Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gregory of Nyssa and Good Friends

This morning I was laying in bed gazing into the ceiling in one of those thinking moments when one is actually thinking about nothing. You may know one of those times! The phone rang and it was my good friend Canon Arthur Middleton. He has read my entry below on Andrewes and S. John of Damascus. He said, "if Andrewes is getting his theology from S. John of Damascus, then where do you think the Damascene is getting his theology?" My immediate response was, "I would guess Gregory of Nyssa." He said, "You're right; go look at his catechism XXXVI and XXXVII." I did and it is all coming together for me. The Eastern and hence in this point, the Cappadocian Fathers' influence on Andrewes is simply astounding. He thought like them, worshipped like them, and lived their theology. Concerning the Eucharist, Andrewes walks with the Fathers hand-in-hand. Here is a portion from Catechism XXXVII.
The question was, how can that one Body of Christ vivify the whole of mankind, all, that is, in whomsoever there is Faith, and yet, though divided amongst all, be itself not diminished? Perhaps, then, we are now not far from the probable explanation. If the subsistence of every body depends on nourishment, and this is eating and drinking, and in the case of our eating there is bread and in the case of our drinking water sweetened with wine, and if, as was explained at the beginning, the Word of God, Who is both God and the Word, coalesced with man’s nature, and when He came in a body such as ours did not innovate on man’s physical constitution so as to make it other than it was, but secured continuance for His own body by the customary and proper means, and controlled its subsistence by meat and drink, the former of which was bread,—just, then, as in the case of ourselves, as has been repeatedly said already, if a person sees bread he also, in a kind of way, looks on a human body, for by the bread being within it the bread becomes it, so also, in that other case, the body into which God entered, by partaking of the nourishment of bread, was, in a certain measure, the same with it; that nourishment, as we have said, changing itself into the nature of the body. For that which is peculiar to all flesh is acknowledged also in the case of that flesh, namely, that that Body too was maintained by bread; which Body also by the indwelling of God the Word was transmuted to the dignity of Godhead. Rightly, then, do we believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the Word of God is changed into the Body of God the Word. For that Body was once, by implication, bread, but has been consecrated by the inhabitation of the Word that tabernacled in the flesh. Therefore, from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in that Body was changed to a Divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread, and in a manner was itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as says the Apostle106 , “is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer”; not that it advances by the process of eating107 to the stage of passing into the body of the Word, but it is at once changed into the body by means of the Word, as the Word itself said, “This is My Body.” Seeing, too, that all flesh is nourished by what is moist (for without this combination our earthly part would not continue to live), just as we support by food which is firm and solid the solid part of our body, in like manner we supplement the moist part from the kindred element; and this, when within us, by its faculty of being transmitted, is changed to blood, and especially if through the wine it receives the faculty of being transmuted into heat. Since, then, that God-containing flesh partook for its substance and support of this particular nourishment also, and since the God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, viz. that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be deified, for this end it is that, by dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose substance comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption. He gives these gifts by virtue of the benediction through which He transelements108 the natural quality of these visible things to that immortal thing.
Now there is something very interesting about this last sentence of S. Gregory's. And that is the translated word "transelements". I like the term. I will need to research Migne to see the Greek word that is used there but the term seems to be a good one to define the nature of presence in Andrewes' theology of the Eucharist. I have coined the term "effectual instrumentalist" over against Bryan Spinks' "symbolic instrumenatist" position and now I am publicly coining the phrase "transelementationalist" to define Andrewes' views of Eucharistic presence and transformation of ordinary bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Andrewes was keen to keep the word trans but was hung up with the Aristotelian metaphysic of transubstantiation. Would it now be possible for us to talk about this on ecumenical terms between both East and West? I propose we can because it gets at the essence of both theology, liturgy and piety of devotion to Christ in the Eucharist. I'll develop this more as I think about it further. Biretta tip to Canon Middleton who listened to me and helped to formulate my thoughts here as we discussed this in a phone conversation prior to my posting.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Most Theological Anglican Blog

Well, most readers by now know that my blog here at MEAM is in the running for "Most Theological" blog over at All Too Common. After a night of sleep, I awoke to being behind in the votes by 13. I guess that is what happens when you sleep! Well, for all who have voted for my blog, thank you very much. I do think the voting continues throughout today so, if you haven't already, please go and place your vote. If you want, send an e-mail with this post to your friends. Let's turn these votes up high and whoever wins buys the two losers a nice pint or drink of their party favourite!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Andrewes and the Damascene: Eucharist and the Conferring of Grace

* Warning! This is a lengthy post but please do take the time to read it and think about what you read and comment if you feel led to do so. I believe that what follows below is the source of Andrewes' Isaiah 6 sermon of 1598. See if you are convinced.

I have been thinking a lot about Andrewes’ theology of the Eucharist for obvious reasons. I have had many questions race through my mind about his instrumentality and how he views the ‘working’ of the Sacrament for the Church. I have written a very lengthy section on this (49 pages) that I will have to cut down but I continue to find stuff to add. One of the big questions that has been put out there by one particular scholar (Dr. Peter McCullough) is that Andrewes is most indebted to Chemnitz’ Examinis for his Eucharistic theology. Well, I disagree. He argues this from the Isaiah 6 sermon preached at St. Giles Cripplegate that was not a part of the XCVI Sermons but is a part of the Apospasmatia Sacra. Not to give away too much of my argument since it will be in my dissertation I am convinced that he is wrong in his argumentation. One is the complete silence of any reference to Chemnitz when looking at the Eucharist. Lossky is correct that Andrewes is Patristic and more Eastern than many theologians of his day or those who have gone before him.

