The Eucharist, Jesus Incarnate?

“O you who do not have true belief regarding the feast you enjoy at the altar will be subject to a severe and painful judgement. Woe to the one who gave birth to you. If you really believe that you consume merely bread and wine, and if you do not renounce that belief, then woe betide your body, woe betide your soul. Do not let your thinking be led merely by what your blind senses perceive. What you consume is not just that but the faultless body of Christ.” –-Celtic Treatise on the Eucharist, c. 1090

The above quote from the oldest Irish manuscript that the Church has knowledge of the Eucharist, details some serious demands upon the human person. I would like to reflect upon this and then detail why the Catholic faith is the true faith of any self-identified Celt.

Of the now close to 33,000+ denominations in the world, there are only two that declare that the Bread and Wine is in reality the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, physical and present. These two are the Catholic and the Orthodox Church. Yet, only one of those goes so far to say that the very substance of the bread and wine changes to Christ eternal, just not the accident (aka the matter or what we see as bread and wine). The Orthodox Church does not stand for any action of transubstantiation, but it doesn’t deny it either. Rather, they state that it is a mystery and they really don’t know how it works, but they do believe that it truly is Jesus Christ and that transubstantiation is more than likely the best explanation. But what exactly is transubstantiation? Why does it matter?

Transubstantiation is defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in article number 1376 where it states, “that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation”. (CCC 1376). Its first arrival on the Christian scene has been challenged by many, including Martin Luther who denied the substance change and is followed by the Lutheran Church in the conception of Consubstantiation, or no substance change. Yet, the teaching of transubstantiation was first hinted by St. John the Apostle in the early 100s, and furthered by St. Ignatius of Antioch, The Epistle of Clement, St. Justin Martyr and the Didache, or the teaching of the twelve, all within the first 200 years of Christianity. Furthermore, the Church faced the same heretical statements against transubstantiation by Berengarius, who was condemned as a heretic by the Church in the 800s.

Yet, why does this matter? Two words, eternal salvation. Jesus states in the John 6 that we who do not eat his flesh and drink his blood, we have no life in us (see John 6). He also states at the Last Supper that the bread and wine “is” the body and blood of Christ and commands his apostles to do the same thing. Now to deny transubstantiation tarnishes the picture of Jesus. For to say that it is not substantially, whole and entire, the actual body and blood of Christ, would mean to say that Jesus is a liar. He lied when he said that we had to eat his flesh and drink his blood, and he lied when he said that the bread and wine “is” his body and blood. Jesus as liar does not fit the picture of an all good God, so we can say that there is something wrong with the other sides argument. Furthermore, the Church has defended transubstantiation for over 2000 years, starting with the Apostle John. All this tells me that we must learn to listen to Mother Church, to be obedient and to recognize the reality of the mystery before us. Even if we cannot explain it in entirety, Jesus is substantially, whole and entire, present in the Eucharist consecrated by the episcopal action (the Priest or Bishop).

The belief in this reality leads us to that banquet which never ends. It is a feast that is continual and bestows blessing, but as the Irish Monks warn, woe to those who deny this fact, for they will more than likely eat and drink themselves to condemnation.

Prayer for the Day:

Almighty God, help us to overcome our blind senses so that we may see you perfectly in the divine institution of the Holy Eucharist. Help us to draw near to you and glorify you through your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and your all good and holy Spirit, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen. Pray Bless Us, O Lord.

Ecclesial vs. Experiential Catechesis

I want to take a short recess in our normal talks to go further into the Catechetical. Since the charism of this order is primarily that, teaching the faith, I believe that it important that we understand what this looks like within the confines of our own life application. When we look at the concepts that we are given, especially some of the dogmatic statements of the Church, it becomes extremely hard to understand how these things are revealed to us and how we teach them.The question then becomes, how do we make known the realities of the Christian faith not only to others, but ourselves?

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This is a very important question. Firstly, we must make known the fundamental understanding that we are all in need of constant evangelization and purification. This means that we cannot live an individual Christianity. Even the ancient monks and hermits of the early Christian years realized they needed community in order to survive and to understand their Christian faith. We see this also in the Trinity, and in the two commandments that Christ left us with. While the divine life of the Trinity is a complete and utter mystery to be explored our entire lives, it does reveal to us the necessity of community in ones own faith journey. By realizing our innate need for community, because we are made in the image of a Triune God, we are able to understand why we are so in need of a Savior, and our desire for God, for God is a community himself.

