Sunday, November 30, 2008
Hallowed be Thy Name. The Name of God is in its nature holy, whether we say so or not; but since it is sometimes profaned among sinners, according to the words, Through you My Name is continually blasphemed among the Gentiles, we pray that in us God's Name may be hollowed; not that it comes to be holy from not being holy, but because it becomes holy in us, when we are made holy, and do things worthy of holiness.
Thy kingdom come. A pure soul can say with boldness, Thy kingdom come; for he who has heard Paul saying, Let not therefore sin reign in your mortal body, and has cleansed himself in deed, and thought, and word, will say to God, Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth. God's divine and blessed Angels do the will of God, as David said in the Psalm, Bless the Lord, all ye Angels of His, mighty in strength, that do His pleasure. So then in effect thou meanest this by thy prayer, "as in the Angels Thy will is done, so likewise be it done on earth in me, O Lord."
Give us this day our substantial bread. This common bread is not substantial bread, but this Holy Bread is substantial, that is, appointed for the substance of the soul. For this Bread goeth not into the belly and is cast out into the draught, but is distributed into thy whole system for the benefit of body and soul. But by this day, he means, "each day," as also Paul said, While it is called today.
And forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. For we have many sins. For we offend both in word and in thought, and very many things we do worthy of condemnation; and if we say that we have no sin, we lie, as John says. And we make a covenant with God, entreating Him to forgive us our sins, as we also forgive our neighbours their debts. Considering then what we receive and in return for what, let us not put off nor delay to forgive one another. The offences committed against us are slight and trivial, and easily settled; but those which we have committed against God are great, and need such mercy as His only is. Take heed therefore, lest for the slight and trivial sins against thee thou shut out for thyself forgiveness from God for thy very grievous sins.
And lead us not into temptation, O Lord. Is this then what the Lord teaches us to pray, that we may not be tempted at all? How then is it said elsewhere, "a man untempted, is a man unproved;" and again, My brethren, count it all joy when ye fail into divers temptations? But does perchance the entering into temptation mean the being overwhelmed by the temptation? For temptation is, as it were, like a winter torrent difficult to cross. Those therefore who are not overwhelmed in temptations, pass through, shewing themselves excellent swimmers, and not being swept away by them at all; while those who are not such, enter into them and are overwhelmed. As for example, Judas having entered into the temptation of the love of money, swam not through it, but was overwhelmed and was strangled both in body and spirit. Peter entered into the temptation of the denial; but having entered, he was not overwhelmed by it, but manfully swam through it, and was delivered from the temptation. Listen again, in another place, to a company of unscathed saints, giving thanks for deliverance from temptation, Thou, O God hast prayed us; Thou hast tried us by, fire like as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou layedst afflictions upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water; and thou broughtest us out into a place of rest. Thou seest them speaking boldly in regard to their having passed through and not been pierced. But Thou broughtest us out into a place of rest; now their coming into a place of rest is their being delivered from temptation.
But deliver us from the evil. If Lead us not into temptation implied the not being tempted at all, He would not have said, But deliver us from the evil. Now evil is our adversary the devil, from whom we pray to be delivered. Then after completing the prayer thou sayest, Amen; by this Amen, which means "So be it," setting thy seal to the petitions of the divinely-taught prayer."
-Cyril of Jerusalem, Lecture XXIII (On the Mysteries V).
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
“Indeed, Augustine’s attitude to sexuality, in view of his doctrine of the part played by concupiscence in the transmission of Original Sin, was a remarkably sane one, and very far from the extreme views which have been held by certain other Christian teachers. Like the Apostle, he preferred that all men should be even as he, and rated the life of dedicated virginity above that of marriage; but he regarded Christian marriage as a noble thing, and deprecated any attempt to disparage it. A good example of Augustine’s view will be found in his letter to Ecdicia, a Christian woman with a Christian husband, and the mother of a son. One day, without consulting her husband, she decided to take a vow of continence and to live with him thereafter as a sister and not as a wife. Such a decision was not uncommon in the early Church, and Augustine specifically approves of it, but it had to be by joint consent—pari consensu—so that neither spouse defrauded the other of the marriage debt. This requirement Ecdicia failed to observe; but her husband, a sincere Christian, agreed with her, and for some time the couple lived together in edifying continence. Ecdicia, however, was not satisfied. She assumed the black garb of a widow or a religious, in defiance of her husband’s wishes, and proceeded to squander his good alms, without any regard for the well-being of her small son. Two foreign monks, of doubtful antecedents, enjoyed her hospitality and, in her husband’s absence, she transferred most of his property to them. Exasperated by her behavior, her husband abandoned her, broke his vow of continence, and committed adultery.
