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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Inflatable Church

This absolutely has me laughing uncontrollably as I write this. We must not take ourselves too seriously. My friend, Dcn. Gordon over at The Continuing Anglican Churchman has this caption beside the picture posted here. I can't stop laughing.


Here is an innovative idea: an inflatable church. Can't afford a new building? Get the inflatable church instead! Kicked out of your building by your ECUSA bishop? Buy an inflatable church, and set up across the street in protest! It even has inflatable pews and stained glass windows. It would probably be too risky to use incense inside, so it may not appeal to anglo-catholics, but for everyone else this thing might be a real problem solver.

Take a look inside.

The Church: Patient and Confident

I was reading this sermon by E.B. Pusey this morning and ran across this paragraph that would probably come across as "negative" today yet was preached during a time when the Church was facing hard times. Not much has changed in 170 years or so. The Church will always face difficulties. It is quite important for the Church to recognize the world she is in and altogether another thing to accept the world's ways in running the Church. In this sermon, Pusey said,
Lastly, there is room to fear lest, mingling in human schemes for her own security, the Church should leave her dependence upon God, and adopt insensibly the maxims of the world. "Resist not evil" is a precept [25/26] plain in its mode of execution, though hard to fulfil; it prescribes a difficult but a plain track. But, admit the principle that man may resist evil, it is no longer easy to say where and how resistance begins to be sin. Man cannot avoid difficulties; they are essential to trial; he may, by shrinking from them, substitute greater, but he cannot escape them. And this difficulty is increased by the very immensity of the interests at stake. Acts, which have given occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme, have arisen out of principles in themselves indisputable. No one, for instance, could doubt of the superiority of things spiritual to things temporal, or that the office of a Bishop of Christ's flock is higher than that of a temporal sovereign; that the sufferings of hell are so dreadful that any present agonies are blessings, if they prevent them; that men will be damned for wrong faith, as well as for unholy lives. Yet, plain as these things are, it is even the more miserable, that, in such a cause, kings should be deposed, subjects absolved from their oaths and allegiance, murder, treason, rebellion, assassination, lying, perjury, secret slaughter of whole bodies at once, should ever have been justified by Divines, writing in the Name of Christ. Well may those "who think they stand, take heed lest they fall."

[27] The principle then of Holy Scripture, as interpreted by the conduct of the martyrs and the early Church, is to await God's time, to suffer so long as He wills, not to help ourselves--to "stand still, and see the salvation of God."

John Bosco, Priest 1888

St. John Bosco (1815-1888) founded the Salesian Society, named in honor of St. Francis de Sales, and the daughters of Our Lady, Help of Christians. His lifework was the welfare of young boys and girls, ence his title, "Apostle of Youth." He had no formal system or theory of education. His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educatior and innovator.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003


Collect:
Lord,
You called John Bosco
to be a teacher and father to the young,
Fill us with love like his:
may we give ourselves completely to Your service
and to the salvation of mankind.
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.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Church at the Crossroads


At the end of the week, the Church of England will have Synod to discuss numerous items of interest for the Church and world. One controversial item will be concerning the way we "do" Church. There will be some sort of dicussion concerning the Guildford Report that was published recently on the recommendation for assisting those parishes, and clergy who are conscientiously opposed to women's ordination. On 28 January, over 2,000 clergy and laity met at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster,
(The picture above here of Westminster Hall is a picture from their site; it is not a picture of the actual day. I was asked so I thought I should let them know that I did not take the picture. Just an act of reporting!) London to discuss one branch of the Church of England, the Catholic wing, and how they understand the issues at hand. (The speeches are found here) What is amazing is that this gathering was put together is some six-weeks time and apparently it has been reported that the £3 tickets for coverage sold out in just 19 days! Quite impressive move on FiF UK's part. For the Catholic wing of the Church, women's ordination is an issue of sacramental assurance for the most part. For the Evangelicals/Reformed who are opposed, it is an issue of headship. Now, I realize that this explanation is quite simplistic and there is much more involved than the two issues that I mentioned. It is just to say that the theological methodology that is being approached to look at this issue is being looked at in numerous ways. The sad thing of all this division is that there are dear brothers and sisters on both sides of this debate. Charity must reign in this debate and consciences looked after with tenderness and care as God deals with each of us in His mercy. May God grant peace to His Church!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Books and Movies Recently Purchased

Here are few items that I have recently purchased:

1. Rowell, Geoffrey The Vision Glorious: Themes and Personalities of the Catholic Revival in Anglicanism

2. Turner, H.J.M, Holy Orders and Completeness of the Church

3. The Orthox Liturgy

4. Evelyn Waugh, Edmund Campion

5. Stasiak, Kurt, A Confessor's Handbook

6. Arthur Middleton, Towards a Renewed Priesthood

7. Marianne Dorman, Lancelot Andrewes: Mentor of Reformed Catholicism in the Post Reformation English Church

8. Russell, A.T. Memoirs of the Life and Works of Lancelot Andrewes (1860)

Movies:

1. Bernadette of Lourdes & The Gospel According to St. Matthew

2. The Cardinal

3. Keys of the Kingdom

Facelift on the Blog

Well, the facelift on the blog is just about complete. I have few things to clean up with the links, both additions and removing some that are really not very active anymore. I would love to hear the thoughts from some of you who visit regularly on the new format.

A big THANK YOU! to Jessie Bates for her webmistressing and helping me with my many html challenges. Meam Commemorationem would not exist without her. Thanks Jess!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ss. Timothy and Titus