An individualized Christianity says that the faith is something to be experienced and then we can learn about its most fundamental doctrines. Yet, this is not true, a truly great lie of the devil. Community-driven Christianity states that the community shares in a divine revelation and works to contemplate those mysteries together. This is extremely imperative to understand. In an experiential model, it is the child who operates in his world to understand the faith, and the implication is that he will come to an understanding of the divine revelation on his own through this experiential catechetical method. Yet, this is not effective, nor is it theologically accurate. We cannot come to an understanding of our Catholic faith without the full divine revelation being taught to us. The experiential model flies right in the face of the whole bible, and the Apostolic teacher of <em>Teacher-Disciple</em>. Rather, the Church has always taught off the of the ecclesial model that works off of five steps.

1. Preparation
2. Proclamation
3. Explanation
4. Application
5. Celebration

I would like to talk more about these as we progress further into these studies over the next couple of weeks. What I would like for your to understand at this point, is that if we are going to teach the faith, we must do so in a way that does not conflict with the Early Church method of Evangelization and Catechesis. We are only echoes of that first voice that rang out in Jerusalem. We can add nothing to it, nor can we truly take anything away. It is then our job to follow the way of our Teachers, the most Holy Apostles, to bring others into the Catholic faith.

In our own lives, we must learn this model to hand the faith down to our children, and to helping them navigate the spiritual life that God has called us to. I hope that you will join me in this journey these next couple of weeks as we embark on this activity of learning to spread our Catholic faith into the world.

Why should we read the Old Testament?

The Old Covenants of the Jewish peoples points the way for the new path in Christ. This is something that we hear and read about quite a good bit in concerns to Dei Verbum, the writings of Pope Benedict XVI and Scott Hahn. Overall it is quite impressive to find the amount of scripture scholars, and more importantly, apostolic bearers, who have pronounced this to be true. The question that needs to be asked, is how is it that the Old Testament made a way for Jesus and what does this look like? I put forth the concept that the coming of Christ fulfills the two primary covenants, the Abrahamic promises made in Genesis 15,17 and 22, and the Davidic promises made in 2 Samuel 7:14. I will put forth over the next couple of paragraphs the basic premise that these things are shown throughout the life of Jesus to be true and that the people, who awaited a messiah, both Jew and Gentile, can find their eventual salvation in Jesus the Christ.

The whole of scripture, from the beginning of Genesis to the last book in the Old Testament, talks of some sort of coming salvation. Seeing as the books were written, not at once, but rather over a period of thousands of years, it is clear that the revelation of the Christ was something that the Lord was preparing us to receive. The various covenants that take place over the whole of scripture serve as a means of understanding what the new covenant that the Christ would form, for the whole world, would look like. With the fall of Adam and Eve, God makes a protoevangelium that they would be saved (Gen 3), he says that the head of the snake would be crushed by the heel of the women, and so it is in Mary. He then sends them out of the garden, but not first without making for them skins from the animals. This shows a two fold action, 1) that God is truly loving and good, taking care of his creation, not sending them out naked; 2) the breaking of shalom begins with the Adamic covenant ending. The use of clothing for the animals sets the tone, it shows the destructive ends that sin has caused in that the animals, those whom Adam was suppose to keep and maintain, is broken. The clothing of the first couple becomes a symbol of sin, whereas on the cross, the new Adam in Christ is found clothless, ashamed and naked he takes the nails for our salvation.

This leads us into the Abrahamic in Gen 15, 17, and 22. The aqedah of these covenants sets the tone for what the rest of the book will be and where Jesus’s ultimate role is to be found. Abaham is promised three things, a great name, a great nation and international suzarain, or leadership. While many could argue that Solomon could fit all these things, the text from Isaiah 7:14, “For a young virgin will bear a child” is not fulfilled, there is also the fact that the prophets continue to claim that the Christ is coming, which if it was Solomon would not make sense. Furthermore, the Davidic Kingdom promises of an eternal kingdom and the great sin of Israel at the beginning of 1 Samuel, the request for a King, must all be undone. Jesus fulfills these expectations in that he does make the name of Abraham great, and has formed a great nation of faithful around the world. Currently, there 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, all apart of the pilgrim Church of God. In Christ, the great name and great nation clause has gone farther than just the original Davidic Kingdom, it has also gone around the world and into the whole of the universe. In Christ, international leadership has also been fulfilled. The Pope has a seat on the United Nations, he also has a world following and is responsible for just less than a third of the world’s population. Jesus sits at the head of this great nation and leads the Church into fruition and grace. In these three things, Christ fulfills that which Solomon and David could not, he formed in himself an eternal priesthood and nation that is greatly universal.

