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!

Keeping the Commandments of God in the Harmony of Love

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15; also 14:21, 15:10)

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Clement I of Rome IconPope St. Clement I:  “Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the blessed bond of the love of God or tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is inexpressible (Eph. 3:16-19). Love unites us to God, “love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8)“. Love bears all things, is long-suffering [patient] in all things. There is nothing vulgar, nothing arrogant in love (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Love knows nothing of schisms, love does not lead rebellions, love does all things in harmony (1 Cor. 14:33, 40). By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well pleasing to God. In love the Lord has taken us to Himself. Because of His love for us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood in accordance with the will of God; His flesh for our flesh and His life for our lives.

“You can see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing love is; its perfection is beyond description. Who is fit to be found in it, except those to whom God has graciously rendered it so? Therefore, let us pray and implore of His mercy, that we may live blameless in love, without human partiality (Eph. 1:4, 5, James 2:1, 9). All the generations from Adam even to this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of God, have been made perfect in love, now possess a place among the godly, and shall be made manifest at the revelation of the kingdom of Christ (Col. 3:4). For it is written, “Enter into thy secret chambers for a little time, until my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a propitious day, and will raise you up out of your graves (Isa. 26:19, 20).”  Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the harmony of love; so that through love our sins may be forgiven us. For it is written, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not impute to him, and in whose mouth there is no guile (Ps. 32:2, Rom. 4:7, 8).” This blessedness comes upon those who have been chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Let us therefore implore forgiveness for all those transgressions we may have committed through any suggestion of the adversary. And those who have been the leaders of sedition and disagreement ought to have respect to the common hope. …For it is better that a man should acknowledge his transgressions than that he should harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened who stirred up sedition against Moses the servant of God, and whose condemnation was made manifest to all. For they went down alive into Hades and death swallowed them up (Num. 16:1-35, Jude 11). Pharaoh with his army and all the princes of Egypt, and the chariots with their riders, were sunk in the depths of the Red Sea and perished (Exod. 14), for no other reason than that their foolish hearts were hardened, even after so many signs and wonders had been wrought in the land of Egypt by Moses the servant of God.” (1 Clement to the Corinthians, excerpts from para. 49-51)

+ St. Clement I of Rome, Pray for us. +

Glory in the Cross of our Savior, Jesus Christ

The following is part of a lecture given by St. Cyril of Jerusalem to the catechumens during Lent of 347 A.D.. Presented here for the first Friday of the Lenten stations of the cross.

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Crucifix, Cross of Christ JesusSt. Cyril of Jerusalem: “Every deed of Christ is a cause of glorying to the Catholic Church, but Her greatest of all glorying is in the Cross; and knowing this, Paul says, But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of Christ (Gal. 6:14). For it was indeed wondrous that one who was blind from his birth should receive sight in Siloam (John 9:1-7); but what is this compared with the blind of the whole world? It was a great thing, surpassing nature, for Lazarus to rise again on the fourth day (John 11:1-44); but the grace extended to him alone, and what was it compared with the dead in sins throughout the world? It was marvelous that five loaves should pour forth food for the five thousand (Matt. 14:14-21, Mark 6:34-44, Luke 9:11-17, John 6:5-13); but what is that to those who are famishing in ignorance throughout all the world? It was marvelous that she should have been loosed who had been bound by Satan eighteen years (Luke 13:10-16); yet what is this to all of us, who were bound fast in the chains of our sins? But the glory of the Cross led those who were blind through ignorance into light, loosed all who were held fast by sin and ransomed the whole world of mankind (Matt. 20:28, Mark 10:45, 1 Tim 2:6).

“Let us then not be ashamed of the Cross of our Saviour, but rather glory in it. For the word of the Cross is to Jews a stumbling-block, and to Gentiles foolishness (1 Cor. 1:23), but to us salvation, and to them that are perishing it is foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18). For it was not a mere man who died for us, as I said before, but the Son of God, God made Man. Further, if the lamb under Moses drove the destroyer far away [Passover Lamb, Ex 12:21-23], did not much rather the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29), deliver us from our sins? The blood of a silly sheep gave salvation; shall not the Blood of the Only-begotten much rather save….”

“Jesus then really suffered for all men; for the Cross was no illusion, otherwise our redemption is an illusion also. His death was not a mere show, for then our salvation is also without reality [imaginary, mythical]. If His death was but a show, they were true who said, We remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I rise again (Matt. 27:63). His Passion then was real: for He was really crucified and we are not ashamed of that; He was crucified and we do not deny it, no, I rather glory to speak of it.

“I confess the Cross because I know of the Resurrection; for if, after being crucified, He had remained as He was, I might not have confessed it. I might have concealed both it and my Master, but now that the Resurrection has followed the Cross, I am not ashamed to declare it.” (St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, Excerpts from his Catechesis (Lecture 13) during lent of 347 A.D. when Cyril was still a Priest).

+ St. Cyril of Jerusalem, pray for us. +