Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Catholic Co-Redeemers

“In order truly to venerate the Cross, however, we need to do more than just kiss it. We need to EMBRACE it as a way of life. That’s what Jesus clearly WANTS us to do and CALLS us to do. He never said to us, “I’m taking up the Cross so that you don’t have to.” Rather he said, “If you wish to be my disciple, you must deny yourself, pick up your Cross every day, and follow me” and “whoever does not pick up the Cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” We’re here because we want to be the disciples of the Lord, we want to follow him all the way to heaven. But to do this, we need to follow him to Calvary, we need to walk the Way of the Cross. To be a disciple, as Archbishop O’Malley stressed in his installation homily a month ago in Boston, means to embrace the Cross. Many Catholics when they hear this command think that embracing the Cross means “offering up” their hardships, their difficulties, their pain, bearing with peaceful resignation the contradictions of the day. That is part of it, but, actually, a small part of it. To embrace the Cross means to kiss Christ’s love and to imitate it. Jesus said, in the greatest of all commandments, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Picking up our Cross and following the Lord means following him down the path of self-giving sacrificial love. Jesus, in fact, gives us the Cross so that we, like him, might DIE on it, die to ourselves for others, so that he might live fully in us...The most beautiful reality is that when we do this, we not only abide in Christ and he in us — and share in the fullness of salvation — but we become co-redeemers with Christ. St. Paul experienced this reality as well, when he said, “In my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s sufferings for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross — which saved the world — always intended to be united to our sacrifices united with him on the Cross. That’s what occurs when we are his disciples, picking up our Crosses every day, dying to ourselves on them, so that he might live in us and we may co-redeem with him.” source

27 comments:

Mike Burgess said...

Thank you for the link to a marvelous piece. I hope we all take it to heart. As an aside, though, it is considered proper to utilize ellipses when omitting portions of a given text in a quote.

You always seem to post pieces culled from others without much -- or any -- commentary of your own, so I wonder what your thoughts on this piece (homily?) are. Pray, tell. (There I go, praying to someone other than God again.)

James Swan said...

You always seem to post pieces culled from others without much -- or any -- commentary of your own

I do this as well, because some things don't need any commentary.

Mike Burgess said...

1 Thessalonians 2:13-20 came to mind when I read this.

BJ Buracker said...

Carrie,

I'm with Mike. I'd like to know exactly what your thoughts on this. Is there something in particular you find offensive?

James,

I understand what you're saying, but to be honest, I read this blog to see what your (you, Carrie, Rhology, Mark) thoughts are, not what the Catholic Church teaches. I prefer the commentary.

In Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

TheDen said...

Carrie,

That’s some truly great writing and if you have problems with it, it shows that you’re ignoring parts of Scripture that you don’t agree with.

We are all called to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. More so, we become one with Christ. We enter into His Body. We are redeemed by Him only by being one with Him. And that only comes through obedience to Him where we embrace His Cross and make it our own.

What you quoted is a brilliant summary of 1 Colossians 1:24. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,”

What lacks in Christ’s afflictions? Wasn’t His suffering enough?

I am lacking in it. I need to suffer with Him. I need to be on that cross too. With and through Him, I need to redeem the world too.

Don’t you realize that as Christians, we are no longer alive? We are dead. Our old selves have died and it is no longer I who live but rather Christ who lives in me. At our Baptism, we shed our old skin and became alive in Christ. (Romans 6:3-11/Galatians 2:20). We have died to self and must be obedient to Christ to death on a cross. We must reject sin and embrace Him.

If you have a problem with what this priest says, then you must have a problem with Paul’s writings as well.

Carrie said...

I do this as well, because some things don't need any commentary.

Bingo.

As an aside, though, it is considered proper to utilize ellipses when omitting portions of a given text in a quote.

Really? I thought the "..." was acceptable, but I really have no clue.

I'd like to know exactly what your thoughts on this. Is there something in particular you find offensive?

There are a few parts I find offensive, but I would expect those parts to also curl the toes of my Protestant audience. I expect these types of posts to be a "preaching to the choir".

Carrie said...

If you have a problem with what this priest says, then you must have a problem with Paul’s writings as well.

No, just with bad interpretations.

Discipled by Him said...

Dr. Svendsen recently posted this on his Areopagus forum concerning Colossians 1:24- after a question was posed concerning purgatory and indulgences being referenced here.

"the short answer . . . neither purgatory nor indulgences are there.

Paul is referring to a total amount of suffering for the sake of the Name of Christ and the gospel (Acts 9:16) that will occur before the end of the age and which has a finite quality (Mark 13:19-120, and which amount only God knows. All Christians participate in these sufferings as a prerequisite for entering the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22) and being glorified with Christ (Rom 8:17; Phil 3:10-11)--hence they cannot be the consequences of sin, but are rather part and parcel of the Christian life (1 Thess 3:3-7; 2 Tim 2:12--"endure" in context is "endure suffering," see 2:9-10).

