Humbled by Greatness: the Soul of Creatureliness

Another great guest post by the Diocese of Burlington’s Matthew Rensch:

Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio, Coronation of the Virgin (detail), (1350)
Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio, Coronation of the Virgin (detail), (1350)

“Let us give thanks to God our Father,
for having made you worthy,
to share the lot of the saints in light.”

Colossians 1:12

In a previous essay, I advanced the idea that being constituted as good and approved as such formed the decisive joy of heaven. Heaven’s joy consists in this almost unimaginable possibility that God welcomes us, not with condescending pity, but with full satisfaction. I suggested that an exemplary image might be that of the intimate face-to-face encounter between lovers, in which the beloved receives the approval of her lover, knowing full well that this approval is no inclusivistic and flavorless condescension, but meaningful blessing. This proposal almost immediately prompts the concern that pride or grounds for boasting must be lurking very close. If we take glory in this divine praise, the objection goes, surely we are doing nothing other than boasting in ourselves, when the real glory belongs to God. On the contrary, however, reception of approval requires humility; and it is the proud man who is incapable of receiving praise.

In Rome at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, there lies an inconspicuous tomb on the right side of the altar. It is dedicated to decus Bernini, who lies there humiliter. It is the tomb, that is, of the decorated or honorable Bernini, resting there humbly. The literal reference is evidently to the simple tombstone for the great Bernini, but also suggests that the inscribers were pleased to imply a happy alliance between glory and humility. This confluence of glory, worthiness and greatness on the one hand with humility and humble reception on the other hints at a close connection between the two. Another intriguing confluence is the opening of the Mary’s Magnificat, in which she is not shy about proclaiming her own greatness. “The Lord has done great things for me” she sings, “all generations will call me blessed.” Even as she confidently affirms her own greatness and worthiness, she simultaneously exclaims that God has “looked with favor on his lowly servant.” Again we find this strange coincident expression of worthiness together with humility. Perhaps those joking words, “I have many virtues, including humility,” is not a joke but a real possibility. Evidently, Mary thinks that she is humble, and she is. The angel has declared her full of grace and in God’s favor. The angel has declared Mary’s greatness, that God likes her. And nevertheless Mary’s gracious song of thanksgiving does not exclude her humility. What Bernini’s tomb intimates and Mary’s Magnificat proclaim is that greatness and glory, even the self-awareness of one’s own greatness, does not exclude humility.

The Tomb of Gianlorenzo Bernini
The Tomb of Gianlorenzo Bernini

We can go even further, however. So far, we have proposed that the reception of praise does not undo humility. It is also true that the reception of praise encourages humility. This was most strikingly illustrated by an experience of a friend of mine, who participated in a mission trip. At the end of the trip, all the missionaries took part in the traditional closing exercise, which I’ll call the “circle of affirmation.” The rules are that all the missionaries sit in a circle, with the one who is “it” in the middle. Those around the circle take turns complimenting the one who is “it.” My friend, in this experience, was very touched by a fellow missionary’s compliment, who described my friend as a particularly motherly figure. In the end, my friend recounted to me that the entire experience was very . . . humbling. Imagine! Contrary to all expectations, the experience of receiving praise brought an impulse towards humility, not pride. Furthermore, the root of the humbling effect flowed exactly from the reception of the praise. That is, the humbling came not from the belief that the praise was misplaced or mistaken, nor from the downplaying of its meaning, but rather sprung from the reception of the affirmation as true.

Our last consideration will be that it is precisely humility that allows one to receive the approval of another. It is a prerequisite to receive praise. We’ll approach this from the corresponding truth that pride refuses praise. Another friend of mine gave a series of talks. After a particular one, a woman approached him and thanked him for his talk. He brushed it aside, attributing the value of the talk to God, comparing it to the more impressive talks of others, etc. Afterwards, my friend realized that his inability to accept the praise of this woman stemmed not from humility but from something hard in his heart. His realization was sparked by the woman telling him, “now you listen to me: I’m giving you a compliment. I’m going to tell you that I liked your talk, I’m going to tell you why I thought your talk was good, and when I’m finished you’re going to say thank-you.” The woman realized as well that the rejection of her praise was not an act of virtue, but of vice. It was an act propelled by a certain loftiness that disregarded the woman’s opinion. He could not humble himself to accept her praise.

With this example I am proposing that the reception of praise requires humility. Indeed, the reception of praise is itself an act of humility. Why is this? It seems to me that the one who receives the compliment, who, therefore, must express gratitude and thanks to the other, explicitly identifies himself as the recipient in the exchange. His act includes the “admission” that he is receiving something from another that he did not have from my own resources. He acknowledges his self-insufficiency. His reception negates his self-sufficiency (which is what pride claims to possess) and allows the other to bestow upon him something otherwise inaccessible.

This entire dynamic of goodness, approval, and reception of praise lies at the heart of our relationship with God. For in heaven, as I argued in the previous installment, God showers us with praise. “Well done, my good and faithful servants” (Mt 25:23). “Come, O blessed of my Father” (Mt 25:34). In this heavenly experience, the blessed responds with gratitude. The saved creature graciously receives the divine accolade, expressing thanks. The humility of creature permits thanksgiving, and in giving thanks the creature reaffirms its humility. C. S. Lewis notes:

Gratitude is the most creaturely of acts. The gracious reception of the Creator’s praise acknowledges the creator as bestowing something that the creature does not have.

It is humility that allows the creature to be a creature, to joyously admit its inferior position, and thereby permits the graciously reception of the Creator’s praise. The expression of gratitude in nothing less than the thrilling act of humble admission of one’s creatureliness, of one’s existential smallness, and at the same time the radiant acceptance of the Creator’s compliment. When the Creator praises, the created soul leaps for joy, thereby expressing both its gratitude and its creatureliness ever anew.

Receiving a compliment may be the most profound occasion we have today to be great and humble, gratefully creaturely, joyfully gracious.

42 Comments

  1. These are some excellent insights into a profound virtue that is rarely ever discussed, or even mentioned, in any sort of conversation be it religious, or not. Humility is at the root of a souls ability to turn from self and to look towards and acknowledge others, both God and fellow neighbor. The more true humility, the less self absorption and self centeredness. It is in this way that our existence might pivot around and be drawn towards the Eternal God who is true and Eternal Life and not towards our own limited, temporal and for the most part erroneous opinions of ourselves.

    Thanks for this profound and profitable meditation.

    1. Hi Al,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you liked the post. Your comment suggested to me that I may not have communicated clearly an aspect of humility that I think is crucial, namely, that it is compatible with a true and very high opinion of ourselves. How?

      When God says, You are my son, my good servant, we have a choice. We can say, Oh Lord, no, I’m not that great . . . you’re wrong about me. I’m just a little insignificant speck.

      Or we can say, Yes, Lord, you are right. Thank you for making me what I am.

      Which one is the humble response?

      Unless humility is a virtue that disagrees with God, then we must say that humility resides in the second option, that accepts God’s (favorable!) judgement, thanks him for his part in making us who we are, and receives his affirmation. And believe me, this doesn’t lead to some puffed up opinion of self-sufficiency, but (amazingly!) leads to self-forgetful ecstasy, precisely in recognition of and gratefulness for what has been done for you by God.

      I hope that makes sense. In a nutshell, my point is that there is no dichotomy between 1) recognizing your (God given) greatness, and 2) being humble

      God Bless,
      Matthew

      1. Hi Matthew,

        I totally agree that God can be pleased with us such as He was with the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. But even Mary was a little confused at such an exalted salutation, and moreover a compliment and salutation delivered by an Angel of God. If the Lord compliments a person in any way, even through the means of another holy individual, then I think it is good to accept the compliment graciously, as all gifts in the end originate with God. But we should also always remember that ‘without Christ we indeed can do nothing’ of ourselves.

        Also, if we do decide to judge, or assess, ourselves to some degree, I think it is good to be a little skeptical about our own virtues and abilities, because even Jesus says to consider our holy works in His name as if it were nothing but our normal duty, and to consider ourselves “unprofitable” servants when we begin to serve God. Moreover, He recommends that we will be more secure in our self assessment, and less prone to error, if we take the ‘last seat at the feast’, wherein the Master of the Feast will raise us up to the appropriate level if we are truly worthy of any such position or honor. On the other hand, if we assess ourselves to be of the first place and of the highest status, Jesus also warns that we might be removed from that self appointed position and this He says can be very shameful for us. So, for wisdoms sake I think it essential for the Christian to follow the Lord’s teaching and take the humble opinion of ourselves, and let Him do the assessment of the true value of our virtues and talents. This is just common Gospel exegesis from the words of Christ Himself on the matter.

        But you are right when you say that it is good to be gracious when we might receive a compliment from others, as the Lord does communicate to us through His Church and disciples. “Those who hear you, hear Me” He says, and so the Lord can give a compliment to a person through one of His other faithful servants. But really, no matter what we do in Gods service we should be modest in our rejoicing over the fruits produced. And this is because the Lord also taught His disciples after their highly successful mission in Galilee and Judea:

        “Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall hurt you. [20] But yet rejoice not in this, that spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19)

        1. Hi Al,

          Thanks for your comment. You are undoubtedly keyed into an important aspect of our relationship with the Lord–all of our being and goodness comes from him.

