The Word of the Father gives order, direction and unity to creation

From a Discourse Against the Pagans by Saint Athanasius, bishop

The Word of the Father gives order, direction and unity to creation

By his own wisdom and Word, who is our Lord and Savior Christ, the all-holy Father (whose excellence far exceeds that of any creature), like a skillful steersman guides to safety all creation, regulating and keeping it in being, as he judges right. It is right that creation should exist as he has made it and as we see it happening, because this is his will, which no one would deny. For if the movement of the universe were irrational, and the world rolled on in random fashion, one would be justified in disbelieving what we say. But if the world is founded on reason, wisdom and science, and is filled with orderly beauty, then it must owe its origin and order to none other than the Word of God.

He is God, the living and creative God of the universe, the Word of the good God, who is God in his own right. The Word is different from all created things: he is the unique Word belonging only to the good Father. This is the Word that created this whole world and enlightens it by his loving wisdom. He who is the good Word of the good Father produced the order in all creation, joining opposites together, and forming from them one harmonious sound. He is God, one and only-begotten, who proceeds in goodness from the Father as from the fountain of goodness, and gives order, direction and unity to creation.

By his eternal Word the Father created all things and implanted a nature in his creatures. He did not want to see them tossed about at the mercy of their own natures, and so be reduced to nothingness. But in his goodness he governs and sustains the whole of nature by his Word (who is himself also God), so that under the guidance, providence and ordering of that Word, the whole of nature might remain stable and coherent in his light. Nature was to share in the Father’s Word, whose reality is true, and be helped by him to exist, for without him it would cease to be. For unless the Word, who is the very image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, kept it in existence it could not exist. For whatever exists, whether visible or invisible, remains in existence through him and in him, and he is also the head of the Church, as we are taught by the ministers of truth in their sacred writings.

The almighty and most holy Word of the Father pervades the whole of reality, everywhere unfolding his power and shining on all things visible and invisible. He sustains it all and binds it together in himself. He leaves nothing devoid of his power but gives life and keeps it in being throughout all of creation and in each individual creature.”

Episcopal Nuns Come Home to Roman Catholicism

H/T to Susan G. in Nebraska who said this article from the Baltimore Sun would make me happy:

Photo by Owen Sweeney III / Catholic Review photo

In a move that religious scholars say is unprecedented, 10 of the 12 nuns at an Episcopal convent in Catonsville left their church Thursday to become Roman Catholics, the latest defectors from a denomination divided over the ordination of gay men and women.

………

The sisters said they converted for the orthodoxy, unity and leadership they said they could no longer find in their own faith.

“We know our beliefs and where we are,” said Mother Christina Christie, superior of the order that came to Baltimore in 1872. “We were drifting farther apart from the more liberal road the Episcopal Church is traveling. We are now more at home in the Roman Catholic Church.”

Also joining the church was the Rev. Warren Tanghe, the sisters’ chaplain. In a statement, Episcopal Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton wished them God’s blessings.

“Despite the sadness we feel in having to say farewell, our mutual joy is that we remain as one spiritual family of faith, one body in Christ,” he said.

Bishops, Unity, Church, and Vigilance

Who wants to separate us from our bishops?

Reading the Church Fathers for Lent has been eye opening in the light of present day attacks on the Church, such as the State of Connecticut attempt hitting the wires here and here.

The battle plan against the Church is evermore visible above the horizon, although it has been on the rise for a long time out of sight and mind of many.  Divide and conquer! No big surprise.  I think we feel all too safe having our Constitution to protect us.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

Archbishop Chaput writes in response to the Connecticut attack:

“But prejudice against the Catholic Church has a long pedigree in the United States. And rarely has belligerence toward the Church been so perfectly and nakedly captured as in Connecticut’s pending Senate Bill 1098, which, in the words of Hartford’s Archbishop Henry Mansell, ‘directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our Faith.’”

