Monday, March 8, 2004

I've been too scatter brained lately to put my thoughts together coherently, but I want to share a few things with y'all.

1. For Christmas Mike bought me Religion and the Rise of Western Culture: The Classic Study of Medieval Civilization, by Christopher Dawson, and I am absolutely loving it! There's been an awful lot of talk about cultural relevance lately, so reading this book has been a pleasure.
The conversion of Western Europe was achieved not so much by the teaching of a new doctrine as by the manifestation of a new power, which invaded and subdued the barbarians of the West...

... the relation between religion and culture is not that of assimilation and permeation, but rather one of contradiction and contrast. The lives of the saints and ascetics impressed the barbarians because they were the manifestation of a way of life and a scale of values entirely opposed to all they had hitherto known and accepted....

The Western Church did not come to the barbarians with a civilizing mission or any conscious hopes of social progress, but with a tremendous message of diving judgment and divine salvation. Humanity was born under a curse, enslaved by the dark powers of cosmic evil and sinking ever deeper under the burden of its own guilt. Only by the way of the Cross and by the grace of the crucified Redeemer was it possible for men to extricate themselves from the massa damnata of unregenerate humanity and escape from the wreckage of a doomed world.

...

Meanwhile throughout the West the liturgy was becoming more and more the centre of Christian culture....

Whatever else might be lost, and however dark might be the prospects of Western society, the sacred order of the liturgy remained intact and, in it, the whole Christian world, Roman, Byzantine and barbarian, found an inner principle of unity. Moreover the liturgy was not only the bond of Christian unity. It was also the means by which the mind of the gentiles and barbarians was attuned to a new view of life and a new concept of history. It displayed in a visible, almost dramatic form what had happened and was to happen to the human race – the sacred history of man's creation and redemption and the providential dispensation that governed the course of history, the great theme which is so majestically unfolded in the prophecies and prayers of the Paschal liturgy.


2. An article on the place of mercy ministries in the Church.

3. A prayer for ministers:
O LORD Jesus Christ, we beseech thee that the Ministers of thy Gospel, here and everywhere, may be true to their calling. Endue them with thy Holy Spirit, that the may remember the words of Holy Writ, that their understanding thereof may be enlightened, and that their witness may be in truth and with power, to the salvation of sinners and the edifying of saints. May they rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments, and by their life and doctrine set forth thy true and lively Word. May they be to all men wholesome examples in faith, word, love, chastity, and fidelity; that so thy Name may be glorified, who art, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
Amen.

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