Pondering Christian Unity

thumbnail17I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.  As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.  – John 17:15-19

“Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history.  Far from divorcing us from reality, our faith…enables us to grasp reality’s deepest meaning….And just as Christ gathers to himself all those who believe and makes them his body, so the Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in an essential relationship with all other believers…Christians are one…yet in a way which does not make them lose their individuality; in service to others, they come into their own to the highest degree.  This explains why, apart from this body, outside this unity of the Church in Christ, outside this Church which–in the words of Romano Guardini, is the bearer within history of the plenary gaze of Christ on the world–faith loses its ‘measure’;  it no longer finds its equilibrium, the grace needed to sustain itself.  Faith is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ as a concrete communion of believers. It is against this ecclesial backdrop that faith opens the individual Christian towards all others.”   – from Lumen Fidei, sections 18 and 22

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“…I considered the nature of Belief…Of its nature it breeds a reaction and an indifference.  Those who believe nothing but only think and judge cannot understand this.  Of its nature it struggles with us.  And we, we when our youth is full on us invariably reject it and set out in the sunlight content with natural things.  Then for a long time we are like men who follow down the cleft of a mountain and the peaks are hidden from us and forgotten.  It takes years to reach the dry plain, and then we look back and see our home.

“What is it, do you think, that causes the return?  I think it is the problem of living; for every day, every experience of evil, demands a solution.  That solution is provided by the memory of the great scheme which at last we remember.  Our childhood pierces through again…But I will not attempt to explain it, for I have not the power;  only I know that we who return suffer hard things; for there grows a gulf between us and many companions.  We are perpetually thrust into minorities, and the world almost begins to talk a strange language;  we are troubled by the human machinery of a perfect and superhuman revelation….

“It is hard to accept mysteries, and to be humble.  We are tost as the great schoolmen were tost, and we dare not neglect the duty of this wrestling.”  —Hilaire Belloc, The Path to Rome

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Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily….It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion.  Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.  Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith.  Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither…” and yet the fact is, “The Church…includes specimens of every class among her children.  She is the solace of the forlorn, the chastener of the prosperous, and the guide of the wayward.  She keeps a mother’s eye for the innocent, bears with a heavy hand upon the wanton, and has a voice of majesty for the proud.  She opens the mind of the ignorant, and she prostrates the intellect of even the most gifted.  These are not words;  she has done it, she does it still, she undertakes to do it.”  –Bd. John Henry Newman, from Addresses to Cardinal Newman with His Replies and Discourses to Mixed Congregations

Blessings to you on this day of the Assumption of Mary  -JC