Lastly, the David Clause, that David’s son will sit on the throne. Jesus is the Son of David, both the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew agree on this. Many believe that the Genealogy in Luke is that of Mary, whereas, the Genealogy in Matthew is that of Joseph. I can agree to this and believe that this can be seen in a couple of the different names on the list. Yet, both genealogies point towards David and also to Christ. According to Jewish custom of the time, it is believed that Mary and Joseph were of the same tribe and were actually both aligned from David himself. Jesus’s fulfillment of the Davidic covenant finds itself in that he resurrects and sits on the eternal throne of David at the right hand of the Father. This elevates the ranking of David himself, in that the throne of David is one that sits at God’s own right hand. Yet, it also does other things, it also reminds us of the type that the Davidic king was, and how the arch-type of Christ is fulfilled in forming the eternal kingdom of David by sitting at the right hand. Jesus also set up twelve ministers and one chief administration, like David and Solomon, and also raised his mother at his own right hand, like Solomon did with Bath-sheba.

All of these things, point to the signs that they are. They lead us into a deeper understanding of how Jesus fulfills the Old Covenant. When we look at the Genesis narratives, especially the Abrahamic promises, we see that certain requirements were needed in order to know who the Christ was. These signs were fulfilled in Christ, who by his activity showed himself to be who he said he was, in word and deed.

Is my salvation certain?

The book of Romans is an important book for those of who are looking at how to live the Christian life. Over the period of the letter of Saint Paul, it becomes more and more important to recognize key themes that reveal themselves to be truths of our christian life and faith. I think he points out three primary points, that we are not already saints, the Lord can make you a saint and that this path is found in loving the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul.

These are the three points I will address in this short premise. The recognition that we are not already saints is key when we look at the protestant reformation. Within the doctrine of false teachers, many of them claimed that we were already saints and that salvation was made certain for us. The Council of Trent would go on later to recognize this to be false and condemn this thought. Even when we look at the book of Romans, we see that such is not true, we are not already saints, but rather, we are still sinners struggling to fight off the yoke of sin and place on the bindings of righteousness in Christ. St. Paul lays it out best in the letter when he says, “For I do not what I desire, but what I do not desire” (Para-phrase). Paul puts inside a written form the interior struggle that man faces, I do not believe that this means that Paul is not, at some point, able to exit out of that sin, or that he is incapable in not sinning anymore. Rather, it confesses to us that our own sanctification is a struggle within ourselves to overcome sin and struggle with concupiscience. Yet, with Christ, we can be made perfect, overcoming the yoke of sin and entering into the Divine Nature in Christ. This is completely possible, for the soldier of Christ who stands firm until the end.

This leads us to the next point, that the LORD can make you a saint. In the east, this is called theosis, the counter to the western concept of theoria. As man moves closer and closer into the divine relationship, he is able to become Christ more and more. In the Eucharist, we receive the perfection of Christ’s love for us, and this is able to make in us a path into God’s divine nature. This means that sinning, in of itself, must end. We cannot continue to sin and be participators in the Divine Nature, for the Divine Nature opposes sin. In this I believe Romans provides us the answer, that the true route to Christian perfection is found in cooperation with the Lord. When we cooperate with the Lord, when we live in Faith and Hope, we are able to become divine participators. In the Celtic tradition, this comes through the penitential tradition, in which we submit to Christ the activity that we perform in hopes of forgiveness and mercy. Therefore, the life of penance in Christ is necessary within the life of one seeking to attain theosis in the Celtic tradition.

