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quod pro nobis traditum est

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whatever happened to integrated faith?

or the wholeness of the Catholic faith?

In supporting the historic liturgy in Lutheranism over the years I have come across a number of unexpected surprises. In an academic sense we can see that liturgics, dogmatics, exegetical, historical, practical, etc., approaches are different areas of study. In the parish all of these areas are put to use in one way or another in service of the one holy faith. All of these areas serve to teach and uphold the faith.

The liturgy is quite useful in integrating the faith. Invocation, Introit, Prayer, Scripture readings, Creed, Homily, Eucharist, Benediction are just some parts of the liturgy that teach and pass on the faith. In all of the parts there is a wholeness about the liturgy as there is about the holy faith.

One unexpected surprise in supporting the liturgy is overcoming false notions that the liturgy is against the confessions of the Church or the Scripture itself. In other words, it is surprising that the liturgy might even be seen in this light by those who focus on either the Confessions or the Scripture. The liturgy does not place itself against either the Scripture or the Church's confession even if it does not teach the faith in the exact same way. It is not necessary to adapt the liturgy to overcome such notions or perceived weaknesses. The rest of the week provides plenty of room for catechesis. Neither ought prayer and learning the faith be seen as enemies.

Even if one does not understand or appreciate fully the liturgy of the Church it is not hard to hear that the same faith is expressed in the liturgy as is taught in the catechism and revealed in holy Scripture. There is a unity in the Church's faith that remains whether it is learned academically or it is prayed.

When growing up it is the child's surprise to realize that the God on Sunday morning is the same God who created the trees and mountains. The child comes to integrate a whole knowledge of God that does not pit the God of creation against the God of salvation. So too the liturgy is not only an aid in prayer and teaching and passing on the faith. It is union with God in Christ, as in the blessed Eucharist, and thanksgiving to the Father through the Son in the Spirit.

One wonders why there might be seen a conflict between what is prayed and what is believed. There is none. If the Scripture reveals the faith and the confessions speak what the Church believes how cannot the liturgy chime in the same true faith?

Rogate 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are good works "good"?

My reading is best described as miscellaneous, mainly theology, philosophy, religion, history, news and other topics. Not being able to afford formal studies, I am constantly schooling myself, especially in the liberal arts.

Daily life is real enough so, for those concerned, my feet are on the ground. I tend to be overly practical so my reading, as rare at it is, serves many purposes - relaxation, learning and stimulation of thought.

One area of reading, related to my vocation, is the homilies of the church fathers. In recent weeks I have read homilies of such as St. Leo the Great, the Venerable Bede (whose feast is on May 27) and St. Cyril of Alexandria.

These homilies are in many ways inspirational. For example, Leo speaks of bearing the Cross adding, "... which for each one is rightly called his, for it is borne by each in his own way and measure. The name persecution is one word; but not one is the reason of the fight; and as a rule there is greater danger in the hidden betrayer, than in the open foe." (Toal, II, 147)

Bede writes, "For as the woman rejoices that a man is born into the world, so also is the Church filled with becoming exultation at the birth of the Christian people into life eternal ." (Toal, II, 334)

Cyril writes, "Rightly then have they been justified who without seeing Him have believed in Christ; but the world will lose the possession of this blessedness, not seeking to possess the justice that comes by faith, preferring to remain in its own wickedness." (Toal, II, 370)

This quote from Cyril catches my eye in that he contrasts being justified by faith with wickedness (ie, sin) rather than placing justifying faith in contrast to good works or the Law. Here faith is opposed to wickedness, not the word that comes from God. As the Apostle James says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above [even God's Law] . . . Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." The emphasis is not on God's Law as being essentially bad (James: "for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God") but as Law as essentially good and perfect, from God, to lead us from our wickedness (and not away from good works) to the word, that which saves the soul. So the blessed Apostle Peter writes in his first epistle, "I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation."

If good works are from God, they must be good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

End Time Numbers

I have not been following this too closely but here are some numbers I found from various sources:

1994 - year of last Last Day
5.21.11 - Last Day
200,000 million - people supposed to be saved
$72 million - worth of the ministry advertising the Last Day
? - number of people who have sold all they have to be ready for tomorrow

I wonder if having no sacraments is a factor in the rise of these types of ministry approaches.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

advancing the faith

Around this time of year there are feasts for two bishops who were also martyrs. Their feasts were/are May 7 - St. Stanislaus (1030 - 1079) and June 5 - St. Boniface (c. 672 - 754). St. Stanislaus was instrumental in Christianizing Poland and was Bishop of Kraków from 1072 until his death in 1079. Boniface (c. 672 - 754), called "Apostle of the Germans," was a missionary from England who advanced Christianity in the Frankish Empire and was the first archbishop of Mainz.

"The heavens shall confess Thy wonders, O Lord: and Thy truth in the Church of the Saints."
(from the verse for the Feast of St. Stanislaus)

Confitebúntur coeli mirabília tua, Dómine: étenim veritátem tuam in ecclésia sanctórum.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Unexpected Announcement

I noticed a billboard on the interstate that says that Judgement Day will be on May 21. In addition, it advertises an "open live forum" on that date from 7:00 - 9:30 p.m. If that is the Judgement Day I can put it on my calendar. I have a couple of questions first. Why is this announcement only on one billboard? (that I am aware of) Second, how does "Judgement Day" fit into an "open live forum?" I hope there are billboards like this around the world.

Knowing me, when the 21st arrives I will have forgotten that it is Judgement Day. This way, if I write it down now I may be ready . . .

This year Ascension Day falls on June 2nd.