Paul's wish to "fill up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" simply refers to the fact there is a finite amount of suffering that the church is destined to undergo: "For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Phil 1:29). Until that suffering is completed, there will be "lack." That limited amount of suffering will be distributed to individual members of the church. Hence, Paul wants to "fill up" in his own experience as much suffering as he can possibly undergo in his own life; because the more suffering he absorbs (and consequently consumes from that limited reservoir), the less suffering the rest of the church will have to endure. It is in this way that his suffering is "in behalf of His body." This has nothing whatever to do with indulgences and purgatory--concepts completely foreign to Paul. Suffering in the context of Col 1:24 is a good thing; not the result of sin.

Dr. Svendsen is a brilliant exegete and puts forth very insightful materials, I especially enjoyed his book "Who is My Mother" - a must read for anyone looking to examine Mary and her biblical role compared with her current status in the RCC, and done so in a scholarly fashion.

TheDen said...

Carrie,

"No, just with bad interpretations."

I could not agree with you more.



Disciplined by Him,

I think you and I are more in agreement with this than you think. I didn't say this had to do with Purgatory or Indulgences and I didn't say that the suffering was a result of sin.

I said that we must pick up our cross and follow Him. This requires "a finite" suffering for Christ's sake and as you said is a "prerequisite to enter heaven."

What you explained is Classic Catholic teaching and is fully in line with the homily that was quoted in Carrie's post.

Carrie said...

as you said is a "prerequisite to enter heaven."

That is not what he said.

Carrie said...

BTW BJ,

I should have mentioned the biggest reasons I post quotes with no commentary - time. I have been too short of time lately to put together a full post or engage combox discussions.

Throwing up a random quote at least gives people something to read, exposes some of the falsehoods of Catholicism, and provides a discussion point for those who do have time for the comboxes.

TheDen said...

Carrie,

Taken directly from Sveden's quote (per Disciplined by Him):

"All Christians participate in these sufferings as a prerequisite for entering the kingdom of God "

That is what he said.

Jason said...

I for one am thankful that Carrie posts Catholic teaching unfiltered. From my p.o.v. it gives the truth and beauty (esp. in a sermon like this one) to shine before the eyes of some folks that might not see it otherwise.

Also, I think it shows that Carrie believes that her p.o.v. can compete in the marketplace of ideas and that she doesn't have to handicap or hobble the opposing side. I think Carrie cares about truth and believes that it will ultimately prevail. Both these things are admirable.

Also, if I may say so in a friendly, non-insulting manner, I think "preaching to the choir" would be another funny tag for posts like these. :)

BJ Buracker said...

Carrie,

I expect these types of posts to be a "preaching to the choir".

It's tough to preach, if you don't say anything. I certainly understand the time issue. That's a problem for me, as well. However, the subtitle of your blog is "Reformation and Apologetics." This post is about neither the Reformation nor Apologetics. Just a thought.

Plus, on a post like this, there is a lot I do agree with, as well as disagree with. Your thoughts and opinions are interesting and helpful. I'd like to see what you find so objectionable and why.

Your (James, Rhology, Mark, and you) insights are intriguing to me, and they give good food for thought: for the choir, the congregation, and those outside the building.

In Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Mike Burgess said...

Carrie,
I admit I apparently missed the one set of ellipses you used in the culled quote. I apologize for coming across as pedantic, that wasn't my intent. When I went to the linked, complete article, I noticed that the partial paragraph was incomplete and had antecedent and subsequent material, as well as the omitted sentences, and I then came back to comment here and made the observation that I did, incorrectly failing to note that you had included the ellipses where you should have. You have my apology, for what that's worth to you.

I really was more curious about why you chose to leave out the sentences you did: "That point is a crucial one, so I’ll repeat it: the Lord gave us the Cross so that we might die to ourselves on it and ALLOW HIM TO LIVE IN US. This is exactly what St. Paul pointed to when he wrote to the Galatians, 'I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.' We want Christ to live in us, but the only way that happens is to be crucified with him through the gift of the Cross."

As to the tactic of "preaching to the choir," doesn't "the choir" already know how demonic and horrible we are? You know, how we all get extra eternal lives for every good deed we do (like a spiritual Super Mario Brothers), we get a free plaster Mary for the first five converts we make and a different saint for those thereafter (3 more and I will have the Apostles set!), secret incantations of the fish-worshipping Popes, etc? Those truths about us shine so clearly through the words you quoted. Really foul stuff. Imitate Christ this, let Him use you to bring others to redemption like He used others to bring you to faith and redemption that, blah blah blah... Pure evil.

Carrie said...

You have my apology, for what that's worth to you.

