A Prayer of St. Thomas


“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.”

–St. Thomas Aquinas

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Protestants, Catholics, Communion–oh my! (Happy Corpus Christi!)


Today is a Christian Holy Day called “Corpus Christi” (Latin for “the body of Christ”). Today we meditate on the mystery of Communion/Eucharist/The Lord’s Supper.

I’ve mentioned some of my Communion views before and what I articulated is a synthesis and summary of the ideas of many theologians, both Protestant and Catholic. And so today, I want talk to all my fellow Protestant brothers and sisters out there.

In my opinion, the popular Evangelical idea of the Catholic view on the Eucharist is not really right or helpful (as is the popular conception of most of Catholic doctrine). Today I want to argue that Catholicism’s “Eucharist problem” is more historical and rhetorical than theological.

Some History

In the earliest decades and centuries of church history, people were able to simply maintain the simple doctrine that at Communion, they are receiving the true presence of Christ in the Bread and the Wine (source, albeit biased). In the middle ages, though, people starting asking themselves “Wait, what does that actually mean?” Differing answers started forming and a diversity of opinion about the Eucharist began taking place. The leaders of the Church tried to bring some commonality to this. In fact, the medieval Catholic church made a few “errant” teachers affirm these statements in 1078 and 1079:
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Sacred Autumn [GUEST POST]


autumn-western-pa2

This is another piece by my good friend Austin, who has written here before. You can also read my own, similar meditation from last year on what Autumn can tell us about our world and our God.

This month, we’ll witness the change of seasons. These liminal times, these times between the times, always put me in a mood of reflection. The approaching season is my favorite. It’s appropriate that it, unlike the other seasons, should be honored with two names—Fall and Autumn. And what about that?

Autumn is a noun, meaning cold. The word is anything but. It’s a beautiful word to look at, beautifully spelled. It’s a nice word to say. Think about how your mouth moves when you articulate it. Isn’t it like offering a kiss to something, someone? And didn’t Saint Paul say to greet the brethren with a holy kiss? That’s how I plan to greet the coming season.
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Prodigal, Let’s Go Home {pt.2} [GUEST POST]


Yesterday, I posted Austin’s first part to this final(?) reply to a series of discussions we’ve been having on the place of suffering and Evil in the world and the Nature of God. See that post for more background and links to the previous posts. I’ll have a few disparate thoughts about this whole exchange to share with all of you next week to close us out. Here, in this post, Austin sees right through much of my thinking to get at the root assumptions behind it. He also responds to five premises to my thinking that I laid out in my own last post.

_______________________

In all that I’ve written in all of these posts, it should be obvious that I believe stories to be of the utmost value. But I have to be clear that Story, if it is a metaphor for God, is but one metaphor among many. And I thank Paul for mentioning something along these lines. I’m not quite sure that I understand Paul’s notion of Story in enough detail. There are a few things that I do think need to be critiqued, if I have understood them correctly.
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Love: The Beginning & End of Divine Suffering | Lent {7b} [GUEST POST]


[Yesterday, my good friend Austin Ricketts kicked off this two-part post, part of my own Lent series, talking about how the “disposition” or “intention” of God is Love, firstly exercised towards God’s own Self in the Trinity. And this Love moves away from the lover toward the loved as it is given. Therefore….]

Update II: In an interesting twist, Austin has since recanted these comments, though I still entirely agree with these original ones. So….I’m going to keep them up, but with this comment.

death & distinction in God

The reason why death is an appropriate notion by which to understand this relation, then, is that death entails separation or distinction between two or more things that otherwise belong together.

Death is not an end of life, necessarily, but rather a limit and transition.  For humans, the Bible points out that there is a limit and transition that occurs at material death.  At that time, humans exist as a bodiless soul, at least until the final resurrection.

Death is a separation or distinction between two or more things that naturally belong together; in the case of humans—a body and a soul.

Considering God again, “separation” can’t really be the right word.  Distinction is more orthodox.  I mentioned earlier that it is incorrect to see a “lessening” of the Father’s being when transitioning to the Son.  That’s because there isn’t a lessening of being at all.  Quite the opposite.
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Love: The Beginning & End of Divine Suffering | Lent {7a} [GUEST POST]


[Note: Today, we have another post by my good friend Austin Ricketts. I asked for him to write some of his thoughts on the current Lent series I’m doing and this is what he came up with. He’s written other things for my blogs before, and each time, I end up with my mind blown. This post certainly follows in that tradition. This piece is a bit longer (even after breaking it up into two posts), but I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Really, you will not be disappointed.]

Update: Part 2 of this post is up.

Update II: In an interesting twist, Austin has since recanted these comments, though I still entirely agree with these original ones. So….I’m going to keep them up, but with this comment.

When delving into the mystery of the Trinity, it is inevitable that one approaches Light too bright to see through, a mountain too high to climb, a cave too deep to spelunk.  That this is the case does not mean that one shouldn’t move into any light, climb as highly as she can, spelunk as deeply as he may.  That would be an unbiblical quietism, and unhealthy for the soul.  The soul needs exercise.

Here I attempt to exercise my soul by exorcizing the ancient demons called simplicity and impassiblity.  I pray that I do this while abiding in love.  But I do it nonetheless.
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Catholics Aren’t Crazy: an Advent & Communion Theological P.S. (for those who care) | Advent {7a}


After my previous post on how Communion is no more a “symbol” than Advent itself, I can already hear some people right now thinking: “Wait. Isn’t this the Catholic idea of communion?” (As if that would be the worst thing.) I’ve mentioned some of my Communion views before in this ongoing series, and what I articulated is a synthesis and summary of the ideas of many theologians, both Protestant and Catholic. The pop idea of the Catholic view on the Eucharist is not really right or helpful (as is the pop conception of most of Catholic doctrine). Catholicism’s “Eucharist problem” is more historical and rhetorical than theological.

In the earliest decades and centuries of church history, people were able to simply maintain the simple doctrine that at Communion, they are receiving the true presence of Christ in the Bread and the Wine (source, albeit biased). In the middle ages, though, people starting asking themselves “Wait, what does that actually mean?” Differing answers started forming and a diversity of opinion about the Eucharist began taking place. The leaders of the Church tried to bring some commonality to this. In fact, the medieval Catholic church made a few “errant” teachers affirm these statements in 1078 and 1079:
Continue reading