Thursday, June 30, 2005

Benedict XVI on Brotherhood

When Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood, he understood the call of the Gospel for a real Christian synthesis of ecumenism. This book was written over three decades ago and perhaps with all that we see going on in the Church today we need to take heed to these words more than ever with an intense humility and a desire to see them fulfilled.

What is true of the ideas of “fatherhood” and “sonship” is no less true of “brotherhood”. This is the fundamental dogmatic basis for the brotherliness of Christians among one another; for this brotherliness is founded on our being incorporated in Christ Jesus, in the uniqueness of a new man. Like the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of Christians in the Lord is raised—through the Christ-event—above the realm of ideas to the dignity of true actuality. We also find here the concrete realization of the constant source of Christian brotherliness. It rests on the fact of our being embodied in Christ. The act that does this for us is baptism (which is renewed in penance). The celebration of the Eucharist is the constant reestablishment of our bodily unity with the Lord and with one another. But with this idea we are already on the way toward realizing Christian brotherhood concretely, and that we shall pursue later on. Summing up what we have said so far, we can assert that Christian brotherhood differs from all other brotherhoods that transcend the sphere of blood brotherhood precisely in its character as real and actual. This is grasped in faith and acquired through the sacraments. 50.

Chesterton: Scepticism runs its course

And it's still running!

WHAT we are looking at is not the boyhood of free thought: it is the old age and ultimate dissolution of free thought. It is vain for bishops and pious big wigs to discuss what things will happen if wild scepticism runs its course. It has run its course. It is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought begin. We have seen it end. It has no more questions to ask; it has questioned itself. You cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves. You cannot fancy a more sceptical world than that in which men doubt if there is a world.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

God our Father,
today you give us the joy
of celebrating the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Through them your Church first received the faith.
Keep us true to their teachings.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen

BCP Collect:
O Almighty God, who by thy Son didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock; make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Priests diligently to preach thy Holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. +Amen

+N.T. Wright and Jesus' Lordship

Bishop Wright does it again. I know how bloggers are when they come to a link or quote that is usually long. They don't read it. But this one is not one of those that you should ignore, especially if you are an Anglican. +Tom knows how to proclaim the message of the Lordship of Jesus and one that all of us need to recognize and hear again and again and to put into action in every area of our lives. Please take the time to read this and I give a hat tip to Canon Harmon at titusonenine for having it up on his site. A portion of it is below. You will not want to miss this sermon. Read it all HERE.

And this brings us back once more to the collusion between certain types of theology and certain modes of operating in the world. Ever since the eighteenth century, western protestantism has been pulled more and more towards a denial, explicit or implicit, of the great central truths of Christian faith – sometimes, indeed, towards watering them down while still saying the words, sometimes actually to open mockery of the idea of the Trinity or the resurrection or the full meaning of the cross. And what has happened, exactly as the eighteenth-century Deists intended it should, is that God is no longer a player on the world scene; Jesus is Lord far away in heaven, or in the secret places of my heart, perhaps, but he can’t tell me how to run my business or which way to vote. And when that happens Caesar smiles his grim smile and pulls in the rope, and the worlds of money and sex and power all dance to his tune, exhibiting that tell-tale imperial pattern, the pagan pattern, the pattern that says there is no resurrection, that Herod is King of the Jews and Caesar is Lord of the world, that Mammon, the money-god, is divine and rules our pockets, that Aphrodite, the goddess of erotic love, is divine and rules our loins, that Mars the god of war is divine and doesn’t mind who wins as long as people keep fighting each other. My brothers and sisters, is it surprising that, if every doctrine from the Trinity to the divinity of Jesus to his saving death and bodily resurrection and ascension has been dismissed as outdated, disproved or irrelevant, the church should then have no means of protesting against massive economic injustice, against the erosion and inversion of sexual morality, against rampant militarism – in other words, against Caesar and all his weapons? Is it not time to be grasped once more by the real authority of scripture, which is not about quoting a verse here and a line there but about being reshaped by the full story, the whole narrative, the entire drama of a book like Acts until the picture becomes clear and we see who Caesar is and how he works, who Jesus is and how he rescues God’s lovely world from corruption and slavery, and who we are called to be as his Spirit-led witnesses to the ends of the earth?

When, and only when, we are fired by that vision, we may be able to see more clearly the truth which is waiting for us in the great drama of the closing chapters of Acts, which bring us, I believe, very close to hearing God’s word to the Anglican Communion in the year of grace 2005.