          Yet something tells me that the emphasis on our lowliness suppresses the exultant gratitude that comes from real acceptance of God’s gift.

          For me, hardly anything convinces me more of something fundamentally wrong with common understanding of humility than the sheer depression that accompanies it in its standard form of self-deprecation.

          The fundamental point is that gratitude’s unique structure is at once affirmative of the recipient AND humble. One who gives thanks to God says: you made me GREAT, and YOU made me great.

          God Bless,
          Matthew

  2. I think a lot of this revolves around what exactly Christ did on the cross. Did Jesus make it possible for us to then merit our salvation by virtue of our sins being forgiven so that we may live a life subsequently pleasing to God, OR did Jesus actually take upon Himself the wrath of God the Father so that those of us in Christ are no longer under God’s wrath, but rather accounted as Christ in spite of our “unchristlikeness” on many points?

    Ultimately, I think only the latter is Biblical, only the latter is Traditional, and I think most compellingly only the latter makes sense. Anyone with a realistic view of himself with all due humility will realize how sinful he still is and how far from the glory of God he often falls. As I frequently say here, I am confident most people here sin from their way from Confession to their vehicle, whether the sin is coveting, lust, etcetera. Sin starts in the heart, and God sees it all. We may take peace in knowing that God can see our pitiful estate and has made a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him.

    1. “I think a lot of this revolves around what exactly Christ did on the cross.”

      Humbly not wanting to veer too far from this most exalted subject of humility, I think we need to associate ‘the cross’ with this subject matter at hand, because ‘the cross’ is eternally intertwined and associated with this most primal virtue. Now, in my opinion ‘what Christ exactly’ did on the cross is not only ‘one’ thing’, it is not ONLY and specifically a ‘sacrifice’ for sin. It is not constrained to this only. It is not boxed in to be defined by us as if we easily understand the extent of it. That is to say, the ‘Cross’ may indeed effect our salvation by the forgiveness of original and actual sin, but the manner ‘by which’ it makes this effect is very diverse and mysterious, having many elements to it. This is why we can never understand it completely, as we can never understand the love of God, or the love of Jesus completely. So the Cross affects our salvation, but we will never comprehend fully ‘how’ it affects it, as if we were scientists trying to tie it down to a simple rule or formula. For instance, the cross is a sacrifice of Love that Jesus offered to the Father for our sakes. But it is also an example of Love that we should also offer to the Father ourselves, and also participate in the offering that Jesus made on our behalf to the Father. That is, a priest as Jesus was, did not make His sacrifice alone, as a priest is a representative, and in union with, the people, nation or community he is associated with. The people also join themselves to the priest in all of his prayers and sacrifices. This is indeed the role and reason for the ‘office of priest’ to begin with. So, the cross is not only a ‘one and done’ deal so to say. It is a living thing, to also be lived out by us, as Jesus commands in His Gospel: “Take up your cross and come follow me”. And, to prove it is not a one time thing, He also refines His teaching by adding a time frame : “take up your cross daily”, which means over and over again, or continually. So, the cross is not only a sacrifice that happened in the past, but also an example for us of what we also should be doing both for the love of God and love of our neighbor in imitation of our Lord and teacher Jesus Christ. Moreover, we must always associate the cross with everything that Jesus Himself taught to us about the cross while He was teaching the multitudes in Israel, and which are amply found in the Holy Gospels. This is to say, the cross is not only something that was simply affected in the past, but rather something that is living, and meant to be an example for us to ‘follow’ also. That is, we are called to participate in it in following Christ.

      The cross also highlights the virtues and loving inner nature of God to us, and it especially reveals the humility and love of Jesus, ‘God made man’. And, also, he cross is intimately associated with the bronze serpent that Moses was commanded to raise up in the desert for the health of the people of Israel, and of which Jesus referred to when He said:

      “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself. (Now this he said, signifying what death he should die.)” John 12:32

      And when we look upon Him who was lifted up, we should particularly look and notice the ‘crown of thorns’ on the head of the ‘King of Israel’ to realize how specifically God wanted to recommend the holy and exalted virtue of humility to us. If we are to follow Christ, we are also to accept this type of crown and kingship, which is a crown of love, truth and humility instead of a crown of self sufficiency, power and soul filled pride. The humble acceptance of this crown of thorns verifies what the Lord had already taught us in His Gospel: “Come and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart”. This, lifted up crown of thorns is the seal to verify and prove the point very succinctly.

      So, I don’t think the ‘Cross’ can be boxed in to any one specific thing or doctrine. It is like love, which they say is “a many splendid thing”. Our salvation is both affected by the offering of Christ to the God the Father on our behalf, but also involves our daily participation in that sacrifice, by carrying our own cross on a daily basis in union with, and in imitation of, our eternal Priest Jesus the Lord.

      1. “So, the cross is not only a ‘one and done’ deal so to say. It is a living thing, to also be lived out by us, as Jesus commands in His Gospel: “Take up your cross and come follow me”.”

        Again, obedience is a separate issue. Yes, we HAVE to take up our cross, but taking up our cross does not forgive sins, Christ’s sacrifice forgives sins and it is the only thing that can that does not to be continually repeated.

        This is because Christ became the “curse” for us, and paid the penalty which was due to us.

        “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law being made a curse for us Properly He was not under the curse because in all things He perfectly fulfilled the Law And therefore in the matter of debt our debt has been paid off by his curse so that He should set free from all obligation those who pass over to faith” (Jerome, Comment in Epist ad Galat iii).

        This is why faith saves. Faith “taps” us into the “sweet exchange.” God bestows those who have faith with the Holy Spirit, which leads us to produce fruits of the Spirit. Don’t confuse the fruits themselves with the faith that saves! Fruits are evidence of the faith, not an additional requirement:

        “When someone believes in Him who justifies the impious, that faith is reckoned as justice to the believer, as David too declares that person blessed whom God has accepted and endowed with righteousness, independently of any righteous actions [Rom 4:5-6]. What righteousness is this? The righteousness of faith, preceded by no good works, but with good works as its consequence” (Augustine, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, Paragraph 6).

        1. Regarding my “one and done” statement, I’d like to elaborate a little. For Christ on Calvary it was a ‘one and done sacrifice’, as He Himself said as one of His last words on the Cross: “It is finished”. However, referring to His mystical body on Earth, He asks Saint Paul, before his conversion:

          “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? [8] And I answered: Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.”

          So, the trials, persecutions and crosses of the Mystical Body of Christ will persist until the end of the world through the disciples that imitate and follow the Lord until He comes again. So we have two perspectives here of the Cross of Christ, one that was ‘finished’ at Calvary, and the Cross of His mystical body, the Church, that continues until the end of time.

          One other item about your comment: “I am confident most people here sin from their way from Confession to their vehicle, whether the sin is coveting, lust, etcetera.”

          I think you need to distinguish between deadly, or ‘mortal’, sin for which confession is necessary, and lesser venial sins for which the Sacrament of Penance is not necessary, but useful. For instance, Judas obviously committed deadly sin. But the other Apostles did not. Jesus teaches the difference between the two at the Last Supper and the Washing of the Feet. It is good to consider Jesus’ teaching so as not to scrupulously link the two together as if they were equal. Jesus here is an important teacher on this very important distinction concerning the varying gravity of sinful acts:

          “Knowing that the Father had given him all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and goeth to God; [4] He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. [5] After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

          [6] He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? [7] Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. [8] Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me. [9] Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. [10] Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all.

          [11] For he knew who he was that would betray him; therefore he said: You are not all clean.”
          (John 13:3)
          _______________________________

          This above biblical quote is very worthy of much reflection.

        2. Again, obedience is a separate issue. Yes, we HAVE to take up our cross, but taking up our cross does not forgive sins, Christ’s sacrifice forgives sins and it is the only thing that can that does not to be continually repeated.

          Then why does Scripture say?

          1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

          And also:
          1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

    2. Ultimately, I think only the latter is Biblical, only the latter is Traditional, and I think most compellingly only the latter makes sense. ….

      The latter being “OR did Jesus actually take upon Himself the wrath of God the Father so that those of us in Christ are no longer under God’s wrath,”? I just want to make sure because sometimes I get the latter/former thing confused.

      Assuming that’s what you mean, riddle me this?

      So, what cup did Jesus drink and the Apostles shared?
      Matthew 20:21-23
      King James Version (KJV)
      21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

      Sounds like the Apostles also drank of the cup of God’s wrath.

      1. I appreciate your reply, you did get the latter thing right 🙂

        Concerning Matthew 20:21-23, I believe you are stretching its application. Surely you don’t think the martyrdom of the Apostles placated the wrath of God! Rather, I believe Christ is simply saying that they will experience similar suffering, not that their suffering accomplishes what His would accomplish. I exegete the verse in more detail here: http://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/04/24/baptism-by-fire-and-biblical-views-of-purgatory/

        1. Craig Truglia says:
          August 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm
          I appreciate your reply, you did get the latter thing right 🙂

          Concerning Matthew 20:21-23, I believe you are stretching its application. Surely you don’t think the martyrdom of the Apostles placated the wrath of God!

          I think it is you stretching the application of the term “wrath of God”. Scripture clearly says that God pours out His wrath on His enemies. Not on those whom He loves and not on the innocent or righteous.

          Rather, I believe Christ is simply saying that they will experience similar suffering,

          Why would they have to do that if He took upon Himself the wrath for all mankind?

          not that their suffering accomplishes what His would accomplish.

