Salvation and Health

Source: DOXA, A Quarterly Review Serving the Orthodox Church, Canones, New Mexico:

The Latin word salus (health), and salvatio (salvation) are very closely related. We found some interesting material about this on the Internet in an article called “A Healthcare Model”, by Donnal Walter [here]. He notes that the English words salvation, salutary, solid, whole, and holistic all derive from the very same Indo-European root word, namely “sol-“ meaning “whole” or “solid”. That means that the Old English word we find for “well” in the King James Bible, “whole” (e.g. “He made him whole”), comes from the same root word as do salus and salvatio.

Seeing the close relation between these words deepens our understanding of the Biblical term salvation, for salvation means no less than “everlasting health”. With that in mind, it becomes clear that the Lord’s healing ministry is a type of our own Salvation and Resurrection, for the Resurrection is permanent wholeness.

The Russian Novel

Found this on the Western Confucian (here). Read the full article here

“In literary circles the emergence of the Russian novel as a powerful force in the 19th century is often described as an inexplicable phenomenon. That a country that had seemingly lagged behind Western Europe in cultural and political terms should produce in little over 40 years such eminent writers as Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy certainly demands an explication. That explication lies deep in the history of Russia.”

Increase our faith!

At one place in St. Luke’s gospel the apostles beseech the Lord with the simple words, “Increase our faith” (17:5). Everything God gives us is a gift and thus the apostles are simply asking to receive more of the same, that is more faith. Yet we notice as the gospel narrative continues that Christ does not increase their faith. Instead, He says, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

It’s interesting that the Lord doesn’t tell them to pray for more faith but He tells them that have been with Him and have heard Him speak and work miracles “If you have faith….”. It’s actually a very good question considering the words of St. Paul the Apostle who says, “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). In other words, have they even been listening to Him speak all this time? The Lord is not telling them to use the little faith they have, rather He is asking if they even have that much.

Additionally, in reading those few verses from Luke’s gospel which follow the Lord is also asking them a question which can very well apply to us. That is, what kind of faith do you have? Namely, in verses 7-10 He asks them which one of you will tell their servant after he has been working out in the fields all day, ‘Come and eat, you must be so tired’? Not one you! And you’re not really expected to because all the servant did was work the fields, all he did was what he was supposed to do. The same applies to you, the Lord continues, when you have done all the things that are expected of you don’t pat yourself on the back but be a little more realistic, for you have only done that which was expected of you

The faith we are called to have is one of humility, one that does not seek praise but seeks only to continually praise.  For as members of the Church everything we do – and there will always be those who do more than others – is still nothing more than what we are supposed to do. After all, we don’t do it out of some need but out of our love for God. Subsequently, the only thing that can possibly be given us in return for all the effort we put in working for the Church is to eternally abide in God’s love.

Hence, if this isn’t one’s goal then one wonders if anything else has any value.

“Free to believe”

My last post was on Monday which I took to be a sign as a good start for a week of blogging. This, unfortunately, never panned out. I’ve been busy these past few days, a couple of them even on the road, with little time to sit and write blog posts. Yet, I thought it appropriate that I at least attempt to post something this evening, on the eve of the great feast of the Falling Asleep of the Most Holy Theotokos, as we approach the end of this two week fasting period.

And so I offer a very brief thought. (I’m tired!) Ironically enough my last post dealt with Catholics and so does this one. After all, this is a feast day we share. Of course, we share many things but this doesn’t mean we view them the same way. The Dormition is no exception. I found the following explanation on a website called A Catholic Life (here):

“The Eastern Churches (which are still in union with Rome) refer to today as the Dormition as opposed to the Assumption because they believe that Mary died and was then assumed into Heaven. As Roman Catholics in the Latin Rite, we are free to believe that Mary died and then was assumed into Heaven or that she didn’t die but right before her death she was assumed into Heaven.”

The phrase “free to believe” caught my eye for some reason. Further in the article there is mention of purgatory and the Virgin Mary’s special power of freeing people from purgatory. In fact:

“St. Peter Damian attests that every year on the Feast of the Assumption (August 15), the Virgin liberates thousands of souls.”

A Happy Feast to all!

Roman Missal, Third Edition

H/T: Huff Post (here)

Changes to Roman Catholic Mass Will Surprise Majority in the Pews, Survey Says

In many ways, Nicky Gautier is a model Roman Catholic. The Charlottesville, Va., resident attends Mass every Sunday, has enrolled her daughter in Catholic school, is active in her parish’s social life and considers herself to be “very religious.”

Yet despite her strong church connections, Gautier, 36, was surprised when she recently learned that a significantly altered Roman Missal, the “call and response” guide to the words said by priests and congregants during Mass, would go into effect this fall.

“We were talking about the Mass and my friend was wondering how they were going to bring it about and what would be different, but I remember feeling completely clueless,” said Gautier. “I said, ‘What do you mean they are going to change the Mass?'”

