Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Inside Baseball vs. Evangelization

This just in (and with a hat tip to Sherry W at Intentional Disciples):

From Oswald Sorbino's blog, Catholic Analysis:

When you blog on Catholic topics, the natural and understandable tendency is to spend a lot of time on what one could call "inside baseball"--arguments about liturgy, Catholic problems, charisms, etc. But, once in a while, it is good to set forth the Good News so that non-Catholic or non-Christian visitors can see what is surely most important: Jesus Saves.

Jesus not only saves; but, as I have heard others say, Jesus loves to save. And "saving" includes healing of all kinds, not just spiritual but also emotional, psychological, and physical. Saving includes healing all wounds, even those from a very long time ago. Saving also includes forgiveness so that one can start again and be born anew from above (if you have already received the Sacrament of Baptism, then it is a matter of activating again the new birth you have already received).

Saving also includes empowering to live in the Holy Spirit in joy and peace. Saving includes the power to do the right thing, not to be crushed by impossible moral ideals that we, on our own, can never meet. Saving also means making us part of the Body of Christ where we can be refreshed with the sacraments, the prayers, and the communion of our fellow Catholics. Saving means we enter a new family united in the joy of praising the Lord Jesus and bound together by a bond that can surpass even biological ties to others.

The formula is basic: repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. But notice that repent is not just regretting this sin or that sin. The Gospel call to repentance, in the original New Testament Greek, has the sense of turning ourselves around, of changing our hearts and minds, of surrendering control to the true Sovereign and Lord. If you are non-Christian, you hand over your life to Jesus and begin instruction for receiving the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). If you are a non-Catholic baptized Christian, you receive instruction to receive the Sacraments of Penance, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. If you are already Catholic, you rededicate your life to Jesus and seek out the Sacrament of Penance, also called the "Sacrament of Conversion." The end result is the happiness that never dies.

Yes, sometimes we have to take a break from all the "inside baseball" and talk about the crucial arena of our lives because the stakes are too high for all of us and because we may forget that many are desperately seeking Je

The Whole Russian Orthodox Church Officially Honours the Saints of the Isles

This was posted yesterday by Fr Andrew at Orthodox England:

Today, Tuesday 21 August 2007, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has officially recognized the Feast of the Saints of the Isles. (See our Service to these Saints on this website under 'Hisperica Liturgica' – Western Liturgica). This Feast is in honour of the Saints who lived in Great Britain and Ireland before the Western Schism of 1054. This was when most of Western Europe tragically split off from the Church, thus founding Roman Catholicism and later the myriad of sects which grew up from this.

The Feast will be observed, as it already has been for many years in parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and elsewhere, on the third Sunday after Pentecost. The Synod has also decided that these Saints' names should be included in the Church Menologion, once their lives and exploits have been studied.

The Synod's decision follows the appeal of 3 March 2007, when the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland of the Diocese of Sourozh, petitioned His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II and the Holy Synod of the Russian Church to give official recognition to the Feast of the Saints of the Isles.

Once again, we see how the work begun by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in New York is being completed in Moscow. First, in 2000, His Holiness and the Synod in Moscow recognized and completed the ROCOR canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia of 1981. Now it is recognizing the Local Saints of the Western Lands, who previously had not been known or venerated in Russia, but had been venerated since the 1970s in ROCOR.

This decision is clearly a historic turning-point. The Local Saints of the Western Lands now begin their entry into the calendar of the whole Russian Orthodox Church. This is a sign of the universalism or catholicity of the Russian Church. It is also, we must add, the recognition of our thirty-three years of unceasing struggle against both the forces of ecumenistic modernism and ritualistic conservatism. We well remember how the persecution and mockery that we faced from both extremes in the 1970s, when there was virtually no sympathy for our cause. Later we recall how our writings on them had to be published at personal sacrifice, in order to make these Saints of God known. This is once more the victory of the royal path of moderation, victory over the spiritual death of extremes. We pray and hope that the Local Saints of other Western Lands will now also make their entry into the consciousness and calendar of the whole Church of Rus.

God is wonderful in His Saints! Glory to Thee, our God, Glory to Thee!

Indeed, God is wonderful in His Saints!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory