Thursday, June 23, 2011

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us

From the very ancient Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:
Holy God, You dwell among Your saints. You are praised by the Seraphim with the thrice holy hymn and glorified by the Cherubim and worshiped by all the heavenly powers. You have brought all things out of nothing into being. You have created man and woman in Your image and likeness and adorned them with all the gifts of Your grace.

You give wisdom and understanding to the supplicant and do not overlook the sinner but have established repentance as the way of salvation. You have enabled us, Your lowly and unworthy servants, to stand at this hour before the glory of Your holy altar and to offer to You due worship and praise.

Master, accept the thrice holy hymn also from the lips of us sinners and visit us in Your goodness. Forgive our voluntary and involuntary transgressions, sanctify our souls and bodies, and grant that we may worship and serve You in holiness all the days of our lives, by the intercessions of the holy Theotokos and of all the saints who have pleased You throughout the ages.

For You are holy, our God, and to You we give glory, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.
Blessed are You on the throne of glory of Your kingdom, seated upon the Cherubim, now and forever and to the ages of ages!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More True than the Truth?

There are too many who put their faith in their own understanding of things, or who seek with intellectual pride to propose that they have found something more true than the simplest of truths. Some ancient Christian wisdom from early writer St. Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century):
Some people abandon the teachings of the Church and fail to understand how a simple and devout person can have more worth than a philosopher who blasphemes without restraint. Heretics are like that.

Heretics are always wanting to find something more true than the truth. They are always choosing new and unreliable ways. Yet like the blind led by the blind, they will fall into the abyss of ignorance by their own fault.

The Church is like paradise on earth. ‘You may eat freely of the fruit of every tree in the garden,’ says the Spirit of God. In our case he means: Feed on the whole of Scripture, but do not do it with intellectual pride, and do not swallow the opinions of the heretics. They pretend to possess the knowledge of good and evil, but they are impiously elevating their own intelligence above their Creator.

Beware! By devouring the ideas of the heretics we banish ourselves from the paradise of life.
Excerpted from Against Heresies, Book V, Ch. 20

Who do you say that I am?

From an essay written by philosopher Peter Kreeft, courtesy of Ignatius Insight. I can't tell you how many folks I have encountered over the years who, while withdrawing from Christianity and from any profession of Jesus as divine, nevertheless insist that Jesus was still a good man. Yet, these folks don't consider that either Jesus was who He said He was, namely, God, or He was, quite simply, a liar and a fraud - anything but a good man. It's as simple as that. Peter Kreeft gives an analysis:
The doctrine of Christ's divinity is the central Christian doctrine, for it is like a skeleton key that opens all the others. Christians have not independently reasoned out and tested each of the teachings of Christ, received via Bible and Church, but believe them all on his authority. For if Christ is divine, he can be trusted to be infallible In everything he said, even hard things like exalting suffering and poverty, forbidding divorce, giving his Church the authority to teach and forgive sins in his name, warning about hell (very often and very seriously), instituting the scandalous sacrament of eating his flesh-we often forget how many "hard sayings" he taught!

When the first Christian apologists began to give a reason for the faith that was in them to unbelievers, this doctrine of Christ's divinity naturally came under attack, for it was almost as incredible to Gentiles as it was scandalous to Jews. That a man who was born out of a woman's womb and died on a cross, a man who got tired and hungry and angry and agitated and wept at his friend's tomb, that this man who got dirt under his fingernails should be God was, quite simply, the most astonishing, incredible, crazy-sounding idea that had ever entered the mind of man in all human history.

The argument the early apologists used to defend this apparently indefensible doctrine has become a classic one. C. S. Lewis used it often, e.g., in Mere Christianity, the book that convinced Chuck Colson (and thousands of others). I once spent half a book (Between Heaven and Hell) on this one argument alone. It is the most important argument in Christian apologetics, for once .in unbeliever accepts the conclusion of this argument (that Christ is divine), everything else in the Faith follows, not only intellectually (Christ's teachings must all then be true) but also personally (if Christ is God, he is also your total Lord and Savior).

The argument, like all effective arguments, is extremely simple: Christ was either God or a bad man.

Unbelievers almost always say he was a good man, not a bad man; that he was a great moral teacher, a sage, a philosopher, a moralist, and a prophet, not a criminal, not a man who deserved to be crucified. But a good man is the one thing he could not possibly have been according to simple common sense and logic. For he claimed to be God. He said, "Before Abraham was, I Am", thus speaking the word no Jew dares to speak because it is God's own private name, spoken by God himself to Moses at the burning bush. Jesus wanted everyone to believe that he was God. He wanted people to worship him. He claimed to forgive everyone's sins against everyone. (Who can do that but God, the One offended in every sin?)
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Where have I been

Wow, I am sorry for allowing my blog to languish here for so long! I just realized that my last post was posted before Easter! I have been very busy over the last few weeks, but I do intend to post more soon. Thank you for your patience, those of you who still follow this blog :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails