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!

“This is My Beloved Son…” Feast of the Transfiguration

The Apostle St. Peter“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Pet. 1:16-19 RSVCE).”

Leo the Great: “For when the Father said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom, I am well pleased; listen to Him,’ was it not clearly meant, ‘This is My Son’, Who is eternally from Me and with Me? ‘This is My Son’, not adopted, but true-born, not created from another source, but begotten of Me, nor made like Me from another nature, but born equal to Me of My nature (John 1:14). ‘This is My Son’, through Whom all things were made, and without Whom was nothing made (John 1:3). All things that I do He does in like manner, and whatever I perform, He performs with Me inseparably (John 5:19) and without difference: for the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son (John 14:11) and Our Unity is never divided. (John 10:30).

“Listen to Him, therefore, because He is the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), He is My Power and Wisdom (1 Cor. 1:24). ‘Listen to Him’, Who redeems the world by His blood (Eph. 1:7), Who binds the devil and carries off his captives (Matt. 12:28-29), Who destroys the bond of sin [and sets you free] (John 8:34-36). ‘Listen to Him’, Who opens the way to heaven, and by the… cross prepares for you the steps of ascent to the Kingdom.

“These things, dearly beloved, were said not only for those who heard them with their own ears, but in these three Apostles the whole Church has learned all that their eyes saw and their ears heard. Let all men’s faith be established according to the preaching of the most holy Gospel, and let no one be ashamed of Christ’s cross through which the world was redeemed.” (Leo the Great, 440-461 A.D., excerpts from Homily 51, On the Transfiguration – portions of a previous post)

Prayer and Wisdom against Temptation & Spiritual Danger

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.(Matt. 26:41, Mark 14:38)

Spirit is willing, flesh is weak

St. John Chrysostom: “Inasmuch as Christ Himself came to instruct us in all virtue, He both tells us what ought to be done, and does it… He commanded men to pray for their enemies (Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:28) and teaches this by means of His acts; for when He had ascended the cross He said, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).’ Therefore, as He commanded men to pray so does He Himself pray, instructing you to do so by His own persistent utterances of prayer.

“Since then He commanded them to pray ‘lead us not into temptation [but deliver us from evil] (Matt. 6:13),’ He instructs them in this very precept by putting it into practice Himself, saying ‘Father if it be possible, let this cup pass away from Me (Matt. 26:39).’ Thus teaching all the saints not to plunge into dangers, not to fling themselves into danger… not to rush forwards themselves, or to be the first to advance against terrors. Why pray this way? Both to teach us lowliness of mind, and also to deliver us from the charge of vainglory. On this account it is also said in this passage that… after He had prayed He said to His disciples ‘Could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation.’ Jesus not only prays but also admonishes, ‘For the spirit indeed is willing,’ He said, ‘but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41, Mark 14:38).’

“Now this He said by way of emptying their soul of vanity and delivering them from pride, teaching them self-restraint, training them to practice moderation. Therefore, the prayer which He wished to teach them, He Himself also offered… instructing us to pray, and even to seek deliverance from distress; but, if this be not permitted, then to acquiesce in what seems good to God. Therefore He said ‘Nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt (Matt. 26:39);’ not because He had one will and the Father another; but again, that He might instruct men…

“By means of this prayer, Christ taught both these truths, that we should not plunge into dangers, but rather pray that we may not fall into them; but if they come upon us we should bear them bravely, and postpone our own will to the will of God. Knowing these things then let us pray that we may never enter into temptation; but if we do enter it let us beseech God to give us patience and courage, and let us honor His will in preference to every will of our own. For then we shall pass through this present life with safety, and shall obtain the blessings to come: which may we all receive by the favor and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom be to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, glory, might, honor, now and forever world without end. Amen.”  (St. John Chrysostom (347-407), Excerpts from Against Marcionists and Manichaeans)

Christ Jesus and His Church

The Archbishops and Bishops of the United States in Conference assembled, to their Clergy and faithful people — Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Venerable Brethren of the Clergy,
Beloved Children of the Laity:

“One true reform the world has known. It was effected, not by force, agitation or theory, but by a Life in which the perfect ideal was visibly realized, becoming the light of men (John 1:4)*. That light has not grown dim with the passing of time. Men have turned their eyes away from it; even His followers have strayed from its pathway; but the truth and the life of Jesus Christ are real and clear today for all who are willing to see. There is no other name under heaven whereby the world can be saved (Acts 4:12).

“Through the Gospel of Jesus and His living example, mankind learned the meaning, and received the blessing of liberty. In His person was shown the excellence and true dignity of human nature, in which human rights have their center. In His dealings with men, justice and mercy, sympathy and courage, pity for weakness and rebuke for hollow pretence, were perfectly blended. Having fulfilled the law, He gave to His followers a new commandment (John 13:34). Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end (John 13:1). And since He came that they might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10), He gave it to them through His death.

“The Church which Christ established has continued His work, upholding the dignity of man, defending the rights of the people, relieving distress, consecrating sacrifice and binding all classes together in the love of their Savior. The combination of authority and reasonable freedom which is the principal element in the organization of the Church, is also indispensable in our social relations. Without it, there can be neither order nor law nor genuine freedom.

“But the Church itself would have been powerless save for the abiding presence of Christ and His Spirit. “Without Me, you can do nothing (John 15:5)“; and, “Behold, I am with you always (Matt. 28:20).” Both these sayings are as true today as when they were spoken by the Master. There may be philosophies and ideals and schemes of reform; the wise may deliberate and the powerful exert their might; but when the souls of men have to be reached and transformed to a better sense, that justice may reign and charity abound, then more than ever is it true that without Christ our efforts are vain.” (A letter from the U.S. Bishops assembled in conference, September, 1919. )

* Scripture references added from the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE), © 1966 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America. Published by Thomas Nelson for Scepter, Princeton, NJ.

Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me: The Way, and the Truth, and the Life

 I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father…(from the Nicene Creed)

—————————-

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
Christ Taking Leave of the ApostlesPhilip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves (John 14:1-11).”