RDCA IV, 2: The Christian Is Also a Spiritual Altar

Modern prelates complain about too much regard for the laity, but their argument is with the Church fathers:

Since Christ, Head and Teacher, is the true altar, his members and disciples are also spiritual altars on which the sacrifice of a holy life is offered to God. The Fathers seem to have this in mind. St. Ignatius of Antioch asks the Romans quite plainly: ‘Grant me only this favour: let my blood be spilled in sacrifice to God, while there is still an altar ready.’(Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Romanos 2:2: Funk PA 1:255) St. Polycarp exhorts widows to lead a life of holiness, for ‘they are God’s altar.’(Polycarp, Ad Philippenses 4:3: Funk PA 1:301) Among others, St. Gregory the Great echoes these words when he says: ‘What is God’s altar if not the souls of those who lead good lives?… Rightly, then, the heart of the just is said to be the altar of God.’(Gregory the Great, Homiliarum in Ezechielem 10, 19: PL 76, 1069)

In another image frequently used by the writers of the Church, Christians who give themselves to prayer, offer petitions to God, and present sacrifices of supplication, are the living stones out of which the Lord Jesus builds the Church’s altar.(cf. Origen, In librum Iesu Nave, Homilia 9, 1: SC 71, 244 and 246)



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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