It was in these circumstances that Ecdicia wrote to Augustine, no doubt believing that he would approve of her conduct. If so, she was to be disillusioned. Augustine informed her that she was wrong in the first instance to live with her husband as a sister and not as a wife if he were reluctant to do so, and referred her to St. Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians for information about the duties of the married, which she had apparently either not heard or not understood. She was further told that she was wrong to offend her husband in matters of dress. She had been wrong again to give away his possessions in alms to the two monks without his knowledge or consent. By so doing she had deprived him of an opportunity of sharing in charitable deeds to which, if she had acted differently, she might have persuaded him. With greater consideration, she would have postponed giving her alms to the poor lest she should anger her husband and cause him to recoil from his religion, to the detriment of his immortal soul. Which is better: to give bread to the hungry, or save a soul from the devil?
She was further told that, as a married woman, she had no right to say: I will do what I will with my own, and reminded about St. Peter’s teaching on the subjection of the wife to the husband. Finally, she was informed that she should have considered her son’s welfare. Augustine set a high value on the prerogatives of a mother, but he did not consider that these included the right to give away in charity what would become the property of her son. Ecdicia was reminded of the words of the Apostle: If any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever, and Augustine ended his letter by exhorting her to ask her husband’s forgiveness and to promise that, if he would adhere to his profession of continence, she would obey him in all matters. In the meantime, it was necessary to remind her that her son was under his father’s control rather than hers. The lack of sympathy which she received from the ascetic bishop must have been a great disappointment to the enthusiastic votary.”
-Gerald Bonner in St. Augustine of Hippo.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
During the time of the Judges in Israel, the Israelites decided that they no longer wanted to be a holy nation separate from all the others. Instead, they wished to have a king just like the other nations. This was the gravest act of rejection that the people of Israel committed toward God, for they were to be a holy nation, a kingdom of priests, with God Himself as their King. But they wanted an earthly king...and God gave them what they wanted.
Today in America, the day after the Presidential election, it should be a glorious day, for we have elected a black president for the first time in the history of our nation. Yet instead of being a day of rejoicing for black Americans (and all Americans), it really is a day of sadness. We wanted Obama as our president and God gave us what we wanted. So why is today such a horrible day? Why should we not rejoice at having a black president? Well, we should rejoice at having a black president, but not this black president. This black president-elect is a notorious supporter of abortion and infanticide (not to mention that his vice-president elect has sold his soul to Satan and has given much scandal to Catholics everywhere). This black president is in the pocket of Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion provider in the world and it is a fact that not only was Planned Parenthood founded by the horribly racist eugenicist, Margaret Sanger, but abortions are the greatest killer of black people in this country. “The oppressed has become the oppressor.”
Our country has become so morally depraved that we have elected as our leader a man who advocates infanticide. Shades of King Herod and Pharaoh. Mark Twain was correct in saying that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
I’ve also heard that Obama won the Catholic vote. I pray for all the Catholics who blatantly flaunted the teaching of the Catholic Church and put their immortal souls at risk by cooperating in this grave evil.
Well, you asked for it America. And you got it. I believe it was Billy Graham’s daughter who said concerning our country’s immorality, “If God does not judge America, then He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Of course, this in no way means that I have nothing left to learn. I will only have "mastered" theology when I reach, assuming I do, the Beatific vision.
In the meantime, I am now teaching theology to High School students.
Monday, August 25, 2008
‘Yes, indeed, the ‘body’ passes away, but the very matter of that
body does not pass away, because, as a first principle, matter is both simple
and incorruptible. And for the very same reason, the soul of the body does not
pass away, because inasmuch as it is a spiritual substance, it also is both
simple and incorruptible. This is the very reason why, in Thomas Aquinas’
philosophy, the immortality of the human soul is an immediate evidence. It
stands in no need of being proven.’