It seems most appropriate on this feast day of Ss Timothy and Titus to say something about Church order and subjection to godly bishops. One of the issues that I have been pondering within my studies is that in order for there to be an ecumenism of genuine validity, it must contain some sort of an episcopal structure. If not, it will not happen. The below quotation from St. Ignatius' letter to Ephesus contains that humble call to obedience and submission to our appointed authorities in the Church. The difficulty is to submit when there is genuine disagreement with the bishop. But when is submission really tested except when there is disagreement? Now, I would qualify this with the necessity above concerning the 'godly' nature of the bishop. When the bishop is out of line with scripture or the tradition of the Church's teaching on an important moral or sacramental issue, things get very difficult. This makes me think about prayer and how important it is that we learn to pray God's will and for God's will. If we always pray our will, God may answer and give it to us. When we get it, well, it's not exactly what we thought we had hoped for. When the people's hearts in the OT were far from God and they gave Him lip-service only, He often sent them rulers that symbolized where they were. We have to be careful in making such judgments that presume to know why this or that person has been placed in authority above us but when we have rulers or in this case bishops in the Church who appear or act as wolves, is it time for us to turn and examine ourselves? Where are our hearts? One thing we must not do is to conclude that we must scrap the idea of episcopacy because there are those who abuse their authority or do not belong there in the first place. That would be a tragedy and ecclesial chaos, i.e., "denominationalism". Let us use this day to pray for those in authority above us and for God to search our hearts and to put His will at the centre of our lives with an obedient mind. Christ's blessing will follow.
For if I, in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop—I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature—how much more do I reckon you happy, who so depend on him as the Church does on the Lord Jesus, and the Lord does on God and His Father, that so all things may agree in unity! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses such power that Christ stands in the midst of them, how much more will the prayer of the bishop and of the whole Church, ascending up in harmony to God, prevail for the granting of all their petitions in Christ! He, therefore, that separates himself from such, and does not meet in the society where sacrifices are offered, and with “the Church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven,” is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, while he presents a mild outward appearance. Do ye, beloved, be careful to be subject to the bishop, and the presbyters and the deacons. For he that is subject to these is obedient to Christ, who has appointed them; but he that is disobedient to these is disobedient to Christ Jesus. And “he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” For he that yields not obedience to his superiors is self-confident, quarrelsome, and proud. But” God,” says [the Scripture] “resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble ; ” and, “The proud have greatly transgressed.” The Lord also says to the priests, “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that heareth Me, heareth the Father that sent Me. He that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me.”
Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

New Blog Template

If you are wondering about the new look or thinking you've arrived at the wrong blog, well this is to let you know that this is still Meam-Commemorationem with a fresh look. Let me know what you think. I have some more stuff to get done to it but it will have to wait until later. Thanks to Jessie for her help!

DEUS CARITAS EST


Here is a portion and the link to Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical.

13. Jesus gave this act of oblation an enduring presence through his institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. He anticipated his death and resurrection by giving his disciples, in the bread and wine, his very self, his body and blood as the new manna (cf. Jn 6:31-33). The ancient world had dimly perceived that man's real food—what truly nourishes him as man—is ultimately the Logos, eternal wisdom: this same Logos now truly becomes food for us—as love. The Eucharist draws us into Jesus' act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving the incarnate Logos, we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving. The imagery of marriage between God and Israel is now realized in a way previously inconceivable: it had meant standing in God's presence, but now it becomes union with God through sharing in Jesus' self-gift, sharing in his body and blood. The sacramental “mysticism”, grounded in God's condescension towards us, operates at a radically different level and lifts us to far greater heights than anything that any human mystical elevation could ever accomplish.

14. Here we need to consider yet another aspect: this sacramental “mysticism” is social in character, for in sacramental communion I become one with the Lord, like all the other communicants. As Saint Paul says, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). Union with Christ is also union with all those to whom he gives himself. I cannot possess Christ just for myself; I can belong to him only in union with all those who have become, or who will become, his own. Communion draws me out of myself towards him, and thus also towards unity with all Christians. We become “one body”, completely joined in a single existence. Love of God and love of neighbour are now truly united: God incarnate draws us all to himself. We can thus understand how agape also became a term for the Eucharist: there God's own agape comes to us bodily, in order to continue his work in us and through us. Only by keeping in mind this Christological and sacramental basis can we correctly understand Jesus' teaching on love. The transition which he makes from the Law and the Prophets to the twofold commandment of love of God and of neighbour, and his grounding the whole life of faith on this central precept, is not simply a matter of morality—something that could exist apart from and alongside faith in Christ and its sacramental re-actualization. Faith, worship and ethos are interwoven as a single reality which takes shape in our encounter with God's agape. Here the usual contraposition between worship and ethics simply falls apart. “Worship” itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented. Conversely, as we shall have to consider in greater detail below, the “commandment” of love is only possible because it is more than a requirement. Love can be “commanded” because it has first been given.

Abigail's third birthday

Today is our sixth child's third birthday! Happy birthday Abigail! We celebrated her birthday last night because on Wednesday evening we have one in choir, two in football, and one in rugby training. Wednesdays are a mad rush until bedtime. Rhea has added some updates to the family blog that you can go read if interested.

Conversion of St. Paul


Collect:
God our Father,
You taught the Gospel to all the world
through the preaching of Paul Your apostle.
May we who celebrate his conversion to the faith
follow him in bearing witness to Your truth.
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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Caroline Divines

By Dr. Marianne Dorman

At what seems a crisis time in the Anglican Communion at the beginning of the third millennium, it would be good for many Anglicans to reflect on what the Caroline Divines' legacy is to the English Church. I think the first thing they would insist on is obedience to the faith as handed down by the Fathers of the Church from Apostolic time and upheld by Holy Scripture, and certainly not anything that was modern.

The central doctrine of that faith was the Incarnation when the eternal Word took our flesh. This like the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the great mysteries of the Church. "That Heaven should thus come down to Earth, that God should become Man; that the Father of Eternity should be born in time", never ceased to amaze Andrewes. The Incarnation for Andrewes and all Caroline Divines, as described by Dean Church at the end of the nineteenth century meant living in "adoration, self-surrender and blessing, and in awe and joy of welcoming the Presence of the Eternal Beauty, the Eternal Sanctity and the Eternal Love, the Sacrifice and Reconciliation of the world." It was therefore as much a sensuous experience as spiritual, which further separated then from the Puritans who focused more on Christ as their "Captain", leading them in the battle against sin and all evil in this world.

One aspect of the Incarnation that these Divines also emphasised was the kenosis. Like the early Fathers they were full of wonder that the Logos would be as Frank put it:
poorly born; in a stable amongst beasts; poorly wrapped in rags, poorly cradled in a manger, poorly bedded upon a lock of hay, poorly attended by the ox and ass, poorly every way provided for; not a fire to dress him at in the depth of winter, only the stream and breath of the beasts to keep him warm; cobwebs for his hangings, the dung of the beasts for his perfumes, noise and lowings, neighing and brayings, for his music; every thing as poor about him as want and necessity could make it.
Closely associated with the Incarnation is the Sacrament of the altar. As Andrewes preached at Christmas 1618, the Child in the cratch will lead us to Him in the Sacrament, which outwardly like the cratch seems of little value but inwardly what treasure. "Of the sacrament we may well say Hoc erit signum," but through the sign, "invenietis Puerum 'ye shall find this Child'. For finding His flesh and blood, you cannot miss but find Him too." Thus by "infirma et egena elementa" we find Christ just as the shepherds "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 unto us." Christmas 1612 saw Andrewes preaching, "And this day they first came together, the Word and flesh; therefore, of all days, this day they would not be parted." Two years later he concluded his Nativity sermon with this commendation. "This then I commend to you, even the being with Him in the Sacrament of His Body - that Body that was conceived and born, as for the other ends so for this specially, to be 'with you'; and this day, as for other intents, so even for this, for the Holy Eucharist." Taylor defined this succinctly when he stated that the Crib is the "altar where first lay that 'Lamb of God' which was afterwards sacrificed for the sins of all the world"

St. Francis de Sales

Collect:
Father,
You gave Francis de Sales the spirit of compassion
to befriend all men on the way to salvation.
By his example, lead us to show your gentle love
in the service of our fellow men.
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.