+Tom ends with this:

And the answer is that we must keep up our courage and see the thing through. Don’t be afraid, said the Lord to Paul in Corinth (18.9); speak and do not be silent, for I am with you. Keep up your courage, said the Lord to Paul after the hearing before the Council (23.11); as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome. Don’t be afraid, said the angel to Paul on the boat (27.24); you must stand before the emperor, and God has granted safety to all who are sailing with you. We must keep our nerve. We must say our prayers. We must hold fast to the risen and ascended Lord, at whose name every knee shall bow, not least Caesar, Mammon, Aphrodite and Mars. We are on our way with the gospel, in the power of the Spirit. Let us strive for that holiness to which we are called, and for that unity in truth which demonstrates to the powers that Jesus is Lord (which is why some in the media are salivating in their eagerness that our little boat should break up; let’s not make their day!). But never, never forget in the days to come: the reason you go through the storm is because you are carrying the gospel of God’s kingdom, to let the powers of the world know that Jesus is their rightful Lord. Let this be Luke’s message, God’s message, to us at this crucial turning point in our history: Hold on; keep up your courage; don’t lose your nerve; ride out the storm, so that you can stand before the powers, announce God’s kingdom, and proclaim Jesus as Lord, with all boldness and unhindered.

–The Rt. Rev. Dr. N. T. Wright is Bishop of Durham; this address was given to the ACC yesterday

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Restoring the Body to the Table

One of the issues that I have been convinced of for a long while is what is commonly called "paedocommunion." This teaches that all of the baptized community should partake of the Eucharistic memorial as the WHOLE Body of Christ or it makes little to no sense to baptize infants. Since baptism unites infants and adults to Christ, then that union needs the nourishment of the Eucharist. The Eastern church has practiced paedocommunion as far back as we can find and even Elizabeth I was baptized, confirmed and communed at three days old I believe. It seems to be the most scripturally consistent if what we say about baptism and its efficacy is true. Obviously I believe it is. Since the whole covenant family in the OT received the sacrificial memorial in the Passover and all the other feasts celebrated by Israel, it would only be consistent for all the baptized children of believers as members of the Body of Christ and united to Him by faith would also receive the Eucharist. Historically it is undeniable that the Church practiced this until the thirteenth century. The theological implications need revisiting again.

One place that you can visit to read more on the topic is the paedocommunion website. You can also listen to Dr. Rob Rayburn's sermon on it as well. What are your thoughts as an Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian or whatever affiliation you find yourself with?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Almost Another Pentecost

Below is a portion of the ABC's sermon to the ACC. You can find the rest of it at titusonenine.

The relation between Jews and Gentiles in the Acts is not simply that of one racial group to another. As the story is presented to us, it’s a story about a great crisis over what faith really is, and what salvation really is. The strict believers who challenge Paul and Barnabas and have no small dissension and debate with them - one of Luke’s wonderfully tactful phrases - those strict believers are in effect saying it is possible to know that you are in the favour of God. Be circumcised, keep the law, and when you are alone in the silence of your room, you will know where to turn to be sure; you will know what your record is. You will know that you have the signs that make you acceptable to God. To which Paul and Barnabas, and the Church ever since have replied, ‘There is no sign by which you can tell in and of yourself that you are acceptable to God. There is nothing about you that guarantees love, salvation, healing, and peace. But there is everything about God in Jesus Christ that assures you, and so if you want to know where your certainty lies, look to God, not to yourself.’ Don’t tick off the conditions that might possible make God love you, scoring highly, perhaps, and thinking, ‘So God must love me after all.’ Begin rather by looking into the face of the love of God in Jesus Christ, and then, as it were, out of your bewilderment and your speechlessness at that love, thinking, ‘And yes, I am loved.’ Not just one episode, you see, in the history of the Church, but almost another Pentecost.

Returned From Florida

It is good to be back home in Durham. I had a week in HOT, HOT Florida to move the remainder of our household items over and it is good to be back to reasonable weather. It was great to see my parents but I'm glad to be back. Plus, I hate being away from Rhea and the kids that long. All is well, our stuff will be on the way soon and we'll be getting more and more settled into life here.

I will return to blogging tomorrow and working hard on a paper I need to get written.

