Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas 2014!






Alleluia! Unto us a Child is born; * O come let us adore Him. Alleluia! A blessed and glorious Christmas celebration to you all. God bless you!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

ONE CHURCH, ONE FAITH, ONE LORD

International Catholic Congress of Anglicans:
Restoring the Conciliar Church and Her Mission
ICCA-logo-flag-web 6x4
Congress Official Logo
DATES:  July 13-17, 2015
CHECK-IN OPENS: July 13 at 1:00 p.m. at the hotel
WHERE:  Hilton Hotel, 815 Main St., Fort Worth, TX  76102
DAILY MASS:  St. Andrews, 917 Lamar St, Fort Worth, TX 76102 (Cross Streets: Between Texas St and W 10th St)
Inspired by the famous Anglo-Catholic Congresses of the 1920′s, it’s our hope that this Congress will be the start of more to come.

The Feast of Our Lady on 8th/9th December






Today the bonds of barrenness are broken, God hath heard the prayers of Joachim and Anne. He hath promised them beyond all their hopes to bear the Maiden of God,  by whom the uncircumscribed One was born as mortal Man; He commanded an angel to cry to her: 'Rejoice, O full of grace,  the Lord is with thee!'
Today thou hast shown forth... Today the universe rejoices,  for Anne hath conceived the Mother of God through divine dispensation,  for she hath brought forth the one who is to bear the ineffable Word! (Byzantine Rite)

O GOD Most High, who didst endue with wonderful virtue and grace the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord: Grant that we, who now call her blessed, may be made very members of the heavenly family of him who was pleased to be called the first-born among many brethren; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen(1962 Canadian Prayer Book)

O ALMIGHTY God, who didst endue with singular grace the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord: Vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to hallow our bodies in purity, and our souls in humility and love; through the same our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (1929 Scottish Prayer Book)



















The Church affirms that Mary is Full of Grace (St Luke 1.28) and therefore has no room in her life for sin, as she, the Woman whose Son is the Seed that crushed the serpent's head and who Himself was bruised by the serpent, the Mother of the Redeemer (Genesis 3.15), is perfectly faithful and obedient to the will and plan of God. 'I am the Handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy Word' (St Luke 1.38). Mary, in essence, is the Second and New Eve, who, freed from the power of sin, reverses the disobedience of the first Eve by her own obedience and fidelity to God. 'She loosed by her obedience the knot first tied by the disobedience of Eve' (St Iraneaus of Lyons). 'In the name Theotokos is wrapped-up the whole mystery of the economy of the salvation of God' (St John of Damascus).

The most ancient opinion about original sin in Our Lady was that which celebrated her freedom from original sin at the moment of the Annunciation, in which by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, Mary conceived Our Lord in her now-immaculate womb. This was called Our Lady's purification or katharsis and is still generally believed in the Eastern Churches today. 


'Conceived by the Virgin, who first in body and soul was purified by the Holy Ghost - for it was needful both that childbearing should be honoured, and that virginity should receive a higher honour, He came forth then as God with that which He had assumed, One person in two natures, flesh and Spirit, of which the latter deified the former.' (Oration 38, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus). 

This view is consistent with Scripture. We can summarise the whole subject with St Augustine of Hippo, who said so beautifully, 'Where sin is concerned, I do not even discuss it in relation to Mary.' All the Catholic Churches, including the Anglican, regardless of belief about the details of her conception, celebrate the Feast of Our Lady's Conception with great solemnity on December 8th. What all Catholics adhere to faithfully is the pious belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary is immaculate - negatively, free from sin, positively, full of all grace and virtue. So, as the Bible implies it and does not require it, the Church piously and simply calls Mary, the Spotless One.

The Eastern Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching that the Mother of God was exempted from the consequences of ancestral sin (death, corruption, sin, etc.) at the moment of her conception by virtue of the future merits of her Son. Only Christ was born perfectly holy and sinless, as St Ambrose of Milan teaches in Chapter Two of his Commentary on Luke. The Holy Virgin was like everyone else in her mortality, and in being subject to temptation, although she committed no personal sins. She was not a deified creature removed from the rest of humanity. If this were the case, she would not have been truly human, and the nature that Christ took from her would not have been truly human either. If Christ does not truly share our human nature, then the possibilty of our salvation is in doubt.

The Best Christmas Gift



In the ancient Church, the Feast of Christmas was often called the Magnum Mysterium, the Great Mystery, or Sacrament. Our Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Great Mystery, or Sacrament, God made visible, God made Man. And Jesus gives Himself to us this and every Christmas, the most unfathomable Christmas gift ever… Christmas is all about the Holy Incarnation and how we are plugged into it.

The term Sacrament derives from the Latin word Sacramentum, which means 'oath' or 'covenant,' a word used of soldiers and government officials in the Roman empire who swore an oath of allegiance to serve faithfully in their offices. The Latin word Sacrament, which itself is not found in Scripture, just as the words 'Trinity' and homoousios ('of one substance with the Father' in the Nicene Creed) are not found in Scripture, is first invoked in the postapostolic Church of the second century to describe the sacred rites instituted by Our Lord which convey divine grace and are therefore 'oaths of Christ,' covenanted means of grace which communicate divine life by the promise and power of Christ. Such Western Church Fathers as Tertullian, Saint Cyprian, and Saint Augustine freely use the word Sacrament to describe what are today reckoned as seven mystical rites conveying the grace of Jesus Christ.

