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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Sacrifice and Ascension

Most of the readers here know that I am working on a Ph.D on the Eucharistic theology of Lancelot Andrewes 1555-1626. One of the important issues that I will spend most of my thesis discussing and covering is an understanding of the Eucharist as sacrifice in Andrewes's theology and what implications that has for the ascension of Christ. I ran across the following article in some Internet searching I was doing this morning. I put it out here to read your thoughts. A portion of it is offered below. I look forward to all comments. Pontificator?

The same considerations which help us to appreciate the relation of the Altar to the Cross, will help us also to give due weight to the connexion that Catholic theology finds between the Eucharist and Christ's heavenly work. For no one, I suppose, would dispute that our Lord's obedience to the will of God and love for sinful man is as perfect in Heaven as it was upon the Cross. Our Lord's heavenly work is therefore a fulfilment of that foreshadowing of perfect self-dedication which makes the sacrifices of the Old Covenant typical of him and of his work. If those sacrifices are interpreted in the detail of their ceremonial as well as in their fundamental significance, then Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven corresponds with the High Priest's entry into the Holy of Holies there to make the oblation of the Victim's blood. As a modern representative of an important school of French theologians has said:-"The ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven fulfils the sacrificial rite of the oblation of the blood . . . The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ continues eternally in heaven . . . In spite of the change in the outward conditions of the Victim it is ever the same homage of perfect religion rendered by the Incarnate Word of his Father. It is ever the same and one Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ infinitely acceptable to the divine majesty."

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

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