Monday, June 20, 2005

++Rowan Williams to the ACC

Here is a portion of the address to the ACC in Nottingham, England from the ABC ++Rowan Williams. I put it here for the insights of Fr. Alexander Schmemann. You can read all of it HERE.

The Russian Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann distinguishes the Church from a sect very simply by saying that a sect is always transforming itself into an ‘agency’, committed to a succession of causes, and he says, ‘it easily mobilizes people against and not for’, creates typically for itself a modern sense of pervasive guilt for not being radical enough (The Journals of Fr Alexander Schmemann, p.203). But the Church is just life in the new world which is the old one transfigured in Christ’s light. The Church does not have to be defined by its activism, justified by its good causes. ‘Dead end of the world with its “progress.” Dead end of religion with its laws and therapeutics. Christ has taken us out of both these dead ends. The Church eternally celebrates it, and people as eternally reject it and are deaf to it’ (p.292). So if we ask what we need to be heard saying, perhaps it is this - that the new world is a reality here in the Church, not by our activism and our anxious struggles to keep up with an agenda, but in the gift of presence in the Eucharist and in every moment when we meet our Father through Jesus.

Taking a Trip

My posting may slow down quite a bit over the next week as I am off to London today to fly back to the States to move the remainder of our household items over so as to save the money we are paying for storage. It looks as though we will be staying in England for a while, (at least that's the plan now) so we might as well move it all over. My latest meeting with the Bishop here gave me the encouragement that everything should work out OK as I come into the C of E as a priest once I finish my Ph.D.

I'll be in Florida staying on my In-Law's 52` sailboat so that will make for a nice stay but the temperatures are simply unbearable just now in Florida. Well, they have an air conditioner that works quite well on the boat so it should be nice. I'll post some pictures once I arrive so you can see the new home of Rhea's parents. They will be leaving for the NE part of America shortly after I leave until November when they will head towards the Carib for the winter. Early next summer, they plan to sail across the Atlantic to stay with us for the summer in England. We'll be praying a lot for that trip!! And we'll ask you to join us in that too!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Seeing God in Small Things

One of the things I often find myself struggling with is to remember to see God in the small things in this life so that I can learn to fully appreciate and give thanks for them as well as the big things. How important it is for us to see God in the small as well as the big! I was reading this morning in a sermon by Andrewes where he mentioned this in light of our receiving the greatest gift of all when we are given the Spirit. Preaching in 1621 on Whit-Sunday Andrewes says,

And hear you, you are to begin with datum, "not to despise the day of small things." It is the Prophet's counsel, to learn to see God in them. "Caesar's image," not only in his coin of gold, but even upon the poor "penny." See God in small, or you shall never see Him in great; in "good," or never in "perfect."

There is so much going on presently that I see as negative and painful in the Church and world where I often put impediments before me that hinder me from seeing God's mighty work in what would be termed as the small things in life. I am reminded of all the many small things in life that when put together to make up my life become big things where my eyes are open to God's hand in every aspect of my life. But to get a full appreciation that allows me to render a deep thanksgiving, I intend to find God working in the small areas of my life so that I can more appreciate and give Him glory for the things I may subjectively term big. God holds it all together and every good and perfect gift is from above.

Friday, June 17, 2005

New Archbishop of York Appointed

York has been filled and the new Archbishop is from Uganda. The announement of the appointment was made today. The link to read about "The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, has become the Church of England's first black archbishop" can be read here. It would be great to hear your thoughts and comments on this new appointment.

Bishop Sentamu said: "I am looking forward to working with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops to lead the Church of England in its mission to the nation.

"It is imperative that the Church regains her vision and confidence in mission, developing ways that will enable the Church of England to reconnect imaginatively with England."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Spirit-filled Speech

In a sermon on Pentecost Sunday concerning the question of how we may know we have or have not the Spirit, Bishop Lancelot Andrewes offers the following:

(What “speaks the Spirit manifestly” from our mouths?) if cursing and bitterness, and many a foul oath, if this noise be heard from us; if we breathe minas et cædes, “bluster out threatening and slaying”—that noise; if sarpoos logos, “rotten, corrupt, obscene communication” come out of our mouths? we are of Galilee, and our very speech “bewrayeth” us. This is not the breath of the Spirit, this He speaks not; evidently He speaks it not. It is not the tongue of Heaven this: not sicut dedit Spiritus eloqui, no utterance of the Spirit’s giving. Some of Christ’s water would do well to wash these out of our mouths. The speech sounding of the Spirit, is a sign of the true Spirit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Benedict XVI and the Eucharistic Liturgy

Scott Hahn on the New Pope's Potential Revival This article was partially displayed on titusonenine so a hat tip to Dr. Harmon. The article comes from Zenit.