No need to apologize, I thought I wasn't following the right rules. I am not trained in writing so I am happy to take advice in that area.

I really was more curious about why you chose to leave out the sentences you did:

The quote is long already. I try to cut where I can, usually on areas that aren't as to the point or are a bit redundant. The link is there for context, quote cutting shouldn't be a big deal.

Carrie said...

I'd like to see what you find so objectionable and why.

I'll give you a hint...check the title of the post.

there is a lot I do agree with, as well as disagree with.

Welcome to Catholicism. The best lies always have the most truth.

BTW, I found this post while searching for more information on a small quote in the Catholic catechism (#618) from St. Rose of Lima -"Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."

Mike Burgess said...

Carrie,
Read the following sermon and exposition of Mark 16 by Charles Spurgeon, the great Reformed preacher, and tell me what is so vastly different from -- or more to the point, cull some quotes that are just as disturbing as -- anything you allegedly found in the homily you posted. Shall I pick some out and "preach to the choir?"

Yes, I think I shall:

"... I like the thought of Christ being taken up to Heaven because His work was done and His people being left on earth
because there was still work for them to do. If we could steal away to Heaven, what a pity it would be that we should do
so while there is a single soul to be saved! I think that if I had not brought to Christ the full number of jewels that He
intended me to bring to adorn His crown, I would ask to come back even from Heaven. He knows best where we can best
serve Him, so He ordains that while He sits at the right hand of God, we are to abide here and to go forth to preach everywhere,
the Lord working with us and confirming the Word with accompanying signs, even as He did with His first disciples. ..."

"The disciples did not say, 'Well, the Master has gone to Heaven, so the eternal purposes of God will be quite sure to
be carried out. It is not possible that the designs of Infinite Love should fail, the more especially as He is at the Father’s
side, therefore let us enjoy ourselves spiritually. Let us sit down in the happy possession of Covenant blessings and let us
sing to our hearts’ content because of all that God has done for us and given to us. He will effect His own purposes and
we have only to stand still and see the salvation of God.'"

"It is by preaching Jesus Christ that sinners are saved! 'It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save
them that believe.' Whatever may be said outside the Bible about preaching, you have only to turn to the Word of God,
itself, to find what a Divine ordinance it is and to see how the Lord makes that to be the main means of the salvation of
men."

"Is not this wonderful condescension? You remember the passage in which we are said to be laborers together with
God? Is it not gracious and kind on the Lord’s part to let us come and work with Him? Yet it seems to my mind more
condescending for God to come and work with us, because ours is such poor, feeble, imperfect service! Yet so He does—
“the Lord working with them.” The Lord is working with that dear Sister who, when she takes her class, feels that she is
quite unfit for it, and with that Brother who, when he preaches, thinks that it is not preaching at all and is half inclined
never to try again. Oh, yes, “the Lord working with them,” such as they were—fishermen, humble women and the like!
This was wonderful condescension!
In those days the Lord worked with them by miracles. These miracles called attention to the Gospel and they also
proved that God was with the preachers. Men need, sometimes, proofs of the existence of God and of His Presence with
His servants. So these first disciples were entrusted with miraculous powers.
Besides all this, God was working at that time very wonderfully by Providence. The whole world was evidently just
ready for the advent of Christianity. From Caesar’s throne down to the slave who worked at the mill, everybody seemed
to be in a condition of preparation for the Gospel! The general state of society was such that all were expecting great
changes and thus, God was working with the disciples when they went out and preached everywhere.
And, above all, the Holy Spirit was with them and that is the point I am now going to dwell upon, because that is
what we need most of all. The Holy Spirit made what they said to be Divinely powerful! However feebly they uttered it,
according to the judgment of men, there was an inward secret power that went with their utterances and compelled the
hearts of men to accept the blessed summons of God and, dear Friends, I believe that when we are seeking to serve Christ,
we little know how often God is working with us very wonderfully!"

Some things speak for themselves.

Mike Burgess said...

Source: http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_in_frame.php?link=24840 so you can read it all in context at "Monergism.com".

Mike Burgess said...

It's sermon #2467 of Spurgeon since the hyperlink doesn't work on the combox. You can go to monergism.com and follow the rabbit trail if you're so inclined. Good reading.

Mike Burgess said...

Another way to get to it is to go to spurgeongems.org and then look for #2467 titled "Christ and His Co-workers."

Carrie said...

Sorry Mike, I don't see how Spurgeon's points on God using men to preach the gospel has anything to do with Catholics "becoming co-redeemers with Christ" through their "sacrifices united with him on the Cross".

Mike Burgess said...

