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Author Topic: Sacred Heart, scared to ask  (Read 787 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 08, 2013, 06:06:54 PM »

Hey guys, I don't want to cause a train wreck like the other post I see about the "Sacred Heart." I just have a quick question, which may have have been answered in the other thread....

Is it legitimate for a Western Orthodox prayer book, such as the St. Ambrose Prayer Book, to refer to the Sacred Heart, not because they are worshiping his physical heart, but as a way of referring figuratively to His love?

As a Catholic I never considered devotion to the Sacred Heart as if I was literally worshiping the organ. However I can see how people would get that idea, as there are some devotions I always found bizarre, such as devotion to "The Shoulder Wound."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_to_the_shoulder_wound_of_Jesus

 
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 06:11:12 PM »

I just saw there is a new thread on the Sacred Heart in the Catholic section of the forum. My apologies for starting a new one here. I will ask this question over there.
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 06:28:17 PM »

Is it legitimate for a Western Orthodox prayer book, such as the St. Ambrose Prayer Book, to refer to the Sacred Heart, not because they are worshiping his physical heart, but as a way of referring figuratively to His love?

As a Catholic I never considered devotion to the Sacred Heart as if I was literally worshiping the organ. However I can see how people would get that idea, as there are some devotions I always found bizarre, such as devotion to "The Shoulder Wound."

Ah, the Shoulder Wound!  Smiley

IMO, even if we redefine the SH devotion as a devotion to Christ's love, it's still problematic because, just as we don't worship "parts" of Jesus, we don't worship his "attributes", "character traits", "virtues", etc. in isolation.  I think it's fairly certain that devotions like the Heart, the Shoulder, the Five Wounds, etc. developed post-schism, and I suspect that the same could be said for "attributes".  

Western devotion seems to have developed all sorts of things, some of which became so popular as to enter into RC liturgy.  We know, for example, that current RC liturgy includes feasts for organs (e.g., Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart), attributes (e.g., the aforementioned, Divine Mercy), dogmas (e.g., Corpus Christi, Immaculate Conception), visions (e.g., Lourdes, Guadalupe), ideals (e.g., Holy Family, St Joseph the Worker) and even prayer rules (e.g., Our Lady of the Rosary, which is supposedly the old "Our Lady of Victory" commemorating the victory over the Turks at Lepanto but whose texts are focused on the Rosary devotion).  

From an Eastern perspective, it's a bit strange.  But to be acceptable as Western Orthodox "as is", I think you'd have to establish conclusively that this way of doing things pre-dates the schism enough to be a venerable tradition of the Orthodox West.  If this is the criterion, though, I think very little of what we associate devotionally with the Western tradition would actually "make it in", not without adapting it so much that it becomes something quite different.          
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 06:42:01 PM »

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Western devotion seems to have developed all sorts of things, some of which became so popular as to enter into RC liturgy.  We know, for example, that current RC liturgy includes feasts for organs (e.g., Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart), attributes (e.g., the aforementioned, Divine Mercy), dogmas (e.g., Corpus Christi, Immaculate Conception), visions (e.g., Lourdes, Guadalupe), ideals (e.g., Holy Family, St Joseph the Worker) and even prayer rules (e.g., Our Lady of the Rosary, which is supposedly the old "Our Lady of Victory" commemorating the victory over the Turks at Lepanto but whose texts are focused on the Rosary devotion). 

Mor touches on a very important point here.

A further Orthodox objection to such devotions can be found in the iconographic ethos of the Church. icons are, at their core and essence, an expression and proclamation of the fullness of divine revelation, i.e. the Incarnation - the invisible, infinite God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Just as purely symbolic or metaphysical representations of Christ (as a lamb, or an angel) are deficient and unsatisfactory for veneration, so too is veneration through the hymns and prayers of the Church of attributes or abstractions of Christ or the Holy Trinity, or, indeed, the Mother of God. There is no Orthodox feast dedicated to the ever-virginity of the Mother of God; nor is there an akathist to the wounds of Christ. We worship God in His entirety, we do not single out elements for specific veneration or devotion.

