Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Return to the Fathers and to Orthodoxy


Today, is my dearest father's birthday. My prayers and thanks to almighty God for the gift of this saintly man for a dad and to the even greater gift of imparting his faith to his children.

I thought this would be my good deed-for-the-day to read up on his saint's biography- St. Athanasius the Great
St. Athanasius, Bishop, Eastern Church Father and Doctor of the Church

He is considered the 'father of orthodoxy' for having defended the true faith against the Arian heresy (Christ is not consubstantial with the Father).

Strangely enough, orthodoxy is one enduring theme that has been cropping quite frequently over the past few days. My visit to one of the remote outbacks in India (read Unum Dies's post) revealed a whole host of liturgical irregularities all in the name of localisation and indigenisation. 

As St. Paul says it is important to be become everything to everyone in order to bring Christ to all (1 Cor 9:22), that privilege does not extend to the mass or the liturgy. The mass and liturgy were put together by divine revelation which is why there are direct parallels to the worship described in the Book of Revelations. Neither man nor angel can tinker with what God has designed else 'let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.'

And the wrath of God is heavy indeed (2 Samuel 6:6). David chose the convenient way of transporting the Ark of the Covenant by oxen instead of carrying it on the shoulders of Levites. Uzzah paid for this transgression with his life!

It is enough that we are invited to partake in the mystery of the mass and the Eucharist. For the grace we receive transcends all human understanding. To bring in human innovations, is to 'dumb-down' the mass which neither enlightens the mind to God's wisdom nor adds to the mystical nature of the mass. 

        "Cultivate a deep reverence for His house"
(Refer John 2:12 onwards)

Our reverence must mean that we do not turn the Father's house into a rock concert (heavy,loud distracting mass songs), a fellowship gathering (sign of peace rapidly dissolving into extended small talk and bustle), a talent show (liturgical dance), quasi-secular worship (practices from other religions reprogrammed for Christian worship)...

There is a time and place for gospel rock concerts, christian fellowship, gospel choreography and inter-religious dialogue. The Holy Mass is not one of them.

To the pillar of the Church and the father of orthodoxy we pray

O Holy father Athanasius,
like a pillar of orthodoxy
you refuted the heretical nonsense of Arius
by insisting that the Father and the Son are equal in essence.
O venerable father, beg Christ our God to save our souls.

"Jesus that I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God" ~at the Council of Nic├Ža (c. 325)