As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved You; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Prayer for Unity in the Church


This next week, the Church is called upon to pray for unity throughout the whole Catholic Church. We need this unity, as it is our divisions that only make us weaker. Unity takes humility and being willing to give up that Pope in our own bellies so that we submit to the Church to lead and guide us into truth and the bringing in of God's Kingdom. Since the Church is the pillar and ground of truth, let us pray for the healing of the unhealthy divisions within her.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, January 20, 2006

St. Sebastian, Martyr

Collect:
Lord,
fill us with that spirit of courage
which gave Your martyr Sebastian
strength to offer his life in faithful witness.
Help us to learn from him to cherish Your law
and obey You rather than men.
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: 1 Peter 3:14-17
But even if you do suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God's will, than for doing wrong.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Too Principled for this Church

Hat tip to Joel Garver for letting me on to this site (The New Pantagruel--an excellent site by the way) and this article in particular. I do not wish to steal from my good friend's site of info but thought I would tip some of my readers to it in case they do not regularly visit Joel's site. If you do not regulalry visit Sacra Doctrina, I highly recommend that you add it to your blog lists. Anyway, here is the portion of the article from the Japery. Do read all of it and comment.
And thus we arrive at the heart of the matter: Why are Protestants, even liberal ones, acceptable to Wheaton and its donors in a way Catholics are not? When he was an Episcopalian, was anyone at Wheaton concerned that Hochschild and other Episcopalians there were of the Gene Robinson variety? If Wheaton Episcopalians are not judged exclusively by their church, why should a Catholic be? It is because Hochschild’s Catholicism is a clear vote against his former Protestant church and all Protestantism, since he didn’t see fit to join another Protestant Church, not even the locally popular Anglican Mission-in-America church which attracts Wheatonians by the thousands each Sunday. This, more than anything else, triggers the broad Protestant intuition that admitting of a close or essential doctrinal agreement with Catholic tradition and orthodoxy means one is no longer a Protestant. When Protestant and Papist alike have both become true catholic Christians, then the problem shifts to one of ecclesiology. For the Protestant, there is nothing left to explain one’s separate identity or to justify schism short of pretending church membership is a kind of style choice, one of many (equally valid?) doors in the hall of mere Christianity. Conservative minds tend to balk at this liberal, relativizing gesture and thus are vulnerable to giving support to “principled” acts on behalf of a “Protestant character” which, if it exists at all, exists as a liberalizing impulse toxic to the truth of right order found in true catholic Christianity. As one former Wheaton professor has said, “The increasing arrogance of the liberal power block [at Wheaton] was alienating both alumni and supporters, so some act was needed that gave the appearance of traditional values. What better way to bump off a conservative and claim tradition?”

As an addendum, it must be said that while I impugn the very nature of the “Protestant character” here, I am not unaware that many of my separated brethren in the magisterial reformed traditions continue to exist in tidepools and rowboats where they valiantly adhere to the catholic Christianity of their forbears. The problem is simply this: that tidepools do not resist the tide and rowboats cannot cross oceans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Tide Turning Towards Catholocism

I was tipped off to this interesting article over at Amy Welborn's site. This may be true in America, but I haven't seen the same turn in the UK or Western Europe.
What do some of you think the difference may be?

Read it all here.

The Catholic theme was coming from many sources that weren’t Catholic. CS Lewis was getting a new found popularity, especially as it related to the release of the Narnia movie. Lewis’ prominence also gave prominence to the person that Lewis said was chiefly responsible for his conversion, JRR Tolkein. In light of the problems with the Anglican Church and its seeming abandonment of the tradition Lewis most admired about it, is there any wonder that if Lewis were alive today he would follow the path so many other devout Anglicans have followed and become Catholic. Even bed rock Evangelical writers like Chuck Colson have sounded more Catholic as of late. The former Watergate conspirator turned repentant prison minister is sounding more and more Catholic and whether that is due to this Catholic wife or not, it is turning heads in literary circles. In this recent Christianity Today article, Colson recounted the travails of both St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross and how that corresponds to his spiritual journey. Perhaps the most interesting literary development of the year is the return of novelist Ann Rice from the "dark side." She has come back into the Catholic world, which she left as a teenager, after many years of dabbling in novels conerning dark, occult like subjects. She returned to the Catholic world with a vengence, appearing in various media formats describing her "Prodigal Daughter" experience. This story, along with many others, were frequently discussed on the rapidly growing number of Catholic websites and blogs. The overhwelming majority of these websites and blogs reflect the Church's traditional stance on many issues. Yet another sign that the faithful are happy with the message of the Church.

Benedict XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger) on Kneeling

The two aspects are united in the one word, because in a very profound way they belong together. When kneeling becomes merely external, a merely physical act, it becomes meaningless. One the other hand, when someone tries to take worship back into the purely spiritual realm and refuses to give it embodied form, the act of worship evaporates, for what is purely spiritual is inappropriate to the nature of man. Worship is one of those fundamental acts that affect the whole man. That is why bending the knee before the presence of the living God is something we cannot abandon.

From the Spirit of the Liturgy

Read it here.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bishops and the Unity of the Church


I was reading in Cyprian for a moment and came across the following on Bishops and the Unity of the Church. With all that is going on within our Anglican Communion and here at home in the Church of England, it is wise that we be in prayer for all our bishops in that they would strive with all they have and are in order to uphold the unity of the Church; even being willing to put to death their own desires. Here is St. Cyprian and the reminder he gives concerning the purpose of the bishop:
And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole. The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source. Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,—when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Reading and Understanding +Tom Wright

My referencing the blog of Dr. Joel Garver and the content within this particular entry is not to say that others who disagree with +Wright simply do not understand +Wright as if they are thick and just don't get it. That's not my point at all. The point of linking this piece by Dr. Garver is to show how some of the writers at Ref21 seem to either not understand Wright when they read him or twist what he says out of context so badly that one begins to wonder if you've read the same material. Most of these critiques amount to nothing more than opinions in most cases. One gets weary of these people and it seems that they are only talking to one another and in the same small fish bowl. If you want to understand +Wright, don't read stuff like these opinions at Ref21. See also Barb's site here for more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Busy Writing

This post is just to let the readers know that my infrequent posting in the next week will be due to the fact that I am trying to get a rough opening first chapter written within the next 10 days or so. I covet all of your prayers and may post some of my thoughts that I write just to keep people coming back to read. Thanks in advance for the many prayers needed.

