Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The Glorious Freedom Of The Children Of God

When you receive mercy, you partake in this. There is no substitute. Yet part of the reason the sacraments are efficacious by the very fact of being performed is that we are not always conscious of being flooded with consolations. You really wouldn't want a sacrament to depend on how you felt about it, or about yourself in relation to God.

One basic objection to the whole sacramental economy is that one could argue that God has accomplished everything in Christ in such a way that insisting that a sacrament as a sacred sign is necessary for salvation denies the reality of what God does. This objection makes sense to me. In that case, though, it makes more sense to argue that we don't need sacred signs at all. Practically, they can only serve as word-pictures for teaching things about God's deeds, and a person could meditate on those deeds without the signs at all, and most certainly so, with the great gift of the Scriptures.

But is it true? Did God actually do things this way? If the Church Fathers are any true representation of  how Christians believed and lived in those days, then no. I suppose one could argue that the ancients had pale echoes of the true faith and practice, but overall, it was false until others purified it. Many argue exactly that.

As soon as one says, "We can learn a lot from the Fathers," however, only 2 possibilities are open: 1. One discovers the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church as visible, hierarchical, and sacramental, and submits to her, or 2. One undertakes to tell the Fathers exactly what they got right, and what they got wrong. Good thing they have you to set them straight!

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