Thursday, May 22, 2008

Luther Gave The World The Bible In The Vernacular For The First Time, Right.....?

Wrong! It is common amongst anti-Catholic propaganda that Luther freed the Bible from those oppressive papists who did not want the masses to understand the Bible because then they would see how Protestant it really was. Nothing could be further from the truth! Scripture reading has always been encouraged by the Catholic Church and the Bible is in fact quite...well, Catholic. Honest Protestants won't perpetuate the myth that the Bible was withheld from the laity. For example, the Lutheran Ernst von Dobschuetz of Halle-Wittenberg:
"In former times, many Protestants held the view that Luther rediscovered the Bible, which had been almost entirely forgotten. They thought that there had been meagre transmission of the Bible and no translation into the vernacular at all. This view, of course, is untenable."
-from The Bible and Civilization.
Here is a list of the vernacular translations prior to Luther:

Ninth Cent.: Slavic

Tenth Cent.: Arabic

Eleventh Cent.: Bohemian

Twelfth Cent.: Polish

Thirteenth Cent.: Italian, Norwegian, and Hungarian

Fourteenth Cent.: Swedish and English

Fifteenth Cent.: Spanish, Danish, Dutch, and Welsh

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anticipation In Worship

“Worship gives us a share in heaven’s mode of existence, in the world of God, and allows light to fall from that divine world into ours. In this sense, worship…has the character of anticipation. It lays hold in advance of a more perfect life and, in so doing, gives our present life its proper measure. A life without such anticipation, a life no longer opened up to heaven, would be empty, a leaden life. That is why there are in reality no societies altogether lacking cult. Even the decidedly atheistic, materialistic systems create their own forms of cult, though, of course, they can only be an illusion and strive in vain, by bombastic trumpeting, to conceal their nothingness.”

-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI in The Spirit of the Liturgy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Bible, Sacraments, and Liturgy

“The Sacraments are conceived in relation to the acts of God in the Old Testament and the New. God acts in the world; His actions are the mirabilia, the deeds that are his alone. God creates, judges, makes a covenant, is present, makes holy, delivers. These same acts are carried out in the different phases of the history of salvation. There is, then, a fundamental analogy between these two actions. The sacraments are simply the continuation in the era of the Church of God’s acts in the Old Testament and the New. This is the proper significance of the relationship between the Bible and the Liturgy. The Bible is a sacred history; the liturgy is a sacred history…Thus we see the sacraments as being the acts of God in the era of the Church. As we have said, God’s ways of acting are the same. This is what finally defines the right of the Church to bring out the analogies between the sacraments and the divine events recorded in Scripture…The universe of the liturgy is a marvelous symphony in which appear the harmonies between the different eras of the history of salvation in which we pass from the Old Testament to the sacraments, from eschatology to spirituality, from the New Testament to eschatology, in virtue of these fundamental analogies. Knowledge of these correspondences is the Christian wisdom as the fathers understood it, the spiritual understanding of Scripture. And this is where the liturgy is the mistress of exegesis…One of the greatest difficulties for many minds is to understand the connection between Scripture and the Church. They hold to Scripture, but they do not see the need for the Church. It is of the utmost importance that such people be shown the strict continuity between Scripture and the Church. And it is precisely this continuity that appears at the climax of the history of salvation. It is here that the realities spoken of by Scripture and the realities that constitute the Church appear as being various stages of one work. And, furthermore, by employing a unique language, which is that used by the Word of God, and by causing us to discover the scriptural categories in the sacraments, the continual reference to Scripture found in the explanation of the sacraments manifests the fact that they belong to the same universe…Thus the Bible and liturgy illuminate one another. The Bible both authorizes and clarifies the liturgy. It authorizes it by the authority of the prophets and the figures of which it is the fulfillment, and by thus placing it in the whole pattern of God’s plan. It illuminates it by giving us the forms of expression by which we can understand the authentic meaning of the rites. In its turn, the liturgy illuminates the Bible. It gives us its authentic interpretation by showing us how it is a witness to the mirabilia Dei. And, much more, as these acts are continued in the sacraments, they actualize the Word of God by authorizing us to apply it to the present acts of God in the Church in virtue of the analogy between these acts in the different phases of history.”

-Jean Cardinal Danielou, "The Sacraments and the History of Salvation" in Letter & Spirit Journal, vol. 2.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Since We Are Talking About Pseudo-Dionysius...

...or rather, Pope Benedict XVI did in his Wednesday Audience today, I figured today would be a good time to post the paper I wrote for my Historical Foundations class:

The Corpus Areopagiticum: The Quest For Authorship.

So there you have it. Enjoy!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sanctifying Grace

"Those who deny the eternal value of good works (i.e., Protestants) are correct with regard to works performed when a person is not in the state of grace, for without Sanctifying Grace in his soul, a person merits by his good works nothing at all for eternity. But when a person is in the state of grace (has Sanctifying Grace in his soul), that person does indeed merit by his good works an eternal reward, because he is now no longer a mere 'natural' human who performs these works, but a child of God who does them. Such deeds done while the life of God is in one's soul have merit for eternity, for they have been done by no mere natural man, but by an adopted son of God, by a living branch on the vine which is Christ."

-Thomas A. Nelson, in the preface to Matthias Scheeben's The Glories of Divine Grace.