Attributes are mentioned, of course, in hymns and prayers, but they do not replace the fullness of the person.
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 07:29:29 PM »

I'm not a fan of the St. Ambrose Prayer Book. The Sacred Heart devotion therein is an attempt to make a Roman Catholic devotion, coming from Roman Catholic spirituality (quite different from pre-schism Western Orthodox spirituality) Orthodox, and not doing as well as the St. Andrew Service Book did for the Way of the Cross.
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 09:34:59 PM »

The St. Ambrose Prayer Book has a lot of great things, but is largely a swing and a miss, in my opinion. One Antiochian WR priest referred to it as "too Catholic" and I'd have to agree. Not because I'm opposed to "making things Orthodox" but because the ancient Western Orthodox tradition should be the interpretive lens through which we view any post-Schismatic developments. And much of the SAPB doesn't really seem to pass muster.

That being said, it still offers a great deal to WRO and I still recommend it, but you're better off buying the Andrewes Press Book of Common Prayer for a more traditional, comprehensive prayer book that is authentically Western, part of the living tradition that came into Orthodoxy, and still breathes the ancient catholic spirit of the early West.

As for the Sacred Heart, it has been discussed quite a bit around here, and I'm inclined to agree with what the others have said in this thread. It was common for a time amongst WRO but has steadily declined, in my experience, both as a feast and as a devotion.
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 10:47:42 PM »

While not trying to excuse the excesses of some Latin Catholic devotions, it is untrue to say the East never singles out an aspect.  There are Akathist to the Precious and Life-giving Cross and the Life-bearing Tomb that personify these objects and are addressed directly to them, not Christ so criticism of symbolically singling out an aspect of Christ like His Heart or Mercy seems nit-picky and weak in my opinion.
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 11:10:10 PM »

While not trying to excuse the excesses of some Latin Catholic devotions, it is untrue to say the East never singles out an aspect.  There are Akathist to the Precious and Life-giving Cross and the Life-bearing Tomb that personify these objects and are addressed directly to them, not Christ so criticism of symbolically singling out an aspect of Christ like His Heart or Mercy seems nit-picky and weak in my opinion.

A false analogy. The liturgical and personal veneration of the Cross and the Tomb is entirely justified, as they are akin to icons and holy relics. They are real, tangible, and holy, and are not aspects, attributes or abstractions.
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2013, 11:25:52 PM »

IMO, even if we redefine the SH devotion as a devotion to Christ's love, it's still problematic because, just as we don't worship "parts" of Jesus, we don't worship his "attributes", "character traits", "virtues", etc. in isolation.

We worship Thy passion oh Christ and praise and glorify thy Holy Resurrection.

We know, for example, that current RC liturgy includes feasts for...dogmas (e.g., Corpus Christi, Immaculate Conception)

Sunday of Orthodoxy (dogmatic victory of Iconodulism)?

visions (e.g., Lourdes, Guadalupe)

Protection of the Theotokos? A visionary apparition of the Virgin over Constantinople as a promise to protect them from barbarians.

Look, I'll stand by the body parts thing being weird, but I'll agree that praying to the cross or St. Peter's holy nails in Rome or whatever seems equally weird, and we do that. But let's not poke at things that we actually do ourselves.
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 11:46:41 PM »

While not trying to excuse the excesses of some Latin Catholic devotions, it is untrue to say the East never singles out an aspect.  There are Akathist to the Precious and Life-giving Cross and the Life-bearing Tomb that personify these objects and are addressed directly to them, not Christ so criticism of symbolically singling out an aspect of Christ like His Heart or Mercy seems nit-picky and weak in my opinion.

A false analogy. The liturgical and personal veneration of the Cross and the Tomb is entirely justified, as they are akin to icons and holy relics. They are real, tangible, and holy, and are not aspects, attributes or abstractions.

