Ruminations


Greetings! I started a new blog called The Ever Blessed this past Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Check out its latest post. I will no longer be blogging @ Shmuelson. Godspeed and Ave Maria!

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Venerate my sanctuary, says the Lord our God (Leviticus 19:30). Why should we? Well, first off, because He says so. It is His will. And it is our duty as His people, to follow His will. Yet, for those of us that need to understand why we need to obey Him before we obey Him (Lord, have mercy), in venerating God’s sanctuary, we worship Him. Honor given to a type passes to the prototype.

As tactile beings with senses, we need to have this sort of dynamic in worshipping the invisible God. In the Mosaic covenant, the people of God fulfilled this commandment by building and adorning the tabernacle and temple, by carrying before them in a worshipful procession the ark of the covenant (which was also richly adorned), and by praying towards Jerusalem—each of these forms of veneration being appropriate to worshipping God’s particular presence in the Holy of Holies. In the new and everlasting covenant, the people of God fulfill this commandment in ways that are appropriate to God’s particular presence in His Incarnate and  Eternal Word, Jesus Christ. We venerate His virgin mother whose womb became His tabernacle; whose flesh became His flesh—the means by which He dwelt among us and accomplished our salvation. We venerate His saints in Heaven, who attained salvation through the infused dwelling of the Holy Spirit within each of them (being therefore temples of that same Holy Spirit). And, we venerate His tabernacles in the Churches and Cathedrals where He now dwells among us “to the end of the age” in the Most Holy Eucharist. We venerate His sanctuary, and therefore offer Him worship that is pleasing to Him

We will go into his tabernacle: we will adore in the place where his feet stood. Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified. Let your priests be clothed with justice: and let your saints rejoice.

Psalm 132

Leaving this life is a profound part of our existence. Having everything as you know it dynamically changed, in so many breaths, seems scary to most of us – especially to those that we will leave behind. But what if you knew exactly when this change of dynamic would come? What if you knew exactly where you were going while you drew your last dying breaths? What if you knew exactly what your loved ones would live through once you had gone? What if you possessed the words of eternal life? What would you then say to all who could hear you?

When my grandfather passed away around 8 years ago, I regrettably could not be physically present to see him off. The rest of my family was there at his bedside though, with my grandmother, while I was up in Seattle on a school-related trip. I went on the trip selfishly, knowing that my grandfather would pass soon. I suppose it was a way for me to try escaping having to experience the grief of his death–which of course did not work as planned. When I got back home and heard about him passing, some of the first things out of my father’s mouth to me were what my grandfather said and did in his last moments… Like how when everybody went into his room individually to say goodbye, he gave a herald as they entered–as if he was introducing them to an old friend. “This is Shannon, my beautiful granddaughter,” “And this is Michael, my son”. Dad also told me about how one day when my grandfather was at his weakest, my dad walked into my grandfather’s room and saw him sitting at the foot of his bed. My dad asked him what he was doing and my grandfather replied, “I’m trying to get out of this body.” Another time, when my grandfather returned home from his last round of chemotherapy, and needing to eat, my dad made him a hamburger via the household George Forman grill. Since he was inherently nauseated from the chemo, my grandfather took one look at the burger and gagged. Dad then turned away to clean up and after he turned back towards my grandfather, he saw that his plate was clean. My grandfather knew that my dad saw him gag, so he ate the entire hamburger as if he enjoyed it. He did this so that my dad wouldn’t feel discouraged thinking he had made my grandfather nauseous. These were some of the beautiful things that my family was given to experience during my grandfather’s death while I was away, so that they could keep his memory alive in its truest form. And that memory was one at peace with his old friend the Creator, one that reaffirmed death as the soul’s mere departure from the body, and one that put his children’s feelings before his own physical infirmities. The last words of a dying friend or loved one are treasured things, even if you weren’t within ear’s reach of them.

In Catholic spirituality one of my favorite devotions is the devotion to the seven last words of Christ. On the cross, our Lord said seven things that spoke to or referenced the people that witnessed his death. These seven words, or sayings, have very significant meanings. After all, they came from the Word made flesh who knew exactly when and how he was going to die (John 13:1), where he was going once he died (John 14:3), and what his loved ones would endure after he died (Matthew 10:16-18). All of this combined with the fact that he possesses the words of eternal life (John 6:68), has led Christians for centuries to meditate on the profound importance of his last words. And like all persons of good will, aware of their impending death, his last words projected the truest form of who He was (and is and is to come). The devotion is especially powerful when you consider the implications of being crucified. When one was crucified, they ultimately died from suffocation. This made it obviously difficult to say anything, so anything said would have to be of great importance since it would be such a strain to muster the breaths to say it.