This morning I was reading Aquinas on the conferring of grace of the Sacrament and he had a reference to St. John the Damascene from his De Fide Orth. IV that I went to see what he was getting at here. I jumped from my seat when I read it. This is the source of Andrewes’ argumentation of the Christological formulations for his Eucharistic theology and its efficacy. This is where his ideas from Isaiah 6 are coming from. Andrewes is talking about the efficacy of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Within the efficacy of the action he speaks of the taking away of sins by the action. What he is stressing in this application of the Eucharist is the not only the taking away but the purging as well. What he then goes on to discuss is the preferment that God has for us in the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is not like an ordinary Judge who gives pardon but there is no favour that is shown after. With the Father we are given veniam and gratiam (kindness and grace). The sentence that jumped out at me was one within the context of Andrewes speaking about this favour whereby we are not punished for our sins but lifted up to God as acceptable sacrifices, (and here is the phrase) “our nature is most acceptable to God because there remaineth nothing but his own nature.” (1 Pet. 3.18)

What Andrewes seems to be referring to is the divinisation of the Christian that happens in the Eucharistic liturgy. The Fathers spoke of this divinisation of us as well. Andrewes mentions that God can do what He will with His word.
It pleased God to take away the Prophets sinnes by touching his lips. And albeit he can take away our sins, without touching of bread or wine, if he will; yet in the councell of his will, he commandeth unto us the sacramental partaking of his body and blood. It is his will, that our sins shall be taken away by the outward act of the sacrament: The reason is, not only in regard of ourselves, which consists of body and soul, and therefore have need both of bodily and Ghostly meanes, to assure us of our Salvation; but in regard of Christ himself, who is the burning Cole.
Andrewes follows this with an explanation of how this happens through the Sacrament by use of the analogy of the hypostatic union concerning the two natures of Christ, both divine and human, joined together without confusion or separation as the God-man. The quotation is lengthy but it is necessary and worth its length to get to the nature of Andrewes’s understanding of the sacramental efficacy of the Eucharist and its propitiatory qualities.
As Christ became himself a man, having a bodily substance; so his actions were bodily. As in the Hypostasis of the Sun, there is both the Humane and Divine nature; so the Sacrament is of an Heavenly and Earthly nature. As he hath taken our body to himself, so he honoureth bodily things, that by them we should have our sinnes taken away from us, By one bodily sacrament he taketh away the affection unto sin, that is naturally planted in us. By another bodily Sacrament he taketh away the habituall sins and the actuall transgressions which proceed from the corruption of our nature. And here we have matter offered us of faith; that as he used the touching of a cole, to assure the Prophet that his sinnes were taken away; so in the Sacrament he doth so elevate a piece of bread, and a little wine, and make them of such power; that they are able to take away our sinnes: And this maketh for Gods glory, not only to believe that God can work out Salvation, without any outward means of his creatures; not only the hemme of a garment, but even a strawe, (if he see it good) shall be powerfull enough, to save us from our sinnes. As Christ himself is spirituall and bodily; so he taketh away our sinnes, by means not only spirituall but bodily; as in the Sacrament.
Andrewes continues with this explanation of sacramental instrumentalism with the place of the preached word and its relationship to the forgiveness of sins and says,
For if there be a cleansing power in the Word, as Christ speaketh in the fifteenth chapter of John and the third verse: If in prayer, as Peter sheweth in the fifteenth chapter of John and the third verse: If in prayer, as Peter sheweth to Simon Magus, Pray to God, that (if it be possible) the thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee, in the eighth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and the twenty second verse: If in shewing mercy, and giving almes, sinnes shall be forgiven, as Salomon saith in the sixteenth chapter of the Proverbs, and the sixth verse, by mercy sinnes are being forgiven much more in the Sacrament, wherein both the word and prayer and the works of mercy doe concurre, to the cleansing of sinners from their sinnes: Whereas the Seraphim, did not take the coale in his mouth, but with tongues; and applied it not to the Prophet’s eare, but to his tongue. We learn, that it is not the hearing of a sermon that can cleanse us from sinne; but we must taste of the bodily element, appointed to represent the invisible grace of God. It is true, that meditation privately had, will kindle a fire in the hearts of many, in the thirty ninth Psalm and the third verse: And the word as it is a fire, Jeremie the twenty third chapter, and the twenty ninth verse, will also kindle a man, and heat him inwardly: But because in the Sacrament all those doe meete together, therefore nothing is so available to take away sinne, as the touching of bread and wine, with our lips.
Now, here is St. John of Damascus. Note his Christological formulations to talk about the nature of the Sacrament and the efficacy that flows from this. This is a very long piece so patiently read through it.
He gave us therefore, as I said, a second birth in order that, just as we who are born of Adam are in his image and are the heirs of the curse and corruption, so also being born of Him we may be in His likeness and heirs145 of His incorruption and blessing and glory.
Now seeing that this Adam is spiritual, it was meet that both the birth and likewise the food should be spiritual too, but since we are of a double and compound nature, it is meet that both the birth should be double and likewise the food compound. We were therefore given a birth by water and Spirit: I mean, by the holy baptism146 : and the food is the very bread of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who came down from heaven147 . For when He was about to take on Himself a voluntary death for our sakes, on the night on which He gave Himself up, He laid a new covenant on His holy disciples and apostles, and through them on all who believe on Him. In the upper chamber, then, of holy and illustrious Sion, after He had eaten the ancient Passover with His disciples and had fulfilled the ancient covenant, He washed His disciples’ feet148 in token of the holy baptism. Then having broken bread He gave it to them saying, Take, eat, this is My body broken for you for the remission of sins149 . Likewise also He took the cup of wine and water and gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of it: for this is My blood, the blood of the New Testament which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do ye in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the death of the Son of man and confess His resurrection until He come150 .
If then the Word of God is quick and energising151 , and the Lord did all that He willed152 ; if He said, Let there be light and there was light, let there be a firmament and there was a firmament153 ; if the heavens were established by the Word of the Lord and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth154 ; if the heaven and the earth, water and fire and air and the whole glory of these, and, in sooth, this most noble creature, man, were perfected by the Word of the Lord; if God the Word of His own will became man and the pure and undefiled blood of the holy and ever-virginal One made His flesh without the aid of seed155 , can He not then make the bread His body and the wine and water His blood? He said in the beginning, Let the earth bring forth grass156 , and even until this present day, when the rain comes it brings forth its proper fruits, urged on and strengthened by the divine command. God said, This is My body, and This is My blood, and this do ye in remembrance of Me. And so it is at His omnipotent command until He come: for it was in this sense that He said until He come: and the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit becomes through the invocation the rain to this new tillage157 . For just as God made all that He made by the energy of the Holy Spirit, so also now the energy of the Spirit performs those things that are supernatural and which it is not possible to comprehend unless by faith alone. How shall this be, said the holy Virgin, seeing I know not a man? And the archangel Gabriel answered her: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee158 . And now you ask, how the bread became Christ’s body and the wine and water Christ’s blood. And I say unto thee, “The Holy Spirit is present and does those things which surpass reason and thought.”
Further, bread and wine159 are employed: for God knoweth man’s infirmity: for in general man turns away discontentedly from what is not well-worn by custom: and so with His usual indulgence H e performs His supernatural works through familiar objects: and just as, in the case of baptism, since it is man’s custom to wash himself with water and anoint himself with oil, He connected the grace of the Spirit with the oil and the water and made it the water of regeneration, in like manner since it is man’s custom to eat and to drink water and wine160 , He connected His divinity with these and made them His body and blood in order that we may rise to what is supernatural through what is familiar and natural.
The body which is born of the holy Virgin is in truth body united with divinity, not that the body which was received up into the heavens descends, but that the bread itself and the wine are changed into God’s body and blood161 . But if you enquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it was through the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord took on Himself flesh that subsisted in Him and was born of the holy Mother of God through the Spirit. And we know nothing further save that the Word of God is true and energises and is omnipotent, but the manner of this cannot be searched out162 . But one can put it well thus, that just as in nature the bread by the eating and the wine and the water by the drinking are changed into the body and blood of the eater and drinker, and do not163 become a different body from the former one, so the bread of the table164 and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one165 and the same.
Wherefore to those who partake worthily with faith, it is for the remission of sins and for life everlasting and for the safeguarding of soul and body; but to those who partake unworthily without faith, it is for chastisement and punishment, just as also the death of the Lord became to those who believe life and incorruption for the enjoyment of eternal blessedness, while to those who do not believe and to the murderers of the Lord it is for everlasting chastisement and punishment.
The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said, “This is My body,” not, this is a figure of My body: and “My blood,” not, a figure of My blood. And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. For My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed. And again, He that eateth Me, shall live166 167 .
Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us pay homage to it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form of the cross168 let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire. Isaiah saw the coal169 . But coal is not plain wood but wood united with fire: in like manner also the bread of the communion170 is not plain bread but bread united with divinity. But a body171 which is united with divinity is not one nature, but has one nature belonging to the body and another belonging to the divinity that is united to it, so that the compound is not one nature but two.
With bread and wine Melchisedek, the priest of the most high God, received Abraham on his return from the slaughter of the Gentiles172 . That table pre-imaged this mystical table, just as that priest was a type and image of Christ, the true high-priest173 . For thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek174 . Of this bread the show-bread was an image175 . This surely is that pure and bloodless sacrifice which the Lord through the prophet said is offered to Him from the rising to the setting of the sun176 .
It is the Eastern Fathers that Andrewes uses as his source of the nature of the Eucharist as the instrumental means of grace for the forgiveness of sins that is offered at the Altar to God. Therefore, I have become most convinced that the best interpreters of Andrewes and the C17 theologians that followed in his path are the C19 Anglo-Catholics. They knew Andrewes because they knew the Fathers and that is why Andrewes has become one of the fathers of Anglo-Catholics.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holy Innocents