          Then why does St. Paul say:
          Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

          I exegete the verse in more detail here:

          We’re already talking, here. So, let’s finish, here. It is plain that Jesus says they will drink of HIS cup. Not a diluted version thereof:
          23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup,

    3. Both of your starting questions are false premises. Although I don’t agree with your verbiage exactly on either premise. It is a both and. Not an either or. Nor would I be so bold as to claim only the latter is biblical or traditional. Furthermore, St. Paul tells us that we are a fragrant aroma…our lives.

  3. “I think it is you stretching the application of the term “wrath of God”. Scripture clearly says that God pours out His wrath on His enemies. Not on those whom He loves and not on the innocent or righteous.”

    Well, there is no one who is innocent other than Jesus, so we need to get that straight. Further, the wrath of God due to Christians for their own iniquities is paid by Jesus Christ for “He was crushed for our iniquities” (Is 53:5). Everyone else outside of Christ will be subject to God’s wrath, because their iniquities have not been atoned for.

    “Why would they have to do that if He took upon Himself the wrath for all mankind?”

    Because Christ only suffered to save man from the consequences of his own sin, not to prevent man from suffering in any way in the flesh.

    “Then why does St. Paul say:
    Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:”

    Again, the logic behind what you are saying is that Paul’s suffering atones for the Church’s sins. Obviously that’s not true. Paul’s suffering did indeed build up the body of Christ, indeed the blood of martyrs built up the church. However, the blood of martyrs did not atone for sins obviously. So, Christ’s blood and His suffering are the only ones that result in the forgiveness of sins for the Church.

    “We’re already talking, here. So, let’s finish, here. It is plain that Jesus says they will drink of HIS cup.”

    And I repeat the answer I already gave you. Jesus is not saying that they will drink His cup and thereby be subject to the wrath of God and in essence, placate the Father by satiating His demand for justice. This would result in the martyrdom of the Apostles being a means of atoning sins, which is heresy. Therefore, as my link points out, in simple terms Jesus is simply saying they will experience sufferings as Christ experienced suffering, without all of the soteriological baggage associated with it.

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. Craig Truglia says:
      August 10, 2015 at 2:03 am

      Well, there is no one who is innocent other than Jesus,

      Regardless, if that is an admission that I am right, then your theory of God pouring out His wrath on Jesus, is false. Because as you have just admitted, Jesus was innocent of all sin.

      so we need to get that straight.

      Not we. You.

      Further, the wrath of God due to Christians for their own iniquities is paid by Jesus Christ for “He was crushed for our iniquities” (Is 53:5).

      You presuppose “wrath”. It is not wrath, but a sacrifice of love. God was pleased to sacrifice His own Son in order that we might be saved from the consequence of our sins.

      Not wrath, love.

      Everyone else outside of Christ will be subject to God’s wrath, because their iniquities have not been atoned for.

      Wrong! Jesus Christ atoned for all men’s sins. But they, did not accept the grace which God freely gave to mankind, therefore they became God’s enemies and will receive their reward.

      Because Christ only suffered to save man from the consequences of his own sin, not to prevent man from suffering in any way in the flesh.

      Exactly for that reason. Col 1:24:

      Colossians 1:24King James Version (KJV)

      24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

      It is obvious, that in imitation of Christ, St. Paul suffers for the sins of the Church. And that is precisely what St. Peter says here:

      1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

      We are called to suffer as Jesus suffered, for the sins of our brothers.

      Luke 9:23
      And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

      Again, the logic behind what you are saying is that Paul’s suffering atones for the Church’s sins. Obviously that’s not true.

      The only way it isn’t true is if you reject several verses in Scripture which say precisely so.

      Paul’s suffering did indeed build up the body of Christ, indeed the blood of martyrs built up the church.

      Thank you. Now you understand why we are the BODY OF CHRIST.

      However, the blood of martyrs did not atone for sins obviously.

      They “expiate” sin. Both theirs and the sins of our brothers in the Church.

      So, Christ’s blood and His suffering are the only ones that result in the forgiveness of sins for the Church.

      In your poverty stricken theology which you have stripped of the power of God. But the Catholic Church believes Scripture:

      Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

      And I repeat the answer I already gave you.

      But you have no authority over me. So, you need to do a better job of substantiating your opinion with Scripture.

      Jesus is not saying that they will drink His cup and thereby be subject to the wrath of God

      They will drink His Cup and offer themselves, in love, to the Father. They will offer themselves as a sacrifice for the Body of Christ.
      2 Timothy 4:6King James Version (KJV)

      6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

      and in essence, placate the Father by satiating His demand for justice.

      They are RANSOMED. Have you not read in Scripture:
      1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

      Christ took us out of the jaws of the dragon by offering Himself to die in our stead.

      This would result in the martyrdom of the Apostles being a means of atoning sins, which is heresy.

      Protestant claims that God pours out His wrath upon His only begotten and beloved Son, is heresy.

      Therefore, as my link points out, in simple terms Jesus is simply saying they will experience sufferings as Christ experienced suffering, without all of the soteriological baggage associated with it.

      Jesus didn’t say that. He said they would drink from His Cup. You have taken the liberty of removing all the so-called “soteriaological baggage”. Why? What authority do you have to add words to the Bible. Christ is saying that in order for them and for all of us to be saved, we need to follow His example and die for love.

      John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

      God bless,
      Craig

      God bless you, as well.

    2. Craig Truglia says:
      August 10, 2015 at 3:07 am

      I feel bad that you feel that it is so important to be vindicated,

      I feel bad that you contradict yourself and don’t even know it.

      because it was never up for debate that Christ is innocent of all sin.

      Apparently, you think so, since you said, ” so we need to get that straight.”

      I’m not sure why you are looking for admissions of your correctness as if this is somehow some sort of new revelation.

      Because we’re debating. And I have shown you from Scripture, that God pours out His wrath upon His enemies. Not upon those whom He loves.

      My point is simple. Christ is innocent of all sin, but He became a curse for us and bore our penalty. When I say “pouring out wrath on Jesus” this is what I mean.

      My point is according to the Teachings of Jesus Christ and in accordance with Scripture. Christ is innocent of all sin and became a curse for us, taking upon Himself the penalty of death, laying down His life willingly in order that we might receive eternal life.

      Now, just to pre-empt you from saying that the two things don’t connect let me enlist Athanasius to support my contention:

      “For He did not die as being Himself liable to death: He suffered for us, and bore in Himself the wrath that was the penalty of our transgression” (Letter to Marcellenius).

      You’re not understanding Athanasius. Continue reading:
      This is the further kindness of the Saviour that, having become man for our sake, He not only offered His own body to death on our behalf, that He might redeem all from death, but also, desiring to display to us His own heavenly and perfect way of living, He expressed this in His very self. It was as knowing how easily the devil might deceive us, that He gave us, for our peace of mind, the pledge of His own victory that He had won on our behalf. But He did not stop there: He went still further, and His own self performed the things He had enjoined on us. Every man therefore may both hear Him speaking and at the same time see in His behaviour the pattern for his own, even as He himself has bidden, saying, Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart. [Mt 11:29] Nowhere is more perfect teaching of virtue to be found than in the Lord’s own life. Forbearance, love of men, goodness, courage, mercy, righteousness, all are found in Him; and in the same way no virtue will be lacking to him who fully contemplates this human life of Christ. It was as knowing this that Saint Paul said, Be ye imitators of me, even as I myself am of Christ. [1 Cor 11:1]

      As for the word, “wrath”. It does not connote, God’s wrath. It is simply the penalty which was due for our sin, which is death.

      Well, it’s both.

      No, its not.

      If you take the wrath element out, then the part where Christ became a curse and bore iniquities, and that God was pleased to crush Him (Is 53:10) do not make sense.

      To you. But it makes perfect sense if God the Father is offering God the Son as an offering for our sin.
      1 John 4:10
      King James Version
      Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

      No, he atoned for the sins of all kinds of men, but not for every single man.

      He atoned for all men’s sins:
      2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

      EVERY SINGLE MAN.

      “He does not say that he gave his life for all, but for many, that is, for all those who would believe” (Jerome on Matt 20:28, Commentariorum in Evangelium Matthaei, Liber Tertius, PL 26:144-145).

      Your problem is that you read Catholic Saints with Protestant glasses. St. Jerome is a doctor of the Catholic Church, he doesn’t teach limited atonement. Protestants have simply taken this sentence and run with it, without considering St. Jerome’s complete works.

      As long as the Son of God was in heaven, he was not adored. He descends to earth and is adored. ….He is born perfect man and whole man to heal the whole world. Whatever of man’s nature He did not assume, He could not save….. (St. Jerome, Homily 88)

      Here’s what St. Jerome says about the part we play in salvation:
      12. The regard which I feel for you, my dear brother, makes me remind you of these things; for you must offer to Christ not only your money but yourself, to be a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, Romans 12:1 and you must imitate the son of man who came not to be ministered unto but to minister. (St. Jerome, Letter 66)

      All that Protestants have done is taken the second part of the Catholic equation and rejected the first part and then claimed that the Catholic Saints also rejected the first part.

      Again, to say that the sufferings of anyone other than Jesus atones for sins is heresy.

      It is yours which is heresy. The Catholic Church teaches through Her Traditions and in Her Scriptures that we atone both for our sins and for those of the world, in imitation of Christ.