This seems to be the verging point away from Eastern Orthodoxy and develops a strictly western approach to christianity. The activity of penance becomes, for the disciple of Christ, a new path into divine sonship that is done beside prayer that helps to elevate the man, no longer to a state of just being perfect man, but rather to being a perfect participant in the community of the Trinity. 
 In which we are lead to the last, loving God. God himself is love (1 Jn), if we are to be true participators, then an end to sin must take place through an interior activity of grace. Yet, while grace is enough, full cooperation must be had, and in so doing the concept of free will must be made strong. A man must choose to live his nature, he is interiorly good, but faced with evil choices. When such arises, man must freely choose his path, but the Holy Spirit will always give him another option other than sin. I believe that love serves as the option that God gives to all men when sinful temptation comes upon him. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Gospel of John). Love then bolsters our human free will and we are able to participate in God’s nature through grace. 
 In short, Romans teaches us that the Christian life is sancitified through the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.

In these three things do we find the ultimate fulfillment of our Christian life. The Holy Apostle of Christ also states that we should endure all things and have hope, for it is in these things that will point us to the signs of true Christian virtue and make in us a holy character of Christ’s life. Through the revelation of the Church we are brought to the understanding that these things happen through the most Holy Eucharist and so the Eucharist becomes for us, a means of entering deeper into covenantal relationship with Christ.

Why do I have to go to Mass?

Oh the question I hear all the time. Well not a new question, it is a good question. I think one of the reasons we ask this question is because we see our protestant brothers and sisters not going to mass, or rather services on a weekly basis. There’s a difference between the two. I went to church service to receive a contemplation, or reflection, on the biblical scriptures. As a Catholic, the mass begins with the holy Scriptures, but that is not the reason why we are there. The concept of covenant is deeply ingrained within the reasons why we go to mass. You see the word of God says do this in remembrance of me, but the word remembrance is not to remember, but rather in the Greek it is the word Anamnesis. This word means to actualize, not to remember. In fact it is not just in actualization but rather it is a re-actualization of the sacrifice of Calvary.

When we look at the covenants of the old testament we find that a meal was shared. It would to happen that one side of the covenanting parties would need to make a self malediction in which a sacrifice on one side or the other is to be had. We see this in genesis where the activity of sevening oneself is shown by Abraham. Even though Abraham had already struck a covenant with his fellow man, he still gave the man seven ewe lambs. This is an ancient tradition in the Judaic root that we have found as a part of the apostolic tradition.

Thusly, unlike our protestant brothers and sisters, as Catholics we go to mass not to hear the sermon, not to break open the Scriptures, but rather by profession of the creed and in the taking of the most holy body of God in Jesus Christ; making ourselves the covenant oath once more to the Father. Yet, unlike empty words, our reception of the holy Eucharist becomes for us Grace, physical and present to us, that we may enter into the divine nature in Christ Jesus. This only takes place in the most blessed bread and wine that our eyes see, yet the blindness of those eyes must be enlightened with the faith of our hearts that we might see God truly present for us, with us, and about to enter into us in a purely covenantal relationship. This is the same relationship that Christ himself taught while he was on the earth. This is not a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, this is an intimate marital relationship with Jesus Christ, in which we become one with Christ, through what seems to be bread and wine, but really body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ our Lord.

For this reason yes you do need to go to mass, because unlike our protestant brothers and sisters, it isn’t about hearing scripture and a sermon. Rather the cross is re-actualized for us, we are able to make a covenantal-oath, and re-affirm our devotion to following Christ’s way. With this understanding, the mass is indispensable and irreplaceable in the Christian life.

Therefor, Go to mass brethren, re-devote yourselves to God, make the oath and live each day as if he is coming tomorrow.

God is Light and Goodness

God is a God of light and goodness. What is light? How do we define it? How do we see it? Light is not something that we can see directly, for no one can see light in its invisible and microscopic form, but we can see its effects when we look outside at the rooftops of houses, on the grass and the trees. Shade is counter to light, and to often we find ourselves in this shade, rather than standing in the warmth of the light. How true this is in our own lives as we go out into the world. We prefer to sit in the shade of the world, instead of the heat of the Lord. For the shade of the tree of the world is cool and comfortable. It comes with many great perks and we get to enjoy so many comforts, yet is this the gospel way? No. The prosperity Gospel is something that many false preachers are proclaiming today. The false ideas of money and power as the reasoning for God coming to save our souls is as false a precept as one saved always saved. For the Gospels do not align with these precepts, but actively speak against it. We can see this in the very words of Jesus, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” (Mt. 5:3), or in Luke, “Blessed are you who are poor: the kingdom of God is yours” (Luke 6:20). Furthermore, when the rich young man approaches Jesus and seeks to follow him, his failure is not so much living the ten commandments, but rather its giving everything away and following after him (see. Mt. 19:16-22). Afterward, Jesus goes on to proclaim a message of the danger of riches and how one cannot enter into heaven if they are rich.

You might disagree with me here, but the eye of a needle was the door on the right side of a great gate. It was a small door barely the size of a man. When I was in Morocco in 2008, I saw the eye of a needle, and I can tell you, after riding a camel, it is truly impossible for a camel to fit through the door. Yet, these false preachers have come to you, and declared to you a gospel contrary to the one that was handed down to us through the ages. By the greed and lust in their hearts, they fell victim to these false teachings and many have been led astray. Yet, now in this hour of darkness, I implore you to see the great light that is coming. It is a light that reveals our sin and causes us to remember our ancestors and the faith of our fathers. It recalls to us the means of entering into the divine life of Christ and it calls us to participate in his goodness. For God is good, he loves us all. We read this in the same passage on rich young man Christ asks the young man, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is one alone who is good.” (Mt. 19:17). That one is God and by his goodness is showed us his love by sending forth Christ, who in the fullness of time caused us to remember the promises he made to David and his seed forever. How do we go forward to follow? How do we love God in our lives? By doing his commandments. Jesus gives us two commandments, “Love God with all your heart and all your mind and with all your soul, and the other is like it love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Mt. 22:37-38). As a disciple of Columcille, the rule allows for those of us who live under it to come to a deeper relationship with God and to follow these two great rules more perfectly in our day to day activities. I urge you to make yourself a form of rule, or adopt one of the great rules of the Saints as I have, that you might come to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

For God is a God of light and goodness. Let the light so shine in you by the laying down of your life upon the altar of God’s love, that you might come to know him. When things are hard, cry out: “Lord Jesus, Son of God, Son of Mary, Have Mercy on me!” and place yourselves in the strong arms of our almighty Father. After you have done this, remember that sometimes, it is not comfortable being in the light, especially here in the US South, but as the same time, there is a great goodness that comes from being there. If we cannot see it immediately, we will see it over time as Christ reveals thy mystery of himself to us in the recesses of our hearts.

The Evangelical Counsels in Marriage

How is it that I live the evangelical counsels of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience in marriage? This is a very important question as these are the counsels that make up a formal religious life and a consecration to God. Many would say this is impossible, but I would very much disagree. Within marriage, we are called to Poverty, Chastity and Obedience in ways that most people do not think about.

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The Creed we profess

Many denominations proclaim the Apostles Creed, but is this right? Should we return to this most basic of creeds in order to guide our Churches? This is a deep question since the Church of Scotland, the Episcopal Churches and many other denominational churches utilize only the “Apostles Creed” and not the Nicean Creed that is used by the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

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“An old love affair”

Many may ask why be celtic and be apart of a greek church? This makes a for a good answer, and its not overly complicated. The short answer, is that it works! The second and most important answer is that the Celts and the Greeks have always had a love affair to a certain degree. It was St. Andrew who founded the church in Byzantium, modern day Istanbul, and spread the message to many groups and peoples in the surrounding area. Not even a hundred years before, the Romans had captured the Gael King and thus ended the Celtic reign on the continent of Europe. Yet, a bastion of Celtic culture awaited on the other side of the narrow sea between France and Britain. What the Romans found there was to surely shake their understanding of the world.

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Clothed in Glory!

Sometimes it seems weird to non-catholics on the reasons of why our Priests get so dressed up when serving the liturgy. Other than the fact that it would look ridiculous incensing an alter in jeans and a t-shirt, there are biblical reasons why the Deacons, Priests and Bishops wear what they wear when serving at the altar.

The first thing to understand, is that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, he came to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17-20). While to many Jews we got rid of the commandments of God, this is not the case. Actually, its the exact opposite! Majority of the 613 mitzvah are actually maintained within the Catholic practice, the only thing that is mostly fulfilled is the dietary laws and few others laws that were put in place to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.

