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Monday, 23 February 2015

Today's Readings continued...

Matthew 5:20-26New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister,[a] you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult[b] a brother or sister,[c] you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell[d] of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister[e] has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,[f] and then come and offer your gift.25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court[g]with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Our standard, "our" referring to those of us who are baptized into the Catholic Church, is much higher than the basics given in first reading, seen in the last post.

Christ's Presence on earth, in the Eucharist, and the sacraments and constant teaching of the Church, call us to a higher bar of interior, as well as exterior, holiness. He called us to a much higher set of laws, the Beatitudes, which must be connected to interior purification to even emerge in a person's life. Without purification, there is no way to free up the virtues. See my older posts on this.

Virtue after purification leads to correct practice of both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Virtue also leads to the correct praxis, or practice of the Mass. Sin and liturgical abuse go together.

If the praxis, the center of the ritual, as in the Mass, is true and good and according to God's laws, the religion is one of orthodoxy. The interior is expressed in the exterior.

A few days ago in the comments I referred to orthopraxy as opposed to orthodoxy.

Orthopraxy is not the same as orthodoxy, which includes interior assent to beliefs and to the following of doctrines, resulting in appropriate liturgy. Those who are orthodox Catholics, hopefully the majority of Catholics who read this blog, live by a set of strict beliefs, starting with the Creed.

Orthopraxy emphasizes practice, liturgical rituals which connect a people with their culture and their history. I pointed out the other day that the religion of the pagans in Rome, the official religion, was orthopraxy, based at first and continually, with home-based ancestor worship, evolving to worship of the Roman gods, and finally the emperor.

What the first reading in the last post, may look like is orthopraxy, but it is not, as God continually called the Hebrews to repentance, "to rend your hearts, not your garments" and so on.

The prophets called the Hebrews to orthodoxy.

As Catholics, we have a clear set of doctrines and a set of dogmas, as well as rituals which reveal orthodoxy.

One reason why liturgical abuses are SO wrong, besides insulting God directly, is that those who do these aberrations are concentrating on the practice, the exterior of ritual and not the interior.

In other words, many going to Church on Sunday or Saturday, have only external relationships to the Church and not internal.

Sad, but true....meeting the minimal requirements does not lead one to heaven.

Remember my post on the fact that the Pharisees were liberals--they only followed the law and practice and did not rend their hearts.