O God, whose praise the martyred innocents did this day proclaim, not by speaking, but by dying: Destroy in us all the malice of sinfulness,that our lives may also proclaim thy faith, which our tongues profess. Through our Lord.

Family Blog Update

This is just a note to say that Rhea has updated the family blog with pictures of Christmas and our Christmastide snow.

Best Anglican Blogs

Andy over at All Too Common has put up the finalists for the votes for "The Best" of Anglican Blogs in different categories. He has this blog in the running for "Most Theological". Go visit and place your vote.

Newman Tract 82 on the Eucharist

2. Concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass. "If his Sacrifice of the Mass have any other propitiatory power or virtue in it than to commemorate, represent, and apply the merit of the Sacrifice of the Cross, let him speak plainly what it is. Bellarmine knew no more of this Sacrifice than we." p. 172. "We acknowledge an Eucharistical Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; a commendative Sacrifice, or a memorial of the Sacrifice of the Cross; a representative Sacrifice, or, a representation of the Passion of Christ before the eyes of His heavenly Father; an impetrative Sacrifice, or an inpetration of the fruit and benefit of His passion, by way of real prayer; and, lastly, an applicative Sacrifice, or an application of His merits unto our souls. Let him that dare go one step farther than we do, and say that it is a suppletory Sacrifice to supply the defects of the Sacrifice of the Cross; or else let them hold their peace, and speak no more against us in this point of Sacrifice for ever." p. 255. "I have challenged them to go one step farther into it [the question of the Sacrifice of the Mass] than I do; and they dare not, or rather they cannot, without blasphemy." p. 418.

3. Concerning adoration in the Sacrament. "We ourselves adore Christ in the Sacrament; but we dare not adore the species of Bread and Wine." p. 356.

Read it all here.

Newman: Faith and Works a Habit of Life

This portion of text is taken from Newman's Lecture 12. Faith viewed relatively to Rites and Works.
(3.) And that this assumption, contrary as it is to philosophy, is contrary also to revealed truth, is plain, from this one circumstance, which should be carefully noticed:—that whereas St. Paul says we are justified by faith, and St. James by works, yet St. Paul's illustrations {296} of justification by faith are taken from occasions, not on which men felt anything unusual, but when they did something unusual. St. Paul, instancing justifying faith, does not say, Abraham said he was "dust and ashes," (which he did say), and so was justified; Moses desired to see God's glory, and so was justified; David, as his Psalms show, was full of holy aspirations, and so was justified;—no, but Abraham and the Patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets, David and the Confessors, did strong deeds of righteousness: they not only "confessed they were strangers and pilgrims upon earth," but they "obeyed;" they "went out," they "chose affliction with the people of God:" they "stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, waxed valiant in fight; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth; they had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, of bonds and imprisonment; they were tortured, they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were slain with the sword;"—these are the acts of justifying faith, these are its life, and no one can deny that they are deliberate and completed works; so that, if faith be justifying, it justifies in and by acts, and not when divested of them.

(4.) But this is not all; St. Paul uses the same instances as St. James. He says, "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac;" and St. James, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" St. Paul, "By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that were disobedient, when she had received the spies with peace;" St. James, "Likewise also was not Rahab the {297} harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?" Do not these parallels show that faith is practically identical with the works of faith, and that when it justifies, it is as existing in works? And farther, the Apostles are so coincident in expression, as to lead forcibly to the notion, which obtained in the early Church, that St. James was alluding to St. Paul's words, and fixing their sense by an inspired comment. Nor yet is this all; as if with a wish to show us how to harmonize his teaching with St. Paul's, he uses words, which exactly express and sanction the very mode of reconciliation which I have been enforcing. "Seest thou," he says, "how faith wrought with his (Abraham's) works, and by works was faith made perfect?" Thus works are the limit and completion of faith, which gives them a direction and gains from them a substance. He adds to the same purport: "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also;" action is the very life of a habit.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bishop Wright's Christmas Sermon

Here is Bishop Tom Wright's Christmas sermon preached at Durham Cathedral Christmas morning 2005. Read it all.

