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Soulfood

Walk of Witness down the High Street

Every year on the morning of Good Friday, the Churches Together gather together to process down the High Street in a Walk of Witness. As we walked along attesting to our Faith as Christians, volunteers walked alongside us handing out Bible verses and  Easter treats. There were more Walkers this year and it felt great. I think I ‘m beginning to see a glimmer of light with regard to the Ecumenical gatherings. It’s important for Christians of all denominations to stand firm on of matters  of  Faith, especially on Good Friday. The Choir treated us to beautiful sung harmonies. Overall, and uplifting experience.

I missed the last twenty minutes or so f the service, as we were aiming to get to Trafalgar Square for the twelve o’ clock  showing of the  ‘Passion of Jesus’,  put on by the fantastic cast of the Wintershall Estate. This was our first viewing of  ‘The Passion of Jesus’.

It takes place on an open air stage, viewed by thousands of onlookers, surging to get the clearest view of the actors in this beautiful play. (Next year I’ll make sure we get there early enough for front seat viewing!) The sound was perfect, considering the vast area covered during the performance and the competing central London traffic and hoards of tourists walking by.  There was an enormous screen on which the live acting was being screened, so that it didn’t matter whether you weren’t able to see the actors you would still be able to watch them on the big screen, and hear them clearly.

The story of The Passion began with a narrator’s  introduction, and from that moment on the crowd was hooked! Besides a little shuffling and readjusting to begin with, the group we were standing with were rooted to the spot. As the story progressed I was drawn into the play as an onlooker and participant, as was the rest of the audience. I heard nothing but what the actors were saying. I didn’t hear any traffic, but was acutely aware of this dramatic story being played out in  one of the most exciting, thronging capital cities of the world! As I watched and listened, I was humbled by this ‘simple’ , clear biography of Someone dying a torturous death for me. For me!! It felt like the first time I ‘d heard this story. And it seemed to the same for all who were gathered together on the Holiest days of the Christian calendar. You could literally hear a pin drop as the play progressed. Everyone drawn into the Life-Giving story of Christ’s Death and Resurrection, which is actually so simple. What spoke to me  most was the Humility of Our Lord  in the acceptance of His Work as directed by His Father. His acceptance of the importance of His Ultimate Sacrifice in the story of our salvation.  I was brought to tears by the Crucifixion scene and Our Lord’s reaching out, even on the Cross,  to his fellow humans. Two hours of this Magnificence ended on a high note with shouts of Alleluia, and ongoing clapping from the audience.

The cherry on the cake for me was the appearance of Bishop Vincent Nichols short address and finally praying with thousands of others the Our Father as in one voice.

This has truly been a Holy week to remember for me, and I look forward to next year, when I ‘ll meet the Lord in yet another way, on my Journey of Faith.

(All images taken by 1catholicsalmon)

Men Only Foot Washing

This coming Thursday evening, the ritual foot washing ceremony will be performed all over the world in thousands of Catholic churches. At our parish , only men are invited to participate  during this  ceremony, and I found out why today.

Jesus washes his Apostles feet.

Read here why it is so. This is part of the  Sacred Tradition of the Church. The Holy Father will be washing feet too!

tradition, Sacred Tradition, Catholic Tradition.

Catholic Tradition often seems odd to those outside the Catholic Church. People assume it’s something that we just… “made up.” The word “tradition” actually means handing down something to another person. Scripture testifies to this meaning of Catholic Tradition as the normal mode of transmitting the Faith:

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thess 2:15)”For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you….” (1 Cor 11:23)

“For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received….” (1 Cor 15:3)

“…I know whom I have believed [i.e., Jesus], and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.” (2 Tim 1:11-14)

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:1-2)

“…I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

This is the most basic meaning of Catholic Tradition: it is the true Faith itself, given to the Apostles by Christ and faithfully transmitted to each new generation. (Catechism, 77-78)

Sacred Tradition comes from Christ. It’s the full, living gift of Christ to the Apostles, faithfully handed down through each generation. It is through Tradition that the Holy Spirit makes the Risen Lord present among us, offering us the very same saving Word and Sacraments that he gave to the Apostles!

Understanding Catholic Tradition is essential to understanding the Catholic Church and the Catholic Christian faith.

Essentially, tradition is a thing handed down from one generation to the next. This is precisely the meaning of the biblical word for tradition: paradosis. Further, we make distinctions between large T and small t traditions even in secular and folk culture. Small t traditions express something of a culture, like a tangerine in your Christmas stocking or singing the happy birthday song at birthday parties. Some small t traditions (like toasting the bride and groom) are very ancient and widely diffused. Some, like Guy Fawkes night, are fairly new and may be confined to only one culture. Some have religious significance, like Advent candles, some are just ingrained customs (like birthday candles). Human culture is immersed in an ocean of such traditions ranging from throwing wedding rice to saluting the flag to celebrating bachelor parties. However, tradition is more than the mere cultural window dressing of small t traditions. It isn’t just little customs. It is also a way of being, thinking and seeing which powerfully (and often unconsciously) influences our lives and even our relationship with God.

There are aspects of Christian life which, the Church teaches, are principally handed on to us, not so much through Scripture as through tradition. Some of this tradition, says the Church, is small t stuff: candles, favourite songs, styles of prayer, popular forms of devotion, beloved books, treasured old rituals like Christmas caroling, foods such as Christmas cake and Christmas Turkey or Easter eggs. Yet, when push comes to shove, if children were not taught these traditions,  none of these small t traditions, vital and living though they are, is essential to the Faith.

