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.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Feast of St. Leo the Great.

Today the Church celebrates the life and heroic virtue of St. Leo the Great. He was elected pope in 440 AD. He spent a lot of time quelling the rapidly rising heresies (pelagianism) of the time but was also noted for his pastoral care of the sheep in his flock.

I find it incredibly difficult to believe that the early Church had departed from the "True Gospel" when one reads something like this below (Pope Leo's Christmas Homily) from one of its chief shepherds in the fifth century. He even mentions the Immaculate Conception, which acccording to some detractors was an invention of the Church in the 1850's!
(NB: The reason for his many references to the terrestrial bodies was the fact the sermon was given on a day that had previously been a feast day to a pagan sun god.)

Having therefore so confident a hope, dearly beloved, abide firm in the Faith in which you are built: lest that same tempter whose tyranny over you Christ has already destroyed, win you back again with any of his wiles, and mar even the joys of the present festival by his deceitful art, misleading simpler souls with the pestilential notion of some to whom this our solemn feast day seems to derive its honour, not so much from the nativity of Christ as, according to them, from the rising of the new sun!

Such men's hearts are wrapped in total darkness, and have no growing perception of the true Light: for they are still drawn away by the foolish errors of heathendom, and because they cannot lift the eyes of their mind above that which their carnal sight beholds, they pay divine honour to the luminaries that minister to the world. Let not Christian souls entertain any such wicked superstition and portentous lie.

Beyond all measure are things temporal removed from the Eternal, things corporeal from the Incorporeal, things governed from the Governor. For though they possess a wondrous beauty, yet they have no Godhead to be worshipped. That power then, that wisdom, that majesty is to be adored which created the universe out of nothing, and framed by His almighty methods the substance of the earth and sky into what forms and dimensions He willed. Sun, moon, and stars may be most useful to us, most fair to look upon; but only if we render thanks to their Maker for them and worship God who made them, not the creation which does Him service.

Then praise God, dearly beloved, in all His works and judgments. Cherish an undoubting belief in the Virgin's pure conception. Honour the sacred and Divine mystery of man's restoration with holy and sincere service. Embrace Christ born in our flesh, that you may deserve to see Him also as the God of glory reigning in His majesty, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit remains in the unity of the Godhead for ever and ever. Amen.


Blogger George Weis said...

Russ, a beautiful homily! Now, I saw the part that could point towards immaculate conception, but couldn't that also be reading more into it than is actually there? Not trying to be a pain, just trying to probe a little :)

Still no shows coming my way?


November 12, 2008 8:42 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Knowing that the Church has since proclaimed the Immaculate Conception a dogma, yes, I am certainly guilty of reading into this text. (Eisegesis as the theologians would say)
Yet, I really can see no other possible interpretations. What do you think it could mean then?

No new shows planned to the West my friend but I am doing a benefit concert for my Haiti mission December 6th in Emmaus, PA. If u donate 15 or more dollars towards the mission, you get a free russ rentler CD. :)

November 13, 2008 7:17 AM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Russ, I think I should like to support your mission. Shoot me an email with your addy.

The only thing I can think of is that yes, the conception was pure. It obviously was pure since it was brought on by the Holy Spirit. Christ Himself was pure... can God be in a sinful person? Well, we all agree that the Holy Spirit is in us (not to get into the technical side of that point...). We are sinners and yet, he makes his abode in us. So, I am not sure that this holds the weight of the Immaculate Conception although it could. The difficult thing is to figure out if we are applying thoughts and concepts we already accept (saying that for both of us). Actually, this is the most difficult part of reading all the ECFs writings. I find myself swirling and swirling on it!

Bless you brother, I believe your heart is right in the matter no matter what :)


November 16, 2008 9:22 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I will be doing a blog post pretty soon on the Haiti Mission Concert.
Some Church Fathers didn't believe in the immaculate conception of Mary (That she herself was conceived without sin) others did. By the 14th century Catholic theologians were pretty vigorously proponing the immaculate conception(John duns scotus)and finally in the 19th century Pope Pius declared it dogma, meaning a faithful Catholic must assent to this belief, and it was no longer a theological opinion but a certainty. BTW, this was only the fourth or fifth time that the true operation of papal infallability was invoked in almost 200 years.
Why is the dogma of the immaculate conception so important? Because ultimately it says something very important about Christ, which is Mary's ultimate role in the CHurch. See this blog post here.
As well as this one here if you have time

Thanks George for your gentle spirit, and willingness to discourse.

November 16, 2008 10:29 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

2000 years, not 200

November 16, 2008 10:30 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...

I caught that Russ ;)

I sincerely do try to approach this gently. I want you to know, that I respect you and your thoughts. You are one Catholic that speaks volumes to me because of your love. Love is ultimately the mark of the Christian no matter what tradition they come from. If more folks were as kind and loving as you are in the CC, the jump wouldn't be as tough. Likewise for all of Christianity, if we truly live as Christ, His light will shine forth and draw others to Him.

Abundant blessings,

November 16, 2008 10:51 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks George. This statement you made
"Love is ultimately the mark of the Christian no matter what tradition they come from." needs to be taped onto every blogger's computer monitor. (and written in our hearts as well)
I fail often in this regard .

November 17, 2008 8:12 AM  

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