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, JUNE 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's pontificate is not about restoration of the liturgy so much as re-appropriation -- of the mystery of the Eucharist.

So says Scott Hahn, professor of theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and author of "The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth" (Doubleday).

He shared with ZENIT how he thinks Benedict XVI's teachings will enhance the faithful's understanding and experience of Eucharist.

Q: What was distinctive about then Cardinal Ratzinger's approach to the Eucharist?

Hahn: I don't think any theologian since Matthias Scheeben in the 19th century has shown us the profound interrelation of all the mysteries of Christianity. The doctrine of the Eucharist, for Cardinal Ratzinger, cannot be properly studied or expressed apart from the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the incarnation, and the doctrine of the Church.

The Eucharist itself is a Trinitarian mystery; we cannot receive the Son without receiving the Father who sent him in the flesh and the Spirit through which he comes. The Trinity comes to us in the Eucharist. And as the Trinity comes to us, we are raised up into the very presence of the divine glory.

This mystery is connected to the Incarnation because it's not just a historical event in the past, but an ongoing reality -- a supernatural mystery -- in our very midst. It all hangs together.

Cardinal Ratzinger's ecclesiology -- his theology of the Church -- is Eucharistic, incarnational and Trinitarian. At the same time, his Eucharistic theology is ecclesiological, incarnational and Trinitarian.

Q: Cardinal Ratzinger often described the Eucharist as the "heart of life." What does he mean by that?

Hahn: The Eucharist is our encounter and our communion with the Blessed Trinity. That is the heart of life. It's the source of life. It's the summit of life. Communion with the Blessed Trinity is the very definition of heaven, so it doesn't get any better than that. The amazing thing is that we have heaven in every Mass.

This is a theme Cardinal Ratzinger returned to repeatedly in many of his books. The coming of Jesus Christ -- what the Greek New Testament calls his "parousia" -- is not simply some far-off event. It is his presence in the Eucharist.

Fundamentalists reduce the meaning of "parousia" to Christ's coming at the end of time; but for first-century Greek-speakers the word meant "presence." Catholic theology holds on to that original meaning.

In his book "Eschatology," Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "The parousia is the highest intensification and fulfillment of the liturgy. And the liturgy is parousia. … Every Eucharist is parousia, the Lord's coming, and yet the Eucharist is even more truly the tensed yearning that He would reveal His hidden Glory."

Read it all.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

C.S. Lewis and the Problem of Pain

Here are some great quotes from this book. Read each slowly and give yourself a moment for reflection. And then pray!

If the universe is so bad...how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?"

"Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness."

"Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal."

"When we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy."

"When God becomes a Man and lives as a creature among His own creatures in Palestine, then indeed His life is one of supreme self-sacrifice and leads to Calvary."

"If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows...then we must starve eternally."

"Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment."

"Unless Christianity is wholly false, the perception of ourselves which we have in moments of shame must be the only true one..."

"The 'frankness' of people sunk below shame is a very cheap frankness."

"We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin."

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

"[Pain] removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul."

"We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it."

"It matters enormously if I alienate anyone from the truth."

"Those who would like the God of scripture to be more purely ethical, do not know what they ask."

"[God] is not proud...He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him."

"If God were a Kantian, who would not have us till we came to Him from the purest and best motives, who could be saved?"

"Tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless."

"Those who would most scornfully repudiate Christianity as a mere "opiate of the people" have a contempt for the rich, that is, for all mankind except the poor."

"Every uncorrected error and unrepented sin is, in its own right, a fountain of fresh error and fresh sin flowing on to the end of time."

"Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire."

"Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you."

"God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love."

Augustine on the benefits of Sacraments

Well take a look at St. Augustine here!

Chapter 110.—The Benefit to the Souls of the Dead from the Sacraments and Alms of Their Living Friends.

Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead are benefited by the piety of their living friends, who offer the sacrifice of the Mediator, or give alms in the church on their behalf. But these services are of advantage only to those who during their lives have earned such merit, that services of this kind can help them. For there is a manner of life which is neither so good as not to require these services after death, nor so bad that such services are of no avail after death; there is, on the other hand, a kind of life so good as not to require them; and again, one so bad that when life is over they render no help. Therefore, it is in this life that all the merit or demerit is acquired, which can either relieve or aggravate a man’s sufferings after this life. No one, then, need hope that after he is dead he shall obtain merit with God which he has neglected to secure here. And accordingly it is plain that the services which the church celebrates for the dead are in no way opposed to the apostle’s words: “For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad;”215 for the merit which renders such services as I speak of profitable to a man, is earned while he lives in the body. It is not to every one that these services are profitable. And why are they not profitable to all, except because of the different kinds of lives that men lead in the body? When, then, sacrifices either of the altar or of alms are offered on behalf of all the baptized dead, they are thank-offerings for the very good, they are propitiatory offerings for the not very bad, and in the case of the very bad, even though they do not assist the dead, they are a species of consolation to the living. And where they are profitable, their benefit consists either in obtaining a full remission of sins, or at least in making the condemnation more tolerable.

Schaff, P. 1997. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. III. St. Augustin on the Holy Trinity, Doctinal Treatieses, Moral Treatieses.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Durham's Prince Bishops

Here is an interesting piece of information for those who would be interested to know about Durham's Prince Bishops. You can see the list of Durham Bishops too.

G.K. Chesterton on Tradition

I am beginning to wonder if this man is ever wrong. No one says it like G.K. Chesterton.

I HAVE never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record. The man who quotes some German historian against the tradition of the Catholic Church, for instance, is strictly appealing to aristocracy. He is appealing to the superiority of one expert against the awful authority of a mob. It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village, who is mad. Those who urge against tradition -- that men in the past were ignorant -- may go and urge it at the Canton Club, along with the statement that voters in the slums are ignorant. It will not do for us. If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes -- our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth: tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father.


Library Traffic

Well, today was a day for copying articles in the library. The term in Durham ends on 24 June but the students have completed their exams and basically are just hanging out and having a good time until the end of term on 24 June. Lots of parties and fun for them.

But, for research students, it means empty libraries and that was the scene today. It was most wonderful!!! I was able to be in the periodical stacks today all by myself and owned the copy machine the entire time and set out copying articles most of the day. (As a research student, I get £75 per year for copies and ILL on books. It helps the budget for sure.) Though I didn't get a lot of reading done today, I did get a healthy stack of new articles to begin reading and going through as I begin a big part of my first chapter this summer.

That chapter will be on the pastoral implications and benefits of the Eucharist in the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes. I intend to show how Andrewes as an "effectual instrumentalist" (how I am defining him) in his Eucharistic theology defines the love and hope that is found in Christ as we receive Him, in the Eucharist. His views on sacrifice, presence, propitiatory offering, ethics, unity, and charity will all be addressed in light of the Puritan and Roman Catholic controversies. His references to the Fathers are sprinkled throughout these sermons touching on the Eucharist, and Sacraments in general, and I am looking forward to putting something substantive together on this. I will also begin my translation of the Bellarmine exchange in July.

So, if you remember me this summer ;-) please pray!! We have had guests from the States for the last two and a half weeks plus a pilgrimage group from California here and I am behind in my research to say the least! But, it was good to be back at it today and I look forward to a productive weekend.

Andrewes and Baptismal Grace

Following Andrewes’ explanation of the Dove descending upon Christ and the symbolism attached to it, he moves to describe the effects of this baptism of Christ upon us. He explains it as a vital organic union between us and Christ and the voice that was heard from the Father about Christ Jesus was a voice for us. We are made sons of God through the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3.5). At baptism there is a great change,

even from the state of servants, as by creations and generation we were, and so still under the law, into the state of “sons,” as now we are, being “new creatures” in Christ, regenerate and translated into the state of “grace wherein we stand.” Not only a great change, but a great rise also. At the first, we were but washed from our sins, there was all; but here, from a baptized sinner to an adopted son is a great ascent.

The Oxford Movement?

Here is an excerpt from Canon Harmon's site today that the readers here may find interesting. Leave a comment if you like.

"While history may account for it, it ought not be deemed to excuse a lack in practice of perspective and proportion all too manifest in the working out of the principles of Anglo-Catholicism. Catholicism strongly emphasizes a three-fold focus of religious interest; on God, the fellowship of men and self. Where self is made supreme the obligations both to God and neighbor are obscured. Religion ceases to be thought of in fact as a way of eternal life lived in time, as a relationship to all men in Christ. It is dwarfed down to a private and personal behavior-and-thought pattern within a narrow groove with only a bipolar direction--God-to man and man-to-God."