A more completely false statement about what Thomas Aquinas teaches can scarcely be imagined, but it is most revealing as an indication of what Gilsonian existentialism leads him into. What would have to be proven, he proclaims, is that the human soul is not immortal. Why does he say this? Because the human soul is a subsisting form and is in its own right. But that of course is the conclusion of the proof for the soul’s immortality. It is cause for wonderment that someone who attributes such extraordinary and manifestly false doctrines to Thomas Aquinas should have sat in such severe judgment on Cardinal Cajetan. All Cajetan is guilty of is saying and explaining what Thomas Aquinas actually thought, whereas it is Gilson who fails to get the meaning of the text and ends by fabricating a Thomism that cannot be found in Thomas Aquinas.”
-Ralph McInerny in Praeambula Fidei: Thomism and the God of the Philosphers.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
-St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Friday, August 15, 2008
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Galatians.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
-Nor shall He drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes. (Lk 22:18)
-The Father has appointed a kingdom to the Son. (Lk 22:29)
-Christ’s sharing in a meal with the Apostles corresponds to David’s tradition of sharing in a meal at the royal table as a reward for obedience. (2 Sam. 9:9-13)
-With Christ’s blessing of both the bread and wine (Mt. 26:26-28), He is performing a cultic action. Besides the obvious Melchizedekian allusion with the bread and wine, we see a parallel in the Qumran document called the Manual of Discipline, VI, 3-6:
Friday, August 08, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in The Nature and Mission of Theology
He's only a couple of centuries late on this one. And it is not due to "a remnant of British colonialism" as he suggests.
You see, before British colonialism, there was this king named Henry, who broke from the Catholic Church and declared himself the head of the Church in England......
Perhaps later, we can inform him that the Archbishop of Canterbury isn't really the head of the Anglican Church, but rather it's the reigning monarch, who in this case happens to be Queen Elizabeth II.
So if you are reading this right now, say a pray for a successful completion of comps for me. I've heard that St. Joseph of Cupertino is a good saint to ask intercession for at a time like this!
Vincent’s second canon was Tradition as growth. For him, though, there was a restriction on growth. It had to be in the same sense and in the same meaning. There was a conservative action in his idea of development. He said there was a difference between a profectus- a progression, and a permutatis- a change. A profectus, which preserves what came before (while allowing room for polishment and clarity) was accepted. A permutatitis, which was a change from one thing to another, was not accepted. Vincent also thought that a development wasn’t simply tolerated, but rather it had to happen. This implies that what was earlier was less perfect and what came later (was older) was more perfect.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
The Council of Nicaea sought to address Arius’ distortion of the Gospel, whereby he said that not only was Christ subordinate to the Father, but that the Son was created from nothing. For Arius, there was no distinction between being “begotten” and being “made.” However, if the Son is “made”, then He is made ex nihilo and is but a mere creature and not God. Nicaea clarified that there is in fact a distinction and that the Son is “begotten, not made.” The revolutionary teaching of the Nicaea declared that there is a radical distinction between God and creatures. The Son is either God or not. There are no grades of divinity. The Son is homoousios (one in substance) with the Father.
Yet, even though Nicaea countered Subordinationism and Arianism, some rejected it because it was the first time that non-Scriptural language was inserted into a Creed of the Church. The Council also was able to be affirmed by Modalists. In an effort to clarify the teaching of the Gospel, the Cappadocian Fathers made the distinction between ousia (nature) and hypostasis (person). In the Trinity there are 3 hypostases in 1 ousia. The hypostases are what is particular and the ousia is what each has in common.
This new terminology carried into Constantinople I (381), which added the clause on the Holy Spirit in order to counter the Spirit Fighters. This council also condemned Apollinarus by affirming that Christ did indeed have a human mind. It also affirmed that Christ’s Kingdom will have no end, thus effectively denying the Modalist error which said that the Trinity was a temporary manifestation and that God the Father is merely acting as the Son and then as the Holy Spirit, but would later go back to being the Father again. Constantinople solidified the teaching of the Trinitarian unity of One God in Three Persons.
Once the Trinitarian Controversy was cleared up by the first two Ecumenical Councils, it gave way to hash out the Christological controversies.
