Icon of the Apostles Creed

Iconography is a sacred art form that is said to be “written”, not painted; icons depicting Scriptural events reveal what is “written” in the Word of God. While browsing the Web Gallery of Art, I came across an iconographic panel by an Italian artist, Giovanni da Rimini, c. 1305. As I looked at the events of the Lord’s life from left to right, row by row, I realized I was “reading” the core of the Apostles Creed…

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit…

Life of Christ, Apostles Creed

…from where He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

Amen!

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Scriptural Proof, Irenaeus of Lyons

Today in the liturgical Life of the Catholic Church, St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, France (AD 177-202) is remembered. A short word from this Bishop who is now one of the “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us (Heb. 12:1)“:

St. Irenaeus: “Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles exists in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, and that no lie is in Him. As also David says, prophesying His birth from a virgin, and the resurrection from the dead, “Truth has sprung out of the earth (Ps. 85:11).” The apostles, likewise, being disciples of the truth, are above all falsehood; for a lie has no fellowship with the truth, just as darkness has none with light, but the presence of the one shuts out that of the other. Our Lord, therefore, being the truth, did not speak lies…” (Irenaeus, against heresies (182-188 A.D), Book 3, Ch. 5)

Jesustoapostles2“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them,
Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.'”
Luke 24:45-48 RSVCE

+St. Irenaeus, pray for us+

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Note: There will be no Sacred Library posts during the month of July. God willing, posts will resume in August. God Bless!

Ecumenism is NOT, by John Paul II

John Paul II“…the Decree on Ecumenism mentions the way of formulating doctrine as one of the elements of a continuing reform. Here it is not…

✝ altering the deposit of faith,
✝ changing the meaning of dogmas,
✝ eliminating essential words from them,
✝ accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age,
✝ or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today.

The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety.

✝ In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth.
✝ In the Body of Christ, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth?”

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On Commitment to Ecumenism
Blessed John Paul II, May 24, 1995
READ THE FULL CHAPTER

“A “being together” which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers His communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart.” John Paul II

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NOTE: This post has been placed permanently in the upper page bar: Ecumenism is NOT

Beauty in the Worship of the Church

The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).”

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“There is so much beauty in the worship of the Church, so much power to fill the mind with great thoughts and lift up the heart to heavenly things, that one who worships within the Mass with devotion cannot but feel in his soul an impulse to holier living. Such is the experience of those especially who begin each day by attending at Mass…they will grow in faith and fervor, and their holiness will be for all a source of edification.

“It is likewise consoling to see in our time a revival of the spirit which, in primitive ages, led the Christian to receive each day “the Bread that came down from heaven (John 6:32-35).” In the Holy Eucharist, the love of Jesus Christ for men passes all understanding. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:56). A worthy communion unites us with our Saviour, and even transforms our spiritual being, so that we may say with the Apostle: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). As by His continual abiding within the Church, the Church is holy and without blemish, so does the presence of Christ in each soul purify it even as He is pure, and give it power to do all things in Him who strengthens it (Phil. 4:13).

“The sense of our unworthiness may incline us to draw back from the Holy Table; but, as St. Paul tells us: “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28). Only sin can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, and for sin He has provided a remedy in the Sacrament of His mercy. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Through these two Sacraments, the one given for the healing of our souls, the other for their nourishment, we are established in the life of grace and are “filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:19). (U.S. Bishops assembled in conference, September, 1919. )

Triumph of the Catholic and Apostolic Church

In the midst of the intense spiritual struggles of the early Church Bishops against the “false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies(2 Pet. 2:1), Saint Hilary, the Bishop of Poitiers (353 – 368 A.D. ) declares his trust in the triumph of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church:

Saint Hilary of PortiersHilary of Poitiers: “I trust that the Church, by the light of Her* doctrine, will so enlighten the world’s vain wisdom, that, even though it [the world] does not accept the mystery of the faith, it will recognise that in our conflict with false teachers** we, and not they, are the true representatives of that mystery. For great is the force of truth; not only is it its own sufficient witness, but the more it is assailed the more evident it becomes. The daily shocks which it [the Church] receives only increase its inherent stability. It is the peculiar property of the Church that when She is buffeted She is triumphant, when She is assaulted with argument She proves Herself in the right, when She is deserted by Her supporters she holds the field. It is Her wish that all men should remain at Her side and in Her bosom; if so, none would become unworthy to abide under the shelter of that august Mother, none would be cast out or suffered to depart from her calm retreat. But when false teachers desert Her or She expels them, the loss She endures, in that She cannot save them, is compensated by an increased assurance that She alone can offer bliss. This is a truth which the passionate zeal of rival heresies brings into the clearest prominence. The Church, ordained by the Lord (Matt. 16:18) and established by His Apostles (Eph. 2:20), is one for all; but the frantic folly of discordant sects has severed them from her. And it is obvious that these dissensions concerning the faith result from…twisting the words of Scripture into conformity with its opinion, instead of adjusting that opinion to the words of Scripture. And thus, amid the clash of mutually destructive errors, the Church stands revealed not only by Her own teaching, but by that of her rivals. They are ranged, all of them, against Her; and the very fact that she stands single and alone is her sufficient answer to their misbelief. The hosts of heresy assemble themselves against Her; each of them can defeat all the others, but not one can win a victory for itself. The only victory is the triumph which the Church celebrates over them all.” (Saint Hilary, Doctor of the Church, On the Trinity; Book 7, para. 4)

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*Her: The early Church Bishops and Christians often referred to the Church, the Bride of Christ, as “She” and “Her”. Capitalized in honor of the mystical Body of Christ.

** False teachers: St. Hilary uses the word “heretics”, but I’ve chosen to use “false teachers” in keeping with the Scriptural translation of 2 Pet. 2:1.