Get the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Andrewes on Preaching

Lord thou hast preached in our streets, and yet it would do them no good; Nescio vos [being ignorant], was their answer for all that. And yet how fain would some be a prophesying! It would not save them, though they were; and is it not a preposterous desire? we love to meddle with that pertains not to us, and will do us no good: that which is our duty and would do us good, that care we not for."

Amazingly Funny

You have to watch this. Thanks to Alastair over at 40 Bicycles for posting this. DO watch it. These guys are incredible.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Chrysostom on the Priesthood

*Note his reference here to sacrifice and the Eucharist.

And whenever he invokes the Holy Spirit, and offers the most dread sacrifice, and constantly handles the common Lord of all, tell me what rank shall we give him? What great purity and what real piety must we demand of him? For consider what manner of hands they ought to be which minister in these things, and of what kind his tongue which utters such words,7 and ought not the soul which receives so great a spirit to be purer and holier than anything in the world? At such a time angels stand by the Priest; and the whole sanctuary, and the space round about the altar, is filled with the powers of heaven, in honor of Him who lieth thereon. For this, indeed, is capable of being proved from the very rites which are being then celebrated. I myself, moreover, have heard some one once relate, that a certain aged, venerable man, accustomed to see revelations, used to tell him, that he being thought worthy of a vision of this kind, at such a time, saw, on a sudden, so far as was possible for him, a multitude of angels, clothed in shining robes, and encircling the altar, and bending down, as one might see soldiers in the presence of their King, and for my part I believe it. Moreover another told me, without learning it from some one else, but as being himself thought worthy to be both an ear and eye witness of it, that, in the case of those who are about to depart hence, if they happen to be partakers of the mysteries, with a pure conscience, when they are about to breathe their last, angels keep guard over them for the sake of what they have received, and bear them hence. And dost thou not yet tremble to introduce a soul into so sacred a mystery of this kind, and to advance to the dignity of the Priesthood, one robed in filthy raiment, whom Christ has shut out from the rest of the band of guests?8 The soul of the Priest should shine like a light beaming over the whole world. But mine has so great darkness overhanging it, because of my evil conscience, as to be always cast down and never able to look up with confidence to its Lord. Priests are the salt of the earth.9 But who would easily put up with my lack of understanding, and my inexperience in all things, but thou, who hast been wont to love me beyond measure. For the Priest ought not only to be thus pure as one who has been dignified with so high a ministry, but very discreet, and skilled in many matters, and to be as well versed in the affairs of this life as they who are engaged in the world, and yet to be free from them all more than the recluses who occupy the mountains. For since he must mix with men who have wives, and who bring up children, who possess servants, and are surrounded with wealth, and fill public positions, and are persons of influence, he too should be a many-sided man—I say many-sided, not unreal, nor yet fawning and hypocritical, but full of much freedom and assurance, and knowing how to adapt himself profitably, where the circumstances of the case require it, and to be both kind and severe, for it is not possible to treat all those under one’s charge on one plan, since neither is it well for physicians to apply one course of treatment to all their sick, nor for a pilot to know but one way of contending with the winds. For, indeed, continual storms beset this ship of ours, and these storms do not assail from without only, but take their rise from within, and there is need of much condescension, and circumspection, and all these different matters have one end in view, the glory of God, and the edifying of the Church.

Schaff, P. 1997. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. IX. Chrysostom: On the Priesthood, Ascetic Treatises, Select Homilies and Letters, Homilies on the Statues.

