newadvent.org)

In the liturgy of the mass people are drawn up together with the angels and archangels and all the saints in singing the praise of God. We are reminded of the daily work of God's angels as we learned it in the small catechism, "Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tossed to and fro

The ELCA, a merger of 3 Lutheran bodies in the late 20th c., is the largest of the Lutheran bodies in the United States. This body is considered to be what is called a "mainline protestant" body so that the issues it faces are similar to issues faced by other mainline protestants. At the national assembly this August they will be considering changing what it means to be an ELCA clergy. For an article on this issue and the response of three ELCA theologians click here

Conservative protestant Christianity has grown, in part, as a reaction to liberal changes in "mainline protestantism." However, traditional Christianity is being thrown out with the bathwater. Here is an apt commentary on the traditional Church and her detractors called, "Parable of the Sea". Click here

Saturday, March 21, 2009

St. Benedict of Nursia



"What, dearest brethren, can be sweeter to us than this voice of the Lord inviting us? See, in His loving kindness, the Lord showeth us the way of life." These words of St. Benedict (480-547) come from the Prologue to his "Rule" in which he draws up a moderate lifestyle for monastic communities. He is considered the father of monasticism in the West. On the traditional western calendar his feast is today.

(source of quote: CCEL)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Divine intervention


St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessor - March 19





St. Gabriel, Archangel -
March 24








The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - March 25

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Cyril of Jerusalem



". . . at the proper season expect the confirmation out of Holy Scripture of each part of the contents [of the Creed]. For the articles of the Faith were not composed as seemed good to men; but the most important points collected out of all the Scripture make up one complete teaching of the Faith. And just as the mustard seed in one small grain contains many branches, so also this Faith has embraced in few words all the knowledge of godliness in the Old and New Testaments. Take heed then, brethren, and hold fast the traditions which you now receive, and write them on the table of your heart." (Catechetical Lecture 5)

"Since then [Jesus Christ] Himself declared and said of the Bread, This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood?"
(Catechetical Lecture 22)

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem d. 386 (source: newadvent.org)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick, Bishop, Confessor



For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught;and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father,indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name.

- St. Patrick, d. 464 (from the "Confessio", par. 4, source: CIN)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Catholic Confession

"When I come before the judgment throne, I will plead the promise of God in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I will not plead any work I have done, although I will thank God that he has enabled me to do some good. I will plead no merits other than the merits of Christ, knowing that the merits of Mary and the saints are all from him; and for their company, their example, and their prayers through my earthly life I will give everlasting thanks. I will not plead that I had faith, for sometimes I was unsure of my faith, and in any event that would be to turn faith into a meritorious work of my own. I will not plead that I held the correct understanding of "justification by faith alone," although I will thank God that he led me to know ever more fully the great truth that much misunderstood doctrine was intended to protect. Whatever little growth in holiness I have experienced, whatever strength I have received from the company of the saints, whatever understanding I have attained of God and his ways . . . these and all other gifts I will bring gratefully to the throne. But in seeking entry to that heavenly kingdom, I will, with Dysmas, look to Christ and Christ alone."

- Richard John Neuhaus (from his book Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross, cited in the journal Touchstone, March 2009, p. 6)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Forty Martyrs of Sebaste



"The eloquence of the greatest orators, and the wisdom of the philosophers were struck dumb: the very tyrants and judges stood amazed and were not able to find words to express their admiration, when they beheld the faith, the cheerfulness and constancy of the holy martyrs in their sufferings. But what excuse shall we allege in the tremendous judgment, who, without meeting with such cruel persecution and torments, are so remiss and slothful in maintaining the spiritual life of our souls, and the charity of God! What shall we do in that terrible day when the holy martyrs, placed near the throne of God, with great confidence shall display their glorious scars, the proofs of their fidelity? What shall we then show? shall we produce our love for God? true faith? a disengagement of our affections from earthly things? souls freed from the tyranny of the passions? retirement and peace of mind? meekness? alms-deeds and compassion? holy and pure prayer? sincere compunction? watching and tears? Happy shall he be whom these works shall attend. He shall then be the companion of the martyrs, and shall appear with the same confidence before Christ and his angels. We beseech you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered torments and death for his love, and are now more familiarly united to him, that you intercede with God for us slothful and wretched sinners, that he bestow on us the grace of Christ, by which we may be enlightened and enabled to love him."

St. Ephrem (source: http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/40MAR.htm)