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Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

Faith (Giotto)

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Can we, as followers of Christ, be certain of our salvation? Or, put another way, are we assured eternal life in heaven by virtue of our Christian faith?

Since the Protestant Reformation, a significant number of Christians have answered this question with a resounding “yes.” And not without reason: many passages of Scripture (John 5:24, Romans 10:9-11, and Acts 16:31 in particular) appear to provide support for the position that faith in Christ is an unshakable guarantor of salvation.

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Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dēlē iniquitatem meam.
Amplius lavā me ab iniquitate mea: et a peccato meo mundā me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognōscō: et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccāvī, et malum coram te fēcī: ut iustificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincās cum iudicaris.
Ecce enim in inquitatibus conceptus sum: et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti: incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundābor: lavābis me, et super nivem dēalbābor.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam: et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne proiicias me a facie tua: et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui: et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur.
Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae: et exsultabit lingua mea iustitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique: holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus: cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion: ut aedificentur muri Ierusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae, oblationes, et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

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Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love;
According to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight,
So that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation,
And my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
In burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

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Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, more commonly known as Corpus Christi, the day set aside by the Church in honor of the Eucharist. Traditionally, the celebration of Corpus Christi includes the Lauda Sion sequence, which I was fortunate enough to hear sung in Latin at Mass today. The words were written by St. Thomas Aquinas; what follows is an English rendition, compliments of Wikipedia.

Oh, and to actually hear the chant—compliments of Archive.org—simply follow this link. Gotta love the internet.

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Sion, lift up thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Savior and thy King,
Praise with hymns thy shepherd true.

All thou canst, do thou endeavour:
Yet thy praise can equal never
Such as merits thy great King.

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Exultet

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Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,

that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

(For it is fed by the melting wax,
which the mother bee brought forth
to make this precious candle.)

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

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Christ Carrying the Cross (detail)
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Christ Carrying the Cross (detail)
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From Theology and Sanity, first published in 1946 and revised in 1978:

[The Apostles] knew Christ before they knew He was God. Had they known from the beginning, they might simply have feared Him, and fear would have made a bar to any progress in intimacy. But by the time they knew beyond the possibility of uncertainty that He was God, they had come to know that He was love. If they had known that Christ was God first, then they would have applied their idea of God to Christ; as it was, they were able to apply their knowledge of Christ to God. The principal fruit for them and for us of their three years of companionship with him was the unshakable certainty of His love for mankind; and it was St. John, the Apostle He loved best, who crystallized the whole experience for us in the phrase of his first Epistle, “God is Love” (4:8).

We may ask why the Jews did not know that already, for God had shown them His love often enough; and in the Old Testament His love is wonderfully stated. “The Lord is compassionate and merciful, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy” (Ps 102:8); that is strong enough, yet it is not the strongest thing of its sort. In Isaiah (49:15) there is a phrase which would seem to reac the very limit of divine tenderness: “Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? And if she should forget, yet will I not forget thee.” The truth is that love arises and abides most easily and naturally where there is community of nature; and until God took our nature and became man, that way did not exist. God-made-man could love us with human love—and this, though a lesser thing than divine love, can be very comforting to our weakness. Nowhere in the Old Testament did it occur to anyone to God God what they were to call God-made-man, “the friend of sinners.” The Jews knew that God had spoken to and done great things for mankind, but He had not been man.

The moral for us is simple: in our approach to God we are helped enormously by seeing Him in our nature; and for the mind, this means a continual study of Him whereby the Apostles’ experience of Christ becomes our own personal experience, their intimacy becomes our intimacy. We cannot always analyze intimacy; but there is no mistaking it: we know the person quite differently. You do not learn intimacy, or reap the fruit of someone else’s. You grow into it. In the Gospels, one really can grow into this intimacy with Our Lord, precisely because the evangelists do not obtrude their own personalities. Anyhow, know Him we must. There is no other way to full knowledge of God; Christ has said so. In other words, we have to vivify all that hard thinking about the Infinite by the closest companionship with our Lord Jesus Christ. By both, the mind grows toward the knowledge of God which is its health (Sheed 82-83).

God is Love. Deo gratias.

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A litel childe there is ibore
Ispronge out of Jesses more
To save alle us that were forlore
Gloria tibi domine

Jhesus that is so fulle of might
Ibore he was aboute midnight
The angel songe with alle here might
Gloria tibi domine

Jhesus is that childes name
Maide and moder is his dame
And so oure sorow is turned to game
Gloria tibi domine

Three kinges there came with here presence
Of mirre and golde and frankencense
As clerkes singe in here sequence
Gloria tibi domine

Now sitte we downe upon oure knee
And pray that child that is so free
And with gode herte now sing we
Gloria tibi domine

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