Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Democracy of the Dead

I sit here among my books in the middle gloaming between the feasts of two great churchmen, Cyril of Alexandria and Irenaeus of Lyon.

I sit quietly, humbly wondering how we could be so privileged to belong in the very same Church which graced the world with these men and their lofty thoughts. Indeed, very little of what I read today in theology even approaches what they did. Were they closer to the fount of Wisdom? Yet, we have the same sacraments, the same God, the same Spirit.

I understand once again the wisdom of G.K. Chesterton, who wrote in chapter 4 of his book Orthodoxy

"Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."

In honor of the Bishop Martyr of Lyon, from Irenaeus I have chosen a most poetic creedal statement and a humble prayer to the Virgin. In this last age of the world I find very little that can compare with this exalted Christology and humble Marian devotion.

With regard to Christ,
the law and the prophets and the evangelists have proclaimed
that He was born of a virgin,
that He suffered upon a beam of wood,
and that He appeared from the dead;
that He also ascended to the heavens,
and was glorified by the Father,
and is the Eternal King;
that He is the perfect Intelligence,
the Word of God, who was begotten before the light;
that He was the Founder of the universe,
along with it (light), and the Maker of man;
that He is All in all:
Patriarch among the patriarchs
Law in the laws;
Chief Priest among priests;
Ruler among kings;
the Prophet among prophets;
the Angel among angels;
the Man among men;
Son in the Father;
God in God;
King to all eternity.
For it is He who sailed [in the ark] along with Noah
and who guided Abraham;
who was bound along with Isaac,
and was a Wanderer with Jacob;
the Shepherd of those who are saved,
and the Bridegroom of the Church;
the Chief also of the cherubim,
the Prince of the angelic powers; God of God;
Son of the Father; Jesus Christ;
King for ever and ever. Amen.

Take Me As Your Servant!

O very tender Virgin and Mother of the Savior of all Times,
take me as your servant starting
from this very day and for ever more.
From now on, in all circumstances,
be my merciful advocate;
come unceasingly to my rescue.
Indeed, after God,
I do not want to prefer anybody else to you any more
and, of my own free will,
I devote myself to you as your servant for eternity.

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