Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mark, His Words.

Today is the Feast of St Mark, that follower of St Peter who codified the apostle's memories of our Lord into the gospel which bears his name.

Appropos of yesterday's episcopal appointment of Bishop Nienstedt, here are some words from the Office of Readings which highlight the ancient self-understanding of the Church as a world wide teaching, praying, organized body composed of leaders and laity:

(warning: Irenaeus is the master of the run-on sentence)

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (about 130-about 208), bishop, theologian and martyr

Against Heresies, I, 10, 1-2

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples faith in one God, the Father Almighty, "Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them" (Ex 20:11; Ac 4:24); in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the coming, birth from a virgin, passion, and resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord; and his manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father "to gather all things in one," (Ep 1:19) and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, Saviour and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess" (Ph 2:10-11) him, and that he should execute just judgment towards all…

The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, carefully preserves it as if occupying but one house. She also believes these things as if she had only "one soul and one and heart" (Ac 4:32); she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. Although the languages of the world are varied, the strength of the tradition is one and the same.

For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. As the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to knowledge of the truth.

I like being part of this Church.

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