Allow that insight to work its way out. Not for nothing does Jesus’ first ‘sign’ transform a wedding from disaster to triumph. Not for nothing do we find a man and a woman at the foot of the cross. The same incipient gnosticism which says that true religion is about ‘discovering who we really are’ is all too ready to say that ‘who we really are’ may have nothing much to do with the way we have been physically created as male or female. Christian ethics, you see, is not about stating, or for that matter bending, a few somewhat arbitrary rules. It is about the redemption of God’s good world, his wonderful creation, so that it can be the glorious thing it was made to be. This word is strange, even incomprehensible, in today’s culture; but if you have ears, then hear it.

Third, and finally, we return to the meal, the food whose very name is strange, forbidding, even incomprehensible to those outside, but the most natural thing to those who know it. The little child comes out to the front this morning, and speaks to us of the food which he offers us: himself, his own body and blood. It is a hard saying, and those of us who know it well may need to remind ourselves just how hard it is, lest we be dulled by familiarity into supposing that it’s easy and undemanding. It isn’t. It is the word which judges the world and saves the world, the word now turned into flesh, into matzo, passover bread, the bread which is the flesh of the Christchild, given for the life of the world because this flesh is the place where the living Word of God has come to dwell. Listen, this morning, for the incomprehensible word the Child speaks to you. Don’t patronize it; don’t reject it; don’t sentimentalize it; learn the language within which it makes sense. And come to the table to enjoy the breakfast, the breakfast which is himself, the Word made flesh, the life which is our life, our light, our glory.

Boxing Day: Who is Jesus?

The holiday's roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen's Day. Reduced to the simplest essence, its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after.

And that's about as much as anyone can definitively say about its origin because once you step beyond that point, it's straight into the quagmire of debated claims and dueling folklorists.

Who is Jesus to me?
Jesus is the Word made Flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross.
Jesus is the Sacrifice at Holy Mass
for the sins of the world and mine.
Jesus is the Word - to be spoken.
Jesus is the Truth - to be told.
Jesus is the Way - to be walked.
Jesus is the Light - to be lit.
Jesus is the Life - to be loved.
Jesus is the Joy - to be shared.
Jesus is the Sacrifice - to be given.
Jesus is the Bread of Life - to be eaten.
Jesus is the Hungry - to be fed.
Jesus is the Thirsty - to be satiated.
Jesus is the Naked - to be clothed.
Jesus is the Homeless - to be taken in.
Jesus is the Sick - to be healed.
Jesus is the Lonely - to be loved.
Jesus is the Unwanted - to be wanted.
Jesus is the Leper - to wash his wounds.
Jesus is the Beggar - to give him a smile.
Jesus is the Drunkard - to listen to him.
Jesus is the Little One - to embrace him.
Jesus is the Dumb - to speak to him.
Jesus is the Crippled - to walk with him.
Jesus is the Drug Addict - to befriend him.
Jesus is the Prostitute - to remove from danger and befriend her.
Jesus is the Prisoner - to be visited.
Jesus is the Old - to be served.
To me Jesus is my God,
Jesus is my Spouse,
Jesus is my Life,
Jesus is my only Love,
Jesus is my All in All,
Jesus is my Everything.


(By Mother Teresa of Calcutta.)

St. Stephen the Martyr

today we celebrate the entrance of St. Stephen
into eternal glory.
He died praying for those who killed him.
Help us to imitate his goodness
and to love our enemies.
We ask 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.

First Reading: Acts 6:8-10;7:54-59
And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.

Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God." But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Word made Flesh deifies us

from the Treatise of St Hippolytus

We do not put our faith in empty phrases, we are not carried off by sudden impulses of the heart, we are not seduced by plausible and eloquent speech, - but we do not refuse belief to words spoken by divine power.

These God committed to the Word. The Word spoke, and by these words he turned man away from disobedience, not enslaving him by force or necessity, but inviting him to choose freedom of his own accord.

In the last days the Father sent the Word. In his plan the Word was no longer to speak through the prophets. He was no longer to be a figure of conjecture, announced in an obscure way. He was to be manifested visibly, so that the world could see him and be saved.

We know that the Word assumed a body from a virgin and, through a new creation, put on our old nature. We know that he was a man, formed from the same substance as we are. If he were not of the same nature as ourselves, his command to imitate him as a master would be a futile one. If he was of a different substance, why does he command me, naturally weak as I am, to do as he did? How can he be good and just?

To show that he was no different from us, he undertook hard work, he went hungry and thirsty, he took rest and sleep, he did not shirk suffering, he revealed the resurrection. In all this he offered his own self, so that when you suffered you would not lose heart, but rather would recognize that you are a man, and would yourself expect to receive what he received from God.

When you have learned to know the true God, you will have a body immortal and incorruptible, like your soul; you will gain the kingdom of heaven, you who lived on earth and knew the king of heaven; freed from passion, suffering and disease, you will be a companion of God and a co- heir with Christ, for you have become a god.

All that you had to suffer as a man, God gave you, because you were a man. All that belongs to God, he has promised to give you, because you have been deified and have become immortal. This is what it means to know yourself, to recognize the God who made you; to know and to be known is the lot of the man called by God.

And so, men, do not be hostile to one another, do not hesitate to return. Christ who is God, supreme over all, has arranged to wash man clean of sin and to make our old nature new. From the beginning he called this old nature his image, and in this way gave you a sign of his love for you. If you obey his sacred commandments, if you become a good follower of him who is good, you will become like him, you will be honoured by him. God is not lacking in anything, and he made you also a god for his glory.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all of my friends, family, and faithful readers a very Merry Christmas! It has been a pleasure to blog this year and to have so many encouraging comments from so many of you. It is my sincere prayer that we all prepare for the coming of Christ this Christmas in a reflective posture as we examine ourselves in light of the reason for the coming of the Christ. May God grant us His gracious forgiveness for our sins against Him and our hurts towards one another. May He give His Church the same grace to recover from her many divisions and unite us around the One Incarnate Lord who lives and reigns now, in the unity of the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.[+] Amen. The Lord be with you all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New Anglican Blog

