Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Church is not defined by numbers

Please read also:
The Church's Sacraments Today

Numbers and official titles do not matter,
Only the sound confession of the Catholic Faith;

St. John Chrysostom, Homily XI on the First Epistle to St. Timothy, commenting on verse 3:15: "'That thou mayest know,' he says, 'how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.' Not like that Jewish house. For it is this that maintains the Faith and the preaching of the Word. For the truth is the pillar and the ground of the Church."

St. Basil the Great, Epistle to the Monks Harassed by Arians: "I exhort you, therefore, not to faint in your afflictions, but to be revived by God's love, and to add daily to your zeal knowing that in you ought to be preserved that remnant of true religion which the Lord will find when He cometh on the earth. Even if bishops are driven from their Churches, be not dismayed. If traitors have arisen from among the very clergy themselves, let not this undermine your confidence in God. We are saved not by names, but by mind and purpose, and genuine love toward our Creator. Bethink you how in the attack against our Lord, high priests and scribes and elders devised the plot, and how few of the people were found really receiving the word. Remember that it is not the multitude who are being saved, but the elect of God. Be not then affrighted at the great multitude of the people who are carried hither and thither by winds like the waters of the sea. If but one would be saved, like Lot at Sodom, he ought to abide in right judgment, keeping his hope in Christ unshaken, for the Lord will not forsake His holy ones. Salute all the brethren in Christ from me. Pray earnestly for my miserable soul."

Saint Theodore of Studium: "It is your prerogative to prefer the drowned multitude to Noah who was saved; but as for me, allow me to run to the Ark along with the few." "One who is well-pleasing to God is to be preferred over myriads who are invested with presumption." - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1081C; Patrologia Greaca 99, 1084A

Saint Theodore of Studium, Epistle to Abbot Theophilus: "Let us not raise a stumbling-block for the Church of God which, according to the teaching of the Saints, is made up of even three orthodox, so that we may not be condemned according to the Lord's verdict." - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1049C

The Life of Saint Hypatius: "When Saint Hypatius understood what opinions Nestorius held, immediately, in the Church of the Apostles, he erased his name from the diptychs, so that it should no longer be pronounced at the Oblation. [This was before Nestorius' condemnation by the Third Ecumenical Council.] "When Bishop Eulalius learned of this, he was anxious about the outcome of the affair. And seeing that it had been noised abroad, Nestorius also ordered him to reprimand Hypatius. For Nestorius was still powerful in the city. Bishop Eulalius spoke thus to Hypatius: Why have you erased his name without understanding what the consequences would be? Saint Hypatius replied: From the time that I learned that he said unrighteous things about the Lord, I have no longer been in communion with him and I do not commemorate his name; for he is not a bishop. Then the bishop, in anger, said: Be off with you! Make amends for what you have done, for I shall take measures against you. Saint Hypatius replied: Do as you wish. As for me, I have decided to suffer anything, and it is with this in mind that I have done this." - Sources Chretiennes, No.177, pp. 210-214

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