Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Feast of St. Gregory of Nyssa and The Communion of Saints


Today the Church celebrates the life and times of St. Gregory of Nyssa (325-386AD), one of the three Cappadocian Fathers. He wrote extensively against the Arian heresy (a belief that Jesus was not truly God, but a created being) that threatened to undo the orthodoxy of the early Church.
With Father Neuhaus' home-going on my mind, I was perusing the writings of St. Greg and came upon his homily at a funeral for a friend and leader of the Church, St. Miletius. Here's a snippet from the sermon:

"Our Bridegroom has not been taken from us. He stands in our midst, though we see him not. The Priest is within the holy place. He is entered into that within the veil, whither our forerunner Christ has entered for us. He has left behind him the curtain of the flesh. No longer does he pray to the type or shadow of the things in heaven, but he looks upon the very embodiment of these realities. No longer through a glass darkly does he intercede with God, but face to face he intercedes with Him: and he intercedes for us , and for the "negligences and ignorances" of the people. He has put away the coats of skin; no need is there now for the dwellers in paradise of such I garments as these; but he wears the raiment which the purity of his life has woven into a glorious dress. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death" of such a man, or rather it is not death, but the breaking of bonds, as it is said,"

I think of Father Neuhaus, now interceding for us, not through a glass darkly, but face to face with God he intercedes for us. The early Christians knew they could ask for prayer from those who had gone before them. We still believe in the communion of saints some 1700 years after this homily was given!

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7 Comments:

Blogger George Weis said...

Great homily. I think that program is being well used :) I gotta get that... great price too!

Hey, off topic, do you think they actually wore garments like those? You often see the ECFs dressed like that, I wonder if that actually had these kinds of cloths with all the crosses covering them.

-g-

January 10, 2009 7:25 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yeah, the price was worth it!
I doubt they had all those crosses on their robes, but the iconographer was probably hoping to illustrate the holiness or devotion of the saint or ECF?
What's most interesting is that the Eastern rite Catholic Church and the Orthodox are known for their elaborate icons, yet in the 8th century, the eastern Byzantine Emperor Leo forbade the making of images and icons and they were actually known as iconoclasts!
Until St John Damascene came around and made it clear that icons were ok for veneration and helping the faithful to grow in their faith.
So now the eastern Church and ORthodox have us westerners beat regarding beautiful iconography!

Here's some of what St. John Damascene said regarding images in worship:
"We proclaim Him also by our senses on all sides, and we sanctify the noblest sense, which is that of sight. The image is a memorial, just what words are to a listening ear. What a book is to the literate, that an image is to the illiterate. The image speaks to the sight as words to the ear; it brings us understanding. Hence God ordered the ark to be made of imperishable wood, and to be gilded outside and in, and the tablets to be put in it, and the staff and the golden urn containing the manna, for a remembrance of the past and a type of the future. Who can say these were not images and far-sounding heralds? And they did not hang on the walls of the tabernacle; but in sight of all the people who looked towards them, they were brought forward for the worship and adoration of God, who made use of them. It is evident that they were not worshipped for themselves, but that the people were led through them to remember past signs, and to worship the God of wonders. They were images to serve as recollections, not divine, but leading to divine things by divine power."

January 10, 2009 8:04 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Russ,

Yes, I am somewhat versed in what went on there. That was a big deal for me to understand the iconoclast ordeal. I recently watched a series from the History Channel that included one full episode about Constantinople and the Orthodox... good stuff although some of the commenters obviously had their own odd spins from time to time.

I love this stuff! Feels alot different than the 19th century Christianity I have known for so long.

Blessings to you my friend!
-g-

January 10, 2009 9:37 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

George, after awhile, the 19th century stuff starts feeling odd, like it doesn't fit us, we start seeing everything through a more "universal" if I may say, perspective. God using the stuff of earth to lead us to the kingdom of heaven. Why I couldn't have seen this when I was younger? It follows natural law, and what I had tried to believe and "put on" for the past 30 years was good, but just didn't fit like these new clothes I wear now.
You gaining this vision now is such a gift of grace in your life.
God be with you,

January 10, 2009 11:24 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

"God using the stuff of earth to lead us to the kingdom of heaven"

My paraphrase:

He [Jesus] knelt, scooped some dirt and into his hand and spat, making mud, and applied that mud to the blind man's eyes, and lo and behold, the blind man beheld GOD!

susie
JMJ

January 11, 2009 9:35 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Exactly Susie!

January 11, 2009 12:19 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Interesting thought there Susie... didn't think about that in that light before :)

Yep, as I continued to read the History of Christianity, I started to feel different, and then suddenly I find my feet moving in another direction.

Thanks for the encouragement... Got your e-mail as well. I will get back to you shortly!

-g-

January 11, 2009 9:46 PM  

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