These began with the debate between Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople and Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria. Nestorius was teaching that Mary was not to be called Theotokos, the God bearer, because this leads to Arianism due to the implication that the Son came to be at a point in time and was not eternal. Nestorius said Mary is rather the Christotokos, the Christ bearer. Nestorius believed that Christ was two persons united in one prosopon.
When Cyril of Alexandria heard this teaching, he wrote to Nestorius to clarify what he had said. Nestorius did not respond, so Cyril wrote to the Egyptian bishops and monks in defense of Theotokos. Cyril said that Mary must be Theotokos because of the hypostatic union. The divine nature is distinct from the human, thus God did not change when He was born and died. Therefore, Theotokos does not lead to Arianism. Mary is the mother of a person, not a nature!
At the Council of Ephesus (431), led by Cyril, Nestorius was anathematized and Eutyches the monophysite was condemned because the dual nature of Christ was taught at Constantinople.
After Ephesus, the Robber Synod of 449 was called by Monophysites in order to exonerate Eutyches and condemn all those who supported Ephesus.
In 451, the Council of Chalcedon was called by the Emperor Marcion. Chalcedon reversed the Robber Synod’s decrees and put forth the clear teaching of the hypostatic union that Christ is One Person with two natures, both Fully human and Fully Divine. The two natures of Christ are united in One Person without confusion, change, division, or separation.
Unfortunately, after Chalcedon, Monophysitism still persisted. At the Council of Constantinople II (553), the Emperor Justinian had three Nestorians condemned in order to placate the Monophysites.
In an effort to appease both Monophysites and Chalcedonians, Sergius, the Patriarch of Constantinople suggested Monothelitism, meaning that Christ only had one will or energy. However, saying that Christ only has one energy means that He only had one nature. Maximus the Confessor argued that a single energy reduces to a single nature and denies the Incarnation. For nature, if it is there, is operative. If Christ only has one energy, then the divine nature will win out, thus Christ would not have a human nature. But as Chalcedon defined, Christ is one person with two natures, both human and divine. This means that since Christ has two natures, He also must have two wills or energies.
All this led up to Constantinople III (680-681) which was called by Constantine IV. This council clarified how we ought to understand the duality and union of Christ at the level of energies. What Chalcedon applied to the natures, Constantinople III applies to the energies. We insist on the unity of Christ without mixing at any level of the natures.
After this council, Iconoclasm began in 726. Iconoclasm is a Christological controversy because it relates to the Incarnational principle that the created world, even the material world, can manifest God Himself and yet remain what it is. Iconoclasm began when the Byzantine Emperor, Leo III, saw iconophiles as idolaters based on Exodus 20:4. He began a campaign against Icons and destroyed the Icon of Christ that was above the doors of the Imperial Palace. This controversy divided the Imperial Court.
The backers of Iconoclasm from the Fathers of the Church were Eusebius and Origin.
Constantine V made the argument that:
1. Christ’s two natures cannot be separated.
2. You can’t circumscribe the Divine Nature.
3. Therefore, you cannot depict Christ.
Constantine continued to inflict heavy persecution on iconodules.
He was combated by the Pope who fought back politically.
Germanus of Constantinople also clarified that it was not the wood that we worship, but the image.
In 787, Nicaea II was called by the Empress Irene. This council condemned iconoclasm as a movement that strikes at the heart of the Christian Faith. If you cannot have a picture of the Son of God, you deny the Incarnation. You deny Him bodily existence and therefore deny the capacity of the body to manifest the identity of God. Nicaea II also distinguished between the kinds of veneration: latria and dulia.
The last remnants of iconoclasm were stamped out in 869 at the council of Constantinople IV.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
-Pope Benedict XVI
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Both men insist that there has got to be a Christo-centric revolution and the aim of theology must be making Christ the center towards which all things tend!
This Christo-centric revolution consisted of three parts:
1) Centrality of the person of Christ in the life of faith.
-Christ is the figure of figures. The one in whom the entire plentitude of the God-head is made bodily present. Christ is the historical self emptying of the eternal self interpretation of the Father in the Son.
2) The whole movement of this divine person is towards Calvary.