Since changes were approved by the Vatican in December, U.S. bishops have been preparing priests and lay Catholics for the first use of the revised missal on Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent. But despite an aggressive effort by bishops to educate the nation’s 68 million Catholics, including training for priests and an extensive web campaign, new survey results released this week say that three in four Catholics are unaware of the upcoming changes.

As part of a broader survey not yet released, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, which studies Catholic trends and demographics, asked more than 1,000 U.S. Catholics if they knew about changes to the Roman Missal. Overall, 77 percent said no. Among Catholics who attend Mass weekly, 43 percent said no.

They’ll want to get up to speed: The new translation requires different responses from congregants in a dozen sections of the Mass.

For instance, when the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” the congregation now responds, “And also with you.” But come November, the congregation will say, “And with your spirit.”

When reciting the Nicene Creed, the statement of faith, Catholics now say that Jesus is “one in being with the Father.” Soon, they will say that Jesus is “consubstantial with the Father.” Also, Jesus will no longer be “born of the Virgin Mary,” but “incarnate of the Virgin Mary.”

The acclamation “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” is being removed from the Mass entirely because it was never in the original Latin version.

The new missal is the first major change to Mass rituals since the early 1970s, when revised texts were issued to implement Second Vatican Council reforms that allowed local languages to replace Latin in the Mass. The new version of the missal is meant to conform more closely to the Latin texts used for centuries before the Second Vatican Council. Pope John Paul II initiated the latest translation in 2000.

Even as U.S. bishops press forward with implementation, a minority of priests and laypeople have protested, calling the new wordings awkward and inaccessible. Among them was a Seattle priest who persuaded more than 22,000 Catholics to sign an online petition calling for a pilot program in select parishes. That effort was unsuccessful.

“I’m concerned about those ‘Christmas and Easter’ Catholics. We don’t see them on a regular basis. When they come back to church for the holidays, what will happen?” said Melissa A. Cidade, a research associate at CARA who conducted the survey. “There is not much time left before the new translation starts to be used. Many Catholics will be hit with a ‘November surprise.'”

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, who chairs the Committee on Divine Worship for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he is not discouraged by the survey results. “I’m not very surprised, to tell you the truth. Do I wish it was different? Yes, but I think we live in a society where, unless something is immediately upon us, we don’t get overly excited,” he said.

Aymond predicted that priests will began talking more about the missal changes in the next two months, when the pews fill up with families returning from summer vacations. The new missal books, which are available for parishes to pre-order, will not be shipped until Oct. 1. “In every Catholic church in the United States, we will have worship aides that people can read from,” he added.

The Rev. Jan Larson, a retired priest and liturgist in the Archdiocese of Seattle who originally signed the online petition to protest the new translation, said he has reluctantly accepted its use and expects an overall smooth transition, albeit with a few bumps.

“Most priests have not started introducing the new missal, and for a few couple of weeks, people will have to have cards in their hands with new responses,” said Larson, 69, who assists at Our Lady Queen of Sorrows parish in Snoqualmie, Wash. “I went through this before when we went from Latin to English. I remember for a number of weeks people having to follow the new translation back then. I have to keep that in mind now. It was a hassle at the time, but worked fine in the long run.”

Bless this new fruit of vine

Tomorrow is the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Mt. Tabor and when, after liturgy, we bless grapes. The following is from the St. Nicholas parish website (here):

It is the tradition of the Church on the Feast of Transfiguration to bless grapes, apples and other fruit brought by the faithful, after the Divine Liturgy. The custom of bringing fruit to the temple originates in the Old Testament time (Gen 4:2-4; Ex 13:12-13; Num 15:19-21; Deut 8:10-14). The Apostles brought this tradition to the Church of the New Testament (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Instruction regarding bringing fruit to temple is found in the Third Rule of the Apostolic Canon, the earliest collection of ecclesiastic laws (canons), known since the second century. In Greece, August is the month of ripeness of fruit, primarily grapes and new ears of grain. Since ancient times, the faithful have been bringing them to the temple for consecration and as a thanksgiving to God. St. John Chrysostom wrote, “The farmer receives fruit from the earth not so much because of his labour and diligence, but because of goodness of God, Who grows this fruit, because neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase (1 Cor. 3:7).”

Grapes are brought to temple because they are directly related to the Eucharistic sacrament; that is why in the prayer for consecration of grapes the priest says, “Bless, Lord, this new fruit of vine which reached ripeness because Thou kindly provided good weather, drops of rain and stillness. Let eating this fruit of vine make us joyful. And give us the honor of offering this fruit to Thee, as the gift of purging of sins, altogether with the Holy Body of Thy Christ.”

In the first centuries of Christianity, the faithful brought forth to the temple the fruit and crops of the new harvest: bread, wine, oil, incense, wax, honey etc. Of all these offerings, only bread, wine, incense, oil and wax were taken to the altar, while the rest was used for the needs of the clergy and the poor whom the church was caring for. These offerings were to express gratitude to God for all goods, but at the same time help the servants of God and people in need.