Monday, December 22, 2008

On Hiatus...

Hello Friend-Readers!

I'll be resuming blogging until after the holidays! Until then, have a blessed Christmas season (savor each of the 12 days...don't let secularism cheat you! Christmas is NOT over on Dec. 26) and Happy New Year 2009!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Being Good for Goodness' Sake...

The American Humanist Association has ads out in D.C. that say "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake."

Here's more information from the Pew Forum on this:

I find it fascinating that these people supposedly don't believe in God and yet they form a group to "not believe in God" together.

Hmmm...I also find it humorous that atheists keeping saying they don't believe in God and yet...keep bringing Him up!

A person who really, truly does not at all believe in God does not care to identify himself by his "non-belief."

I don't exactly know how to judge this absurdity on behalf of the AHA. Should I be outraged because they are offensive and intellectually dishonest? Or should I be delighted that such an extreme measure shows how much they really want to believe in Him?

Friday, December 5, 2008

The First Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church

All Christians should be aware of the ancient councils that provided clarification on doctrine according to Sacred Tradition. It is important to know what heresies the Church has dealt with in the past. (Heresies tend to "reincarnate" later in society in various shapes and forms.)

Here's a brief outline of the first seven councils:

(1) The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.
Heresy: Arianism (Denied the divinity of Christ)
The Council declared that Jesus is true God and true Man.

(2) The Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.
Heresy: Arianism
The Council reaffirmed the previous Council of Nicea and also combated Macedonianism which denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit and believed He was a creation of the Son. The work of these two first councils is where the Church wrote the Nicene Creed. (Officially the Nicea-Constantinople Creed.)

(3) The Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.
Heresy: Nestorianism
Nestorius believed that Christ was two persons. Mary was not the Mother of Christ as God but Christ as Man. She was therefore not the "Theotokos" (God-bearer in Greek, Mother of God) but the "Christokos:" only the Mother of Christ as Man. The Council affirmed that Christ is ONE DIVINE PERSON with no division. Thus, Mary is the Mother of God.*

*As the Word made flesh, not the Mother of God the Father, Creator of the Universe. (I lament the fact that this asterisk is even necessary for Christians.)

(4) The Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
Heresy: Monophysitism
Monophysitism taught that Christ has one nature, a divine nature, that swallowed up the human nature. The Council affirmed that Christ has two natures: one human and one divine. This is also known as the Hypostatic Union in Christ. He is one person with two united natures: human and divine.

(5) The 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553 A.D.
Heresy: Three Chapters (Nestorianism)
The "Three Chapters" were theological writings which were tainted by the Nestorian heresy. The Council reaffirmed the teachings of the Council of Ephesus and Chalcedon.

(6) The 3rd Council of Constantinople in 680 A.D.
Heresy: Monothelitism
Monothelitism taught that Christ only had one will; that the human will was absorbed by the divine will. The Council affirmed that Christ has two wills, human and divine, in accordance with His two natures.

(7) The 2nd Council of Nicea in 787 A.D.
Heresy: Iconoclasm, Adoptionism
Iconoclasm taught that sacred images were idolatrous. Adoptionism taught that Christ was not the Son of God by nature, but only through adoption. The Council affirmed that images in sacred art are not idolatrous. It also reaffirmed the hypostatic union in Christ.

The martyrs DIED to preserve orthodoxy in theology. The least we can do is KNOW it. The current notion that theology doesn't matter must be abandoned.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saint John of Damascus

Today the Church celebrates the feast of one of my favorite saints-St. John of Damascus. (c. 676-754/787 A.D.)

St. John lived between the 7th and 8th centuries and fought against the heresy of Iconoclasm. "Iconoclasts" viewed religious images of any kind as idolatrous. Against them were the orthodox "Iconodules" who regarded images as helpful in the aid of worship.

St. John brilliantly defended the veneration of images. He clarified the distinction between worshipping God and venerating His image. One prays to God himself, not a piece of wood or a mosaic. The picture is there to help focus one's prayer--very much like the Gospel accounts do. St. John's argument consisted in comparing images to the Gospel. His brilliant insight is simply this: the Gospels are verbal accounts of the Lord's words and actions, while icons are pictorial accounts. If you reject the latter, you are in danger of rejecting the former, because the content is the same.

There a lot of history behind this particular controversy. It is interesting to note that Islam may have influenced the iconoclast heretics since Mohammud taught that images were sacreligious and banned the production of them.

The 2nd Council of Nicea (787 A.D.) which was the 7th Ecumenical Council declared that the use of images in sacred art is not idolatrous. Images are used to help contemplate the divine mystery.

St. John is considered the last of the Church Fathers.

St. John of Damascus, pray for us.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin