1. S&P downgraded my blog rating from Boring to Boring Minus. Does that seem fair?
2. Of course I will root for the Redskins with limitless devotion. But could they make it a little easier this year?
3. Did you know that President Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Harold M. Ickes‘ father was Harold L. Ickes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior–who refused to sell helium to the Nazis? Did you know that father and son disagree about how to pronounce their surname? (Ick-ess vs. Ick-eez.)
…If Adam and Eve had not fallen from grace, how would they have exercised their religion? Would they have used a prayerbook?
We can say this much: The religion practiced in paradise would have involved a visible sacrifice. The nature of man requires this.
1. The nature of man requires sacrifice. Man achieves fulfillment by submitting to God. Man possesses greatness, intelligence, and sovereignty—but to an infinitely lesser degree than God possesses them.
Therefore, man most shows his greatness, intelligence, and sovereign freedom by offering himself to God through an act of complete submission. This is a sacrifice: man sacrifices himself to God, by humbling himself before the Almighty One. In Greek this act is called latria; in English, worship.
2. Man’s sacrifice must be visible—that is, sensible. Man, being a composite of visible (body) and invisible (soul), acts meaningfully through actions which possess visible and invisible aspects.
…Perhaps Adam and Eve, had they not fallen, would have worshiped simply by kneeling down together under the canopy of the beautiful sky. They might not have needed a temple—God commanded the building of the Temple only after the Fall. They might not have needed words—human language as we know it also came into being after the Fall. So they may not have needed a prayerbook.
Maybe Adam and Eve could have presented the invisible sacrifice of their obedience by visibly kneeling down. Who knows? They ate the apple instead…
First of all: The Roman Missal exists because of the Last Supper. Where does the Missal come from? Ultimately, it comes from the lips of Christ.
Christ did what Adam and Eve did not do. He offered the sacrifice of Himself to the Father. He did so in utter solitude on the Cross. Only He could expiate all the irreligion of mankind, because only He has the infinite divine love to offer as His human submission.
Solitary and unique as the visible sacrifice of the Son of God is, He willed that we would not be isolated from it, but rather He willed to unite us with it. (He offered it for our salvation, after all.)
Christ unites our religion with His through the sacrament of His Body and Blood. Doing the Last Supper in memory of Him—celebrating Mass—allows us to offer Christ and ourselves to the Father as the visible sacrifice which our nature requires.
To do this, we need the Missal. Christ gave His command; the Apostles certainly memorized His words and obeyed without a book for some period of time. But experience teaches us that the most important words must be written down, lest we corrupt or—God forbid!—forget them.
At some point, now lost to history, the first Missal was written on vellum or papyrus (maybe just one page), and the Mass was read for the first time…
More to come!