Their veneration is justified, but their personification is an abstraction.
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 11:50:17 PM »

While not trying to excuse the excesses of some Latin Catholic devotions, it is untrue to say the East never singles out an aspect.  There are Akathist to the Precious and Life-giving Cross and the Life-bearing Tomb that personify these objects and are addressed directly to them, not Christ so criticism of symbolically singling out an aspect of Christ like His Heart or Mercy seems nit-picky and weak in my opinion.

A false analogy. The liturgical and personal veneration of the Cross and the Tomb is entirely justified, as they are akin to icons and holy relics. They are real, tangible, and holy, and are not aspects, attributes or abstractions.

Their veneration is justified, but their personification is an abstraction.

Either something is material, or it is an abstraction. They can't be both.
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2013, 11:55:42 PM »

IMO, even if we redefine the SH devotion as a devotion to Christ's love, it's still problematic because, just as we don't worship "parts" of Jesus, we don't worship his "attributes", "character traits", "virtues", etc. in isolation.

We worship Thy passion oh Christ and praise and glorify thy Holy Resurrection.

Of course, the difference here is that "worship" and "glory" are not being offered to those events in the sense of latria.  RC theology, at least pre-Vatican II, justified worship of Christ's physical heart by affirming that every part of his humanity was divine through the Incarnation.  Just as a piece of the Eucharist, however small, is the "whole" Eucharist, so it was with "pieces" of Christ's human body.  I'll be happy to be proven wrong on this, but it is the sense of literature I've read and at least one article I've posted elsewhere on this forum.  

We honour attributes, characteristics, virtues, events, etc. of Christ and his life, but not in and of themselves.  See the bold above.  

Quote
We know, for example, that current RC liturgy includes feasts for...dogmas (e.g., Corpus Christi, Immaculate Conception)

Sunday of Orthodoxy (dogmatic victory of Iconodulism)?

OO's don't have that, so it's easy for me to overlook that, but I did remember it later (see below).  

Is that feast primarily the commemoration of an event, or a feast of the dogma of icon veneration?  While I'm sure both are present, my recollection was that the texts basically addressed the event, but it's been a few years since I've heard them.    

When I was in school and had access to a better library, I was able to confirm a hunch I always had: if you consult pre-1854 copies of the Missale Romanum and compare them with post-1854 copies, the entire focus of the feast of Our Lady's Conception is changed: before the dogmatic definition of Pius IX, the feast was very much of an event, but afterward, it was exclusively about the newly proclaimed theology.  The same holds for pre- and post-1950 editions of the Missal when it comes to the feast of the Dormition.  

After I posted and it was too late to change it, I realised that I felt bad about including Corpus Christi in my post.  Its origins are, IIRC, in an alleged Eucharistic miracle (an event) but became more widespread in the West due to challenges to the teaching on the Eucharist.  In this sense, I feel like it could be a Western analog to the Triumph of Orthodox re: icons, so maybe I should've left that particular feast out.      

Quote
visions (e.g., Lourdes, Guadalupe)

Protection of the Theotokos? A visionary apparition of the Virgin over Constantinople as a promise to protect them from barbarians.

My issue with this is that the phenomena are different.  AFAIK, Our Lady's appearance over Constantinople was "silent", she revealed no message.  The same was the case at her appearances at Zeitoun in Egypt.  Those feasts are very much commemorations of events.  But at Lourdes, Guadalupe, Fatima, etc., part of the phenomena involve messages, "secrets", etc.  RC teaching is that no Catholic is required to believe any of these "private revelations": when the Church approves them, it is not saying "This definitely happened", but rather "There's nothing wrong with believing in this if you want".  If that is so, how could they ever be allowed in that Church's liturgy?  You can't say "You don't have to believe it, in fact, you can have doubts if you think those are justified" but then require everyone who goes to Mass on 12 December to participate in the liturgical commemoration of such a thing.  

Quote
Look, I'll stand by the body parts thing being weird, but I'll agree that praying to the cross or St. Peter's holy nails in Rome or whatever seems equally weird, and we do that. But let's not poke at things that we actually do ourselves.