The Second Vatican Council (“Vatican II”) wrote an important document called “On Divine Revelation” (Dei Verbum in Latin). It’s quite readable, and contains definitive teaching on the full meaning of Catholic Tradition.

The Council notes the importance of seeing that Catholic Tradition is firmly rooted in the Apostles: it is Christ’s whole gift to them, and to us. The Council writes:

 In His gracious goodness, God has seen to it that what He had revealed for the salvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity and be handed on to all generations. Therefore Christ the Lord in whom the full revelation of the supreme God is brought to completion…, commissioned the Apostles to preach to all men that Gospel which is the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, and to impart to them heavenly gifts.

(Dei Verbum, 7)

It is specifically this “commissioning of the Apostles” that is fulfilled in the handing on of Catholic Tradition.

The Apostles dedicated themselves to this mission, and they appointed other faithful men to succeed them and carry on their work. That same passage of Dei Verbum continues:

 This commission was faithfully fulfilled by the Apostles who, by their oral preaching, by example, and by observances handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him, and from what He did, or what they had learned through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The commission was fulfilled, too, by those Apostles and apostolic men who under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit committed the message of salvation to writing.

(Dei Verbum, 7)

Many Protestants believe that Catholics look to Tradition instead of Scripture. Not at all! Catholic Tradition stands with Scripture in forming the one single deposit of the Faith. For Catholics, Sacred Tradition is not in opposition to Scripture: they compliment and confirm one another. Vatican II’s Dei Verbum speaks of “a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture”: “both of them… [flow] from the same divine wellspring.”

It says that “Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity.” The Church, “led by the light of the Spirit of truth, …may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known.” (Dei Verbum, 9)

This statement reveals another key aspect of Catholic Tradition: it is linked to the active work of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

In defence of Mother Church.

I have been thinking about writing a series of posts about Sacred Tradition. One of the reasons for this is because I have been asked numerous times about why Catholics do what we do. The Mass has been criticized as being ‘stuffy and boring’; I’ve been asked aggressively about why I call someone other than my father ‘Father’; ‘Why do you need to go to confession to have your sins forgiven?’ etc, etc.

Some time ago my hackles rose at what I heard in the lyrics of the rap song called ‘I hate religion but love Jesus’. It went viral , so anyone who surfs the web or visits YouTube  is  sure to have come across it at some point. It took at least three replays for me to fully comprehend the real message behind this song. Perhaps you’ll get it sooner than I did?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY

Unexpectedly today I came upon this Catholic rap which has been made in response to it, so the basis for my posts on Sacred Tradition has been strengthened. Enjoy!

 I have copied this from the uCatholic.com site:

A response to the video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”. The purpose of this video is to do a response from a Catholic perspective, in a spirit of love, but also with a spirit of passion to defend our Mother the Church. The things that are said are not meant to offend, but we do have to be direct about what we believe and what we stand for.

Video Created By:

Director & Editor: Rob Kaczmark
Lyricist: Fr. Claude (Dusty) Burns aka Fr. Pontifex
Producers: dUSt, Danny Hidalgo, Kyle Escamilla, Rob Kaczmark
Re-Recording Mixer: Manuel Lopez III

Special thank to Queen of all Saints Basilica and Monsignor John Pollard for allowing us to film in the church.

Lyrics:
What if I told you that Jesus loves religion
And that by his coming as man he brought his religion to fruition
See this had to be addressed, the use of illogical terms and definitions
You clearly have a heart for Jesus but its fueling atheistic opinions
See what makes his religion great is not errors of wars and inquisitions
It’s that broken men and women to participate in his mission
Clearly Jesus says I have not come to abolish
I came to fulfill the law and I came to fulfill the prophets (Matthew 5:17)
And lines about building big churches and tending to the poor
Sounds a bit like Judas when the perfume was being poured (John 12:5)
See His religion is the largest worldwide source of relief
For the poor, the hungry, the sick and repentant thief
Oceans of compassion, opening wide the doors
For single mothers, widows and orphans, married and divorced (James 1:27)
We all detest hypocrisy, and empty show is just the worst
But blaming religion for contradiction
Is like staring at death, and blaming the hearse.
See the teacher will teach when the students are ready to listen
But those that choose to sit in the pews and refuse the good news
Is not the fault of religion.
And If I have the Jersey and I’m playing for the Bulls
There’s going to be some boundaries, regulations and some rules.
You can’t have Christ without his Church; you can’t have the King without his Kingdom
Sins of the Body and internal treason will never ever make me leave him
And that Jesus said it is done, is absolutely true
But he also gave us a mission with many things to DO.
Jesus says if you love me, you will Do what I command. (JN 15:14)
Go and Baptize in the name of the Father, Son & Spirit in Every Land. (MT 28:19)
And on the night he was betrayed he took his men in the Upper Room
Take at eat this is my body take and drink my blood for you.
A New covenant you see, an act connected to the tree,
Do this time and time again in Memory of Me. (Mt 26:26-28)
And at last with crown of thorns beaten beyond comprehension
His eyes were looking for yours and mine; it was divine, no human invention.
So as for religion I love it, I have one because Jesus rose from the dead and won.
I believe When Jesus said IT IS FINISHED, His religion had just begun.

Fr. Claude (Dusty) Burns

I read the lyrics before I watched the video. I hope you do the same. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru_tC4fv6FE