Monday, January 09, 2006

How did someone like Andrewes exist?

I have spent the day correcting some quotations and notes from my reading and I was particularly working on Frere's volume A History of the English Church in the Reigns of Elizabeth I and James I 1558-1625.It is interesting that I read again a quotation that spanned three pages of this tome that really give a clear picture of what was going on in Andrewes' day as well as who Andrewes really was. I leave it here for your interest.This is a MUST READ!!!
Side by side with the recovery of a more liberal and catholic theology, there was going on also a recovery of decency and order in public worship, and some approximation to the standard of external ceremonial and ornament which had been set up at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, but never yet reached. In this respect, as also in matters of theology, the principal leader was the saintly bishop, Lancelot Andrewes, who in 1619 was transferred from Ely to Winchester. To men of his reverent type of mind, emancipated to some extent from the mere prejudices of anti-Roman feeling, it seemed only natural that the three low bows with which the courtier approached the king should be used by the celebrant at his approach to God, and that the reverence which was made towards the empty throne of the monarch should also be made towards the holy Table. Such things as these were the natural outcome of a reverent mind. Other ceremonial enrichments were taken from the practice of the early Church, or from the customs of the East, which seemed at the time less open to misunderstanding than old English or Western ceremonies. Thus there began the habit of turning to the east for the creed at daily prayer and eucharist; the use of a credence-table and of a chalice veil—called by its Eastern name of "air." With all this innovation the preservation of old customs was not neglected: the copes and wafer-bread, the solemn customs of offering at the offertory, the washing of the priest's hands before he prepared the elements, the mingling of water with wine in the chalice,—these and similar customs were resuscitated or carefully preserved. The use of incense in the service was restored, and a censer formed part of the church plate which Andrewes solemnly consecrated for the dean and chapter in Worcester Cathedral. It does not appear that in any of these respects the bishop was a zealous appear that in any of these respects the bishop was a zealous his own chapel, and, as they more and more commended themselves, his chapel became the model of other cathedrals besides Worcester, and his example was the standard of a growing school of followers. It is difficult to estimate the effect of such modest influence. When Andrewes died on September 25, 1626, he left behind him a Church, which he had defended against its enemies on sound catholic lines as no one else had done, which he had filled with a new and richer theology, and refreshed with the imperishable fragrance of a saintly example. The little book of his Private Prayers, which has done more than anything to spread his fame and influence, was not known outside the narrow circle of his most intimate friends until the next generation. The chief of the extant manuscript copies is one which was given by him to Laud: it thus serves as a link between the two periods; for though Andrewes' death falls in Charles's reign, his life belongs to the earlier period, while Laud's activity, though it was becoming very manifest in James's day, belongs properly to the later era. Moreover, in spite of the obvious difference of character and circumstances, Laud was the lineal successor of Andrewes; his resistance to the Calvinist theology at Oxford was the counterpart of Andrewes' quiet rebellion at Cambridge, and alike they passed from the highest academic honours to a deanery and to a bishopric. No doubt there is a striking contrast between the brusque ways of Laud at Gloucester in forcing compliance upon his chapter and cathedral with regard to the position of the holy Table, and the gentle ways of Andrewes in quietly recovering the dignity of the services at Westminster Abbey, and devoting his leisure to the fatherly care of the boys at the school. But Laud would have been more overbearing still if he had not imbibed from Andrewes the gentleness which showed itself so heroically in the days of his adversity; and the quiet work of Andrewes would have been robbed of half its best effect if it had not been carried on after his death by the bustling energy of Laud. 386 387 388

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Baptism of Christ


Collect:
Almighty, eternal God,
when the Spirit descended upon Jesus
at His baptism in the Jordan,
You revealed Him as Your own beloved Son.
Keep us, Your children born of water and the Spirit,
faithful to our calling.
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. +Amen.

The following is a portion of the Homily 22 of St. John Chrysostom on the Baptism of Jesus.

Now it is necessary to say, for whom was Christ baptised and by which baptism? Neither the former the Jewish, nor the last -- ours. Whence hath He need for remission of sins, how is this possible for Him, Who hath not any sins? "Of sin, -- it says in the Scriptures, -- worked He not, nor was there deceit found in His mouth" (1 Pet 2:22); and further, "who of you convicteth Me of Sin?" (Jn 8:46). And His flesh was privy to the Holy Spirit; how might this be possible, when it in the beginning was fashioned by the Holy Spirit? And so, if His flesh was privy to the Holy Spirit, and He was not subject to sins, then for whom was He baptised? But first of all it is necessary for us to recognise, by which baptism He was baptised, and then it will be clear for us. By which baptism indeed was He baptised? -- Not the Jewish, nor ours, nor John's. For whom, since thou from thine own aspect of baptism dost perceive, that He was baptised not by reason of sin and not having need of the gift of the Spirit; therefore, as we have demonstrated, this baptism was alien to the one and to the other. Hence it is evident, that He came to Jordan not for the forgiveness of sins and not for receiving the gifts of the Spirit. But so that some from those present then should not think, that He came for repentance like others, listen to how John precluded this. What he then spoke to the others then was: "Bear ye fruits worthy of repentance"; but listen what he said to Him: "I have need to be baptised of Thee, and Thou art come to me?" (Mt 3:8, 14). With these words he demonstrated, that Christ came to him not through that need with which people came, and that He was so far from the need to be baptised for this reason -- so much more sublime and perfectly purer than Baptism itself. For whom was He baptised, if this was done not for repentance, nor for the remission of sins, nor for receiving the gifts of the Spirit? Through the other two reasons, of which about the one the disciple speaks, and about the other He Himself spoke to John. Which reason of this baptism did John declare? Namely, that Christ should become known to the people, as Paul also mentions: "John therefore baptised with the baptism of repentance, so that through him they should believe on Him that cometh" (Acts 19:4); this was the consequence of the baptism. If John had gone to the home of each and, standing at the door, had spoken out for Christ and said: "He is the Son of God," such a testimony would have been suspicious, and this deed would have been extremely perplexing. So too, if he in advocating Christ had gone into the synagogues and witnessed to Him, this testimony of his might be suspiciously fabricated. But when all the people thronged out from all the cities to Jordan and remained on the banks of the river, and when He Himself came to be baptised and received the testimony of the Father by a voice from above and by the coming-upon of the Spirit in the form of a dove, then the testimony of John about Him was made beyond all questioning. And since he said: "and I knew Him not" (Jn 1:31), his testimony put forth is trustworthy. They were kindred after the flesh between themselves "wherefore Elizabeth, thy kinswoman, hath also conceived a son" -- said the Angel to Mary about the mother of John (Lk. 1: 36); if however the mothers were relatives, then obviously so also were the children. Thus, since they were kinsmen -- in order that it should not seem that John would testify concerning Christ because of kinship, the grace of the Spirit organised it such, that John spent all his early years in the wilderness, so that it should not seem that John had declared his testimony out of friendship or some similar reason. But John, as he was instructed of God, thus also announced about Him, wherein also he did say: "and I knew Him not." From whence didst thou find out? "He having sent me that sayeth to baptise with water, That One did tell me" What did He tell thee? "Over Him thou shalt see the Spirit descending, like to a dove, and abiding over Him, That One is baptised by the Holy Spirit" (Jn 1:32-33). Dost thou see, that the Holy Spirit did not descend as in a first time then coming down upon Him, but in order to point out that preached by His inspiration -- as though by a finger, it pointed Him out to all. For this reason He came to baptism.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Spirit of Anglican Devotion

