We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Bishop Lopes: A Pledged Troth. A pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christ AND His Church!

He who hears you hears me.
St. Luke 10:16

Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke those words to His disciples, the disciples He would place under the authority and leadership of Saint Peter, the first Supreme Pontiff. 

It is one thing to belong to a hierarchical church or faction with legitimate sacraments though not in full communion with Christ's Catholic Church. It is another and glorious matter to be in full and unimpeded communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter.

The scandal of division persists among Christians, a scandal that is contrary to the express will and prayer of the Lord:
(T)hat they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.—St. John 17:21.
As one reads the following excerpt from the Holy Father's homily, mindful of the Lord's own prayer for unity, unity under His steward Peter and Peter's successors, an obedient disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ would be humble and wise to bear in mind the Lord's clear action that established His Church.

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HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Vatican BasilicaThursday, 1st January 2015 
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Mary is so closely united to Jesus because she received from him the knowledge of the heart, the knowledge of faith, nourished by her experience as a mother and by her close relationship with her Son. The Blessed Virgin is the woman of faith who made room for God in her heart and in her plans; she is the believer capable of perceiving in the gift of her Son the coming of that “fullness of time”(Gal 4:4) in which God, by choosing the humble path of human existence, entered personally into the history of salvation. That is why Jesus cannot be understood without his Mother. 
Likewise inseparable are Christ and the Church – because the Church and Mary are always together and this is precisely the mystery of womanhood in the ecclesial community – and the salvation accomplished by Jesus cannot be understood without appreciating the motherhood of the Church. To separate Jesus from the Church would introduce an “absurd dichotomy”, as Blessed Paul VI wrote (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 16). It is not possible “to love Christ but without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but outside the Church” (ibid.). For the Church is herself God’s great family, which brings Christ to us. Our faith is not an abstract doctrine or philosophy, but a vital and full relationship with a person: Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God who became man, was put to death, rose from the dead to save us, and is now living in our midst. Where can we encounter him? We encounter him in the Church, in our hierarchical, Holy Mother Church. It is the Church which says today: “Behold the Lamb of God”; it is the Church, which proclaims him; it is in the Church that Jesus continues to accomplish his acts of grace which are the sacraments. (A few weeks ago a question was posed in an article at this blog—Baying at the MoonWho has the Pope's ear? The Holy Spirit or conniving men? This homily makes clear the answer is: the Holy Spirit.)
This, the Church’s activity and mission, is an expression of her motherhood. For she is like a mother who tenderly holds Jesus and gives him to everyone with joy and generosity. No manifestation of Christ, even the most mystical, can ever be detached from the flesh and blood of the Church, from the historical concreteness of the Body of Christ. Without the Church, Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling. Without the Church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods.
"Without the Church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods." Without an authoritative interpreter, the mind of Christ cannot be fully known, even prone to distortions of the truth leading to heresy and sectarianism. That authoritative interpreter is the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

Christ established a Church, not a bible. The pillar and bulwark of truth (1 Tim 3:15) is the Church founded by Jesus Christ on Saint Peter. This same Church codified the books that rightly belong in our holy library, the Canon of Holy Scripture, the Bible. That authoritative collection developed under the same authoritative Church.

Is it not without a measure of irony that in our day and age "scriptural christians", long the self declared proponents of "biblical Christianity", are abandoning the authority of Scripture and that Catholics, long accused of being unscriptural, are the true defenders of Holy Writ? Why is that? One answer is that the Catholic Church enjoys the protection of the Holy Spirit. Who gave that protection to the Catholic Church? The Lord Jesus Himself:
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare′a Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli′jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”—St. Matthew 16:13-19.
Is it not sadly ironic that so-called biblical Christians, the sons and daughters of the so-called Reformation who heralded a return to "biblical Christianity", have drifted so far away from Jesus—the Way, the Truth and the Life—toward every heresy and strange innovation? Is it any wonder then, having abandoned communion with the Office of Unity, i.e., the Petrine Office that guarantees the apostolic Tradition, that some Moderators of the United Church of Canada, for example, do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ?

The prayer for Christian unity must continue, a unity in the Truth that is the person of Jesus Christ and the Truth proposed by the Church, for the two are the same.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.