Monday, September 12, 2011

Primacy of the Word or the Eucharist?

[I]t is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives, because it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truth of who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of God that we discover our own good.
(Benedict XVI, according to Vatican Information Service, September 12, 2011)

The pope's comments here may be right, but they seem to overlook the natural next step. If God is to have primacy in the way that he has described it is necessary for God's word to have primacy. For it is by the Word of God that we know the will of God, and consequently can rediscover the truth of who we are, our chief end of glorifying and enjoying God, our duty owed to God, and our eternal good. The same source summarized Ratzinger's alternative this way:
The starting point for the restoration of the primacy of God must be the Eucharist, in which "God gives Himself to us, so as to open our lives to Him". Eucharistic communion "supports and transforms daily life".
Contrast that with the Biblical wisdom:

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Of course, these are Old Testament passages, but the lesson is not "the Passover lamb is the beginning," but rather the fear of the Lord. Moreover, that "fear of the Lord," is closely tied to and results from an understanding of the Word of God, as can be seen:

Proverbs 2:1-6
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Psalm 19:7-11
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Ratzinger is right that God needs to have primacy, but Ratzinger needs to realize that the Word of God is the primary way by which God's primacy is revealed to us - it is the primary way by which we know God.  The sacraments are important, but they don't have that kind of primacy.



Natamllc said...

In view and consideration of those verses and based on this verse I have a couple more verses I would add to the mix:

Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

To God and to the Word of His Grace, when we draw near to Them we then have our own life built up and we become recipients of the Inheritance secured through Christ guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.

To that I offer these other verses:

Pro 1:23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.


Pro 16:20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

Ljdibiase said...

It's obvious why he would say the eucharist though.... because that brings you to the Roman church first and foremost, since they are the ones who perform the hocus pocus of transubstantiation. It's always their church first and God second with them.

Dozie said...

The protestant seeks to be eternally confused but Christians know that that the Word of God is primarily a person - the Second Person of the Trinity.

turretinfan said...

Dozie: I guess Simon Peter in John 6 was a Protestant. I can live with that.