      This is serious stuff, you should seriously think about the ramifications of what you say. I don’t think anything I said anything which I could not show from the Scripture and the early church.

      All you are doing is reading into Scripture and the Early Church Fathers, the errors of the Protestants.

      Your private interpretation here is concerning, and I want to think that you do not really mean what it looks like you’re saying.

      It is the Teaching of the Catholic Church:
      Our participation in Christ’s sacrifice

      618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”.452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men.453 He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”,454 for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.”455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.457

      Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458

      982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. “There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.

      Agreed, look at 1 John 3:16.

      Again, look at Col 1:24.

      No, blood of martyrs does not expiate or propitiate sin. The blood of martyrs is simply just blood spilled out of obedience to God. They do not add ANYTHING to the forgiveness of anyone’s sins. “I can scarcely persuade myself that there can exist any work which may demand the remuneration of God as a debt” (Ruffinus, Orig Comment in Epist ad Rom iii). That includes the spilling of any other person’s blood that Jesus.

      Again, you are misunderstanding the Catholic Saints because you read into them your presuppositions. The Saints understood that their deaths and their sufferings, brought about the forgiveness of sins in the world.

      Your own catechism says: ” Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all” (1460). So again, I as you either recant or explain yourself a little more clearly 🙂

      Again, you read one verse and take it out of context. Read the whole Catechism. Did you miss this? Or reject it?

      1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.

      In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men.

      Who makes up the Church?

      Apparently, neither does the catechism above which explicitly says that Christ alone expiated out sins, which begs the question, are you even a Roman Catholic or are you your own denomination of one? I have never heard the explanation you have given.

      Please don’t tell me what the Catechism teaches. I have Catholic Teachers for that. And you are not one of them.

      No, I can point to several fathers of the church that unequivocally taught exactly that. I already quoted Athanasius who explicitly said that much. I ask that you read Is 53 and then get back to me, it is not a long chapter.

      I don’t care what you can point to, Craig. It is obvious that you point to things which you take out of context and which you know little to nothing about and then sprinkle in your Protestant presuppositions.

      I follow the Teaching of the Catholic Church. It is plainly seen in Scripture and in Sacred Tradition. Your partial references understood in light of Protestant errors, not withstanding.

      God bless,
      Craig

      And you as well,

      De Maria

      1. I wish I can give a more thoughtful reply, but the one you gave to me simply does not read to me as consistent so I think my previous reply still stands.

        For example, concerning Athanasius. First, you do not quote the immediate context of the letter, but a part not relevant to the point Athanasius was making. Second, Athanasius did not fail to define what he meant by “wrath.” He clearly says that the wrath was “the penalty of our [not Jesus’] transgression.” There are other church fathers I can quote, at length and in context, but honestly I don’t think that you seriously want to engage due to your tone. I can point you here: http://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/06/03/penal-substitution-as-a-theory-of-atonement-in-the-early-church-fathers/

        Concerning Jerome, you quote two passages from him. The first actually proves my point as he says, “Whatever of man’s nature He did not assume, He could not save.” Clearly Jerome is speaking that the Christ is sufficient to save all and He COULD save all. However, the man proves to be remarkably consistent. In what I quoted, he explicitly says that the crucifixion only becomes efficacious for those who believe. Hence, He could have died for all, but He didn’t. The second passage is not even relevant. You might as well quote an Elton John song or something, it is a non-sequitur.

        So, I think you are misunderstanding 2 Cor 5:15 and you are not interpreting it consistently with John 10. To sum up my position, I’ll just quote Ambrose: “Although Christ suffered for all, yet He suffered for us particularly, because He suffered for the Church” (Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam, 6.25, PL 15:1675). You cannot affirm the former, but deny the latter. The latter is an essential truth, which is why Ambrose, Jerome, Chrysostom and others were careful to say that Christ specifically died for the faithful.

        Then, you handwave away Ruffinius whose statement would patently contradict the following assertion you made: “The Saints understood that their deaths and their sufferings, brought about the forgiveness of sins in the world.” The problem is, which saints? You don’t say. The part you quote in the Bible, which I have exegeted differently, does not say that their sufferings brings about forgiveness of sins. So, the question is, can you quote anyone who taught this? I fear asking you this, because so far everything you quote does not support the points you have been making so, even if you dig something up it probably won’t even say what you think it says, but I give you the opportunity to prove it to yourself and to me that a Saint actually understood what you said he understood.

        Then, when I quote 1460 in the Catechism to show only Christ expiates sins you complain, “Please don’t tell me what the Catechism teaches. I have Catholic Teachers for that.” I did not tell you what it teaches, I clearly quoted what it says. You said the blood of people other that Jesus expiates sins. The Catechism clearly says ONLY Jesus expiates sins. I understand that you pull out another section of the catechism, but I think you are hurting your own point. You are either saying the Catechism plainly contradicts itself (a claim that not even I make, I trust the RCC employs better logicians than you and I), or you are clearly misinterpreting 1368. Nowhere in 1368 does it say other people’s blood expiates sin. That’s an interpretation you have made based upon 1368, and such an interpretation puts 1368 in contradiction with 1460.

        So, I’m not teaching you anything about the catechism, I am just pointing out that your interpretation of 1368 would have to employ different verbiage (particularly excising the word “expiate.”) I will affirm 1460 and say, “Christ…alone expiated our sins once for all.”

        In my replies, I think it has been clear that the only person who has taken anything out of context, or has used non-sequiturs, is you. I do not boast in this. I merely want to say that my points stand base upon the clear testimony of logic and tradition, and I am open to correction if a consistent, sensible argument can be brought forward, but I have not seen that.

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. Sorry about the confusion with the response placement. I didn’t realize I had somehow placed my last response behind my own message.

          Anyhoo…

          Craig Truglia says:
          August 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm
          I wish I can give a more thoughtful reply, but the one you gave to me simply does not read to me as consistent so I think my previous reply still stands.

          It is, very consistent. But I want you to take one thing out of it, especially. There’s a big difference between you and I. It is the difference between Protestant and Catholic. You argue to defend your views. I argue to defend the Teachings of the Catholic Church.

          In your last comment, you accused me of teaching heresy. But it is you who do so. I teach the Traditions of Jesus Christ as passed down by the Catholic Church. The best you can do is repeat the novelties of the Protestants and make something up to fill in that which you can’t understand.

          For example, concerning Athanasius. First, you do not quote the immediate context of the letter, but a part not relevant to the point Athanasius was making.

          We were discussing several points, Craig. But mainly, two. Yours and mine. You wish to stress your argument and I wish to stress mine.

          Now, when you quoted Athanasius, you quoted only the part that contained the word, “wrath”. Since you read into that word, the idea that it is “God’s wrath”. But wrath simply means “violence” and it can come from any source.

          Now, my point is that which I pointed out in my first rebuttal. When Jesus told the Apostles that they too would have to drink of His Cup and be baptized by His Baptism.

          Protestants claim that this is the Cup of God’s wrath. And if the Apostles had to drink of it, so does the rest of the believing world. That is why the Scripture says:

          Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

          So, I quoted the rest of the passage which shows that St. Athanasius believes that we imitate Christ and sacrifice ourselves for the sins of the world. Which is Catholic Doctrine and I proved that by quoting the Catechism.

          So, since you provided St. Athanasius’ quote as evidence for your argument. I went on to prove that a complete reading of St. Athanasius’ teaching shows his eminently Catholic understanding of the Atonement.

          Second, Athanasius did not fail to define what he meant by “wrath.” He clearly says that the wrath was “the penalty of our [not Jesus’] transgression.”

          THAT is the Catholic Teaching, Craig. The penalty of our transgression is “death”. Jesus took upon Himself the penalty of death which we deserve.

          Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

          Who brought death into the world? Satan or God?

          The wrath which Jesus suffered is the penalty of death which was brought upon mankind by Satan.

          There are other church fathers I can quote, at length and in context,

          Craig, you have shown often that you can quote the Church Fathers, but you have no earthly idea what they are saying. You quote them the same as you did Sts. Athanasius and Jerome. In accordance with the impoverished traditions of men which you have learned from the Protestants.

          but honestly I don’t think that you seriously want to engage due to your tone.

          You always say that. But it is simply your pride speaking. You feel that I should accept all your arguments, because you say so.

          But as I’ve pointed out before, Catholics accept the Teaching of the Catholic Church. And I’m talking about myself and all the Saints, the Church Fathers and everyone who calls himself Catholic.

          You’re here. Therefore, you must want to learn Catholicism. Therefore, don’t act all hurt when I or any other Catholic reject your arguments.

          I can point you here: http://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/06/03/penal-substitution-as-a-theory-of-atonement-in-the-early-church-fathers/

          I’ve been to your blog, Craig. Your feelings got hurt there, also.

          Concerning Jerome, you quote two passages from him. The first actually proves my point as he says, “Whatever of man’s nature He did not assume, He could not save.” Clearly Jerome is speaking that the Christ is sufficient to save all and He COULD save all.

          Clearly, you are reading your presuppositions into St. Jerome’s words.

          St. Jerome is saying that Christ assumed all human nature. Is there any human being who does not have a human nature? By definition, all human beings have a human nature. Therefore, Christ “redeemed” or “atoned” for all humanity when He died upon the Cross.

