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What We Have Heard and Know

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What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
(Ps. 78:3)

mountain.gifTradition is the memory of the works of God declared from one generation to another.  This is the link between the “fathers” on the one hand, and “the present generation” and “the generations yet to come” on the other.  When Luther downplayed the importance of “Tradition” even rejecting it wholesale, he deprived the German churches he spawned of a vital connection with the Fathers of the Faith.
The “works of God” that the psalmist refers to are the great events of salvation history as he knew it.  Creation, Abraham’s Call, The Exodus, The Covenant at Sinai and the Kingdom of David.  For Christians, the work of God to which all these others were but prefigurations is the Paschal Mystery:  the Life, Death and Resurrection of the Lord.  In fact, it is this latter which John points to when he writes:

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life–for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us–what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.We are writing this so that our joy may be complete. (1 Jn. 1:1-4)

In fact, in the Paschal Mystery, all the graces — and more –contained in the great events of the Old Testament are made available to us, now.  This should be a cause of great wonderment.  God makes us all these available to me in one package!  But as Paul writes to Timothy, this “package”, this “deposit” should be preserved whole and entire so that it can be passed on to future generations.  As long as the Church continues its pilgrimage through this vale of tears towards the Heavenly City,  it is the duty of the pastors of the Church to continually declare from generation to generation the “mirabilium Dei.”  In Christ, we are Recreated; in His Passion and Resurrection, we are freed from the slavery to sin and death and called from darkness into light so that a new covenant may be established among us and we are made into a new kingdom of priests, a royal priesthood.  This is wonderful news that needs to be told, re-presented, meditated upon, contemplated and proclaimed.  Tradition is not just practices we have grown accustomed to.  Tradition is the life of the Church handed down from generation to generation.

That they too may rise and declare to their sons that they should put their hope in God, And not forget the deeds of God but keep his commands.

Originally posted 2005-01-14 05:12:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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