Sure, as long as we're talking about the same thing.  In at least one of your examples, however, we're not.  
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2013, 12:21:36 AM »

I reject the Sacred Heart for much the same reason that I reject the Latin explanation (following Augustine) that the Holy Spirit is somehow the love between the Father and the Son. This kind of abstraction and isolation of attributes to be worshiped in themselves leads to all kinds of weirdness that I don't want within 500 yards of my faith at any time. Dualism is not okay no matter what direction it flows in (e.g., devotions to particular anatomy of Christ or devotions to abstractions such "love", "compassion", etc.). Maybe it's the Coptic neophyte in me (though I felt the same about this particular topic when I was still RC), but I am really uncomfortable with things that essentially vivisect or divide Christ.
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2013, 12:21:45 AM »

After I posted and it was too late to change it, I realised that I felt bad about including Corpus Christi in my post.  Its origins are, IIRC, in an alleged Eucharistic miracle (an event) but became more widespread in the West due to challenges to the teaching on the Eucharist.  In this sense, I feel like it could be a Western analog to the Triumph of Orthodox re: icons, so maybe I should've left that particular feast out.

The institution of Corpus Christi as a feast in the Christian calendar resulted from approximately forty years of work on the part of Juliana of Liège, a 13th-century Norbertine canoness. Juliana de Cornillon, between 1191 and 1192 in Liège, Belgium, a city where there were groups of women dedicated to Eucharistic worship. Guided by exemplary priests, they lived together, devoting themselves to prayer and to charitable works. Orphaned at the age of five, she and her sister Agnes, was entrusted to the care of the Augustinian nuns at the convent and leprosarium of Mont-Cornillon, where Juliana developed a special veneration for the Blessed Sacrament.

She always longed for a feast day outside of Lent in its honour. Her vita reports that this desire was enhanced by a vision of the Church under the appearance of the full moon having one dark spot, which signified the absence of such a solemnity. In 1208, she reported her first vision of Christ in which she was instructed to plead for the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi. The vision was repeated for the next 20 years but she kept it a secret. When she eventually relayed it to her confessor, he relayed it to the bishop.

Juliana also petitioned the learned Dominican Hugh of St-Cher, and Robert de Thorete, Bishop of Liège. At that time bishops could order feasts in their dioceses, so in 1246 Bishop Robert convened a synod and ordered a celebration of Corpus Christi to be held each year thereafter.

Jacques Pantaléon of Troyes was also won over to the good cause of the Feast of Corpus Christi during his ministry as Archdeacon in Liège. It was he who, having become Pope with the name of Urban IV in 1264, instituted the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Pentecost as a feast of for the entire Latin Rite, by the papal bull Transiturus de hoc mundo. The legend that this act was inspired by a procession to Orvieto after a village priest in Bolsena and his congregation witnessed a Eucharistic miracle of a bleeding consecrated host at Bolsena has been called into question by scholars who note problems in the dating of the alleged miracle, whose tradition begins in the 14th century, and the interests of Urban IV, a former Archdeacon in Liège. This was the first papally imposed universal feast for the Latin Rite.

The rationale was that, even though there already was a feast of the Eucharist (its institution on Maundy Thursday), it was overshadowed by the betrayal of Judas and the Passion. I never thought of Corpus Christi as a triumph over the heresies of Berengar of Tours and his ilk, but I suppose that does make a lot of sense. 
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2013, 01:04:26 AM »

While not trying to excuse the excesses of some Latin Catholic devotions, it is untrue to say the East never singles out an aspect.  There are Akathist to the Precious and Life-giving Cross and the Life-bearing Tomb that personify these objects and are addressed directly to them, not Christ so criticism of symbolically singling out an aspect of Christ like His Heart or Mercy seems nit-picky and weak in my opinion.

A false analogy. The liturgical and personal veneration of the Cross and the Tomb is entirely justified, as they are akin to icons and holy relics. They are real, tangible, and holy, and are not aspects, attributes or abstractions.