The original word for a Sacrament as a means of divine grace, or as an effectual sign of grace causing what it symbolises, is 'mystery' or in Greek, musterion. The Western Church translates ‘mystery’ from Scripture as ‘Sacrament,’ although in the Eastern Church to this day, the Sacraments are called the Holy Mysteries. Saint Paul uses the term musterion in reference to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony - 'Behold, I tell you of a great mystery, which is of Christ and the Church' (Ephesians 5.32). In union with the Eastern Tradition, the Book of Common Prayer refers to the Holy Eucharist as the Holy Mysteries par excellence (BCP Page 83, Thanksgiving).

The Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, ordained by Christ Himself, as means whereby we receive the same, and pledges to assure us thereof. The principle of the Sacraments is found in the whole Bible, and in its fulness in the New Testament, that is, in the Incarnation of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. God becomes Man so that man may become one with God. God assumes human nature in the Incarnation, all that pertains to man, human body, mind, soul, and spirit, so that human nature may be redeemed, sanctified, and glorified by God to share in the divine life.

The Sacraments are the extension of the Incarnation - they communicate the divine life of Christ to our human nature, and thus to our whole persons. We cannot be saved or redeemed or glorified apart from our own human nature as human beings. We must be regenerated and transformed, as human beings, into the children of God. And so God, in wonderful condescension and love, takes on our human nature and unites it to the Person of the Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

God takes our human nature, divinises it, and gives it back to us in the Sacraments, so that we may, in our human nature, partake of God Himself. As the Fathers love to say: 'we become by grace what God is by nature.'

The Incarnation and the Sacraments are two expressions of one reality: God the Son becomes Man, and then takes that Hypostatic Union, human flesh united to the Divine Word, and conveys it to the members of His own Mystical Body, the Church, in and through the Sacraments.

This is why the Great Tradition teaches that the pre-eminent Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are generally necessary to salvation: Baptism as the Sacrament of New Birth mystically unites us to the crucified and risen Christ and regenerates our human nature into the nature of the Son of God (St John 3.3-7, Romans 6.1-11, Galatians 3.22-29). We become children of God and members of Christ's Body in Baptism.

The Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, nourishes us with the human nature and divinity of Christ unto everlasting life (St John 6.53-59, 1 Corinthians 10.14-22, 11.23-34). Our Lord's true Body and true Blood are really given and eaten in the Lord's Supper after an heavenly and supernatural manner so that we may partake of Christ's human nature and be recreated by it.

Ours is a 'body religion,' the Church as the Body of Christ, the Religion of the Incarnation, which is made a reality in us sacramentally. There is only One Body of Christ, in the Incarnation, in the Eucharist, and in the Church, us.

Thus, man is a sacrament. Man is a composite being of body and soul, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality. Man's outward sign is his body; man's inward and spiritual reality is his soul and spirit. Mankind is a living sacrament: he simultaneously exists as material and spiritual, physical and supernatural, united together in one cohesive entity. When the soul leaves the body, death occurs, which is for man an unnatural state not intended by God in His first creation of us. Man was created to be forever alive, forever immortal in a sacramental state.

Any religious view or teaching which downplays the role of the body in the Christian revelation is really gnostic or docetic; as such, it rejects the essential goodness and role of the human body in salvation. The Church from the beginning has been attacked by these heresies of docetism (which held that Our Lord only appeared to be man but was in truth a phantasm or ghost who had no real human nature) and gnosticism (which teaches that man is saved by a cerebral intellectual knowledge which frees the spirit from the prison of the body and of created matter, which creation is held to be evil). Man is a sacrament, made of body and of soul.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Great Sacrament, being God and Man in One Divine Person with two natures, human and divine. Jesus is perfect God and perfect Man, perfectly both at once in the Incarnation. God becomes Incarnate, a Sacrament, to redeem and glorify man, a sacrament, and gives us His natures to be ours in Sacraments. The link between Jesus Christ and man, whom he came to save, is His own Incarnation, which is extended, given, and received in the Sacraments of Holy Church.

Jesus Christ is the best and greatest Christmas gift of all – and He awaits us at the Christmas Altar so that we may receive Him in our Christmas Communions!

A joyous and happy Christmas to you all - God bless you!

Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany at Saint Barnabas Dunwoody



Please remember to keep CHRIST in Christmas - and to keep MASS in Christmas as well!

Parish-Wide Advent Quiet Day, Saturday 13th December - 9am to 2pm

The Third Sunday in Advent, Rose Sunday, 14th December
Holy Communion - 9am and 11am 

Advent Nine Lessons and Carols, Sunday 14th December - 5pm

The Fourth Sunday in Advent, 21st December
Holy Communion - 9am and 11am

The Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle, Monday 22nd December 
Holy Communion - Noon

The Nativity of Our Lord, or the Birthday of Christ, commonly called Christmas Eve, Wednesday 24th December
Family Holy Communion (hymns and carols) - 7pm
Sung Holy Communion (incense) - 11pm

The Nativity of Our Lord, or the Birthday of Christ, commonly called Christmas Day, Thursday 25th December
Sung Holy Communion - 10am

The Feast of Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr, Friday 26th December
Holy Communion - Noon

The Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, Saturday 27th December
Holy Communion - 9am

The Feast of the Holy Innocents, Sunday 28th December
Holy Communion - 9am and 11am

The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, Thursday 1st January
Holy Communion - Noon

The Second Sunday after Christmas, 4th January
Holy Communion - 9am and 11am

The Feast of the Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, Tuesday 6th January
Holy Communion - Noon
Sung Holy Communion (incense) - 7pm

Please join us if you are in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

God bless you and Happy Christmas!

PNCC-G4 Dialogue

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