On the day of Pentecost the Church was born and yet there were no Gospels as we know them today. It would not be a theological exaggeration to assert that the Church would be the Church in Her fullness even if She did not possess the New Testament. For many raised on the Reformational principle of sola scriptura this may seem a radical—even heretical—statement. …[T]here was a time when the Church did not possess this corpus of inspired writing and yet the Church existed in Her fullness, Christians experienced the truth of the faith in all its fullness. — Fr. Georges Florovsky, The Byzantine Fathers of the Fifth Century, Vol 8 of Collected works as recorded in “The Church, Tradition, Scripture, Truth, and Christian Life [p. 15] (via gospelofthekingdom)
The Ascension of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ
"God ascends amid shouts of joy; the Lord amid trumpet blasts"
Troparion of the Ascension: Tone 4
"You were taken up in glory, O Christ our God; you gladdened the disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit. By blessing them you confirmed that you are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the World.”
Kontakion of the Ascension: Tone 6
"When you have fulfilled the plan of salvation for us and untied the earthly with the heavenly, you were taken up in glory, O Christ our God. Never parting from us but remain constantly, you proclaim to those who love you: I am with you and no one can be against you."
Readings: Acts 1:1-12 and Lk 24:36-53
The content of our faith is a valid response (in faith) to the real problems that form our history. Indeed it is the ability of the faith to inspire initiative and creativity when it confronts the problems of human history that is the contemporary Christian’s most persuasive sign of the divine origin of the message proposed to him by the faith. — Juan Luis Segundo, The Community Called the Church. (via locusimperium)
Through Christ, God gave every man the possibility of loving others, and he joined all men and every individual in solidarity; he thus put love in everyone’s hands as the divine instrument of salvation. This possibility is as vast and as ancient as humanity itself. It does not date from AD 1 or 30. Nor is it limited by the historical limits of the ecclesial community. Through Christ, it reaches all men. The more traditional strains of theology have always echoed these perspectives: The redemptive work of Christ, carried out within history, goes beyond the limits of time and dominates the whole unfolding development of the universe — both its past and its future.
But there is something that begins with Christ and that moves out solely toward the future: namely, the revelation of this plan that suffuses all time. The Christian is not the only one to enter into this plan. But he is the one who knows it. He knows the plan because he has received not only redemption but also revelation.
Juan Luis Segundo, The Community Called Church.
(Apologies for the exclusive language. I’ve left it intact because I think it’s important to encounter theologians where they are, not where we would like them to be.)
A Protestant exaggerates his distance from Roman Catholicism on every point of theology and practice, and is skeptical of Roman Catholics who say that they believe in salvation by grace. A Reformational Catholic cheerfully acknowledges that he shares creeds with Roman Catholics, and he welcomes reforms and reformulations as hopeful signs that we might at last stake out common ground beyond the barricades. (Protestants also exaggerate differences from one another, but that’s a story for another day.)
A Protestant believes (old-fashioned) Roman Catholic claims about its changeless stability. A Reformational Catholic knows that the Roman Catholicism has changed and is changing.
Some Protestants don’t view Roman Catholics as Christians, and won’t acknowledge the Roman Catholic Church as a true church. A Reformational Catholic regards Catholics as brothers, and regrets the need to modify that brotherhood as “separated.” To a Reformational Catholic, it’s blindingly obvious that there’s a billion-member Church of Jesus Christ centered in Rome. Because it regards the Roman Catholic Church as barely Christian, Protestantism leaves Roman Catholicism to its own devices. “They” had a pedophilia scandal, and “they” have a controversial pope. A Reformational Catholic recognizes that turmoil in the Roman Catholic Church is turmoil in his own family.
A Protestant views the Church as an instrument for individual salvation. A Reformational Catholic believes salvation is inherently social.