A dear friend and spiritual director of mine, Canon Arthur Middleton, has a new book out that has been recently published by the Prayer Book Society. Here is a bit of what you can expect.

From Canon Middleton’s latest Book, The Spirit of Anglican Devotion 16th 17th Centuries, recently published by the English Prayer Book Society

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi
There runs through the devotional writings of this period a general assent to the sense of the Latin tag, Lex orandi, lex credendi, the rule of praying is the law of believing. A fuller expression is Lex orandi legem statuat credendi, let the law of prayer establish the law of belief.13 Or as Michael Ramsey neatly put it, that Anglicans do their theology to the sound of church bells. The Lex orandi is about the apprehension of the reality of God in an openness of the whole person to God, where waiting and openness is of the essence. Here, God is not a God whom we discover but a God who reveals himself, a God who comes. So the Lex orandi, prayer, devotion, is necessary to the Lex credendi, what we believe and what is called theology, to keep it to its proper vocation. As John Klimakos and others have reminded us, the theologian is one who prays, and the one who prays is a theologian. So the doctrine of the Prayer Book is as important as the language in which it is expressed. The converse is also true. If the focus is on the lex orandi to the exclusion of the lex credendi the result will be a non-theological devotion that will degenerate into a cult of devotion and not to anything in particular, but will exist only in itself and for itself alone. This organic connection between the lex orandi and the lex credendi is the very essence of Anglican devotion whose beating heart is the Book of Common Prayer. The importance of this cannot be over-estimated today, because since the Renaissance the law of prayer and the law of belief have become disassociated, and not only has this given rise to ‘spurious spiritualities’ but also to ‘spurious theologies’.

Byrom goes on to say, that there is a richness in Anglican devotional literature, and especially in the seventeenth century, that flows from something deeper than torrential intellect, or even high poetic gifts. He cites Dr. Austin Farrer’s Church Literature Society Lent Book, Lord I Believe, which some of you may have. Here Farrer points out that 'no dogma deserves its place unless it is prayable, and no Christian deserves his dogmas who does not pray them’. In this slim paperback, we see this philosopher-theologian and priest in study and closet expounding an organic theology with grace informed reason. Like these 17th century devotional writers, no article of the Creed is unprayable or remained unsprayed. Martin Routh, President of Magadalene College Oxford from 1791, for sixty-three years, and the last man in Oxford to wear a wig, always had William Laud’s Private Devotions on his desk and used the devotions for each hour. Canon Scott Holland described Bishop Westcott as reading and working in the very mind with which he prayed;
Then, the first interview revealed where the secret of his power lay. We had never before seen such an identification of study with prayer. He read and worked in the very mind with which he prayed; and his prayer was of singular intensity. It might be only the elements of textual criticism with which he was dealing; but, still, it was all steeped in the atmosphere of awe, and devotion, and mystery, and consecration. He taught us as one who ministered at an Altar; and the details of the Sacred Text were to him as the Ritual of some Sacramental Action.14
In Westcott’s episcopate it bore fruit in his continuous pastoral concern for social justice that flowed immediately and quite naturally from his study of the Incarnation, by way of his prayer, as also did William Temple. There is an ascesis, a discipline, a training, in the engagement with study and in this commitment to prayer that affects study with the ascesis of prayer, in this love of learning and the desire for God. This is what makes not only a grace-informed reason, but also it makes prayer the connecting link between belief and action. Study as well as prayer requires a disciplined way of living, an ascesis, a training.
13 Byrom The Glowing Mind (Fairacres Pamphlet), p. 2.
14 Arthur Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott (Macmillan and Co, London 1903), Vol. II, p. 311.

Dissent is Dissent is Dissent

Recently, Rev'd Mark Horne posted a piece to his blog that questions the theological self-conciousness of Roman Catholics as a Body without dissent. He made some obvious comments if anyone ever reads Roman Catholic theology. Who has ever said that Rome made such self-concious claims where there was not dissent? People may actually believe that they make such claims due to their dogmatic theology that IS the Teaching of Rome but that is not to say that they lack dissent amongst their ranks. The Pontificator has responded to Rev'd Horne's remarks on his blog that usually offers a lot of rich and charitable discussion on theological issues. Let's see what may come of this. I take interest due to my dissertation topic that will include an on-going thread of ecumenism within it. To remind my readers, my dissertation topic is 'Eucharist and Ecumenism in the Theology of Lancelot Andrewes: Then and Now.' Take a read for yourselves.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Epiphany

Collect:
Father,
you revealed your Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory in heaven
by the light of faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 60:1-6
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Faith of Our Fathers

Arthur Middleton on wisdom in serpents and doves

St Basil (Feast: 2 January), when bishop of Caesarea, wrote in one of his letters to the bishops of the West in ad 372:

‘Our distresses are notorious…the doctrines of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. Shepherds are banished, and in their places are introduced grievous wolves harrying the flock of Christ… Be zealous for true religion and rescue us from this storm’ [Ep. 90].

‘I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves’ [Matt. 10.16]. This fate awaits the disciples and Jesus wants them to understand that this new kind of war needs strange equipment. They must show the gentleness of sheep against wolves all around them, and exhibit the wisdom of serpents with the innocence of doves. John Chrysostom’s (345–407) homily on this text states that Christ’s power will be better demonstrated when the sheep, mercilessly wounded by surrounding wolves, do not destroy but transform the wolves. More wonderful than destruction is the changing and transforming of the dispositions of the wolves’ minds so that they are reformed.