-This is the place where God most profoundly reveals Himself. This is the place of the majesty, glory, and power of the Triune God. Here the Father hands over to sinful men, His purely innocent Son. It is important that we insist that the Son even in the teeth of this treachery, agrees to this willingly and lovingly. The Son is moved by an incomprehensible death of Love both for the Father who hands him over and for the world, on whose behalf He dies. The whole event of Christ turns on the radical obedience of the Son to the Father.
3) Theology of History (rooted in the personhood of Christ).
-For Barth, there was a false dualism that had to be overcome. This was the doctrine of Calvinist Pre-destination, which said that by God’s own eternal decree, some men have been destined to salvation and most others are damned to Hell. God Himself is the scale between these two demands of justice and mercy. Mercy however cannot be demanded, only asked for.
----For Barth, this is divinely insupportable. This is because Christ, Who is the saving Word of God, speaks this Word to every human being. Nobody is predestined for damnation. Everyone has been thought of by God from all eternity for Beatitude. Christ is the Saving Word!
For Barth, the purity of salvation that is Christ is already active in His Father’s eternal plan of salvation. He is the agent of creation and source of light and this creation fashioned by this word from its very beginning is orchestrated to return back to the Father. This is the finality that the entire human race is to move. The whole of created reality has already been effectively determined by God for salvation. The grace of Christ has already disarmed the world. He has already disseminated every encounter of sin.
Balthasar comes very close to this idea, but without leaving the grounds of orthodox Catholic theology. Barth, however, crosses the line.
The Church teaches that in and only in Christ, the Father has mercy on all the others. He has called all of us in and thru Christ into communion with Him.
Balthasar takes up this universalistic starting point and joins it in a very original way with the Logos Christology of the ancient Church, particularly with that of Origen, but stops short of the heresy of Apokatastisis, which was condemned by the Church in the middle of the 6th century. This heretical notion was taken up by Origen and pushed as far as can possibly go by his disciples. They took the view that the ‘punishment of devils and wicked men was only temporary” and those punishments will cease because the devils and wicked men coming to their senses will finally repent of their sins and be restored to their original state of blessedness. Origen ventured this idea as a hypothesis, always subject to the correction of Holy Mother Church. The Church condemned it, after Origen had died, in the form it took by his disciples. They advanced it not as a hypothesis, but as something that enjoyed mathematical precision.
Balthasar was falsely accused of this heresy. Yet he never proposed apokatastisis as something we can affirm or propose. He stated that Christ is viewed as THE concrete Incarnate expression of that universality of meaning and being which belongs to God Himself by virtue of His divine absolute nature. What this means is that in His concrete person, in this historical self emptying, the whole meaning of universal history and the meaning of the nature of the Logos that underlies this history, all finds its fulfillment in Christ. They have no meaning apart from the Logos. This applied not only to people and created beings, but also to anything else in the world that evinces some intelligibility. All of that, says Balthasar, is to be integrated and brought into completion in the one perfect Word, the Logos.
In Christ, there takes place a synthesis of the universal with the particular; universal significance and every concrete expression. The two are somehow wedded together in Christ. In the person of Christ, every conceivable concrete historical existence is brought together and unified. Thus, Christ becomes absolutely significant to all being and all reality; all creation, from angels to amoebas, and all things in between.
A two-fold claim emerges on the basis of this analysis:
a) Christ is the absolutely unique one. He is irreducible. He cannot suffer any reduction to something other and lesser than Himself. This is why we speak of Christ as the mystery of God. Mystery has entered history and become a material thing. Christ is this ground, the bedrock upon which everything else is to be predicated. In no way can Christ be subsumed and swallowed up by some other category of idea. What Balthasar and the Church insist on is that everything else has to measure up to Christ. He is the standard against Whom everything else is judged!
b) On the other hand, nothing is to be divided from or separated out from Christ. His way is not an exclusionary way. He does not occupy center stage in a way that every other thing is swept off the stage. He makes room for everything else in Himself except, of course, sin. But everything else, Christ is infinitely eager to integrate and include, not just people, but insights, longings, etc. They all find their comprehensive life in Christ.
These two concepts put together reveal that perfect exclusivity and perfect inclusivity together find their respective center of gravity only in Christ. All of this has come to be because the Word became flesh.
Thursday, July 03, 2008