          But only those who turn to Him in faith, will be saved.

          That is the Catholic Doctrine which St. Jerome obviously believes. Otherwise, he would not be given the title Doctor of the Church.

          But, it is typical of you and all Protestants to take quotes out of context and spin them to add your presuppositions. But St. Jerome did not teach that which you claim.

          However, the man proves to be remarkably consistent. In what I quoted, he explicitly says that the crucifixion only becomes efficacious for those who believe.

          Catholic Teaching.

          Hence, He could have died for all, but He didn’t.

          He died for all. Scripture is absolutely clear on that point.

          2 Corinthians 5: 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

          And St. Jerome, the great editor of the Bible, would not contradict the Word of God.

          The second passage is not even relevant. You might as well quote an Elton John song or something, it is a non-sequitur.

          Lol! You wish. But again, it shows plainly that in Catholic Doctrine, we imitate Christ and sacrifice ourselves for the sins of mankind. All who believe in Christ are conformed to Him and must drink of His Cup.

          Here’s the difference in Catholic and Protestant doctrine on the atonement.

          Protestants teach that Jesus died upon the Cross to pay for our sins in order that we don’t.

          Whereas, it is Catholic Doctrine that Christ died upon the Cross to give us an example that we must follow if we want to be saved.

          1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

          Protestants don’t want to hear that. All of you believe in the “health and wealth” gospel to one extent or another. But the Word of God is clear:

          618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”. But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”, for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.” In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.

          Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.

          You and all Protestants, call this a heresy. But it is straight out of Scripture.

          So, I think you are misunderstanding 2 Cor 5:15 and you are not interpreting it consistently with John 10. To sum up my position, I’ll just quote Ambrose: “Although Christ suffered for all, yet He suffered for us particularly, because He suffered for the Church” (Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam, 6.25, PL 15:1675). You cannot affirm the former, but deny the latter. The latter is an essential truth, which is why Ambrose, Jerome, Chrysostom and others were careful to say that Christ specifically died for the faithful.

          You have rephrased your position now and accepted the Catholic Doctrine. Christ suffered for all. Christ died for all. But not all accepted the grace of salvation which was freely given to them. And they perished. But those who turn to Christ in faith and imitate His sacrifice, will be saved.

          That’s the Catholic Doctrine, Craig.

          Lol! So, you realized your error. Good.

          Then, you handwave away Ruffinius whose statement would patently contradict the following assertion you made: “The Saints understood that their deaths and their sufferings, brought about the forgiveness of sins in the world.” The problem is, which saints? You don’t say.

          All.

          The part you quote in the Bible, which I have exegeted differently, does not say that their sufferings brings about forgiveness of sins. So, the question is, can you quote anyone who taught this?

          Its in the Bible:
          1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

          And the Catechism puts it this way:
          1459 Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance.”

          I fear asking you this, because so far everything you quote does not support the points you have been making so,

          I think so. The problem is that you can’t go beyond what you have been taught. You think Christ died on the Cross in order that you can do whatever you want, when you want and still go to heaven. A version of the health and wealth doctrine of the Protestants.

          Whereas, the Catholic Church Teaches that Christ died upon the Cross in order that we follow in His steps. This is why Christ Himself admonished us to take up our Cross.

          even if you dig something up it probably won’t even say what you think it says, but I give you the opportunity to prove it to yourself and to me that a Saint actually understood what you said he understood.

          St. Irenaeus on the Cross:
          5. If, however, He was Himself not to suffer, but should fly away from Jesus, why did He exhort His disciples to take up the cross and follow Him—that cross which these men represent Him as not having taken up, but [speak of Him] as having relinquished the dispensation of suffering? For that He did not say this with reference to the acknowledging of the Stauros (cross) above, as some among them venture to expound, but with respect to the suffering which He should Himself undergo, and that His disciples should endure, He implies when He says, For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose, shall find it. And that His disciples must suffer for His sake, He [implied when He] said to the Jews, Behold, I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify. Matthew 23:24 And to the disciples He was wont to say, And you shall stand before governors and kings for My sake; and they shall scourge some of you, and slay you, and persecute you from city to city. Matthew 10:17-18 He knew, therefore, both those who should suffer persecution, and He knew those who should have to be scourged and slain because of Him; and He did not speak of any other cross, but of the suffering which He should Himself undergo first, and His disciples afterwards….

          and on Christ suffering for those who put Him to death:

          And from this fact, that He exclaimed upon the cross, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do, Luke 23:34 the long-suffering, patience, compassion, and goodness of Christ are exhibited, since He both suffered, and did Himself exculpate those who had maltreated Him. For the Word of God, who said to us, Love your enemies, and pray for those that hate you, Matthew 5:44 Himself did this very thing upon the cross; loving the human race to such a degree, that He even prayed for those putting Him to death. If, however, any one, going upon the supposition that there are two [Christs], forms a judgment in regard to them, that [Christ] shall be found much the better one, and more patient, and the truly good one, who, in the midst of His own wounds and stripes, and the other [cruelties] inflicted upon Him, was beneficent, and unmindful of the wrongs perpetrated upon Him, than he who flew away, and sustained neither injury nor insult.

          On Christ uniting human nature to God (remember what St. Jerome said):
          7. Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God…..Wherefore also He passed through every stage of life, restoring to all communion with God….

          Is that enough?

          Then, when I quote 1460 in the Catechism to show only Christ expiates sins you complain, “Please don’t tell me what the Catechism teaches. I have Catholic Teachers for that.” I did not tell you what it teaches, I clearly quoted what it says.

          Without understanding the quote you provided. All you had to do was read more of the Catechism to understand the Catholic Teaching properly. Therefore, I provided another quote which explains the Doctrine completely.

          You said the blood of people other that Jesus expiates sins. The Catechism clearly says ONLY Jesus expiates sins. I understand that you pull out another section of the catechism, but I think you are hurting your own point. You are either saying the Catechism plainly contradicts itself (a claim that not even I make, I trust the RCC employs better logicians than you and I), or you are clearly misinterpreting 1368. Nowhere in 1368 does it say other people’s blood expiates sin. That’s an interpretation you have made based upon 1368, and such an interpretation puts 1368 in contradiction with 1460.

          So, I’m not teaching you anything about the catechism, I am just pointing out that your interpretation of 1368 would have to employ different verbiage (particularly excising the word “expiate.”) I will affirm 1460 and say, “Christ…alone expiated our sins once for all.”

          And I repeat, you don’t understand what you’re reading. You think that says that Christ expiated our sins in order that we would no longer have to. But if you simply finish that very sentence of which you only quoted the first segment, it says:

          Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ, “provided we suffer with him.”

          And, I don’t want to burden your Protestant mentality of one sentence out of a whole book apologetics. But, if you continue to the next sentence, it says:

          The satisfaction that we make for our sins, however, is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ.

          Did you see that? The satisfaction that we make for our sins,

          Ok. Take a break. Rest up before we tackle the end of the paragraph. Are you ready? Here goes.

          We who can do nothing ourselves, as if just by ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of “him who strengthens” us. Thus man has nothing of which to boast, but all our boasting is in Christ . . . in whom we make satisfaction by bringing forth “fruits that befit repentance.” These fruits have their efficacy from him, by him they are offered to the Father, and through him they are accepted by the Father.

          Did you see that? “in whom we make satisfaction by bringing forth “fruits that befit repentance.”

          In my replies, I think it has been clear that the only person who has taken anything out of context, or has used non-sequiturs, is you. I do not boast in this. I merely want to say that my points stand base upon the clear testimony of logic and tradition, and I am open to correction if a consistent, sensible argument can be brought forward, but I have not seen that.

          Your arguments are based solely upon your Protestant presuppositions. You even read those into Catholic Doctrine. Which is amazing, actually.

          But then, for you to claim that I am the only Catholic who reads Catholic Doctrine this way, that’s shocking and goes to show that you are clearly living in a very insulated world.

          Craig, no Catholic, no Saint and no Church Father, believes that God the Father poured out His wrath upon His only begotten and beloved Son. That is Protestant novelty.

          God bless,
          Craig

          You too,

          De Maria

          1. Before we go down any rabbit trails, let’s return to what you initially said that I took issue with: “They [the saints] ‘expiate’ sin. Both theirs and the sins of our brothers in the Church.”

            Are there any other Catholics here which will affirm this statement?

          2. I’m sure they do. They seem like knowledgeable Catholics to me. So, in the interest of saving time, I’ll simply post the Catechism of which you don’t seem to be aware:

            1502 The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing.99 Illness becomes a way to conversion; God’s forgiveness initiates the healing.100 It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: “For I am the Lord, your healer.”101 The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others.102 Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness.103

            I’ll pull out the relevant words.

            The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others.

            And, I’ll attempt to pre-empt the typical Protestant objection. “But that doesn’t say, expiate.”

            Related to EXPIATE
            Synonyms
            atone (for), mend, redeem, make amends for, make good for

          3. Again, expiate is a word with several meanings. It speaks of redemption and doing penance. Obviously, this is not the definition where there is disagreement. Will anyone else affirm that the death of someone other than Jesus expiates sins in the identical sense (i.e. the result being God passes over sins previously committed). This is the only time the word is used in the New Testament (Rom 3:25), and I want to know if anyone not invested in an argument would affirm that people other than Jesus expiate sins in this sense.