FULFILLED OR ABOLISHED

The law prepared the people for the coming of the Messiah. In the long night, like the passover, the people of God prepared for the coming dawn. In so, the covenant given to the people by Moses and later on by David, the Davidic Covenant made with him by God (see Samuel 2, chapter 7) was given to prepare the way for the coming of God’s own Son. This may seem contradictory, God with a Son, but in essence it is not. Christ tells us that the inner life of God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This means that when we look past the oneness, there are three persons residing inside of that oneness that are all of the same essence and are all three acting with one will, one intellect. The threeness in oneness is a great mystery to the Church and I doubt we will be able to understand it while on this earth, but it is a part of the Divine Revelation and Apostolic teaching.

Nonetheless, these 613 laws were in fact meant to prepare us for the coming of this Messiah. The Catholic Church says that we should reflect on the 10 commandments and from there determine our culpability of sin. What does this mean? This means that in essence there are now more laws than before! The paschal sacrifices are no longer necessary, they still exist, but they are not necessary because we are given a new passover, the Eucharist. The lamb that we slaughter has been slaughtered once for the forgiveness of sins and each time the Divine Liturgy is prayed, the paschal sacrifice is remembered and consecrated to be the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Are the laws abolished? No, they are still there, but something greater has come, God himself.

THAT THE KOHENIN SHOULD PUT ON PRIESTLY VESTMENTS

One of the many laws that still exists in the Catholic Church is that “the Kohenin should put on Priestly Vestments” (Exodus 28:2). The vestments of both the Eastern Catholic and Roman churches take their vestment styles from the Temple liturgy of the Jewish sacrifice, but they have been slightly adapted to the people that they served. This is imperative to understand, that the temple laws did not just disappear, they were fulfilled in Christ. This means that they did not end, they have continued in the new liturgical passover, the new temple sacrifice, offered once for many. This is where our protestant brothers and sisters lose themselves. They have lost their Jewishness, they have lost their heritage, their root. They act as if the 613 laws have been abolished, when in fact the scriptures say that not one one iota, not even the smallest mark will be abolished (see Mt. 5:17-20). Thusly, when we talk about living a truly christian life we have to ask the question of what of the law are we necessarily needing to follow? The vestments of the old temple were maintained, along with the 10 commandments. In the Talmud, the Rabbinic tradition states that Moses gave us 613 laws, The Davidic Covenant reduced them to eleven, the Prophet Isaiah reduced them to them to six, then to two and Habukkak reduced it down to one, “but the righteous shall live by faith.” (Hab 2:4). Yet, Christ gives us the final law, for it is the law of the Spirit. He reduces it down to follow me. The I-ness of Jesus requires that we accept that he holds an authority that is equal to that of God. Even in Matthew at the Sermon on the Mountain, the crowds were astonished that he spoke with such authority, for no Rabbi would have spoken in such a way. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI states that Jesus is the “torah of the Messiah” (see Jesus of Nazareth pp. 99 ff). This torah incarnate in Christ is actually not a lessening of the law, but rather it is a strengthening of it and the authority in which he wields, and he hands on to his apostles, is given by the Father in heaven (see Matthew 28:116-20). Therefore, the actions of the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles is setting down a mandate, a book of Church History and the framework for how we are to worship and act within the christian community. Thusly, because Christ has brought the law to one law, follow me, it is imperative that we understand that all the laws that were in the Mosaic Law were meant towards this one action, to follow God, to participate in his likeness and image (see Genesis 1 and 1 Peter 1). Therefore the Mosaic law is not done away with or abolished, rather it is brought to its root to the basic activity of relationship with God. The Apostles, whom Christ himself commissioned, are the ones that lead us in understanding how this life is to be lived. Therefore, is it ok to live the Mosaic law as a Christian? Yes! St. James the Just was called such because he lived under it his entire life, that his Jewish brothers and sisters would come to believe in Christ! Yet, it is not necessary for salvation. What is necessary is to follow the Apostles and their teaching, to participate in the prayers of the Church and to go to the Divine Liturgy (or Mass). These things are the most important, because they encompass the entire christian life. The vestments that the Priest wears when serving the liturgy are exactly that, a teaching of the Apostles and an activity of them. This is imperative for us to understand, because in understanding this, we understand that since those things taught by the Apostles are necessary for salvation, so too are the vestments of the Priests necessary, because they are absolute truths that are laid out by our Apostolic Fathers.

Does your church follow the Apostolic Teaching? Do they live the Torah of the Messiah by following the Apostles that he sent? These are questions that you need to ask. For if they do not follow these small things, then how can you trust them in big things, including your salvation?