Monday, May 26, 2008

With Christ

For this post, I compiled a list of verses that center on the theme of living with Christ. The importance of this particular theme, most clearly expounded in the epistles, is especially important when considering a distinctly Christian approach to life.

Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:4)

But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Rom. 6:8)

...and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Rom. 8:17)

...because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. (2Cor. 4:14)

For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. (2Cor. 13:4)

...and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Eph. 2:6)

...when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, (Col. 2:12)

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Col. 3:1)

...for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. (Col. 3:3)

The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him; (2Tim. 2:11)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Consecration in the East

An interesting article on the website of America the magazine stirred up a few thoughts on those churches of Eastern rites.

Before I began the article, I thought of the strife which is quite commonplace in the geographies of these churches. Iraqi Archibishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was murdered this year in the middle of March. Between restoring a country after the Communist Era and the warfare that stretches through the West Bank and into the Middle East, the faith communities in those areas experience life through a different lens than I.

The article itself addressed the question of a "Mass without consecration", which a prima facie is a utter contradiction. The issue, instead, is the situation shared by Chaldean and Assyrian Christians whose abilities to find ministers of their own rite are severely limited due to military situations or diaspora.

In October of 2001, the Vatican approved members of the Assyrian Church of the East to celebrate Eucharist with Chaldean Catholics. In short, the issue with this is that the Assyrian's Eucharistic Prayer, the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, does not include an Institution Narrative.

The committee approving this practice writes, "the words of Eucharistic Institution are indeed present in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in a coherent narrative way and ad litteram, but rather in a dispersed euchological way, that is, integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving, praise and intercession." The writers, however, also note that according to the Council of Florence, "The form of this sacrament are the words of the Saviour with which he effected this sacrament. A priest speaking in the person of Christ effects this sacrament. For, in virtue of those words, the substance of bread is changed into the body of Christ and the substance of wine into his blood.”

Further it is important to note that in the Eastern liturgy there is no single point of consecration; instead, the whole prayer is the point of consecration. Some scholars attribute this sort of mysticality as an effect of the absence of scholasticism.

The text offers three reasons to permit the Anaphora without the Narrative. First, the Anaphora of Addai and Mari is one of the oldest anaphoras, and "it was composed and used with the clear intention of celebrating the Eucharist in full continuity with the Last Supper, in obedience to the command of the Lord, and according to the intention of the Church."

Secondly though the Assyrian Church of the East is not in full communion with Rome, the Assyrian Church is recognized as a particular Church with apostolic succession and orthodox faith.

Finally, as stated earlier the Anaphora seems to circle around the action of Christ's Institution without clearly stating the words.

As the Catholic Church continues to open itself to the world (though carefully) and minsters to the situations of the world, Christians should continue to serve one another while serving beyond the seeming limits of the Church. I believe that actions such as these will help the Church realize its place and mission in the world.


"Vocations are born in silence"

"Your vocation should be understood as a conversation with God rather than a guessing game, in which you have to try to read God's mind. The latter picture of God is not too positive."

"Vocation is the spine of existence"

Realizing a vocation is a process in which a person accepts that God is part of his personal creation, his personal situation, and his personal future. This, however, is not always an easy process, perhaps not ever an easy process.

The challenge of vocation, when accepted and begun, opens each person to himself while at the same time opening each person to the world. The beginning of this challenge is also a form of opening. In accepting the reality of vocation, each person must open themselves to God, and once opened to God each person realizes a few things.

1. God is interested in me, and he cares for me and my future.
2. God has created me with gifts, and these gifts should be used for a certain end.
3. The world has certain needs, some of which could act as ends for my gifts.
4. God's care for me will help me realize my place in the world.

Thus, realizing a certain vocation is a process of searching for gifts in yourself, searching for needs in the world and listening to where you fit in those needs. Realizing a vocation is not simply a task of triage, wherein you choose to offer yourself to the highest need that you see. Rather relying on the vision of God, a vocation is attentively listening to where God opens a space in the world for you.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Little of the World

Photography, as a hobby, can become an interesting passageway to past memories and hopefully something more than a mere record of history. As photographed events are surely true (in that they happened), in my humble opinion they should also express beauty. To say beauty is not to say, that kind of beauty "that lies in the eye of the beholder", but beauty that pulls a person, sometimes violently, out of themselves and into something beyond themselves.

Some of the images below have that effect on me, and though I have the benefit of additional memory with these scenes, I think that they say something more than what was experienced at one time by one person.

An interesting moment in Agua Caliente, El Salvador

A door in Manhattan

Brooklyn Bridge, 2007

Statue of Saint Francis in an open walkway of Santa Maria degli Angeli, in which doves have nested from "times immemorial"

Cassock of Archbishop Oscar Romero, University of Central America San Salvador