To attack our enemies like wolves is self-destructing, for he is the shepherd of the sheep and not of the wolves. If we become like a wolf, he leaves us and departs from us, for we have acted in a way that makes it impossible for his power to be seen in us. If we behave like lambs, we are victorious, survive and overcome in a gentleness of disposition in which the whole glory of victory is attributed to him.

This is the way Christ has appointed for his disciples. In making them sheep before wolves rather than more terrible lions, he makes it impossible for anyone to overthrow them. The gentleness of sheep is commended, not their lack of wisdom. A disciple’s wit in all these dangers must possess the wisdom of the serpent, a creature that will let everything go, even let its body be cut in pieces if only it may keep its head. Here Chrysostom holds the old belief that if a snake’s head was preserved, it could grow a new body from the head. So the disciple must give up everything, even life itself, though not his faith. For faith is the head and the root. If that is preserved, we will get everything back, and better than it was before.

So we are not to be simple and guileless, nor just wise and prudent. We must have the wisdom of the serpent so that adversity will not trouble us, and the innocence of the dove so as not to defend ourselves against those who wrong us, nor avenge ourselves against those who plot against us. We are not allowed even to be indignant, for that infringes the innocence of doves.

With our hindsight we can see that things did work out as Our Lord intended, and his will was done. The wisdom of serpents and the innocence of doves are evident in the works of the disciples whose human nature is like ours. Fierceness is not overcome by fierceness, but by gentle yielding.

What Is A Bishop?

The Rt. Rev'd Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, sets out a clear summary of orthodox Anglican teaching.

The bishop, according to the ordinal, ‘has a special responsibility with his fellow bishops to maintain and further the unity of the Church.’ This maintenance of Christian unity is both within the Church in which the bishop ministers, and more widely, and in a special way, with those churches with whom the Church of England has always claimed to share the historic apostolic ministry. The bishop’s historic title of ‘Father-in-God’ reflects a tradition with ancient roots which sees the bishop as being an icon of the Father.

The Church stands within a symbolic system, which takes up what we might call ‘natural symbols’ and uses them to set forth Christian doctrine. That symbolic system, as has already been noted, is that grounded in the Old Testament. A sociological hermeneutic which dismisses the Old Testament as simply ‘patriarchal’ in a pejorative sense is far too simplistic, and must itself be subject to criticism. Dr Anthony Stevens, an evolutionary psychologist, who has brought together the insights of Jungian psychology and evolutionary disciplines such as ethology and sociobiology, draws out in his book Archetype Revisted: an updated natural history of the self (Routledge, 2002) the links between hierarchy, order and discipline and a ‘patrist’ pattern. He also warns against the consequences for society of the absent father. Bishops as Fathers-in-God are grounded in both divine revelation and archetypal symbolic patterns. As the Letter to the Hebrews notes, ‘when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well’ [Heb.7.12].

Read it all.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Eucharist and Immolatus: Abbot and Andrewes

Last evening I was in bed reading A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist by Abbot Vonier. He was a bestselling author in England in the 1920s. This book is a very good read for the simple (like myself) to help us get our heads around the Eucharistic theology of Rome. I was reading the chapter on the 'Essence of Eucharistic Sacrifice' and I read something that caught my attention again. Speaking of the immolation in the Eucharistic offering Abbot explains what it is that Rome really teaches. He says,
It is evident froom the very nature of the hypothesis here made by Saint Thomas that the reality of the Eucharistic Sacrifice could never depend on an intrinsic change, eith in Christ's Person or in His Body and Blood, at the moment of the sacrificial immolation on the altar. May we not say that by its never nature the Eucharistic immolation is assumed to take Christ's Body and Blood as it finds them, in the state in which they happen to be? The immolation itself never causes a new state. If Christ, considered in His natural mode of existence, be a mortal man like ourselves, as He was at the Last Supper, the Eucharistic immolation is accomplished in the mortal Body and Blood; if Christ be in the glorious state, as He is now in heaven, the Eucharistic immolation is accomplished in an immortal Body and Blood; if Christ be actually dead, the Eucharistic immolation is accomplished in a Body and Blood which are not quickened by the Soul. In other words, the Eucharistic immolation transcends the states either of Christ's Person or His Body and Blood; it does not cause any state. Such varieties of state are caused by Christ's natural mode of existence, at the time...There is undoubtedly a tendency in modern piety to read into the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice certain factors of a more extreme kind which seem to give greater reality to the Eucharistic immolation than is warranted by the strictly sacramental view. But let us constantly remember that in the sacrament we are not dealing with the natural life of Christ; we are dealing with His representative life. The Eucharistic Body and Blood represent Christ's natural Body and Blood. The Protestant would go only so far as to say that the Eucharistic bread and wine represent Christ's Body and Blood; the Catholic goes beyond that and says that Christ's Body under the appearance of bread and Christ's Blood under the appearance of wine represent His natural Body and Blood as they were on Calvary. 76, 77
Now let's compare something that Andrewes said below in another post. Read Andrewes carefully and slowly in relation to what Abbot is saying here about what is immolated. Note the reference to status in both paragraphs that I have chosen to compare. Andrewes is also speaking about the sacrificial immolation. He says,
Will ye mark one thing more, that epulemur doth here refer to immolatus? To Christ, not every way considered, but as when He [was] offered. Christ’s body that now is. True; but not Christ’s body as now it is, but as then it was, when it was offered, rent, and slain, and sacrificed for us. Not, as now He is glorified, for so He is not, so He cannot be immolatus, for He is immortal and impassible. But as then He was when He suffered death, that is, passible and mortal. Then, in His passible estate did He institute this of ours, to be a memorial of His passible and Passio both. And we are in this action not only carried up to Christ, (Sursum corda) but we are also carried [back] to Christ as he was at the very instant, and [in the very act of His offering.] So, and no otherwise, do we represent Him. By the incomprehensible power of His eternal Spirit, not He alone, but He,[as at the very act of His offering], is made present to us, and we incorporate into His death, and invested in the benefits of it.
It seems that what is offered in the Eucharistic sacrifice on earth is what is offered in the Eucharistic sacrifice in heaven. Christ presents Himself to the Father as He then was at the Cross and He can do that because of who He now IS in His glorified state. So, what seems to take place in Eucharistic sacrifice for both Abbot and Andrewes is the offering of Christ as He then WAS at Calvary and uniting us to that offering in His conquering of death through resurrection and glory in ascension. Therefore, it is not anything new (status) but something that then was is represented to the Father for the forgiveness of sins. It is our worship that we bring and the blessing that we receive when we feed upon His Body and Blood in the Holy Sacrament. Interesting comparison, I think.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Christmas Sermon of Canon Arthur Middleton

St John’s Seaham Christmas 2005
Emmanuel – God with us
Last year on Thursday morning before Christmas I was up at five ‘o clock and by quarter to six was driving Jennifer to work in Newcastle. We arrived at 6-15 but I had to wait until 7 when the store opened and I was able to pick up the M & S goods for Christmas consumption. So I was advised to find a place where I could get a bacon sandwich. In Northumberland street everywhere was lit up but closed, even Macdonalds. There were no bacon sandwiches there. Twenty minutes later I was standing in a silent and deserted Eldon Sq. All the shops were lit up and the doors closed, and the thought did cross my mind that this is an ideal time for a husband to bring his wife shopping.