          4. Craig Truglia says:
            August 11, 2015 at 11:43 am
            Again, expiate is a word with several meanings. It speaks of redemption and doing penance. Obviously, this is not the definition where there is disagreement.

            Really? So, you accept that we can redeem the sins of others with our suffering? But you still question that we can expiate the sins of others?

            Interesting position you hold there. Split hairs, much? 😉

          5. De Maria, I’m aware of Catholic theology that other people, and saints, intercede one another in prayer. CHristians also baptize, a baptism arguably has a redemptive role. So I am aware how CHristians can play a redemptive role for one another. However, being that expiation is used once in the New Testament in a specific context, I am speaking specifically of the quality in which Christians a ransomed by Christ.

            I am yet to see anyone jump to your defense on this. Further, I do not believe I am confusing your position, as your argument has hinged upon the Christian’s union with Christ, making what is true for Christ true for those in union with Him. Hence, I think you are not conceding what your catechism clearly states: that their is a specific, and special, redemptive quality in CHrist’s work where it would be accurate to say He alone expiates sins.

            After all, a Christian can baptize and this in effect redeems a Christian from sin (according to Catholic/Lutheran/Anglican/Easter Orthodox doctrine), but the expiation does not occur apart from Christ’s finished work on the cross.

            GOd bless,
            Craig.

            P.S. I would still appreciate if someone weighed in on this issue, perhaps Joe because he has the seminary background.

          6. Craig Truglia says:
            August 12, 2015 at 1:32 pm
            De Maria, I’m aware of Catholic theology that other people, and saints, intercede one another in prayer. CHristians also baptize, a baptism arguably has a redemptive role. So I am aware how CHristians can play a redemptive role for one another. However, being that expiation is used once in the New Testament in a specific context, I am speaking specifically of the quality in which Christians a ransomed by Christ.

            Craig, we are talking about “redemptive suffering”. Not about Baptism. Not about prayer (although redemptive suffering is done in prayer and union with God.)

            The problem is that you are so caught up in the argument, that you are making any excuse to deny the Catholic Teaching.

            I am yet to see anyone jump to your defense on this.

            1. I don’t need defense.
            2. I know, that if Joe were online, he wouldn’t hesitate to correct anyone professing to teach the Catechism in error. You or I.
            3. You assume that everyone reading this blog is hanging on your every word.
            4. And those who are reading and are familiar with you, have probably noticed your propensity to argue even against stones.
            5. But, perhaps you haven’t looked below at Al Williams, Lee’s entries or Trogos’.

            This should kill to birds with one stone. Lee said to Al Williams:
            Lee says:
            August 10, 2015 at 7:43 pm
            I especially appreciate Al Williams’ beautiful first response to Craig Truglia’s comment, reminding us, as he put it, that…

            “salvation is both affected by the offering of Christ to God the Father on our behalf, but also involv[ing] our daily participation in that sacrifice, by [us] carrying our own cross on a daily basis in union with, and in imitation of, our eternal Priest Jesus the Lord.”

            That is our sacrifice by which we participate in Christ’s sacrifice for the expiation of sins in the world.

            Further, I do not believe I am confusing your position, as your argument has hinged upon the Christian’s union with Christ, making what is true for Christ true for those in union with Him. Hence, I think you are not conceding what your catechism clearly states: that their is a specific, and special, redemptive quality in CHrist’s work where it would be accurate to say He alone expiates sins.

            Why do Protestants love to say, “alone”? That’s one of the five Tulip’s and it remains a heresy. It is not by God alone nor by Christ alone that we are saved. Those are heresies because Protestants used them to deny the authority of the Church, the efficacy of the Sacraments and the Priesthood, as well as many other Catholic Doctrines.

            No, the Catholic Church does not teach that it is by Christ alone. Christ redeemed all mankind. But not all mankind were redeemed. Only those who accepted His sacrifice and turned to Him with love.

            After all, a Christian can baptize and this in effect redeems a Christian from sin

            Focus. We’re talking about Redemptive Suffering

            (according to Catholic/Lutheran/Anglican/Easter Orthodox doctrine), but the expiation does not occur apart from Christ’s finished work on the cross.

            Nor does Redemptive Suffering. Everything flows from Christ’s finished work on the Cross.

            GOd bless,
            Craig.

            P.S. I would still appreciate if someone weighed in on this issue, perhaps Joe because he has the seminary background.

            Try directly addressing those who are actively commenting. Most people have probably been bored to tears by your continual denial of Catholic Doctrine and have not noticed your request.

            God bless you, as well.

          7. Deltaflute, thank you for your reply.

            I think you are making a distinction which is legitimate, but different from the claim De Maria is making (that the suffering of others atones for sins in an ultimate [it affect one’s judgement before God] sense).

            God bless,
            Craig

          8. Craig Truglia says:
            August 13, 2015 at 11:16 pm
            Deltaflute, thank you for your reply.

            I think you are making a distinction which is legitimate, but different from the claim De Maria is making (that the suffering of others atones for sins in an ultimate [it affect one’s judgement before God] sense).

            God bless,
            Craig

            What other sense is there? Have you ever heard of Purgatory?

            1498 Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.

  4. “Regardless, if that is an admission that I am right, then your theory of God pouring out His wrath on Jesus, is false. Because as you have just admitted, Jesus was innocent of all sin.”

    I feel bad that you feel that it is so important to be vindicated, because it was never up for debate that Christ is innocent of all sin. I’m not sure why you are looking for admissions of your correctness as if this is somehow some sort of new revelation. My point is simple. Christ is innocent of all sin, but He became a curse for us and bore our penalty. When I say “pouring out wrath on Jesus” this is what I mean.

    Now, just to pre-empt you from saying that the two things don’t connect let me enlist Athanasius to support my contention:

    “For He did not die as being Himself liable to death: He suffered for us, and bore in Himself the wrath that was the penalty of our transgression” (Letter to Marcellenius).

    “You presuppose “wrath”. It is not wrath, but a sacrifice of love.”

    Well, it’s both. If you take the wrath element out, then the part where Christ became a curse and bore iniquities, and that God was pleased to crush Him (Is 53:10) do not make sense.

    “Wrong! Jesus Christ atoned for all men’s sins.”

    No, he atoned for the sins of all kinds of men, but not for every single man.

    “He does not say that he gave his life for all, but for many, that is, for all those who would believe” (Jerome on Matt 20:28, Commentariorum in Evangelium Matthaei, Liber Tertius, PL 26:144-145).

    “It is obvious, that in imitation of Christ, St. Paul suffers for the sins of the Church.”

    Again, to say that the sufferings of anyone other than Jesus atones for sins is heresy. This is serious stuff, you should seriously think about the ramifications of what you say. I don’t think anything I said anything which I could not show from the Scripture and the early church. Your private interpretation here is concerning, and I want to think that you do not really mean what it looks like you’re saying.

    “We are called to suffer as Jesus suffered, for the sins of our brothers.”

    Agreed, look at 1 John 3:16.

    “They “expiate” sin. Both theirs and the sins of our brothers in the Church.”

    No, blood of martyrs does not expiate or propitiate sin. The blood of martyrs is simply just blood spilled out of obedience to God. They do not add ANYTHING to the forgiveness of anyone’s sins. “I can scarcely persuade myself that there can exist any work which may demand the remuneration of God as a debt” (Ruffinus, Orig Comment in Epist ad Rom iii). That includes the spilling of any other person’s blood that Jesus.

    Your own catechism says: ” Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all” (1460). So again, I as you either recant or explain yourself a little more clearly 🙂

    “But you have no authority over me.”

    Apparently, neither does the catechism above which explicitly says that Christ alone expiated out sins, which begs the question, are you even a Roman Catholic or are you your own denomination of one? I have never heard the explanation you have given.

    “Protestant claims that God pours out His wrath upon His only begotten and beloved Son, is heresy.”

    No, I can point to several fathers of the church that unequivocally taught exactly that. I already quoted Athanasius who explicitly said that much. I ask that you read Is 53 and then get back to me, it is not a long chapter.

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. I thought I had already replied to this?

      Craig Truglia says:
      August 10, 2015 at 3:07 am

      I feel bad that you feel that it is so important to be vindicated,

      I feel bad that you contradict yourself and don’t even know it.

      because it was never up for debate that Christ is innocent of all sin.

      Apparently, you think so, since you said, ” so we need to get that straight.”

      I’m not sure why you are looking for admissions of your correctness as if this is somehow some sort of new revelation.

      Because we’re debating. And I have shown you from Scripture, that God pours out His wrath upon His enemies. Not upon those whom He loves.

      My point is simple. Christ is innocent of all sin, but He became a curse for us and bore our penalty. When I say “pouring out wrath on Jesus” this is what I mean.

      My point is according to the Teachings of Jesus Christ and in accordance with Scripture. Christ is innocent of all sin and became a curse for us, taking upon Himself the penalty of death, laying down His life willingly in order that we might receive eternal life.

      Now, just to pre-empt you from saying that the two things don’t connect let me enlist Athanasius to support my contention:

      “For He did not die as being Himself liable to death: He suffered for us, and bore in Himself the wrath that was the penalty of our transgression” (Letter to Marcellenius).

