From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Fri Dec 18 23:35:46 2020
Journey of the Mind to God:
Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the
vehicle, like the "throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant," and
"the mystery hidden from the ages." A man should turn his full
attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on
the cross, full of faith, hope, and charity, devoted, full of wonder
and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then
such a man will make with Christ a "pasch," that is, a passing-over.
Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea,
leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden
manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulcher, as if he were dead to
things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who
is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside
Christ: "Today you will be with me in paradise."
--Excerpt from treatise by Saint Bonaventure
19 December – St Pope Anastasius I
– Widower, Priest and Pope – born in the 4th century in Rome, Italy – Papal Ascension, successor to Pope Siricius on 27 Nov. 399 until his
death on 19 Dec. 401 of natural causes. Among his friends were
Augustine, Jerome and Paulinus. Jerome speaks of him as a man of great
holiness who was rich in his poverty.
Anastasius was known as a pious youth and, apparently, cared nothing
for material things as an adult. He was born about the year 330, a
Roman, whose father’s name was Maximus. When he was a young man,
Anastasius must have married and had at least one son. Relatively
early, it would appear, Anastasius was widowed and never remarried.
It was a time of peace and growth for the Catholic Church and, despite
wars in far off regions of the empire, it was a time of relative peace
in the Western provinces. Anastasius became a cleric and, it would
make sense to assume, so did his son.
However, just a few years before Anastasius became Pope, in 395,
Emperor Theodosius died, leaving his 11 year old son, Honorius, to
govern. The half-Vandal Stilicho, became regent and power behind the
throne. Within three years, Stilicho declared war on the North African province, when he heard rumours of the province seceding and moving to
the Eastern Empire. Africa was Rome’s bread basket. The city of Rome
panicked and civil turmoil resulted. The rebellion was quashed within
a year and Anastasius was consecrated with the promise of more peace.
The Church had converted to Latin as its universal language, due to
the expansion of the faith. It became necessary to have a common
language for councils and synods, at this point. Many of the fathers
of the Church and theologians thus wrote in, or had works translated
into, Latin. It often happened that the original authors were long
dead at the time of the translation. Thus was the scenario when
Anastasius ascended the Chair of Peter. The new pope, consecrated 27
November 399, received a letter from Patriarch Theophilus of
Alexandria, expressing strong doubt about Origen’s fidelity to the
Church. Rufinus of Aquiliea had taken the time to translate
Origen’s“First Principles”from the original Greek. St Jerome, the
elderly man who had worked so hard on the “Vulgate Bible”, had
attacked Rufinus’ work. He felt the writings of Origen did not meet
his sense of orthodoxy. Not being familiar with Origen’s work,
himself, Anastasius called a council to consider the problem. The
council ultimately agreed with Jerome and claimed that Origen’s work
was heterodox, thus eliminating it from acceptable belief.
“If Origen has put forth any other writings, you are to know that they
and their author are alike condemned by me. The Lord have you in safe
keeping, my lord and brother deservedly held in honour.”
from his letter to St Simplicianus
Meanwhile, on the south side of the Mediterranean, the North African
Christians were battling another heresy – the Donatists. Their main
argument, in a nutshell, was that sacraments were only valid,
depending on the spiritual character of the priests and bishops. For
the better part of one hundred years, the arguments had been
continuing, despite the death of Donatus in 355 and several synods
trying to straighten it out. In the late 300s, Augustine of Hippo
argued and tried to settle the question. This was apparently of high
interest to Anastasius, who encouraged the fight against this heresy.
He did not live to see Emperor Honorius’ secretary of state declare
Donatism illegal. But Augustine did.
St Anastasius instructed priests to stand and bow their head as they
read from the gospels.
Anastasius died in Rome on 19 December 401, having ruled just over two
years. He was buried in the Catacomb of Pontian together with his son
and immediate successor, Pope Innocent I, which is probably a unique
case of a pope being succeeded by his son.
from Anastpaul 2019
He who remembers the presence of God is less open to other thoughts,
especially bad thoughts. As long as we believe that God sees us, we
are restrained from daring to sin before such a Witness and Judge. In
two ways the presence of God is an antidote against sin: first,
because God sees us, and secondly, because we see God.
-- St. Ignatius
Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria
had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. 15
Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the
Holy Ghost. 16 For he was not as yet come upon any of them; but they
were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid
their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts
A new "creation" in Christ
If we want to receive the abundant new life and the fruit of the
Spirit which the Lord Jesus freely offers us, then the "outer shell"
of our fallen sinful nature must first be broken and be put to death.
In baptism our "old nature" which was enslaved by sin is buried with
Christ so we may rise to new life with Christ through the cleansing
waters of baptism. Paul the Apostle describes this death and rebirth
in Christ as a “new creation” which Christ accomplishes in us through
the power of his saving death and resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This process of death to the “old fallen self” is both a one-time
event which occurs in our baptism, and it is also a daily, on-going
cycle of growth in which the Holy Spirit buries us more deeply into
Jesus' death to sin so we might rise anew in the power of God's love, righteousness (moral goodness), and holiness. There is a great paradox
here. Death leads to life. When we "die" to ourselves--to our
rebellious sinful nature and willful rejection of God's
commandments--we receive God's forgiveness and the life-changing power
of the Holy Spirit which frees us to love and serve others, and follow
God faithfully. It is God's free gift of grace (his blessing and favor
towards us) and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that enables
us to live and serve joyfully as sons and daughters of God.