Monday, February 20, 2012

Free Will (2)

The Early Fathers on Free will

"All the creatures that God made, He made very good. And He gave to every individual the sense of free will, by which standard He also instituted the law of judgment.... And certainly whoever will, may keep the commandments. Whoever despises them and turns aside to what is contrary to them, shall yet without doubt have to face this law of judgment.... There can be no doubt that every individual, in using his own proper power of will, may shape his course in whatever direction he pleases."(Archelaus (250-300) Disputation With Manes sees. 32, 33)

 "Those [pagans] who decide that man does not have free will, but say that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate, are guilty of impiety toward God Himself, making Him out to be the cause and author of human evils. "(Methodius (260-315) The Banquet of the Ten Virgins discourse 8, chap. 16)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Some Values of Celtic Christianity

  • Love of nature and a passion for the wild and elemental as a reminder of God's gift.
  • Love and respect for art and poetry.
  • Love and respect for the great stories and higher learning.
  • Sense of God and the saints as a continuing, personal, helpful presence.
  • Theologically orthodox, yet with heavy emphasis on the Trinity, and a love and respect for Mary, the Incarnation of Christ, and liturgy.
  • Thin boundaries between the sacred and the secular.
  • Unique Church structure: there were originally no towns, just nomadic settlements, hence the church was more monastic rather than diocesan, resulting in quite independent rules and liturgies.
  • Ireland was very isolated; it was hard to impose outside central Roman authority.
  • Influenced much by middle-eastern and Coptic monasticism.
  • Monasteries were often huge theocratic villages often associated with a clan with the same kinship ties, along with slaves, freemen, celibate monks, married clergy, professed lay people, men and women living side by side.
  • While some monasteries were in isolated places, many more were at the crossroads of provincial territories.
  • Women had more equal footing in ancient Irish law, thus had more equal say in church governance.
  • Developed the idea of having a "soul friend" (anamchara) to help in spiritual direction.
  • Invented personal confession.
  • Oral word-based culture; most of the people were illiterate but had great memorization skills. They loved to hear great stories.
  • A sense of closeness and immanence between the natural and supernatural.
  • A mandate for hospitality.
  • Emphasis on family and kinship ties.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Kingdom of God (Jesus Teaching of the Kingdom) Pt 2

Mark 14:25
“I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 4:43
“But he replied, ‘I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.”’
Luke 6:20
“Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.’”
Luke 7:28
“I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!”
Luke 8:1
“Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him.”
Luke 8:10
“He replied, ‘You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: When they look, they won’t really see. When they hear, they won’t understand.’”
Luke 9:2
”Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
Luke 9:11
“But the crowds found out where he was going, and they followed him. He welcomed them and taught them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those who were sick.”
Luke 9:60
“But Jesus told him, ‘Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”’
Luke 10:9
“Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’”
Luke 10:11
“We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!”
Luke 11:20
“But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.”
Luke 12:31
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.”
Luke 17:20
“One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, ‘When will the Kingdom of God come?’ Jesus replied, ‘The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs.”’
Luke 17:21
You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you. ”
Luke 19:11
“The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.”
Luke 21:31
“In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near.”
Luke 22:16
“For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:18
“For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
John 3:3
“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”’
John 3:5
“Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.’”

Friday, February 3, 2012

Feast of the Presentation / Candlemas

The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, which falls on 2 February, celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus. In the Eastern Orthodox and some Eastern Catholic Churches, it is one of the twelve Great Feasts, and is sometimes called Hypapante (lit., 'Meeting' in Greek). Other traditional names include Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord.

The Feast of the Presentation marks the end of the Epiphany season. In the Church of Ehgland, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is a principal Feast celebrated either on 2 February or on the Sunday between 28 January and 3 February.

Graphic: Meeting of the Lord, Orthodox Icon from Belarus

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

St Brigid (c. 451–525)

 Brigid and the Druids Butter

Brigid's truest nobility, was in her generosity. At her father's home, she shocked the household by distributing to the poor most of the food at her disposal.  She later decided to return to a life of slavery in order to help her mother who had become ill. Taking over her mother's work in the dairy, Brigid would divide the butter she churned into thirteen parts, one for each of the twelve apostles and one larger part of Our Lord, which she would distribute to the poor. When her druid master discovered her generosity with his goods, he came to the dairy to confront her. She welcomed him, washed his feet, and prepared food for him. The druid could see nothing amiss, yet he determined to test Brigid and commanded her to fill a great vessel with butter Finding that she did not have enough butter to fulfill his request (because she had given so much to the needy), Brigid began to pray:

O my Prince
Who canst do all these things,
Bless O God... My kitchen with thy right hand:
My kitchen, the kitchen of the white God.
A kitchen which my King hath blessed,
A kitchen that hath butter.

And there was more than ample butter for the druid and his household.

more on Bridgid in living Water