      You’re not understanding Athanasius. Continue reading:
      This is the further kindness of the Saviour that, having become man for our sake, He not only offered His own body to death on our behalf, that He might redeem all from death, but also, desiring to display to us His own heavenly and perfect way of living, He expressed this in His very self. It was as knowing how easily the devil might deceive us, that He gave us, for our peace of mind, the pledge of His own victory that He had won on our behalf. But He did not stop there: He went still further, and His own self performed the things He had enjoined on us. Every man therefore may both hear Him speaking and at the same time see in His behaviour the pattern for his own, even as He himself has bidden, saying, Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart. [Mt 11:29] Nowhere is more perfect teaching of virtue to be found than in the Lord’s own life. Forbearance, love of men, goodness, courage, mercy, righteousness, all are found in Him; and in the same way no virtue will be lacking to him who fully contemplates this human life of Christ. It was as knowing this that Saint Paul said, Be ye imitators of me, even as I myself am of Christ. [1 Cor 11:1]

      As for the word, “wrath”. It does not connote, God’s wrath. It is simply the penalty which was due for our sin, which is death.

      Well, it’s both.

      No, its not.

      If you take the wrath element out, then the part where Christ became a curse and bore iniquities, and that God was pleased to crush Him (Is 53:10) do not make sense.

      To you. But it makes perfect sense if God the Father is offering God the Son as an offering for our sin.
      1 John 4:10
      King James Version
      Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

      No, he atoned for the sins of all kinds of men, but not for every single man.

      He atoned for all men’s sins:
      2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

      EVERY SINGLE MAN.

      “He does not say that he gave his life for all, but for many, that is, for all those who would believe” (Jerome on Matt 20:28, Commentariorum in Evangelium Matthaei, Liber Tertius, PL 26:144-145).

      Your problem is that you read Catholic Saints with Protestant glasses. St. Jerome is a doctor of the Catholic Church, he doesn’t teach limited atonement. Protestants have simply taken this sentence and run with it, without considering St. Jerome’s complete works.

      As long as the Son of God was in heaven, he was not adored. He descends to earth and is adored. ….He is born perfect man and whole man to heal the whole world. Whatever of man’s nature He did not assume, He could not save….. (St. Jerome, Homily 88)

      Here’s what St. Jerome says about the part we play in salvation:
      12. The regard which I feel for you, my dear brother, makes me remind you of these things; for you must offer to Christ not only your money but yourself, to be a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, Romans 12:1 and you must imitate the son of man who came not to be ministered unto but to minister. (St. Jerome, Letter 66)

      All that Protestants have done is taken the second part of the Catholic equation and rejected the first part and then claimed that the Catholic Saints also rejected the first part.

      Again, to say that the sufferings of anyone other than Jesus atones for sins is heresy.

      It is yours which is heresy. The Catholic Church teaches through Her Traditions and in Her Scriptures that we atone both for our sins and for those of the world, in imitation of Christ.

      This is serious stuff, you should seriously think about the ramifications of what you say. I don’t think anything I said anything which I could not show from the Scripture and the early church.

      All you are doing is reading into Scripture and the Early Church Fathers, the errors of the Protestants.

      Your private interpretation here is concerning, and I want to think that you do not really mean what it looks like you’re saying.

      It is the Teaching of the Catholic Church:
      Our participation in Christ’s sacrifice

      618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”.452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men.453 He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”,454 for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.”455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.457

      Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458

      982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. “There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.

      Agreed, look at 1 John 3:16.

      Again, look at Col 1:24.

      No, blood of martyrs does not expiate or propitiate sin. The blood of martyrs is simply just blood spilled out of obedience to God. They do not add ANYTHING to the forgiveness of anyone’s sins. “I can scarcely persuade myself that there can exist any work which may demand the remuneration of God as a debt” (Ruffinus, Orig Comment in Epist ad Rom iii). That includes the spilling of any other person’s blood that Jesus.

      Again, you are misunderstanding the Catholic Saints because you read into them your presuppositions. The Saints understood that their deaths and their sufferings, brought about the forgiveness of sins in the world.

      Your own catechism says: ” Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all” (1460). So again, I as you either recant or explain yourself a little more clearly 🙂

      Again, you read one verse and take it out of context. Read the whole Catechism. Did you miss this? Or reject it?

      1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.

      In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men.

      Who makes up the Church?

      Apparently, neither does the catechism above which explicitly says that Christ alone expiated out sins, which begs the question, are you even a Roman Catholic or are you your own denomination of one? I have never heard the explanation you have given.

      Please don’t tell me what the Catechism teaches. I have Catholic Teachers for that. And you are not one of them.

      No, I can point to several fathers of the church that unequivocally taught exactly that. I already quoted Athanasius who explicitly said that much. I ask that you read Is 53 and then get back to me, it is not a long chapter.

      I don’t care what you can point to, Craig. It is obvious that you point to things which you take out of context and which you know little to nothing about and then sprinkle in your Protestant presuppositions.

      I follow the Teaching of the Catholic Church. It is plainly seen in Scripture and in Sacred Tradition. Your partial references understood in light of Protestant errors, not withstanding.

      God bless,
      Craig

      And you as well,

      De Maria

    2. Maybe what is needed is some half time entertainment on the subject of true Christian Humility and Joy from a story of St. Francis of Assisi and one of his favorite religious companions, Br. Leo. It’s pertinent to Matthews post:

      *********************

      One day in winter, as St Francis was going with Brother Leo from Perugia to St Mary of the Angels, and was suffering greatly from the cold, he called to Brother Leo, who was walking on before him, and said to him: “Brother Leo, if it were to please God that the Friars Minor should give, in all lands, a great example of holiness and edification, write down, and note carefully, that this would not be perfect joy.”

      A little further on, St Francis called to him a second time: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor were to make the lame to walk, if they should make straight the crooked, chase away demons, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and, what is even a far greater work, if they should raise the dead after four days, write that this would not be perfect joy.”

      Shortly after, he cried out again: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor knew all languages; if they were versed in all science; if they could explain all Scripture; if they had the gift of prophecy, and could reveal, not only all future things, but likewise the secrets of all consciences and all souls, write that this would not be perfect joy.

      After proceeding a few steps farther, he cried out again with a loud voice: “O Brother Leo, thou little lamb of God! if the Friars Minor could speak with the tongues of angels; if they could explain the course of the stars; if they knew the virtues of all plants; if all the treasures of the earth were revealed to them; if they were acquainted with the various qualities of all birds, of all fish, of all animals, of men, of trees, of stones, of roots, and of waters – write that this would not be perfect joy.” Shortly after, he cried out again: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor had the gift of preaching so as to convert all infidels to the faith of Christ, write that this would not be perfect joy.”

      Now when this manner of discourse had lasted for the space of two miles, Brother Leo wondered much within himself; and, questioning the saint, he said: “Father, I pray thee teach me wherein is perfect joy.”

      St Francis answered: “If, when we shall arrive at St Mary of the Angels, all drenched with rain and trembling with cold, all covered with mud and exhausted from hunger; if, when we knock at the convent-gate, the porter should come angrily and ask us who we are; if, after we have told him, ‘We are two of the brethren’, he should answer angrily, ‘What ye say is not the truth; ye are but two impostors going about to deceive the world, and take away the alms of the poor; begone I say’; if then he refuse to open to us, and leave us outside, exposed to the snow and rain, suffering from cold and hunger till nightfall – then, if we accept such injustice, such cruelty and such contempt with patience, without being ruffled and without murmuring, believing with humility and charity that the porter really knows us, and that it is God who maketh him to speak thus against us, write down, O Brother Leo, that this is perfect joy. And if we knock again, and the porter come out in anger to drive us away with oaths and blows, as if we were vile impostors, saying, ‘Begone, miserable robbers! to the hospital, for here you shall neither eat nor sleep!’ – and if we accept all this with patience, with joy, and with charity, O Brother Leo, write that this indeed is perfect joy. And if, urged by cold and hunger, we knock again, calling to the porter and entreating him with many tears to open to us and give us shelter, for the love of God, and if he come out more angry than before, exclaiming, ‘These are but importunate rascals, I will deal with them as they deserve’; and taking a knotted stick, he seize us by the hood, throwing us on the ground, rolling us in the snow, and shall beat and wound us with the knots in the stick – if we bear all these injuries with patience and joy, thinking of the sufferings of our Blessed Lord, which we would share out of love for him, write, O Brother Leo, that here, finally, is perfect joy.

      And now, brother, listen to the conclusion. Above all the graces and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ grants to his friends, is the grace of overcoming oneself, and accepting willingly, out of love for Christ, all suffering, injury, discomfort and contempt; for in all other gifts of God we cannot glory, seeing they proceed not from ourselves but from God, according to the words of the Apostle, ‘What hast thou that thou hast not received from God? and if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?’ But in the cross of tribulation and affliction we may glory, because, as the Apostle says again, ‘I will not glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Amen.”

      *******************************************

      🙂

      1. That’s actually very much to the point. I fear though, that brother Craig will interpret that as the wrath of the Father upon all sinners. Rather than understanding:

        Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

        1. Sometimes I think the Christian faith is viewed by people from either the ‘glass is half full’, or ‘glass is half empty’ perspective. One is a rather optimistic assessment of mankind, and the other is a rather pessimistic assessment. The different perspectives might have something to do with a persons personal experiences or history in his life However, one thing is certain, and that is that in assessing the Christian faith all of the evidence has to be considered, and the most powerful evidence we have comes from the very words of Jesus Himself in His holy Gospel. Second, we have all of the other N.T. sources and then following that we have the O.T. But, the words and actions of Christ are the absolutely most important resource for which to learn from. So, Jesus’ words, and actions, should always out weigh St. Paul’s, or any of the other Apostles’ words or teachings.