Their veneration is justified, but their personification is an abstraction.

Either something is material, or it is an abstraction. They can't be both.

You don't know all the definitions of abstraction then.  The Cross and the Tomb are physical objects but so is the Sacred Heart.  To personify any of them is to summarize (abstract) the actions of Christ wrought through them.  When we say: "Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for by thee was wrought the salvation of all the world" do we really believe a formation hewn in rock wrought salvation?  Of course not.  Christ wrought the salvation.  So when Latin Catholics say: "Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased" they understand that to mean Christ not His Heart taken separately from his entire Divine Person.
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2013, 01:10:37 AM »

While not trying to excuse the excesses of some Latin Catholic devotions, it is untrue to say the East never singles out an aspect.  There are Akathist to the Precious and Life-giving Cross and the Life-bearing Tomb that personify these objects and are addressed directly to them, not Christ so criticism of symbolically singling out an aspect of Christ like His Heart or Mercy seems nit-picky and weak in my opinion.

A false analogy. The liturgical and personal veneration of the Cross and the Tomb is entirely justified, as they are akin to icons and holy relics. They are real, tangible, and holy, and are not aspects, attributes or abstractions.

Their veneration is justified, but their personification is an abstraction.

Either something is material, or it is an abstraction. They can't be both.

You don't know all the definitions of abstraction then.  The Cross and the Tomb are physical objects but so is the Sacred Heart.  To personify any of them is to summarize (abstract) the actions of Christ wrought through them.  When we say: "Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for by thee was wrought the salvation of all the world" do we really believe a formation hewn in rock wrought salvation?  Of course not.  Christ wrought the salvation.  So when Latin Catholics say: "Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased" they understand that to mean Christ not His Heart taken separately from his entire Divine Person.

Iconography proclaims the fullness of the Incarnation, eschewing the types and shadows which prefigured it. Orthodox hymnography is its verbal counterpart.

Please look at posts #3 and #7 again. They expose the fundamental difference between Orthodox and Catholic approach to the matter.
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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2013, 09:21:06 AM »

IIRC St. Ambrose Prayer Book is not official for the WR, only the Orthodox Missal is. There is also a VERY good commentary on the WR by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on the WR at ancient faith radio. It puts alot of this stuff about the Sacred Heart to bed.

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« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2013, 08:19:43 PM »

IIRC St. Ambrose Prayer Book is not official for the WR, only the Orthodox Missal is. There is also a VERY good commentary on the WR by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on the WR at ancient faith radio. It puts alot of this stuff about the Sacred Heart to bed.

PP

And yet Fr. Reardon himself invokes the Sacred Heart when he prays the Rosary Smiley

You are correct the SAPB is not official, nor even published by an officially Orthodox publisher. The Orthodox Missal and the St. Andrew's are the only ones officially produced by the AWRV. Both are fantastic.
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2013, 10:24:41 AM »

Quote
And yet Fr. Reardon himself invokes the Sacred Heart when he prays the Rosary
Praying the Rosary and having a Feast of the Sacred Heart are two entire different things. Fr. Reardon specifically stated that he can't stand feasts to mystical things like the sacred heart.

Quote
You are correct the SAPB is not official, nor even published by an officially Orthodox publisher. The Orthodox Missal and the St. Andrew's are the only ones officially produced by the AWRV. Both are fantastic
I thought there was another...thanks for clarifying.

PP
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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2013, 12:47:17 AM »

I'm thinking Deacon Lance makes the most sense here.

I will go to my death bed believing that the image showing the literal sacred heart, in shape of interior human heart on the outside of our Lord Jesus Christ is inappropriate flawed imagery (maybe I am tempted to say heretical...), but the devotion and theology itself I will defend 'til the end.  

So much of this topic is semantics.

I'm agree some elements of the sacred heart are from a newer period of time, but the essence is grounded in something much older.

Much like the words of Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople in 7th century foreshadowing doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary.

Fr. Reardon is brilliant, but is he superhuman? He may make an error on occasion...
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