31 January 2007

Hat tip to McCain

Check out this fascinating article from First Things:

First Things

Check out especially these words of St. Theresa:

I am very happy that I am going to heaven. But when I think of this word of the Lord, “I shall come soon and bring with me my recompense to give to each according to his works,” I tell myself that this will be very embarrassing for me, because I have no works. … Very well! He will render to me according to His works for His own sake.

And in her Offrande √† l’Amour mis√©ricordieux, she prays to Jesus thus:

In the evening of this life I shall appear before Thee with empty hands because I do not ask Thee, Lord, to count my works. All our just acts have blemishes in Thine eyes. Therefore I want to wrap myself up again in Thy justice, and to receive from Thy love the eternal possession of Thee Thyself.

Is that beautiful or what?


ResQRev said...

Wow, Fr. Bill. That article is AWESOME. Those Chicago Catholics have put out some great stuff over the past couple of years. This one is the best!

Fr. Hank said...

Absolutely wonderful, thanks!

Reminds me of Robert Bertram and Ed Schroeder museing on about Luther's "sweet swap" back in sem days.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

"Very well! He will render to me according to His works for His own sake."

I love the prayer after this, but this itself is just thoroughly unbiblical, isn't it, and in fact subverts the very words Therese had just quoted.

Surely it is true that we shall come before Him with no MERIT of our own, nothing by which we might lay CLAIM to any reward. We shall all be empty of works in that sense.

Yet he who has not loved well shall be ill-fitted to recieve or return Christ's Love. He who has not forgiven hsi brother, from his heart, will not find any capacity within himself to receive the forgiveness of God. He who has lived only unto himself will not be able to understand what living in and by and for Another even means, let alone be able to participate in this Heaven. And so forth.

In THAT sense, yes, it is according to our works we are rewarded. The hearts of all the saved shall be filled to brimming over with the Love of God; yet he whose heart is the most enlarged will be able to contain more of the Infinite Love poured out into it; while he whose heart is small, shall be able to contain only a correspondingly small portion of Christ.

And our hearts grow larger (fitter to enjoy heaven) the same way muscles do: by exercise. By work-outs. By practice. By OUR works, that WE have done, in union with Christ, by faith. Or, since it is union of which we speak, unity such as makes it really impossible to assign any work to either party as if he were separate, we could as easily say the works are Christ's, but only if we understand that the EFFORT is nevertheless all ours.


Past Elder said...

May I pursue a little different direction? The article was about St Therese, it was about heresy and dissent. His point was that the Reformation lef the church split not just hierarchically, but with now separate denominations stressing that part of the whole they championed and the other didn't. So that the emphasis on works, for example, in popular RC practice does not fully attain support in RC documents.

It seems that on both sides, each recoils from something not because it is a gad idea per se but because of its association with those who hold other bad ideas. For example, somewhere in the Trent documents it states that the use of the vernacular in worship is entirely possible, but its association with those who hold heretical beliefs makes it unwise and confusing. We, for example, so often recoil in spite of Luther's own words and example from things like the making the Sign of the Cross, palms on Palm Sunday, ashes on Ash Wednesday, because it's "too Catholic", ie associated with those who otherwise profess things we don't, or have difficulty explaining that we retain the liturgy not because we are Catholics without a pope but because it is the universal church's heritage, simply without later wrong turns.

As much as anything, maybe the biggest sad influence of the whole missional/confessional rift in our synod is that, besides ignoring that the mission was to spread the confession so without the confession mission is meaningless, is that it breathes new life into regarding practices by their association rather than by their expressed or implied doctrinal content.

Past Elder said...

OK, that said, now a rant. The author of the First Things article, a Jesuit, mentions the Society of St Pius X as an example of those who are schismatic and dissenter, but not heretics. He calls them not by name, but Lefebvrists after the late founder, and an "oddball bunch". Interesting. They hold and teach absolutely nothing but what was held and taught to me by the Roman church in my pre Vatican II youth. Which now puts one outside of the Roman church. The current Roman church created at Vatican II maybe should then be called Roncallists and the oddball bunch. And the sooner we rid ourselves of our wannabe version of their revisionist parody of the Divine Service, lectionary and church year, which infect even the otherwise excellent LSB, and hold fast to the real universal heritage of the church or at least Western rite thereof, the better!

William Weedon said...


I certainly do not disagree that God is preparing us in this world to enjoy eternity. Without that training, we'd be like the dwarfs in Lewis' *The Last Battle* who simply had no ability to appreciate the beautiful world inside the stable. But I think that St. Therese's point is very worth heading - it is because none of our good deeds are untainted by our sin that they cannot be *by themselves* pleasing to God. They are only pleasing to our loving heavenly Father in and through His Son, who forgives the sin that still taints them.


William Weedon said...

Past Elder,

I am not in a position to judge those who hold to the old ways in Rome, but I know that there were certain things Vatican II did that a Lutheran cannot but applaud and other things that were, well, appalling! The staunch confessor, Hermann Sasse noted that liturgically it appear that St. Zwingli presided at the Roman reform of the mass during V-II!