The Crib
Twenty minutes later and still without a bacon sandwich, I found myself looking into the Eldon Square life-size Crib. I thought this is why I am here in Newcastle at such an unearthly hour, because I am preparing to celebrate your birth. Everyone likes to celebrate the birth of a baby but this is a special birth. Then I thought, here you are in a foreign country being born in a stable because there was nowhere else to go. I wonder if there were any super bugs there. Here you lie in the affluent West with all these shops telling us what we need to celebrate Christmas. I wonder what you think about that. You must agree there is a lack of proportion in the message today’s Christmas celebrations now convey to our children and grandchildren.

Recently Muriel Porter, an Australian Anglican wrote about friends of hers who took their young son to see the Myer Christmas windows. He was engrossed by them, carefully following the story of The Polar Express - a story he knows well - from scene to scene. Then he came to the window depicting Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus. The nativity tableau was quite new to him.

“So what’s the story here then?” he asked his parents. Porter went on to point out that this boy belongs to “the second generation at least, that has almost entirely missed out on learning the basic stories of the Christian faith, the religion that shaped Western civilization.”

However, this lack of proportion is not only an issue from a cultural point of view. It is an issue because it obscures the basic truth that when Mary and Joseph, and then the shepherds, looked into the manger, they might have seen a human baby, but they were actually gazing upon God.

Blasphemy
I read recently about a Christmas display where giant plush bears were robed as Mary and Joseph, beaming at a swaddled Baby Jesus bear in the manger. If there was once grand mystery around the Incarnation, it has long since dispersed. Three jolly bears now convey everything we know or expect to know. Christmas cards have also depicted such images. It is a scene filled with stupidity. Jesus as a cookie, God as a pet. More recently we have had The Beckham family replacing the Holy Family in Madame Tussauds.

This is very bad news
For one thing, a circle of cuddly bears is useless at helping us deal with pain. It cannot help us grasp the great heartbreaks of life; it cannot deflect the hard, sharp reeling pain of a death by drunken drivers. We want a God cut down to my size, fluffy and approachable, politically correct and without all those difficult commandments. But once we get him down to teddy-bear size we find that he is powerless. He is not able to ease our suffering or comprehend our dark confusions He does not have strength equal to our grief. A reduced God is no God at all. Furthermore, to suggest that in this celebrity obsessed politically correct culture the Beckhams could ever mirror the Holy Family is blasphemy.

God cannot be less than us; he must be more. Our understanding is partial and dim, but we know at least that he is greater than us. We grasp for analogies: some people are artists, but God is the greatest artist. Some are wise, but he is wisdom itself. Most frequently, however, we say that God is love, because love is the best thing we know.

What do you see when you look into that crib?
Let me tell you. It is not the manifestation of God in a person’s life. It is the Incarnation of God in a personal life. This baby is a real Incarnation of a pre-existing Divine Person. He who existed with God eternally before all worlds were made; He who in the beginning was the Word and who was with God and who was God; at a certain time in history, for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man. He who shared the divine nature with his Father decided to unite that divine nature with our human nature in order to redeem this alienated and spiritually distressed world. Divinity comes into humanity that we might participate in his divinity.
It is not the case of a highly favoured individual being raised to the status of divinity. It is the case of the only begotten Son becoming other than He was, whilst continuing at the same time to be himself. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Or as the hymn puts it:
He is that He was and forever shall be,But becomes that He was not for you and for me.

It was time for me to leave Eldon Square, without my bacon sandwich, and pick up the Christmas goodies from M & S. So my story has a happy ending because I left Eldon Sq. with my sermon for Christmas and when I got home I had a fried egg sandwich.

So go out from here and tell people that Christmas is about a child being born and His name is Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace. When you hold out your hands to receive that bread, what you receive is the life of him who is the Word, who was in the beginning with God and who was God and became flesh to dwell among us. That flesh did not become something different; it remained as it was. The God who dwelt in it remained what he was and always had been but became what he was not. The human and the divine are perfectly blended in the one Person.

So we can believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the Word of God is changed into the Body of God the Word. It has been been consecrated by being inhabited by the Word that had tabernacled in the flesh. Therefore, from the same cause by which the Word was made flesh, a similar result takes place now. That same Presence of the Word in this bread, “is sanctified by the same Presence of God and prayer”; and it is at once changed into “This is My Body.” It changes our perishable humanity, for by this communion with what is divine mankind partakes of God’s divine life through the Son on whose Body we feed. This is the purpose of receiving this Sacrament. That is why we cannot tamper or alter sacraments because they then become invalid and we lose our salvation, the saving life they carry. He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose substance comes from bread and wine. He blends Himself with the bodies of believers, to ensure by this union with the immortal, you and I, and all who receive this Sacrament may be a sharer in incorruption.

He gives these gifts and by virtue of his consecration of them He transelementises them. Now there is a new word for you – Transelementisation. It isn’t my word. It derives from a Greek word and comes from Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th century and it not only influenced John Damascene in his Orthodox Faith, the notion it conveys occurs in the sermons of the Anglican divine Lancelot Andrewes in the 17th century. It means this, that through Christ’s consecration of these elements of bread and wine the natural quality of these visible things is transformed to that immortal thing – Christ himself. As the flesh of Christ is not diminished by his presence in it, so the natural quality of this bread is not diminished. Nevertheless in his flesh he is not a mere man, so this bread is not mere bread. No longer are these elements mere bread and wine. To approach the altar and treat them as mere bread and wine is, as the eighteenth century Anglican Bishop Beveridge explained in one of his sermons, means to be an unworthy communicant.

Truly it means that you go out from here a Theophoros or Godbearer, a Christophoros or Christbearer, so that wherever you go you are pregnant with Christ because ‘The word was made flesh and dwelt among us’. Do not let yourself get in the way of showing forth Christ whose life is in you.

Ss. Basil and Gregory

St. Basil (329-379) was a brilliant student born of a Christian family in Caesarea, Cappadocia (Turkey). For some years, he followed the monastic way of life. He vigorously fought the arian heresy. He become Archbishop of Caesarea in 370. Monks of the Eastern Church today still follow the monastic rules which he se down.

St. Gregory (329-389) was also from Cappadocia. A friend of St. Basil, he too followed the monastic way of life for some years. In 381 he became Archbishop of Constantinople. It was during this period the Arian heresy was at it height. He was called "The Theologian" because of his great learning and talent for oratory.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003


Collect:
God our Father,
You inspired the Church
with the example and teaching of Your saints Basil and Gregory.
In humility may we come to know Your truth
and put it into action with faith and love.
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.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Andrewes & Bellarmine on Eucharistic Sacrifice

I am sitting here at my desk on this first day of 2006 wondering how some of what I had read in an Easter sermon of Andrewes preached on 1612 got passed my thinking. It only goes to show that I often need to read and read again these sermons by Andrewes. The best exercise is to read them out loud. What continues to give me surprise is the lanuage and theology of Andrewes' understanding of Eucharistic Sacrifice. In some regards, he and Cardinal Bellarmine seem to totally agree. Let me give an example from this Easter Sermons 1612.

First, he speaks of the celebremus; that is the act of celebration itself that is connected to the offering or the hoc facite (this do) that is commanded. Andrewes says,
Remember Him? That we will and stay at home, think of Him there? Nay, shew Him forth ye must. That we will by a sermon of Him. Nay, it must be hoc facite [this do]. It is not mental thinking, or verbal speaking, there must be actually somewhat done to celebrate this memory. That done to the holy symbols that was done to Him, to His body and His blood in the Passover; break the one, pour out the other, to represent klomenon, how His sacred body was “broken,” and enkunomenon how His precious blood was “shed.” And in Corpus fractum, and Sanguis fusus there is immolatus. This is it in the Eucharist that answereth to the sacrifice in the Passover, the memorial to the figure. To them it was, Hoc facite in Mei præfigurationem, ‘do this in prefiguration of Me:’ to us it is, “Do this in commemoration of Me. [1 Cor. 11.26] To them prenuntiare, to us annuntiare; there is the difference. By the same rules that theirs was, by the same may ours be termed a sacrifice. In rigour of speech, neither of them; for to speak after the exact manner of Divinity [Heb. 10.4] there is but one only sacrifice, vere nominis, ‘properly so called,’ that is Christ’s death. And that sacrifice but once actually performed at His death, but ever before represented in figure, from the beginning; and ever since [repeated in memory], to the world’s end. That only absolute, all else relative to it, representative of it, operative by it….So it was the will of God, that so there might be with them a continual foreshewing, and with us a continual shewing forth, the “Lord’s death till He come again….” The Apostle in the tenth chapter [of 1 Corinthians] compareth this of ours to the immolate of the heathen; and to the Hebrews, habemus aram, matcheth it with the sacrifice of the Jews. And we know the rule of comparisons, they must be ejusdem generis[the very same kind].
This language is amazing. He says, nay we won't just think of Him; that is not enough. We won't just remember a past historical event, that is not to fulfill the command [this do], we must offer Him. There is immolatus in the body broken and the blood out poured. What is done to the Holy Symbols was done to Him. In that act of Eucharistic offering there is immolatus done to Him. [I'm laughing as I write this.]

Following is the interesting connection with Bellarmine. Andrewes has made reference of the celebremus with clear sacrificial overtones and now speaks of the epulemur. The celebration is not where it ends. One has to go to the next part that makes the offering complete and that is the feast. This was Bellarmine's position of Eucharistic Sacrifice seen in De Missa. His point is that what had to take place after the Consecration was the consumption of the Sacred Species. The essence of sacrifice was found in the Consecration but in order for there to be a true sacrifice there had to be a destruction. For Bellarmine it was the eating of the Sacrament. Now the order for both Andrewes and Bellarmine is this. One, something profane (bread and wine) becomes holy--Body and Blood. (Though there is a difference between presence per modum there is no difference on the reality of presence). The second is that there had to be an offering or a showing forth of the Body and Blood on the altar and to offer that One Sacrifice to the Father. Andrewes used the language of 'showing forth' that you can read above. Third is that since the Sacrament has become food for eating (Andrewes uses the Passover as an example) so also there must be a full eating to make this sacrifice complete. It is at this point that the Sacrifice is applied to us in the present. Both, Andrewes and Bellarmine, speak of the 'eternal sacrifice' of Christ within their explanations of the Eucharistic offering. (Christ intercessory offering gets looked at and developed later on by Catholic Theologians like De la Taille but it was formulated in the doctrines of the Fathers). The below quotation is how Andrewes describes what I am talking about.
From the Sacrament is the applying the Sacrifice. The Sacrifice in general, pro omnibus. That Sacrament in particular, to each several receiver, pro singulis. Wherein that is offered to us that was offered for us; that which is common to all, made proper to each one, while each taketh his part of it; and made proper by communion and union, like that of meat and drink, which is most nearly and inwardly made ours, and is inseparable for ever. There, celebremus passeth with the representation; but here epulemur, as a nourishment, abideth with us still. In that we “see,” and in this “we taste, how gracious the Lord is,” and hath been to us. Will ye mark one thing more, that epulemur doth here refer to immolatus? To Christ, not every way considered, but as when He [was] offered. Christ’s body that now is. True; but not Christ’s body as now it is, but as then it was, when it was offered, rent, and slain, and sacrificed for us. Not, as now He is glorified, for so He is not, so He cannot be immolatus, for He is immortal and impassible. But as then He was when He suffered death, that is, passible and mortal. Then, in His passible estate did He institute this of ours, to be a memorial of His passible and Passio both. And we are in this action not only carried up to Christ, (Sursum corda) but we are also carried [back] to Christ as he was at the very instant, and [in the very act of His offering.] So, and no otherwise, do we represent Him. By the incomprehensible power of His eternal Spirit, not He alone, but He,[as at the very act of His offering], is made present to us, and we incorporate into His death, and invested in the benefits of it.
Now we see that Andrewes sees a two-fold aspect of the Sacrifice that is offered and received. We offer Christ to the Father and receive Him in the Sacrament. There is a Eucharistic dialogue going on. Now, with reference to Eucharistic Sacrifice (I realize that this does not cover everything) can my Roman Catholic friends tell me what is missing here? What is it about the Eucharistic Sacrifice explained here that keeps us at odds with one another? Enquiring minds want to know!

Chesterton on New Year's Day

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Happy New Year to all! I hope all the readers here have a very blessed New Year and one of renewal and refreshment in the grace of God. What is the object of a New Year? Chesterton says,
THE object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
'Daily News.'
    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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