Thanks to Andy over at All Too Common for the tip on the new Anglican blog. Go check it out! There is great stuff on it. Canterbury Tales

Fathers and Tractarians

From: Fathers and Anglicans the Limits of Orthodoxy
by Canon Arthur Middleton pp. 296-7

Father and Tractarians
Rooted in this life, the mystery of Christ present in the history of mankind and the Eucharist is where catholic truth is found and in which the mystery of Creation and Redemption is revealed. Here is their Sitz–im-Leben, the life of grace, where as catholic persons they seek to grow ecclesially as well as theologically and within the full potential of their humanity. Salvation then becomes, not the return journey of the individual soul to its Maker, but the catholic process, the gradual unfolding of a universal transfiguration in which people are saved, not from the world, but with the world through the church. Theirs is an ideal of theology not divorced from prayer and liturgy but is a way of life structured by theological vision.
The growth of the person in grace is something different from simple individualism. It is as we are being freed from our individual restrictions that we begin to taste the liberty of persons, the freedom of the sons of God. This involves a religion which is neither that of heart and mind, of feeling or intellect, but which is characterised by the mad fervour of the great theologians and spiritual writers of East and West alike, who have discovered the secret of ‘putting the mind in the heart’69

Catholicity is like a compass that reveals the true orientation of their lives and it is a patristic catholicity that is their compass, which they must follow if they are to grow into catholic truth. It teaches them to read the Bible differently, in the catholic way, and find that the Bible and Apostolic Tradition cannot be properly understood outside their proper patristic Sitz-im-Leben. This is antipathetic to the modern liberal approach. What they rejected as Liberalism, as Pusey’s letter to Arnold illustrates, was the exclusive application of an approach that excludes church history and ignores the ‘proper’ setting or context of the Bible, the living and apostolic community, the catholic church of the Fathers within which the Bible emerged. Newman70 makes this point, and that this has been the practice of our divines since the Reformation.

They have betaken themselves to the extant documents of the early Church, in order to determine thereby what the system of primitive Christianty was; and so to elicit from Scripture more completely and accurately that revealed truth, which, though revealed there, is not on its surface, but needs to be deduced and developed from it.

69 A. M. Allchin, Christian, Autumn 1976 (All Saints Margaret St, Institute of Christian Studies).
70 J. H. Newman, in Cyril of Jerusalem, The Catechetical Lectures, ( John Henry Parker; Rivington, London, 1839), Preface p. xv and xvi.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Andrewes: Eucharist and Incarnation

Humility was the queen of all virtues for Andrewes for it was the sign of Christ in the cratch. He quoted St. Augustine’s maxim “Signum vobis, si signum in vobis.” For Andrewes the sign of Christ in the cratch is the sign of Him in the Eucharist. This sign is how we find Him and it is this same sign of humility in us when we are found by Him. Therefore in the Sacrament of the Eucharist we find the Christ-child. From his sermon on Luke 2.12-14 Andrewes writes,
You say well, for that we have heard we may, but not for any sign we. Yes, for that too. The Sacrament we shall have besides, and of the Sacrament we may well say, Hoc erit signum. For a sign it is, and by it invenietis Puerum, ‘ye shall find this Child.’ For finding His flesh and blood, ye cannot miss but find Him too. And a sign, not so much from this here. For Christ in the Sacrament is not altogether unlike Christ in the cratch. To the cratch we may well liken the husk or outward symbols of it. Outwardly it seems little worth but it is rich of contents, as was the crib this day with Christ in it. For what are they, but infirma et egena elementa, “weak and poor elements” of themselves? Yet in them we find Christ. Even as they did this day in præsepi jumentorum panem Angelorum, ‘in the beasts’ crib the food of Angels;’ which very food our signs both represent, and present to us.

S. Leo the Great on the Incarnation

Here is an excerpt from S. Leo's sermon 23 on the Incarnation.

V. The coming of Christ in our flesh corresponds with our becoming members of His body. Wherefore since the loving-kindness is manifest, dearly beloved, wherewith all the riches of Divine goodness are showered on us, whose call to eternal life has been assisted not only by the profitable examples of those who went before, but also by the visible and bodily appearing of the Truth Itself, we are bound to keep the day of the LORD's Nativity with no slothful nor carnal joy. And we shall each keep it worthily and thoroughly, if we remember of what Body we are members, and to what a Head we are joined, lest any one as an ill-fitting joint cohere not with the rest of the sacred building. Consider, dearly beloved and by the illumination of the Holy Spirit thoughtfully bear in mind Who it was that received us into Himself, and that we have received in us: since, as the LORD Jesus became our flesh by being born, so we also became His body by being re-born. Therefore are we both members of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Ghost: and for this reason the blessed Apostle says, "Glorify and carry GOD in your body:" for while suggesting to us the standard of His own gentleness and humility, He fills us with that power whereby He redeemed us, as the LORD Himself promises: "come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy-laden, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls" Let us then take the yoke, that is not heavy nor irksome, of the Truth that rules us, and let us imitate His humility, to Whose glory we wish to be conformed: He Himself helping us and leading us to His promises, Who, according to His great mercy, is powerful to blot out our sins, and to perfect His gifts in us, Jesus Christ our LORD, Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Congrats to Andy

A fellow blogger is graduating from college and will be heading to Nashotah House to study to be a priest in the near future. But, you have to go to his site to see the graduation announcement! It is a great way to end a Friday!!

Let me know you went by.

G.K. Chesterton on Tradition and Orthodoxy

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 . . . I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea.

{Orthodoxy, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1908, 48}

People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad . . . The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable . . . It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one's own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob . . . It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to avoid them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.

{Orthodoxy, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1908, 100-101}

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gabriel Vasquez on Eucharistic Sacrifice

In my dissertation project on Andrewes, I am looking to him as a catalyst for ecumenism. While doing so, I am also having to look very closely at the theology of Eucharistic Sacrifice in Andrewes and in the Roman Catholic understanding of Eucharistic Sacrifice. What one honestly finds when taking a deep look at someone like Vasquez and other Roman Catholic scholars is quite a bit different from what your friendly Protestant seminary professor may tell you what they meant. If one is very honest with the text, I believe a very large roll in the (mis)understandings of what was being taught was semantics. Now, that does not mean that there were not abuses by way of practices and practice does often belie one's theology. For anyone to ever suggest that the Sacrifice of the Eucharist is a NEW sacrifice of Christ is dead wrong and is not teaching what the Fathers taught on the Eucharistic Sacrifice. But, the question must then be asked as to what WAS the teaching on Eucharistic Sacrifice by the Roman Catholic Scholars of the day. I have posted a long quotation from Vasquez so that the readers here can actually see what one Jesuit actually said in his explanation of the theology of Trent. One of the main issues in thinking about Eucharistic Sacrifice is coming to an understanding of a definition of what people believe constitutes a sacrifice. Vasquez offers his definition. There is language that Vasquez has in here that would make most Protestants fall over themselves to even repeat in public. But, they need to get over it and deal with the issues at hand.