Let’s now take a look at Christ’s seven last words and what they mean to us as Catholics. The devotion may be spread over an entire week, meditating on one of the seven each day, or all seven may be meditated on in their entirety during a single day. I won’t post the entire devotion here, only his sayings and what the Church teaches about their meanings–which can be realized in the specific prayers following each word.

The First Word

Luke 23:33-34

When the soldiers came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Prayer:

Merciful Savior, and friend of the human race, in your compassion you forgave your mortal enemies who sentenced you and nailed you to the cross. By your gracious example, help us to forgive our enemies from the heart and make friends even with the sinful. Blest be your forgiving heart, now and forever. Amen.

May the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ † bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.

The Second Word

Luke 23:39-43

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Prayer:

Merciful Savior, and friend of the human race, you heard the repentant plea of the criminal on your right hand and promised him paradise for his faith. As we are dying in the midst of our sins, let us hear this same word from your lips in response to our prayer of faith and the life-giving power of your holy sacraments. Blest be your undying mercy, now and forever. Amen.

May the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ † bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.

The Third Word

John 19:25-27

Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Prayer:

Merciful Savior, and friend of the human race, on Golgatha you pitied your martyred mother and bequeathed her to your beloved disciple. By her tears and prayers, break our proud hearts as we worship your cross and passion and let us take her into our hearts and homes, now and forever. Amen.

May the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ † bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.

The Fourth Word

Mark 15:33-34

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Prayer:

Merciful Savior, and friend of the human race, as darkness came over the whole land you cried out in agony to your Father. By this cry of dereliction, rescue us from the torments of despair, and entrust us to your sacrificial death. You live and reign with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

May the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ † bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.

The Fifth Word

John 19:28-29

When Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.

Prayer:

Merciful Savior, and friend of the human race, as your life drew near its end, you cried out in thirst, a thirst for souls. By this dreadful and abiding thirst, draw our hearts and minds to your great love for us, and especially at the hour of our death. Blest be your merciful love, now and forever. Amen.

May the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ † bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.

The Sixth Word

John 19:30

When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Prayer:

Merciful Savior, and friend of the human race, as darkness closed in on you, you gave a loud cry, bowed your head, and died. By your perfect surrender to the Father, make us worthy disciples of the cross and defend us from our spiritual enemies, now and forever. Amen.

May the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ † bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.

The Seventh Word

Luke 23:44-46

Darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Prayer:

Merciful Savior, and friend of the human race, in a final act of surrender you breathed forth your spirit into your Father’s hands. By this ultimate commitment to the Father’s loving care, deliver us from despair in our dying hour and help us die in hope and full confidence in your precious blood poured out for us. Blest be your gracious caring, now and forever. Amen.

May the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ † bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.

* The “†” is supposed to prompt the sign of the cross at different points during the devotion

Immaculate Mother, blessed woman,

Mary, our humble and holy Queen.

Through your innocent and tender eyes,

we long to gaze upon the Holy Face of your Son.

Through your pure and loving song,

we long to utter His Holy Name.

Through your soul pierced with sorrow,

we long to stand at the foot of His Cross.

Hail, Daughter of Zion! Hail, Full of Grace! Hail, our Lady of the Rosary!

Pray for us sinners to God our Savior.

Amen.

Heroes of the Catholic Faith

Heroes of the Catholic Faith

I always find it interesting when Protestants quote Church fathers or Catholic Saints. It seems that there is a bit of a disconnect there. I always find myself wanting to ask in those instances, “do you know what that person would say about you?” I don’t mean any disrespect to my Protestant brothers and sisters. I just want to make an observation here. And that observation is, when Protestant scholars, ministers, and laymen quote Church fathers or Catholic Saints, they either neglect or are ignorant of the belief structures at play in the person(s) they are quoting.  What I am trying to say here is the quote doesn’t make the “quote-tee”, the quote-tee makes the quote.  Consider for instance, three of the most quoted saints by Protestants: St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Francis of Assisi, and Blessed Mother Teresa:

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

-Saint Augustine of Hippo, Confessiones, I. 7, 3rd century

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

-Saint Francis of Assisi

“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

-Blessed Mother Teresa

Now, these are all beautiful quotes. Who wouldn’t want to quote them? I don’t know about you, but each one of these quotes speaks to my soul in a stirring way. It makes me take a step back and ask, what immense Faith is at play here? What has gone into such people that makes them speak these truths – truths that seem like they could’ve come out of the Master’s mouth itself? Speaking of the Master, let’s take a look at one of His quotes,

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

The Gospel According to St. Luke 6:45

So, what treasure went into the hearts of saints like Augustine, Francis, and Mother Teresa to make their mouths brim with good teaching? The Catholic Faith – and nothing but. All three of these Saints, beloved as they are by most of Protestantism, believed in the Catholic Church. For instance, here are some St. Augustine and Blessed Mother Teresa quotes on the Papacy:

“If all men throughout the world were such as you most vainly accuse them of having been, what has the chair of the Roman church done to you, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today?”

-St. Augustine of Hippo (“Against the Letters of Petilani” c. 402 A.D.)

“Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.'”

-St. Augustine of Hippo (“Sermon 295,” c. 411 A.D.)

“He [Pope John Paul II] has been the greatest gift of God, a sunray of God’s love shining in the darkness of the world.

-Blessed Mother Teresa

Here are all three on Marian devotion:

A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?”

-St. Augustine of Hippo (“Sermon 186,” c. 411 A.D.)

“Holy Virgin Mary, among all women on earth there is none like thee; thou art the Daughter and Handmaid of the Most High King and Father of Heaven; thou art the Mother of Our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ; thou art the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Pray for us, with St. Michael the Archangel and all the Powers of Heaven and all the Saints, to Thy Most Holy and Beloved Son, our Lord and Master.”

-St. Francis of Assisi, The Antiphon: Holy Virgin Mary

“Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us.”

-Blessed Mother Teresa, Nazareth Prayer for the Family

And, here they are again on the Eucharist:

“That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend His Body and Blood, which He poured out to us unto the forgiveness of sins.”

-St. Augustine, Sermons, 227

“…the Lord gave me, and gives me still, such faith in priests who live according to the rite of the holy Roman Church because of their orders that, were they to persecute me, I would still want to have recourse to them…..And I act in this way because, in this world, I see nothing physically of the most high Son of God except His most holy Body and Blood which they receive and they alone administer to others. I want to have these most holy mysteries honored and venerated above all things and I want to reserve them in precious places.”

-St. Francis of Assisi

“If we have our Lord in the midst of us, with daily Mass and Holy Communion, I fear nothing for the Sisters nor myself; He will look after us. But without Him I cannot be – I am helpless”

-Blessed Mother Teresa

Don’t expect me to go through every Catholic doctrine and proof-quote here. I just wanted to show what St. Augustine, St. Francis, and Mother Teresa had to say about what mattered most to them, that is, the main things that distinguish Catholicism from other forms of Christianity. So, if you are one of those Protestants that quotes Saints like these, are you not able to connect the dots? Catholic Saints are CATHOLIC Saints. They stood and died for doctrines that most of Protestantism so easily throws away. So, the next time you quote a Catholic Saint, consider what you are doing. Don’t do it out of novelty, so as to diminish their memories. And don’t forget why these holy ones are so quotable… it’s because they are Catholic.



MATER DOLOROSA, ORA PRO NOBIS

Most people think that since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has condemned the use of the Latin language in the Latin rite altogether. This is not true. It is true that this council saw it fit to allow and condone Mass in the native vernacular of wherever it is celebrated, so that it would be more accessible to the laity, but we are still supposed to keep the Latin language, in some form, as a modality of universal worship.

From the Second Vatican Council:

#54 “Nevertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

-Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1963

And from Pope Paul VI:

“The Latin language is assuredly worthy of being defended with great care instead of being scorned; for the Latin Church it is the most abundant source of Christian civilization and the richest treasury of piety… we must not hold in low esteem these traditions of your fathers which were your glory for centuries.”

-Pope Paul VI, Sacrificium Laudis, 1966

The Latin language is a beautiful language to use when worshipping God. Not only does it sound pretty, it speaks of God’s providence for and preservation of His Church. Using the same tongue that our forebears used for centuries is an essential part to appreciating the history of Sacred Tradition. Though, with all things considered, it is especially powerful when meditating on our Lord’s Passion and death. What a miracle it is, that the same language used to count out our Savior’s scourging has since been used to count out His blessings! What a sign of God’s victory it is, that the same culture and language that condemned thousands of Holy Martyrs to heinous deaths, and hoisted them up, impaled on pikes, now praises God for their memories and hoists up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! For me, this is the most remarkable conversion story in history. Please invest time including the Latin language in your spirituality and preserving its richness and history in some way.

