Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Saints Day November 1

This week has been quite busy, and I simply cannot think of any improvement I could make to the same All Saints Day sermon I posted a year ago, which you may find by clicking on this link. Furthermore, my congregation has not heard, as of yet, this particular sermon.


poetreader said...

Phillips Brooks was sometimes criticized for delivering old sermons at Evening Prayer. He's been quoted as saying that a Sermon, like a poem, that is worth hearing once is worth hearing again. The late Fr. Richard Neuhaus arrived on Good Shepherd Sunday to begin his pastorate at St. John's Lutheran in Brooklyn. I was there. He preached an excellent "stupid sheep" sermon, so well received by the congregation that he observed his anniversary there for several years by annual preaching of that same sermon.


RC Cola said...

Ed, according to some schools of literary theory, the sermon is, in a way, a different sermon from the year the way it is received by the listener. Our experiences from one year to the next, the context that we place the sermon in our lives, etc., all make the sermon "different" from the year before, even though the text remains the same.

I don't know if I'd carry this idea as far as some literary theorists, but there definitely is some truth in the idea that a person gives the text a personal interpretation (i.e. what we "get out of it") that changes from reading to reading.

That's part of the reason I don't mind a priest re-using sermons (as long as it was a good one in the first place).

Jack Miller said...

Fr. Hart, could you expand on this part your sermon,

-The ancient practice of asking the saints to pray for us is not idolatry, and should not be condemned as if it were. There is no reason to object to someone saying “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…”

How does this jive with Article XXII which states:

Of Purgatory
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping, and Adoration as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

How does Mary or any departed saint "hear" us? Are they not still finite humans in one location (that of heaven or with Christ)? Do they now possess the ability to hear our thoughts or words from afar?

Thank you,

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Invocation of saints for time off in Purgatory would be consistent with the Romish doctrine we reject, which is what the Article addresses. But, it is not idolatry to ask for prayers from fellow believers.

How does Mary or any departed saint "hear" us? Are they not still finite humans in one location (that of heaven or with Christ)? Do they now possess the ability to hear our thoughts or words from afar?

For centuries there has been reasonable speculation, based on the words of Heb. 12:1: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..." If you are asking me what we can know from actual revelation, I would say, not enough to teach that people need to make such requests, not enough to be certain of who is or is not in "hearing range." Therefore, no one ought to "bet" his salvation on the intercession of saints; but, it is not idolatry to ask for their intercession. Maybe they can hear us; unless the words of Heb. 12:1 mean they surround us in close proximity, fully aware of this world, the Bible is silent on what they can or cannot know of earthly matters. Besides, no Tradition existed for such a practice in ancient times. But, it makes sense that if they can pray for us, their prayers have no fleshly or sinful hindrances; and that if they surround us, we can speak to them.

Even if that does not convince, it is the Biblical argument that has been made for centuries in both the east and the west.

Jack Miller said...

Thank you Fr. Hart for your thoughts on the above.

Yes, I would not bet my salvation on the intercession of saints, nor on the efficaciousness of any such prayer as it seems to be a practice more or less grounded in the area of religious speculation; lacking the necessary element of certainty based on scriptural warrant.

Additionally it would seem to possibly open the door for one to find their "practical trust" weakened in Christ as our only Advocate and Mediator. I am not saying that it necessarily follows, but I would think it a concern where there is a less than clear understanding of the gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone. That is, not our merit nor the merit of any saint, but through His merit alone do we have confidence to approach and stand before the throne of grace.

Again, thanks for helping me to understand the import of Article XXII.


Священник села said...

For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (1 Corinthians 7:16)