It is very interesting to me that Andrewes told Bellarmine in his Responsiothat if Rome would take away Transubstantiation there would be no difference between them (Rome) and us (England) on Sacrifice. Now, think about that for a moment. Andrewes writes numerous times and preaches more on what he understands the Eucharistic Sacrifice to entail. When I read Vasquez, I saw some very similar langauge used by Andrewes as well. But what Rome actually teaches is that the "Commemorative Sacrifice" of the Mass is NOT some new sacrifice of Christ where there is a destruction or anything happening to the risen and glorified Lord but rather the Sacrifice of the Mass and that of the Altar of the Cross are ONE and the SAME sacrifice. It is the means by which the forgiveness of sins is applied to those who partake without impediment. I do not pretend to imply that the RC scholars all agreed on sacrifice and destruction. Theologians such as Suarez SJ would have some differences but nothing majour other than the sacrifice not being completed until there was consumption. When a term is used like ex opera operato, we must realize that this does not mean magic and that the Sacrament works on its own. What it means is that the Sacrifice's power of application via the Sacrament finds that its power and efficacy is in that of the Cross. Let's get that straight. What Rome was teaching was that the Sacrifice of the Mass was the application of the ONE sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. Andrewes argues the exact same way using Irenaeus's words to support this position. There are some serious theological issues that need working through on this but before that can happen, we have to represent the teaching accurately so that when I say that this is what Rome teaches and believes they must respond, yes, that's what we believe. Once that is accomplished, we can have honest dialogue on differences and the nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice within the theology of the Church. Here is Vasquez on Sacrifice. The source is Darwell Stone A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. I hope that this stirs some conversation
:"From what has been said we can shortly and easily collect a right definition of sacrifice both by way of form and by way of matter. First, by way of form, that is, by way of signification, sacrifice is a mark existing in a thing whereby we acknowledge that God is the Author of life and death. . . . By way of matter this is the definition, a sacrifice is a thing which is offered to God by means of a change in itself, or a change m a thing which is offered to God. . . . There are two kinds of sacrifice. One of them is an absolute sacrifice, namely, that which is not the commemoration of another sacrifice, as the slaying of a sheep, or the consumption of something. The other is a relative or commemorative sacrifice, the only example of which we have in the sacrifice of the altar, which can be called a commemorative sacrifice; and, although in this no change takes place in the thing which is offered in this way, yet there is found a real sign and mark of the almighty power of God, as in an absolute sacrifice; and therefore this has the real nature of sacrifice no less than a bloody and absolute sacrifice." (The Catholic doctrine is that Christ is really and properly offered as a sacrifice in the Mass." "The right opinion is that the whole essence of this sacrifice consists of the consecration of the Sacrament alone in such a way that no other action belongs to its completeness, but that everything else which takes place in the Mass is either part of the preparation for the consecration or something which follows from and succeeds it. But, because the whole essence of this sacrifice is to be placed in the presentation of the death of Christ, which was a bloody sacrifice, and this is represented in the consecration not of one species only but of both taken together, therefore we say that the real and complete essence of the sacrifice exists in the consecration not of one species only but of both." Although an absolute sacrifice, that is, one which is not commemorative of another, requires a change in the thing offered, yet the change is not formally of the nature of the sacrifice but a requisite by way of its matter. The formal nature of sacrifice was placed in the signifying of the almighty power of God as the Author of life and death. Therefore, if there be any offering by means of which without a real and actual change in the thing offered God can be denoted and worshipped as the Author of life and death, it ought to be called really and properly a sacrifice. Now the consecration of the body and blood of Christ is of this kind without any actual change in Christ Himself simply on account of the representation of His death; therefore it is really and property a sacrifice." "The desition and conversion of the bread and wine have nothing to do with the nature of the sacrifice, but the sacrifice consists simply in the presence of the body and blood of Christ under the two species by the force of the words, and it would take place in the same way if the body and blood of Christ existed under the two species without any conversion of the bread and wine." (If the bloodless sacrifice which we priests offer in the Mass is compared with the sacrifice whereby Christ was altered on the cross, it is certain that it coincides -with it, and is wholly the same, so far as concerns the victim and the thing offered, but differs in method and way of offering. . . . Though the same Christ offers in each sacrifice, yet He does not offer in the same way; for in the bloody sacrifice of the cross He offered directly, since by His own action He underwent suffering and death, in which the offering of that sacrifice consisted; but in the sacrifice of the Mass He does not offer directly and by His own action but by the ministry of the priests, whom He has commanded to consecrate the Sacrament in His name and to offer this bloodless sacrifice ; for Christ is now said to offer in this sacrifice only in this way, that He commanded and instituted that priests should offer in His name, and not because He Himself exercises the action of sacrificing." "Although Christ is said to offer this sacrifice remotely and only because He instituted it, yet He is rightly called not only the offerer but the principal offerer, whereby He immediately offers, since there s no other who comes between offering principally. For not only did He command it to be offered, but also by His institution He gave it power by reason of His merits and death, so that from the work wrought (ex opere operato), as Sacraments, it might accomplish something in those for whom it should be offered, and also that it might obtain something for them after the manner of an impetrative cause. . . . Christ did not only command and institute that this sacrifice should be offered, but also as High Priest out of the merits of His works and sacrifice which He offered on the cross, gave it power " and so though He offers remotely, none the less as priest, and as chief or principal offerer, He is said to offer it." 362 363 364

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

St. John of the Cross

You endowed John of the Cross with a spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
By following his example,
may we come to the eternal vision of Your glory.
We ask 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.

Gospel Reading: Luke 14:25-33
Now great multitudes accompanied Him; and He turned and said to them, "If any one comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build, and was not able to finish". Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.