Here are some popular prayers to get you started, first in English then in Latin:

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

OUR FATHER, Who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and will be forever. Amen.

GLORIA PATRI, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

HAIL, MARY, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

If I have misspelled something in Latin above, please point it out as I am only a novice 🙂

***Disclaimer: Yes, I have used the following analogy in a previous post’s introduction…but here it is in a different light.

Matthew 16:18-19

It was the second week of the first grade. My peers and I settled into our seats, and our Teacher, Mrs. Kahlil, began to etch strange glyphic symbols onto the chalkboard. I had remembered seeing these symbols elsewhere, like on the television and in the newspaper funnies, but I still had difficulty making them out. Once she had finished her transcription, Mrs. Kahlil began to sing in a paced yet rhythmic way, “A-B-C-D, E-F-G, H-I-J-K, LMNOP.” In accordance with this song’s memorization, through the fashion Mrs. Kahlil introduced to us that second week, my class soon learned the entire English alphabet and were then able to apply it on our route towards literacy. Upon reflection of this childhood experience, I am given an illustration of how to define the proper relationship between Scripture and “tradition”.

Across the Christian board, our understanding of the proper relationship between Scripture and tradition varies. The Evangelical understanding, as expressed in various denominations, is in strict priority. To most, the broadest understanding of this priority is Scripture first, tradition third–following reason and preceding experience. All things considered, I would partially concur with this understanding. I disagree however, with how “tradition” is defined in most anti-Catholic Christian circles.

First and foremost, we define scripture. To employ the Catholic perspective, I will mostly use the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To employ the Evangelical Protestant perspective, I will use my own experiences in such institutions and some popular Protestant sources. Catholics and Evangelicals would agree that, “all branches of the orthodox Christian faith affirm the story of salvation centering on Christ; the authority of the Bible as God’s written word…the necessity of salvation; and the call to mission” (Stackhouse, 42). Still, what the “Bible as God’s written word” subsists of; there is no affirmation by “all branches of the orthodox Christian faith”. McGrath, a Protestant Evangelical scholar, seeks to define what the books of Scripture are. He claims, as most Protestants do, that there are 66 books of the Bible (McGrath, 160). While Catholics believe that there are 73 (with 7 not found in the Hebrew Bible and Protestant Old Testament, but are found in the Catholic Old Testament) (CCC, 40). This definitive point, differs epistemologically in terms of historical basis.

McGrath says, “A comparison of the contents of the Old Testament in the Hebrew Bible on the one hand, and the Greek and Latin versions (such as the Septuagint or Vulgate) on the other, shows that the latter contain a number of works not found in the former,” he then goes further saying, “Following the lead of Jerome, the sixteenth-century reformers argue that the only Old Testament writings which could be regarded as belonging to the canon of Scripture were those originally included in the Hebrew Bible” (McGrath, 160). At what point, however, did this “original” canon come into existence and at what point did it close? Historically, there is no official origin or close of the Hebrew canon and I think that most scholars would have consensus on this. The closest we can come to a close of any kind is in the Pharisaic Council of Jamnia.

According to J. N. D. Kelley, a popular Protestant specialist on the Patristic era, the Council of Jamnia was the first documented Sanhedrin council that had an obvious issue with the extra books of the Greek Septuagint (Kelley, 54). This council was held 30 years after the destruction of the second temple and it met to resolve Jewish law predicated on the existence of a temple in Jerusalem, and to reinforce the remnant of whatever Pharisaic leadership was left in Israel at the time (Kelley, 54). The ultimate end of this council, led to a reformulation of the so-called “Hebrew” canon, reaffirmed by Jews and Protestant Christians today as inspired. This is where problems arise. The Council of Jamnia issued its edicts of canon alongside its rejection of God’s Messiah, Jesus. Therefore, covenantally, the non-believing Jewish leaders presiding over the council were in a state of infidelity. This presents a problem especially because while this council had rejected the deutero-canon’s canonicity, the early Church fathers did not. This is a crucial obstacle that most Protestants have to reconcile: that they are ultimately siding with those who sided against the Patristic and Apostolic Christian Church. Kelley says further,

