Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Through Heaven's Eyes

Nearly two months ago Fr. Beach at St. Martin's preached the homily on the transferred feast of the Ascension. From what I can remember, he basically concluded a series that had been ongoing through Eastertide regarding the Paschal Mystery and the consummation of the work of the Son in the sending of the Holy Spirit. Hence this post, albeit it is a long time in coming.

In two moments, Holy Mother the Church was born and shown to be the Mystical Body of Christ, both in her earthly constitution and her invisible heavenly reality. First, she was born out of the water and blood which poured forth as a fountain of mercy for us from the side of Christ. Second, she was born of the Spirit at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon those in the upper room.

2013 Colloquium
Life in the Church is the life of grace. In chapter 7 of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, he provides an account of the divine economy of salvation. It boils down to the following: Man was created but chose to rebel against God, and this led to Man's weakened state. In order to turn Man back to God so that Man might become acceptable in His sight (or righteous), God gave Man the Law. But Man now knows what is sinful and so he chooses to sin in another act of rebellion. St. Augustine argues St. Paul sees Man as lacking the means to become righteous. Certainly Man cannot become righteous through his sheer willpower alone for that would be Pelagianism. But God desired that we might come to have an eternal relationship with Him so He sent His Son, Incarnate of the Virgin Mary, who gave us the new and eternal law of charity. When the Holy Spirit descended we came to know the law of grace which allows us to become righteous. In fact, the Council of Trent dogmatically declares that it is possible under grace for baptized Christians to avoid mortal sin. Finally, the life of sin ends and we are welcomed into the heavenly life of the Trinity at the resurrection of the dead. (This mostly comes from the first part of St. Augustine's To Simplician, simplified and probably with some poorly chosen phrases...I'm not going to get my notes right now).

The place where Heaven and Earth meet, where time and space fade away as what is ancient becomes ever new, is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is where we encounter the Son who offered His will and His Body over to the Father for the redemption of the world. He came to testify to the truth. Our Lord showed us that only through charity could we have life. Only through eating Him who am before Abraham was can we have eternal life. Not only did Christ come to show us that yes, there was a creator. Not only did Our Lord show us, and all of us, not just philosophers with great amounts of leisure, that God existed. But He did so giving us the tools to know so without the admixture of error. And further, Our Lord did so in a way that redirected us to a supernatural end, that is to say, eternal life in Heaven with the Most Blessed Trinity. (Yes, please pardon the "who am" bit above. It's obviously a reference to Our Lord saying, "Before Abraham was, I AM.")

Same as above!
 Dom Mark Kirby has an excellent post in two parts entitled The Mass-You Can't Live Without It (the first is under his name, the second under the title). It's wonderful. I believe it is best represented by the ancient form of the Roman liturgy with the priest and ministers acting at the head of the Body and where the petitions and lessons come together to be presented to the Father by the Son "for us men and our salvation" at the same time as the mysteries of the mercy of God and of the divine economy for the redemption of man and the perfection of creation are revealed.

Now, not only is that point true, but we must live liturgically. It must inform our personal prayer and our daily lives. First, this is shown in our prayer. The Divine Office, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Angelus...all do or can fit into a schedule, a rhythm of prayer if you will. That doesn't mean we can't have fun or spend hours not discussing theology. Goodness no. But we must always turn towards the Lord, remembering that we were made for Heaven. Everything should be seen in that context.

The movie The Prince of Egypt says it best: we must live through Heaven's eyes. In fact, I think that movie does a rather nice job of preparing one for seeing Our Lord as the New Moses, as is presented in the Gospel of Matthew, and for seeing the presentation of the Law as a preparation for living the Law in the life of grace.

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