From the Precautions 'Against the Devil'
13. The third precaution, directly against the devil, is that you ever seek with all your heart to humble yourself in word and in deed, rejoicing in the good of others as if it were your own, desiring that they be given precedence over you in all things; and this you should do wholeheartedly. You will thereby overcome evil with good [Rom. 12:21], banish the devil, and possess a happy heart. Try to practice this more with those who least attract you. Realize that if you do not train yourself in this way, you will not attain real charity or make any progress in it.

And ever prefer to be taught by all rather than desire to teach even the least of all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sacrament above Word

Here is an interesting quotation from Abp Laud that bears upon his Eucharistic doctrine:
And you, my honourable Lords of the Garter, in your great solemnities, you do your reverence, and to Almighty God, I doubt not; but yet it is versus altare, towards His altar, as the greatest place of God's residence upon earth. (I say the greatest, yea, greater than the pulpit; for there tis Hoc est corpus Meum, 'This is My body'; but in the pulpit tis at most but Hoc est verbum Meum, This is My word.' And a greater reverence, no doubt, is due to the body than to the word of our Lord. And so, in relation, answerably to the throne where his body is usually present than to the seat where His word useth to be proclaimed).
Is there any wonder why Abp Laud was in trouble in a context of the likes of an O. Cromwell! It's interesting that many of these divines during this time did place the Sacrament above the word for this very reason. Andrewes in a sermon on the anniversary of the Gun Powder Plot complained that the entire Body of Christ was becoming an ear. This was in reference to preaching becoming central to the Christian worship service that was without the celebration of the Eucharist. Andrewes argues for the novelty of this practice from the ancient Church and tells his hearers that it is NOT through the sermon that sins are forgiven, but through the application of the sacrifice of Christ given in the Eucharist.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sacramental Adoration

This second is an act says Andrewes avec gestes et adorations externs. Arguing from how Cyril taught concerning how the Church is to receive the Cup Andrewes explains that they too adore Christ in the gesture of bowing. Touching on how Perron would have the Church receive the Eucharist Andrewes says, “for he would have the party that receiveth it, ku,ptein, that is, to bow himself, and cast his eyes to the ground; that is, in humble and reverent manner to do it. And so do we. And tro,pw proskunh,sewj, after the manner of adoring, amounteth not to adoring: for after the manner, or as men use to do, that adore, is a term qualified, and restrained to the outward manner. In which manner our Church enjoineth it to be received…And we (by the grace of God) hold the Sacrament to be venerable, and with all due respect to be handled and received.” Having corrected Perron’s citation of Augustine from the XCVIth Psalm to the XCVIIIth he writes, “But upon the 98 Psalm these words are, which (I dare say) he means:, No one sets out to eateth that flesh, unless he hath first worshiped, which I trust, no Christian man will ever refuse to do; that is, to adore the flesh of Christ.” He goes on to remind Perron that “for Saint Augustine presently is careful to warn his auditors, that the word manducat there is to be spiritually understood, and he bringeth in Christ thus speaking. Andrewes was agreeing that there is a proper veneration of the physical Sacrament but not a worshipping of it with divine qualities. Andrewes goes on to turn Perron’s own use of Theodoret against him showing that the Sacramental Symbols, after the consecration, go not from their own nature, but abide in their former substance, shape, and kind. Andrewes concludes his answer saying,

And he gains nothing by it; for proskunei/tai in the Cardinal’s sense, may be taken pour venerer, (that is, to honour and reverence;) and is to be taken in that sense, and cannot, here, be taken in any other. For the Symbols so abiding, it is easily known no divine adoration can be used to them, nor any other than hath been said.

Andrewes’s stance against divine adoration of the Sacrament is tied to his denial of transubstantiation. Having gone to examine Theodoret Dialogue II for myself, I too find that it is strange that Perron would use this passage that speaks against what he is seeking to argue for. Contextually, Andrewes is correct to argue that the sense in which Theodoret is using proskunei/tai is with reference to giving reverence and welcoming respectfully. In that sense, Andrewes agrees with the custom of bowing and venerating (venerationem) the Sacrament as a symbol of God’s divine presence and worshipping the Christ of the Sacrament.

Andrewes, Lancelot, Two Answers to Cardinal Perron, (London, Printed by Felix Kyngston for Richard Badger and Andrew Hebb. 1629), LACT Vol. XI, 14. Andrewes, Answers to Perron followed by the page number from here on out.
Andrewes, Answers to Perron, 15, 16.
This reference is from the Latin Vulgate that is in accord with the numbering of the LXX and Psalm XCIX in the English translations.
Andrewes, Answers to Perron, 16, 17. Here Andrewes sets forth a quotation from the Latin text of Augustine’s sermon on Psalm XCVIII (XCIX in English translation) with the words, Nemo autem carnem illam manducat, nisi prius adoraverit. Andrewes is correct that Augustine goes on in this Psalm to explain the mystery of the spiritual eating of Christ’s Body and Blood to the correction of the disciples who took it as a hard saying.
Andrewes, Answer to Perron, 17.
Andrewes, Answer to Perron, 17.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Andrewes to Bellarmini Eucharistic Presence

I found Pusey's translation of this text from Andrewes' response to Bellarmine here. I particularly found this interesting. One thing that presently interests me is Andrewes' denial of Transubstantiation and the Lutheran doctrine of presence. I find that interesting because a modern scholar on Andrewes has recently published a book where he claims that Luther and Chemnitz are the two most influential theologians on Andrewes. Yet, that is not plausible. Here is just one reason why
:"The Cardinal is not, unless ‘willingly, ignorant,’ that Christ hath said, ‘This is My Body,’ not ‘This is not My Body in this mode.’ Now about the object we are both agreed; all the controversy is about the mode. The ‘This is,’ we firmly believe; that ‘it is in this mode’ (the Bread, namely, being transubstantiated into the Body), or of the mode whereby it is wrought that ‘it is,’ whether in, or with, or transubstantiated, there is not a word in the Gospel. And because not a word is there, we rightly detach it from being a matter of faith; we may place it amongst the decrees of the schools, not among the articles of faith. What Durandus is reported to have said of old, (Neand. Synop. Chron. P. 203.) we approve of. ‘We hear the word, feel the effect, know not the manner, believe the Presence.’ The Presence, I say, we believe, and that no less true than yourselves. Of the mode of the Presence, we define nothing rashly, nor, I add, do we curiously enquire; no more than how the Blood of Christ cleanseth us in our Baptism; no more than how in the Incarnation of Christ the human nature is united into the same Person with the Divine. We rank it among Mysteries, (and indeed the Eucharist itself is a mystery,) ‘that which remaineth, ought to be burnt with fire.’ (Exodus xii.13.) that is, as the Fathers elegantly express it, to be adored by faith, not examined by reason." – Answer to Bellarmine, c.i.p.11.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Icon of Anglicanism?