Augustine on Charity

10. Now who is he that fulfilleth the Law, but he that hath charity? Ask the Apostle, “Charity is the fulfilling of the Law.44 For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, in that which is written, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”45 But the commandment of charityis twofold; “Thou the commandment of charity is twofold; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great commandment. The other is like it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” They are the words of the Lord in the Gospel: “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”46 Without this twofold love the Law cannot be fulfilled. As long as the Law is not fulfilled, there is infirmity. Therefore he had two short, who was infirm thirty and eight years. What means, “had two short”? He did not fulfil these two commandments. What doth it profit that the rest is fulfilled, if those are not fulfilled? Hast thou thirty-eight? If thou have not those two, the rest will profit thee nothing. Thou hast two short, without which the rest avail not, if thou have not the two commandments which conduct unto salvation. “If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I distribute all my substance, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”47 They are the Apostle’s words. All those things therefore which he mentioned are as it were the thirty-eight years; but because charity was not there, there was infirmity. From that infirmity who then shall make whole, but He who came to give charity? “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.”48 And because He came to give charity, and charity fulfilleth the Law, with good reason said He, “I came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil.”49 He cured the sick man, and told him to carry his couch, and go unto his house.50 And so too He said to the sick of the palsy whom He cured.51 What is it to carry our couch? The pleasure of our flesh. Where we lie in infirmity, is as it were our bed. But they who are cured master52 and carry it, are not by this flesh mastered. So then, thou whole one, master the frailness of thy flesh, that in the sign of the forty days’ fast from this world, thou mayest fulfill the number forty, for that He hath made that sick man whole, “Who came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil.”

Schaff, P. 1997. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. VI. St. Augustin: Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, according to Matthew.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

So-called spirit

"And when He has said that, He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive the Holy Ghost."

What spirit is leading us? Time does not change much and Lancelot Andrewes makes that clear in a sermon on the Holy Spirit and our receiving of Him. He says,

"And are there not in the world somewhere, some such as will receive none, admit of at no hand no other Holy Ghost but their own ghost, and the idol of their own conceit, the vision of their own heads, the motions of thier own spirits, and if you hit not on that is there in their hearts, reject it, be it what it will; that make their breasts the sactuary; that in effect say with the Donatist, 'that they will have holy is Holy,' and nothing else? Men, as the Apostles speaks of them, causeless puffed up with their fleshly mind? If it makes to swell, then it is but wind, the Spirit doth it not; [the Spirit] inspires, not puff up."

And I know not how, but as if Christ's mouth were stopped and His breath like to fail Him, the world begins to fare as if they had got a new mouth to draw breath from; to govern the Church as if spiritus Praetorii would do things better than Spiritus Sanctuarii, and man's law become the best means to teach the fear of God, and to guide religion by. In vain then is all this act of Christ's; He might have kept His breath to Himself. But it will not so be. When all is done, the Spirit must come from the Word, and the Holy Ghost from Christ's mouth, That must do this, govern the Church. Thither we must for Sanctum, even to the Sanctuary, and to no other place.

Again, what spirit is leading us?

Getting rid of sin

Fear or Hatred? What sends sin away? When Jesus faced Pilate, He was told that Pilate had the authority to have Him crucified or to have Him released. This is daunting for men and fear causes men to fear committing the outward act of sin due to consequences. This is one of the motivating factors as to why the state has authority to administer the sword (Rom. 13). But fear does not get to the heart of what we know is deeply within each of us. Love casts out fear but what of sin? In a sermon on Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit into the Apostles, the good bishop, Lancelot Andrewes describes for us the way we really rid ourselves of sin. Speaking in Greenwich in 1616 before King James I he said, "odium oportet peccandi, non metum facias," roughly translated, "if sin shall ever truly be left, it must come of hatred, not of fear." The breath of Christ must pierce the inner depths of our souls whereby we come to do away with sin, not so much out of fear, but of our hatred of it and our love for God. Just a thought for the day.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mary: Grace and Hope

The Seattle Statement Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC II)is now on line. You can read it at this link.

Updating Reading List

I have updated my reading list on the blog as it was long over due. I have a number of other things that I read of course in my studies on Andrewes and 17th c. Eucharistic theology but I've added some recently purchased books that I have placed on my bedside table to dabble in a chapter or two before I go down for the night. A number of these will stay up as I will slowly work through them when I have the time. Of course what always stays beside my bed is one of the many volumes of G.K. Chesterton. He gets read and re-read all year long every year. My wife usually is reading Wodehouse and giving us a good laugh before we go to sleep. I'll do better to update this list more often. I may even have a recently purchased list separate from a reading list as often is the case I'll buy something I know I eventually want to read.

If any of the readers here come across books on the Eucharist whether Roman Catholic, Anglican, Reformed or otherwise, please send me a note or make a comment even if the post has nothing to do with you telling me about a book. I would really appreciate a list of good modern books on Roman Catholic thinking of Eucharistic Sacrifice as well as Orthodox and Protestant that some of you may have read. If any readers know of good articles on the Eucharistic theology of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine or Cardinal Perron that would also be appreciated. If you want to comment on good novels that you are reading that I should look into getting, by all means give me those too!
    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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