You're obviously missing some huge points. As the strict reading of the sermon shows, Spurgeon said that Christ "intended" for Spurgeon to save a given number of sinners. But we all know Christ saved them at the Cross and didn't need Spurgeon at all. Spurgeon said that the Bible is only the main means of salvation, but we all know that only Scripture is the means of salvation as the sole, infallible rule of faith. Spurgeon said that the Holy Spirit makes effective words uttered by humans, but we know that the inspired words were given to them by the Holy Spirit, not that they said whatever they thought of and somehow the Holy Spirit pounded the square pegs into round holes. Spurgeon said that preaching saves people, but we know that only Christ's atoning work on the Cross saved them. Spurgeon said the Apostles and early disciples did not hold to a view of God's sovereignty like the Calvinists (of which Spurgeon was one) insist upon, but we know that the Apostles and early disciples did believe "the eternal purposes of God will be quite sure to
be carried out. It is not possible that the designs of Infinite Love should fail, the more especially as He is at the Father’s
side, therefore let us enjoy ourselves spiritually. Let us sit down in the happy possession of Covenant blessings and let us
sing to our hearts’ content because of all that God has done for us and given to us. He will effect His own purposes and
we have only to stand still and see the salvation of God," right?

In like manner, the meaning of the words "co-redeemers," "suffering" "cooperation," "synergism," etc. must be properly understood or else one would be liable to characterize them as inappropriate anti-Gospel, whether in ignorance or through deception. Anyone reading my quotes from Spurgeon who takes the time to find out what Spurgeon actually meant and believed about sovereignty, grace, sufficiency of atonement, applicability thereof, the purpose of preaching and how it "saves sinners," inspiration, etc., would be quite right to point out that the extremely misleading interpretations of the sermon I just gave are phony and worth nothing, apologetically speaking. Likewise, your interpretation or presentation of synergy, co-redemption, merit, etc. etc. etc. are wrong.

That was the point. Get it now?

Carrie said...

Likewise, your interpretation or presentation of synergy, co-redemption, merit, etc. etc. etc. are wrong.

That was the point. Get it now?


Not really.

Are you denying synergy in Catholic soteriology? Are you denying the merits of the communion of saints? Are you affirming justification by grace alone through faith alone?

Carrie said...

Here's another Catholic's POV on the same subject. I also disagree with his presentation.

"Our Lord began His work of redemption at the moment of His conception in the womb of the Holy Virgin. But He accomplished the redemption of mankind through His expiatory and propitious death upon the Cross. Christ by His sacrificial death ransomed mankind from the objective guilt and debt of sin, reconciling a sinful humanity to the Father. He won for mankind an infinite store of merit and grace. This is the objective redemption.

Yet according to the Divine economy of salvation, man is to cooperate in securing his salvation and the salvation of others. Christians have both the obligation and privilege of assisting Christ in obtaining their salvation and that of the entire world. This is known as the subjective redemption.

A Christian participates in the subjective redemption through prayer, sorrow for sin, penance, sacrifices, and submission to the will of God. St. Paul speaking of himself employs a mysterious phrase when he says that he must make up what lacks in the sufferings of Christ. What could be lacking in the perfect sacrifice of Christ? Nothing. Nothing is lacking objectively in the sufferings of Christ, nothing, that is, but his (and our) subjective cooperation. In doing so we become co-redeemers with Christ. And the degree of our holiness determines more or less the efficacy of our work of co-redemption." source

Carrie said...

From the Cat Encyclo:

"From the adequacy and even superabundance of Redemption as viewed in Christ our Head, it might be inferred that there is neither need nor use of personal effort on our part towards the performance of satisfactory works or the acquisition of merits. But the inference would be fallacious. The law of cooperation, which obtains all through the providential order, governs this matter particularly. It is only through, and in the measure of, our co-operation that we appropriate to ourselves the satisfactions and merits of Christ. When Luther, after denying human liberty on which all good works rest, was driven to the makeshift of "fiducial faith" as the sole means of appropriating the fruits of Redemption, he not only fell short of, but also ran counter to, the plain teaching of the New Testament calling upon us to deny ourselves and carry our cross (Matthew 16:24), to walk in the footsteps of the Crucified (1 Peter 2:21), to suffer with Christ in order to be glorified with Him (Rom. viii, 17), in a word to fill up those things that are wanting to the sufferings of Christ (Colossians 1:24). Far from detracting from the perfection of Redemption, our daily efforts toward the imitation of Christ are the test of its efficacy and the fruits of its fecundity. "All our glory", says the Council of Trent, "is in Christ in whom we live, and merit, and satisfy, doing worthy fruits of penance which from Him derive their virtue, by Him are presented to the Father, and through Him find acceptance with God" (Sess. XIV, c. viii)"

Almost There said...

I don't understand the problem, Carrie. Don't we have to cooperate with Christ to be saved? Isn't that what free will is about in the first place? Would you like it better if they said instead "A Christian participates redemption through faith"?