Mary the Tabernacle of God

“One of the reasons why Catholic and Orthodox Christians on the one hand and Christians of the Reformation traditions (Protestants) on the other have such divergent approaches to the person of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is because they read the Old Testament in significantly different ways…It strikes me, however, that there is a possible way which allows us to synthesise our understanding to some extent. Even if we grant for the sake of argument that the allegorical method is generally inadmissible there should be no reason why we cannot agree that the use of analogy is perfectly acceptable. By which I mean that if the Old Testament shows God acting in certain ways or upholding certain principles we can assume that He acts in the same way and on the same principles in the New unless Scripture specifically informs us otherwise.

Which brings me to Mary and the Tabernacle of the Lord. The Tabernacle was that structure sitting at the heart of the nation of Israel where God dwelt among His people in a special manner. It first took shape as the Tent of Meeting at the time of Moses and later became the Temple of Solomon. There is no doubt that God dwelt in a special way too in Mary, the mother of the Son of God. I would suggest that the principles which underlay the construction of the first Tabernacle, made by human hands, also underlay the creation of Mary in the womb of her mother St Ann by the hand of God…click here to read more

Salvation: It’s Not All About Me

Moses Lorenzo Monaco

Formulae like ‘I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour‘ are very commonly used among Evangelical Christians. They can act as the gateway marking the point at which a person becomes a Christian. In that sense they resemble the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith. What they don’t resemble is the traditional Christian gateways which are baptism and the profession of the Nicene creed. There are many things which could be said about this but I propose to focus on what I see as the excessive individualism which this approach to the faith both reflects and encourages.

The formula is theologically sound so far as it goes, its main problem is the premature use of the full stop. It makes the Christian faith in its totality appear to consist of a personal relationship between the individual believer and one member of the Blessed Trinity. This is at best inadequate and at worst positively here to read more


God, Genocide & Good Neigbourliness

 You shall consume all the peoples which the Lord, your God, is giving over to you. You are not to look on them with pity, nor serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.
Deuteronomy 7:16 

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you, shall be as one of yourselves, and thou shalt love him as thyself: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

Those who attack the God of the Abrahamic faiths as a genocidal maniac often quote the text from Deuteronomy but never the one from Leviticus. The reverse is true for those who conceive of Abraham’s God as some kind of ethereal fluffy bunny. Yet both texts belong to the same religious tradition and are considered to form part of the divine revelation of God to man. It is especially difficult for the followers of Jesus to reconcile the smiting hip and thigh which forms such a great part of the Old Testament histories to the peaceful teachings and witness of the Son of Mary. So much so that from the earliest times various heresies have been proposed by figures like Marcion and Mani suggesting that there is an evil God who does bad things (most of the Old Testament) and a good God who does good things (most of the New Testament.) Whilst such heresies are seldom actively advocated nowadays they are, as it were, taught by default by those, mostly liberal, theologians who simply omit to defend the ‘difficult‘ passages of the Old Testament.

Is there a single common thread which unites the command to destroy the Canaanites with the Law demanding that strangers be treated with love? click here to read more

The Transfiguration teaches us detachment

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Last week’s Gospel was about the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you recall, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up Mt. Tabor. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Him about His coming Passion. Hearing the Gospel, I was struck by what it teaches us about detachment in the spiritual life.

Moses represents the Law. Elijah represents the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets together form the basis of the Old Testament.

From the good to the perfect When Peter saw Moses and Elijah, he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” He suggested building booths or tents in which the three religious figures could stay. No doubt he wanted to speak with Moses and Elijah and hear their wisdom in person.

But this was not God’s plan. God the Father spoke to the Apostles from the cloud. Then they looked up and saw Jesus standing before them alone.

The Law and the Prophets prepared the way for Jesus. But now that Jesus had come, they had to give way. They were good, but the Gospel is better. Moses and Elijah served their purpose in pointing towards Jesus. As St. Paul said, “When the perfect comes, the imperfect passes away” (1 Corinthians 13:10).

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Finding patterns in the Bible

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Transfiguration by Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Last week for homeschool we did a narration of the Transfiguration. While reading the story aloud, I had an epiphany: it echoes the story of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. I shared the parallel between the two stories with my boys. Now I’d like to share it–and the principle behind it–with you.

As a writer and avid reader, I am convinced of the inspiration of Sacred Scripture. (Besides, of course, being convinced as a Christian by the authority of the Church.) Dozens of writers over thousands of years produced the book we now call the Bible. They were from different cultures, used different literary genres, and had diverse purposes.

Amazingly, the same themes are developed throughout the Bible from beginning to end. Types and anti-types, prophecies and their fulfillment, fill its pages. You can follow one idea like a wave on the sea from Genesis to Revelation, or stand on the shore and admire the rhythm of the ocean that is the entire Bible.
I love to share these patterns with my children. I get excited about them, and that excites my boys!

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.