(Letter to Verne A. Kiular, continued)
When last I wrote I was trying to define worship in understandable terms. God wants us to fall crazy-head-over-heels in love with Him because He is crazy-head-over-heels in love with us. In fact He is so in love with us that He wants to adopt us as his children.
This brings us to the next casual mistake in the American translation of the text. In the poorly translated text we have “Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father”. Jesus isn’t the only Son of God. He may be the only begotten Son of God, but you and I are sons and daughters of God by adoption. This isn’t just a theological nicety. It is the heart of the Christian faith.
St. Irenaeus of Lyon, writing in 180AD explains this in his book “Against Heresies”. He says that: “...the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through his transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself. Therefore, we are returning to the more accurate translation which reads, “Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son.”
I’ve already explained the nonsense about Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner and sin versus sins, so we’ll just move on to the Creed.
“We believe in one God” becomes “I believe in one God.” “Well, isn’t just that a little self-centered? After all Jesus taught us to say Our Father, not my Father!” There you go again, with your Sesame Street, everything is beautiful in its own way psycho-babble again! Before you can say “We” you have to say “I.” Dare I say it this way? You have to join the club. You are free to join or not join. We is a dangerous word sometimes. History is full of people who say “we” when they mean “I” Political correctness is the “we” of the current age. “We all believe this, don’t we?” The phrase “We, the people” has been bandied about at the guillotine by Robespierre, by Hitler at the gas chamber, by Stalin at the gulag, and by the Brothers Castro and their friend Che Guevara at the Isla de Pinos. Don’t you agree comrade?
The word for believe, faith and belief is the Greek root word pist - which means trust, and not simply an educated guess, as in the hopeful phrase, “I believe the Cubs will win the pennant this year.” We are not just a blind herd, thinking politically-correct things, engaging in group-think, our eyes firmly fixed on the tail of the cow in front of us assuming that the presidential cow in the lead has some clue as to where he is going.
I trust God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not because my mother trusted, not because my father or my friends trusted, but because I trust. And because I trust in God, I join the fellowship of those who are learning what it is to be one of His children. I say “I believe” that I might say “Our Father.” A parent loves each of his children uniquely and personally. He loves his children and therefore loves his family.
Next, the Father in whom I trust, the Father who is “Ours” is the “Creator of heaven and earth,” not just its Maker. To create is to bring something into existence. When we create a work of art, we reflect the creativity of God. We don’t make art. We create it. Everything else we make. I can’t create a lime, but I can make you a really good daiquiri, if you provide me with fresh limes, sugar and rum. (Really! I got a great recipe on a secret trip to Cuba a few years back. It was legal. Visas and everything. The priesthood really is a very exciting way of life.) You get my drift. Give me the ingredients and a good blender and we’re in business. I make. God creates.
Next, you’ll notice that Jesus is “born of the Father before all ages” not just “eternally begotten of the Father.” Further on we read that he is “consubstantial with the Father, not just “one in being.” These are among the central reasons for which the Council of Nicea was called and the Creed first written.
There was an Egyptian priest named Arius, (250-236AD) who couldn’t swallow the idea that Jesus, a man, was somehow the same substance as God the Father. He just couldn’t believe that God was three-in-one, a solidarity, not a solitude. He would go down to the docks and teach the sailors sea chanties with heretical words, thus spreading his ideas throughout the world. He spread bad ideas with catchy tunes, not unlike some writers of hymns today.
Arianism, the belief that Jesus is not quite divine in the way the Father is divine, is like a shingles virus in the body of the Church. It keeps popping up long after the original infection. There is a lot of Arianism among us today, and it is as seductive as ever.
The word consubstantial mean more than just one in being. Consubstantial means that they are the same kind of being. They share a reality that is perfect. He was born of the Father before all ages. He exists outside of Creation, not just at its beginning. The word consubstantial was hammered out over centuries, and the dynamic equivocaters thought they could improve on the great filter of history. After all, it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
And no, I didn’t bring back any cigars!
Next week: Will this guy never get tired of this stuff?
PS I was recently asked how much the thirty silver pieces that were Judas fee for betraying Jesus are worth in today’s currency. It is not easy to make the comparison, but it probably would be about $15,000. It is also thought to represent the price of a slave, a human life.
On another note, the Governor in Illinois was recently accorded the honor of presenting the leadership award at the banquet of Personal PAC. Personal PAC is a bi-partisan political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates to state and local office in Illinois. The pious state official, Pat Quinn did it because he thought it was, in his words “the proper, Christian thing to do” that is, to present an abortion-rights group’s leadership award.
On yet another note, governor Quinn received $500,000 in cash and in-kind services to his 2010 campaign from Personal PAC. That would come to well over 33,000 pieces of silver. Just goes to show that some people drive a harder bargain than others.