Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fr. Ryan Erlenbush - The Jewish heart of Christian prayer, Sermon of Aug 14th

The Mass has a Jewish heart
Fr. Ryan Erlenbush's homily of August 14th, on the importance of maintaining the Jewish roots of Christian prayer.
The Rosary, as opposed to eastern meditation (like "centering prayer" or "yoga"), is deeply rooted in the Jewish traditions. 
Likewise the Mass - especially in its more traditional form - has a Jewish heart. Many of the "reforms" in the '70s (like removing the altar rails and destroying the old stone altars) were a terrible mistake, since they obscured the Jewish roots of the Catholic Liturgy.

Read the sermon here: The Jewish heart of Christian prayer


Petrus Augustinus said...


Does this mean that all your Sunday Holy Masses are in the Ancient Roman Rite (usus antiquior)? I certainly figured that the NTM contributors are traditionalists but I don't know if you have the opportunity to practice the Ancient Rite every week.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

All my Sunday Masses are in the Novus Ordo, in English.
This homily was given at such a Mass as well.

[personally, I would not see myself as a traditionalist; I would say that we at NTM are very close to Pope Benedict when it comes to the Mass]
Peace! +

Peter said...

Do you have any plans to make a post about the Temple symbolism of the Catholic church building?

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Probably not any time soon ... it would be great, but would require a great deal of research (as I am no expert on these matters).

Peace to you! +

Peter said...

The preceding comments have prompted these thoughts:

The question of the relation between Judaism and Catholicism is an important one, but it is a question that needs to be asked in the right terms, to avoid potentially misleading simplifications like, "Christianity comes from Judaism." (How often one hears this claim.)

Really it seems this question should be presented as two related but distinct questions: (a) What is the relation between Catholicism and the Old Covenant?, and (b) What is the relation between modern [post-Christ] Judaism and the Old Covenant? The reason for this distinction is that Old Testament Judaism and modern Judaism are not the same religion; they are materially and formally different, notwithstanding the substantial apparent identity and continuity.

They are materially different because the Temple, the priesthood and substantial portions of the Mosaic cult no longer exist. But above all they are formally different because, whereas Old Testament Judaism was "open" to the Messiah (Christ), modern Judaism is intrinsically "closed" to Christ. Indeed, the rejection of Christ is the historic event which gives rise to modern Judaism as a religion different from Old Testament Judaism.

Thus, despite external differences, Catholicism is really the continuation/fulfillment of the Old Covenant; modern Judaism is a rupture from it, despite external similarities. Thus Catholicism and (modern) Judaism are related, not that the former comes from the latter but rather that they both "come from" the same source, albeit in different ways. Catholicism comes from Old Testament Judaism like a fruit from a tree, whereas modern Judaism comes from Old Testament Judaism like a dead branch from the same tree.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

fine and good, but we have to be careful about making too strong a distinction between modern Jews and pre-Christian Jews ... when St. Paul speaks of the return of the Jews and states that the election of the Jews as the chosen people is "without repentance" (i.e. that God will not go back on his promise), he is speaking of the Jews after Jesus' death/resurrection who have not yet converted. [cf. Romans 11]

See my other article on this a couple days ago:

There is a real sense in which the Jews are a chosen people by virtue of their blood-relation to Abraham and to Christ ... and this blood-relation has not changed.
["For if the firstfruit be holy, so is the lump also: and if the root be holy, so are the branches." (Romans 11:16) -- As Abraham was elected, so too his bloodline; as the Apostles and even the Christ came from the Jews, so the whole race is chosen (though not every individual Jew is necessarily saved) {this is the interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas}]

Peace to you. +