“In effect, SB 1098 would give the state of Connecticut the power to forcibly reorganize the internal civil life of the Catholic community. This is bad public policy in every sense: imprudent; unjust; dismissive of First Amendment concerns, and contemptuous of the right of the Catholic Church to be who she is as a public entity,” the archbishop criticized.

I want to focus on the role of the bishop in the Church.  He is not just one voice among many.  For Christians, he is the voice speaking with clarity for Christ.  In our loud and intrusive culture, we listen to the voice speaking loudest in our heads, and exhortations like “listen to your bishop” have long since faded in the background of our day to day struggle.  Time to refocus!  Time to be vigilant!  Our fallen natures find it hard to submit to valid authority, but now is not the time for pettiness or self-serving arrogance.  We need our bishops and our bishops need to speak and speak clearly.

The Fathers say:

St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians:

Let nothing exist among you that may divide you ; but be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality.

As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavor that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Do ye therefore all run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one.

Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans:

It is reasonable for the future to be vigilant, and while we have yet time, to repent unto God. It is well to honor God and the bishop; he who honors the bishop, is honored of God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, serves the devil.

Note for our Christian brothers and sisters outside the Roman Church:

Responding to the Connecticut Bill, Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut writes:

“We need as big a turnout as possible for the public hearing on Wednesday, especially from non-Catholics. As Ben Franklin told the Founders while they were signing the Declaration of Independence, “either we hang together or we will all hang separately.” Legislators need to understand that this bill is an attack on everyone’s religious liberty.”

If the legislature can replace a bishop with a board of laymen in the Catholic Church, they can just as easily replace the governing lay structure of Congregationalist or Baptist churches with someone set up as a bishop. In fact, it was resistance to such government interference in the internal life of the church that gave birth to several of our most historic denominations. Thanks to this awful bill, our generation must now rise up to defend those hard-fought victories for religious liberty that were won for us by our ancestors.

The Anchoress waiting on the Remnant writes:

The Remnant is much deeper than any movement, and it will surface on its own – full of surprising and surprised people – in due time, when it must, and that may be soon, but neither you nor I know the day or hour. The thing about remnants is that they identify themselves after a carpet has been laid or a robe has been cut, not before.

Remnants do not stop a construct from happening…they survive it.

Exhaustive list of Catholic bishops condemning voting for pro-aborts here.

From the Anchoress UPDATE: “Well, a reprieve of sorts. Seems
“The bill is dead for the rest of the legislative session. As soon as word spread about the bill, the Legislative Office Building was flooded with telephone calls and e-mails on Monday. The bill, virtually overnight, became the hottest issue at the state Capitol.”
. (H/T Ace) That’s good. But it’s still on the way – next year, year after that, because as Ed Morrissey writes: They’re embarrassed, but they still haven’t learned why.”

“This battle is going to happen. Bank on it.”

Marana, tha

Maran atha


Unity,Hope,Change – Truth & Conscience

It been two weeks since Archbishop Chaput’s addressed over 700 participants on the campus of the University of Toronto at St. Basil’s Church.  The Archbishop urged Catholics to live out their faith in the public square.  He sounded a warning saying that in the United States Catholics “needed be on guard against “a spirit of adulation bordering on servility” that exists towards the Obama administration.  Of President Obama, he said, “There’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change”

“I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth — which means candor.”

That Catholics voted for Obama despite his stand on life issues proved  Chaput’s point that  the “Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years.” In his book, “Rend Unto Caesar” Archbishop Chaput traces the Catholic struggle to be accepted in the United States, which was formed mainly by Protestants.  President John F. Kennedy ushered in a coming of age of Catholic respectability.  What will that acceptance cost us, if, for it’s sake, we lose our sense of duty, our will, and our nerve to be outspokenly Catholic?

I have a friend who said her father taught her that she needed three things to be happy: “a wish bone, a funny bone and a back bone.”  I think our catholic back bone is being tried, but if we are found wanting, there will be no happily ever after in America.