          Now if we look at the word’s and deeds of Christ with a ‘glass half full’ point of view, we can predominantly focus in on His great love and tender concern for His disciples, and even various pagans and other sinners. He demonstrates not abhorrence for these people but surprisingly honors them on occasion, and he also puts incredible trust in His own weak followers. How gentle was He when He came across the most guilty of sinners…such as the woman caught in adultery? Or, St. Mary Magdalene? Or the woman at the well? Or, even Judas the betrayer, or the soldiers who were killing Him? Or, the Good thief on the cross? It can go on and on.

          And He calls His disciples not ‘slaves’ but friends. He tells Peter, as quoted above, that only the feet need to be washed, and not the whole body, because ‘only the feet are dirty’. And He praised many people he met for their great faith, such as the Roman Centurian, and also the Woman that he basically termed a “dog”, but then performed for her a great miracle due to her great faith. So, an optimist views all of these Gospel accounts with great joy, because everything done or said by Jesus Christ in His public life points to an exceedingly loving and caring God.

          Then, of course, we have the glass half empty perspective to consider, wherein one might focus predominantly on all of the fear inducing statements of Christ such as “many are called, but few are chosen”, “narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and few there are who find it”, “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment” and “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”…to only name a few.

          And even in the Catholic Church we have traditionalists who will view the faith in a very serious and severe way, on the one hand, and then ‘charismatic’ types who might have a completely different outlook, and all these members are of the same faith, and even promoted fully by the Holy Church

          I once read a quote that said “A sad saint, is a sad saint.” And I tried to understand what this quote mean’t. And it seems that it addresses this conundrum of Christian perspective. It is very possible that a man is still a saint, but portrays very little joy in His life. And another man might be a saint also, like St. Francis of Assisi, who portrays incredible joy in life, even under the most horrendous and difficult circumstances.

          So, I think both attitudes are possible, but in my opinion the joyful and optimistic perspective is more enjoyable for those who have this gift and charism from God. But this is not to say a healthy fear of God is to be maintained…considering the saying ” The fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom”.

      2. De Maria used a great quote from the Catechism, above, that summarizes well the intimate relationship between the Church and Christ, The Lord’s sacrifice and the Bride of Christ’s participation in it:

        “1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.”

        1. I think a lot of Catholics misunderstand Protestants concerning transubstantiation. Many Protestants would affirm Christ’s literal presence in the elements, but they do not affirm tertiary doctrines such as the sacrifice is “unbloody” or that it was never completed, and thereby literally re-presented in each Mass. Protestants reject the notion that Christ did not pay the penalty for all men’s sins 2000 years ago. It would mean there is still a sacrifice for sins needed, because Christ’s sacrifice would be in effect not complete,

          Hence, what is taught in 1368 only makes sense if one affirms the tertiary doctrines on transubstantitation.

          1. Ask Al your question about the expiation of sins, (i.e. Redemptive Suffering.)

            I think a lot of Catholics misunderstand Protestants concerning transubstantiation. Many Protestants would affirm Christ’s literal presence in the elements,

            If they believe Christ is there, present, why don’t they worship the Eucharist as we do?

          2. As I alluded to before, the subject of the Sacrifice of Christ can be very difficult to fully comprehend as it involves not only the suffering, crucifixion and death of Christ Himself, but everything associated with the ‘Cross’, (maybe what you might term ‘terciary’ items?) such as the true meaning and significance of :
            . The Passover
            . Lamb of God
            . Manna and the True Bread from Heaven/Eucharist
            . The NEW Covenant… “in My blood”
            . Sacrifice of Isaac…..etc…..

            Maybe you should take a look at some of Scott Hanh’s writings, such as ‘The Lamb’s Supper’ to get a better look at how all of these ‘tertiary items’ might fit together, like a piece of divine puzzle, to give a better understanding of the love and sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

            The quote from the Catechism above (1368) is merely a concise statement of a very complex, but unfathomably beautiful, truth of the Christian faith. Other holy books and perspectives, such a Hanh’s insights, are useful for delving deeper into this most holy subject matter.

          3. Craig and De Maria,

            To understand the True presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament it is important to understand what the term ‘tabernacle’ signifies. We also must have faith in Moses and everything that took place with the Israelites during the Exodus. It’s easy to generalize about both Jesus and God, and this is nothing special as every religion in the world does so in their own way. But Israel is different, and Christianity also. And the difference is the proximity of God that is found in the Judeo Christian faith. It is not general, it is very tangible. very close and omnipresent.

            God’s presence in, and around the tabernacle that Moses constructed easily demonstrates how God can be very close to His people in a physical way. If you believe Moses, then you will also be more capable of believing Jesus and the Catholic Church. We also have tabernacles, and they also contain the ‘show bread’…which is the Eucharist and God’s tangible presence. Again, if you believe Moses, you should also believe the Church that Christ founded. This passage from Exodus 33:8 can give any Christian more confidence in the Church’s teaching concerning the tangible presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and also the adoration of this same Lord in the Holy Eucharist:

            “And when Moses went forth to the tabernacle, all the people rose up, and every one stood in the door of his pavilion, and they beheld the back of Moses, till he went into the tabernacle. [9] And when he was gone into the tabernacle of the covenant, the pillar of the cloud came down, and stood at the door, and he spoke with Moses. [10] And all saw that the pillar of the cloud stood at the door of the tabernacle. And they stood, and worshipped at the doors of their tents.

            [11] And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man is wont to speak to his friend. And when he returned into the camp, his servant Josue the son of Nun, a young man, departed not from the tabernacle.”

          4. Craig Truglia says:
            August 12, 2015 at 1:39 pm
            I think a lot of Catholics misunderstand Protestants concerning transubstantiation.

            What’s there to understand? Protestants reject the Doctrine.

            Many Protestants would affirm Christ’s literal presence in the elements, but they do not affirm tertiary doctrines such as the sacrifice is “unbloody” or that it was never completed, and thereby literally re-presented in each Mass.

            And with that, you just proved that YOU don’t understand the Catholic Doctrine.
            1. as the sacrifice is “unbloody”

            Do you even know what that means to a Catholic?
            a. Does it mean there is no blood present there at all?
            b. Does it mean that the blood of Christ is truly there but invisible to human eyes?
            c. Does it mean that you can’t see the blood but we can?

            2. that it was never completed

            Show me where the Catholic Church teaches that Christ’s sacrifice was never completed. I want to see that from the Catechism or another legitimate Catholic source.

            3. What do YOU mean by “represented”?
            a. Do you mean it is metaphorical?
            b. Do you mean Jesus is killed again?
            c. Do you mean that the Eucharist is offering of Christ’s body and blood which were sacrificed upon the Cross 2000 years ago?

            Protestants reject the notion that Christ did not pay the penalty for all men’s sins 2000 years ago.

            Wow? Really? You started this entire debate with a defense of the notion that Christ did not pay the penalty for all men’s sins 2000 years ago. above:
            Craig Truglia says:
            August 10, 2015 at 3:07 am
            No, he atoned for the sins of all kinds of men, but not for every single man.

            I’m curious, do you get so invested in the present argument that all you care about is the appearance of winning?

            It would mean there is still a sacrifice for sins needed, because Christ’s sacrifice would be in effect not complete,

            And that is what you and your Protestant brethren believe.

            Hence, what is taught in 1368 only makes sense if one affirms the tertiary doctrines on transubstantitation.

            That sounds like gobbledy gook that you just made up on the spot. Transubstantiation is true because Jesus Christ taught it. The End.

  5. I especially appreciate Al Williams’ beautiful first response to Craig Truglia’s comment, reminding us, as he put it, that…

    “salvation is both affected by the offering of Christ to God the Father on our behalf, but also involv[ing] our daily participation in that sacrifice, by [us] carrying our own cross on a daily basis in union with, and in imitation of, our eternal Priest Jesus the Lord.”

    I think it ties in very well with the subject of Matthew’s article. The Magnificat of our Lady is a most sublime text highlighting the mind-boggling reality that God is pleased to bring His mercy to the world through us weak human vessels, as we are joined together with the Head, Christ Himself. As the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, we are mysteriously involved in the work of salvation. As St Paul put it in Colossians, “…in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” And this doesn’t undermine our Lord’s supreme act of love at all.

    This realization on my part of these truths is a major aspect of what won my heart to the ancient Catholic Tradition, leading me out of Calvinism.

    1. Thanks, Lee.

      I find it very difficult at times to put theological thoughts down on paper. There are so many things to consider and so few lines of type to accomplish, or convey, a very difficult thought. Also, almost anything can be misinterpreted due to the difficulty of the subject matter, or the deficiency of ability to express it correctly. But if anything gets through to others, I guess it’s better than keeping my thoughts to myself. At least it opens up lines of Christian conversation which is almost always profitable for all involved (even when we sometimes make errors and get some things wrong). And just communicating with other Christians for me is a great joy, and I think it might be a type of joy that precedes that joy that might be found some day in Heaven (That is, if we are found worthy to ever get there).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *