Traditions, Athanasius and the Best Practices….
Devotional Thought of the Day:
21 The LORD says, “I hate your religious festivals; I cannot stand them! 22 When you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will not accept the animals you have fattened to bring me as offerings. 23 Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your harps. 24 Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry. Amos 5:21-24 (TEV)
314 “Who said that to reach sanctity, you need to seek refuge in a cell or on a solitary mountain?” That was what a good family man asked himself in amazement, and he added: “If that were so, it would not be the people who would be holy, but the cell, or the mountain. It seems they have forgotten that Our Lord expressly told each and every one of us: be holy as my heavenly Father is holy.” My only comment was: “Our Lord, besides wanting us to be saints, grants each one of us the relevant graces.” (Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1490-1494). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition. )
Sunday,we will do something in my church, that we only do once a year. We will pull out of the closet a statement of faith, a creed that is 50 verses long. It’s one of those kind of ancient writings that demands you stop and think through a verse before going to the next. It describes the relationship of the persons of the Trinity, and the complete unity at the same time. It describes as well how Jesus is 100% God, and yet simultaneously man. It is complext, and glorious and needs not 10 minutes to recite it in church, but hours to talk through and realize how incredible this God that it describes is.
Personally, I love it, as I will love the conversation during Bible Study that follows, as we take some time and dissect it.
But I fear that many who will say the words, will walk away, not understanding this complex creed, or why we do it. That is a pastoral concern, and one we should have. It’s one we must have.
But for many of us, tradition has become what the “monastery” of our age. We hide in it, find peace and joy in it, and mistake that peace for the peace that accompanies holiness. We find comfort in the old ways, and romanticize and idolize them, thinking they are the keys to our spiritual health, to our orthodoxy, to our faith. As St Josemaria points out so clearly, it is not the mountain top, or the tradition that is called to be holy. We are.
That’s why in throughout the Old Testament prophets, there is a condemnation of people’s sacrifices. Sacrifices that God called for, things that were the closest thing to the sacraments we treasure today. They were supposed to be a means, a conduit of God’s mercy,yet they had turned into something else, a meaningless time, spent in trying to attain a perfection that ignored their very reason for existence. They didn’t communicate that God was their for the broken, there to heal, to forgive, to pour our righteousness, to let the justice that comes from the cross to lift people up. A purpose to help people realize they walk, their life journey is done with God.
Such is the nature of a baptized, Pentecostal life. A life lived in communion, in fellowship, in a relationship with the God who created the heavens, and comes to us.
Traditions? Practices? Creeds? Do they give people what they need to know about Christ?
They can, they cannot. It is not the traditional practice, whether 1500 years in practice or 15 minutes that makes people holy. It is the presence of Christ, revealed, known, that the Holy Spirit uses to transform us. May all we do bring us to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and therefore ours.
Posted on June 10, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged Athanasian Creed, Church, Church Catholic, Confessional, contemporary, creeds, life, No Creed but Christ, St. Josemaria Escriva, Worship. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.