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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.

2 Comments:

Blogger James the Thickheaded said...

Jeff:

Thanks for posting this.

There seems really quite a bit in Andrewes stuff...but where to begin now that there seems to be a plethora of new works out on him becomes increasingly difficult. Any suggestions?

11:51 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, actually there is not a whole lot by comparison to someone like Hooker for instance. There are numerous books that are not available because they are out of print. I would suggest that you get Marianne Dorman's new book on Andrewes. It is readily available in the States if that is where you are. The McCullough book is £90. You can also find a copy of the Preces Privatae on line as well. My recommendation is the Brightman edition.

3:12 pm  

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