It’s very interesting that Hooker is often portrayed as the icon of Anglicanism. Without a doubt this is reading something back into the late C16 and early C17 that was not true during his lifetime or the early C17. Rather it was Andrewes who was the preacher at Court and the centre of apologetic controversies for King James I. It was Andrewes who held to episcopacy jure divino and not Hooker. It was Andrewes who portrayed a Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist over against a Continental or Calvinistic doctrine. Hooker comes nowhere close to Andrewes on Eucharistic presence of efficacy. Where Hooker describes efficacy as ‘spiritual nourishment’, Andrewes goes much further to describe efficacy via the Sacrament providing forgiveness of sins. Andrewes does not insist on the faithfulness of the recipient as the determinant for presence but rather speaks of an objective presence within the elements themselves. Andrewes exhorts the Church to seek Christ in the Sacrament and Hooker in the worthy recipient of the Sacrament. I can’t help but think that Article XXIX was suppressed in some way that appears to reject an objective presence that Andrewes espouses.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

St. Nicholas, Bishop

The Spirit of the Lord was upon him.

To bring good news to the poor and to heal the brokenhearted.

Collect: Let us pray.
All powerful God,
you made St. Nicholas a bishop and leader of the church
to inspire your people with his teaching and example.
May we give fitting honor to his memory
and always have the assistance of his prayers.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever—and ever.

The picture is from: Saint Nicholas Saving Seafarers (December 6)
From the Belles Heures of Jean, duke of Berry, fol. 168r
The Limbourg Brothers, France (Paris), active ca. 1400-1416
Tempera and gold on vellum
The Cloisters Collection, 1954
The Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Towards a Renewed Priesthood

My dear friend, and spiritual advisor, Canon Arthur Middleton has a book entitled Towards a Renewed Priesthood that is a must read for anyone in the priesthood. In the first chapter 'From Despondency to Conversion' he writes this challenge to priests:
The new and sharp perspective that the Church of today needs can never be the fruit of some special kind of speculation. Rather it must be teh fruit of a deeply lived experience of the mystery of Christ. It is the call to holiness, to God-centred living, which is not anti-world but Kingdom-centred. Response to such a call will require a spirit of penitence in which will grow a discernment and perception of sin. This will not develop by way of debate, but through following the way of the Cross in sacrifice and obedience as one responds to the concrete realities of living. True holiness ensures that human growth and spiritual growth are never separated, and that there is always compassion and forgiveness for the sinner, but never the condoning of sin. p.12

Friday, December 02, 2005

Veniam et Gratiam

I was reading Andrewes’ sermon on Isaiah 6.6,7 again and looking at the commentary on this sermon given my Dr. Peter McCullough in his newly released book (Nov. 2005) Lancelot Andrewes Selected Sermons and Lectures and I had a sentence strike me with surprise that I had not noticed or pondered in my initial reading of the sermon. Andrewes is talking about the efficacy of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Within the efficacy of the action he speaks of the taking away of sins by the action. What he is stressing in this application of the Eucharist is not only the taking away of our sins but the purging of them as well. What he then goes on to discuss is the preferment that God has for us in the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is not like an ordinary Judge who gives pardon where there is no favour that is shown to us after the pardon. With the Father we are given veniam and gratiam (kindness and grace). The sentence that jumped out at me was one within the context of Andrewes speaking about this favour whereby we are not punished for our sins but lifted up to God as acceptable sacrifices, (and here is the phrase) “our nature is most acceptable to God because there remaineth nothing but his own nature.” (1 Pet. 3.18)

What Andrewes seems to be referring to is the divinisation of the Christian that happens in the Eucharistic liturgy. The Eastern Fathers spoke of this divinisation of us as well. ut per haec efficiamini divinae consortes naturae fugientes eius quae in mundo est concupiscentiae corruptionem (2 Pet. 1.4) “that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.” This is our participation in the Uncreated grace of God. As Athanasius summarized, "God was made man that we might be made God" (On the Incarnation of the Logos 54). This is a very Eastern way of speaking of spirituality that has fallen out of Western theology’s language. But it is nonetheless within the writings and mind of Andrewes when he speaks of the efficacy of the Eucharist.

Fathers on the Eucharist

I have been snowed with my work and have not had a moment to think about blogging anything of great substance. My brain is a bit mush right now to be honest. Therefore, I will post a few quotations from the Fathers.

Justin Martyr: For we do not receive these as common bread and common drink; but just as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have learned that the food over which thanks has been given by the prayer of the word which comes from him, [see 1 Cor 11: 23-26; Lk 22; 19] and by which are blood and flesh are nourished through a change, is the Flesh and Blood of the same incarnate Jesus.

St. Hilary of Poitiers: In the Old Covenant there were loaves of proposition [the bread of the presence], but they being of the Old Covenant, have come to an end. In the New Covenant there is a heavenly bread and a cup of salvation that sanctify the body and soul. For as the bread exists for the body, so the Word is in harmony with the soul. Therefore, do not consider them as bare bread and wine; for according to the declaration of the Master, they are Body and Blood. If even the senses suggest this to you [viz. that they are only bread and wine], let faith reassure you. Do not judge the reality by taste but, having full assurance from faith, realize that you have been judged worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.

St. Ambrose: De Mysteriis...will not the word of Christ have the power to change the nature of the elements. You have read about the creation of the whole world: ‘He spoke and they were made, he gave a command and they were created.’ (Ps 33: 9) Therefore can not the word of Christ, which was able to create out of nothing that which did not exist, change those things that do exist into that which they were not?

St. Chrysostom: On the PriesthoodWhen you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, and all the people empurpled by that precious Blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven? Is not every carnal affection deposed? Do you not with pure mind and clean heart contemplate the things of heaven?

St. Augustine: ... I promised you who have been baptized a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s table, which you now behold and which you became partakers of last night. You should understand what you have received, what you will receive, indeed what you should receive daily. The bread you see on the altar and that has been sanctified by the word of God is the Body of Christ. Through these things the Lord Christ wished to entrust to us his Body and his Blood which he shed for us unto the remission of sins. If you receive them well, you are that which you receive. The Apostle says, ‘One bread and we, the many, are one body.’ [1 Cor 10: 17]
    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

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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