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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Eucharist and Christology

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I was struck by something I read last night in an article by D. Bentley Hart on the Orthodox view of Eucharistic Sacrifice--something he said on the heart of the Byzantine eucharistic theology that I have had swirling in my brain after having studied Andrewes these last 20 months or so. One is hard pressed to not hear echoes of the Fathers in Andrewes' sermons and writings (especially eastern though he quotes mostly from Augustine as any western theologian would) whether he is quoting from them directly or merely explaining the the mystery of faith in his eucharistic theology. The Fathers' theology is heard in almost every sentence. What I mean in this particular case is that Andrewes' eucharistic theology is determined by his Christology and one will not understand his theology of eucharistic sacrifice if not viewed in light of that wonderful exchange of natures between the human and the divine. Bentley sees this as the heart of Byzantine eucharistic theology and in my words, the hub on which the rest of sacramental theology must turn. It's been a while since I read through the Incarnation sermons but I must return to them this summer to really get a grip on this aspect of explaining Andrewes' eucharistic sacrifice. I hope to begin writing the chapter by July (D.V.). I have long hours between now and then so please pray! But I think I've found something that could make for some interesting thoughts as I explain his view of eucharistic sacrifice and then project these explanations to view Andrewes as a catalyst for eucharistic ecumenism in my final chapter.

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

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