It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the [Protestant Old Testament]…It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocrypha or deutero-canonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament, which passed in the first instance into the hands of the Christians was…the Greek translation known as the Septuagint…most of the Scriptural quotations found in the New Testaments are based upon it rather than the Hebrew…In the first two centuries…the Church seems to have accepted all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture. Quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas…Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache: Ecclesiasticus. Iranaeus refers to Wisdom, The History of Susannah, Bell and the Dragon, and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is too frequent for detailed references to be necessary. (Kelley, 53)

Most Protestant Evangelicals seem to believe that the deutero-canon (the seven extra books of the Catholic Old Testament) was “added” to the canon of Sacred Scripture at the Catholic Council of Trent in the 16th century. This presumption is false. The councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage, which all occurred in the last 20 years of the 4th century, canonized all 73 books of the Catholic Bible (Denzinger). It was the Council of Trent that had to reaffirm the 73-book canon to define it against the Protestant Reformation, which rejected it (CCC, 40). Furthermore, the Jewish leaders at Jamnia also rejected the deutero-canon because its books did not exist in the original Hebrew language. Yet, since the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran, we now know that each of the seven books had Hebrew originals. With this more comprehensive definition of what Sacred Scripture subsists of, and what it has subsisted of historically, let us turn back to tradition.

Again, ecumenically, bad definitions and bad epistemology often lead to a dividing line. To Evangelicals, tradition is every interpretive, hermeneutical, and ritualized application of the word of God revealed in His Son that has been grasped for the entire two millennia of the Church’s existence. In this case, tradition should obviously be in strict secondary or tertiary priority to Sacred Scripture. Yet, there have always been two ways of using the word “tradition” in orthodox Christianity.

One of the uses of “tradition” has been previously defined. This form is the “little-t” tradition. In the Catholic Church, the “little-t” tradition is different from what I call the  “big-t” tradition, that is, Sacred Tradition. As written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “[Sacred] Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical, or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great [Sacred] Tradition is expressed. In light of [Sacred] Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified, or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium” (CCC, 32). Sacred Tradition, which is in question here, comes from “the apostles and… what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generations of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living [Sacred] Tradition” (CCC, 31). Sacred Tradition is the “spoken word of the apostles’ preaching,” handed down in ordained succession (CCC, 30). Sacred Tradition is the “example they gave, by the institutions they established” (CCC, 30). Sacred Tradition is finally, “what they [the apostles] had received—whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 30). In regards to “big-t” tradition, or rather Sacred Tradition, the Catholic Church teaches she “does not derive…certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and [Sacred] Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence,” because they both flow from the same “divine wellspring, [and] come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal” (CCC, 31).

Going back to that second week of first grade, the analogy I would like to present can be adapted like so: Mrs. Kahlil was the divine wellspring of revelation. What she transcribed on the chalkboard was her inspired written word. What she handed down to us in the form of a song was the Sacred Tradition we second grade disciples used to utilize and relay her written word. What ultimately came out of coupling the two was literacy, or in this case, academic salvation.

Concluding, most if not all Protestant Christian circles profess what is called sola scriptura, that is, scripture alone is the only infallible teaching authority for the Church. Yet, in this doctrine we find two gaping holes. First, scripture was dependent on Catholic councils practicing Sacred Tradition to receive its canonization. This is because Christ gave us an infallible and indestructible Church that can bind and loose (Matthew 16:18-19, 1 Timothy 3:15), which while acting in extension of Christ’s gift, gave us the entire scriptures in the 4th century. In other words, Christ, the living Word of God, did not leave us the written Word of God. Christ left us an infallible Church, which then gave us our infallible scriptures. The latter did not replace the former, it enhanced it. Second, the Protestant Bible is lacking seven books. So what is professed as the primary ecclesial authority for Protestant Christianity is not only lacking an infallible interpretive authority (i.e. the Church; 1 Timothy 3:15), it is lacking almost 10 percent of its inspired resources.

Bibliography

Church, Catholic. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) with modifications from the editio typica. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Print.

Denzinger, Henricus. Enchiridion Symbolorum —Definitionum et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum, n. 179. 33rd edition. 1965, Verlag Herder KG, Freiburg.

Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Broadman & Holman, 2000. Print.

Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978. Print.

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology, An Introduction. 3rd ed. Oxford, Connecticut: Blackwell, 2001. Print.

Stackhouse, Jr., John G. Evangelical Futures, A Conversation on Theological Method. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000. Print.

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