A Protestant’s heroes are Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and their heirs. If he acknowledges any ancestry before the Reformation, they are proto-Protestants like Hus and Wycliffe. A Reformational Catholic gratefully receives the history of the entire Church as his history, and, along with the Reformers, he honors Augustine and Gregory the Great and the Cappadocians, Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus, Thomas and Bonaventure, Dominic and Francis and Dante, Ignatius and Teresa of Avila, Chesterton, de Lubac and Congar as fathers, brothers, and sisters. A Reformational Catholic knows some of his ancestors were deeply flawed but won’t delete them from the family tree. He knows every family has its embarrassments.
Protestants are suspicious of a public, “Constantinian” church. While acknowledging the temptations of power, a Reformational Catholic views public witness as an expression of the Church’s mission to the nations.
A Protestant mocks patristic and medieval biblical interpretation and finds safety in grammatical-historical exegesis. A Reformational Catholic revels in the riches, even while he puzzles over the oddities, of Augustine and Origen, Bernard and Bede. He knows there are unplumbed depths in Scripture, never dreamt of by Luther and Calvin.
A Protestant is indifferent or hostile to liturgical forms, ornamentation in worship, and sacraments, because that’s what Catholics do. Reformational Catholicism’s piety is communal and sacramental, and its worship follows historic liturgical patterns. A Protestant wears a jacket and tie, or a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, to lead worship; a Reformational Catholic is vested in cassock and stole. To a Protestant, a sacrament is an aid to memory. A Reformational Catholic believes that Jesus baptizes and gives himself as food to the faithful, and doesn’t avoid speaking of “Eucharist” or “Mass” just because Roman Catholics use those words. — Peter Leithart
No Christian can evade this responsibility [to the poor]. He cannot say the poor are in poverty because they will not work, or they suffer because they are lazy. Having come before God as nothing and being received by him into his Kingdom through grace, the Christian should know he has been made righteous (justified) so that he can join God in the fight for justice. Therefore, whoever fights for the poor, fights for God; whoever risks his life for the helpless and unwanted, risks his life for God. God is active now in the lives of those men who feel an absolute identification with all who suffer because there is no justice in the land. — James Cone, Black Theology and Black Power (via azspot)
How Does Christ Save Us? [Atonement] -
"Christ did not save us from an angry or vengeful God, or to satisfy His Father’s sense of justice. From the Orthodox viewpoint, salvation is more than Christ simply having paid some penalty to satisfy the Father’s wounded ‘honor’. Salvation is the will of the Father, that we return to Him so He…
Ideas by themselves do not lead anywhere and those who pursue the path of their own ideas end up in a labyrinth from where they can’t get out again! It’s for this reason that heresies have existed from the very beginning of the Church. Heresies are this: trying to understand with our minds and with only our personal light who Jesus is. A great English writer wrote that a heresy is an idea that’s gone crazy. That’s right! When they are ideas by themselves they become crazy… This is not the right path!
The first door is praying to Jesus. You must realize that studying without prayers is no use. We must pray to Jesus to get to know him better. The great theologians did their theology while kneeling. Pray to Jesus! By studying and praying we get a bit closer… But we’ll never know Jesus without praying. Never! Never! The second door is celebrating Jesus. Prayer on its own is not enough, we need the joy of celebration. We must celebrate Jesus through his Sacraments, because these give us life, they give us strength, they nourish us, they comfort us, they forge an alliance with us, they give us a mission. Without celebrating the Sacraments, we’ll never get to know Jesus. This is what the Church is all about: celebration. The third door is imitating Jesus. Take the Gospel, what did he do, how was his life, what did he tell us, what did he teach us and try to imitate him. — Pope Francis (via holabrody)
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. — 1 Corinthians 15:12-26. (via locusimperium)
But I say, be nobody special. Do your job. Take care of your family. Clean your house. Mow your yard. Read your Bible . Attend worship. Pray. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Love your spouse. Love your kids. Be generous. Laugh with your friends . Drink your wine heartily. Eat your meat lustily. Be honest. Be kind to your waitress. Expect no special treatment. And do it all quietly. — Matthew B. Redmond