Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thou Art Peter..

" If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (St. Matthew 16:18). And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, “Feed my sheep” (St. John 21:16). It is on him that He builds the Church, and to him that He entrusts the sheep to feed. And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;” (St. John 20:21, 22) yet, He founded a single Chair. That He might set forth unity, He established by His authority the origin of that unity, as having its origin in one man alone. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter, and it is thus made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair. So too, even if they are all shepherds, we are shown but one flock which is to be fed by all the apostles in common accord. If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he confidence that he is in the Church?

Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs, speaking in Our Lord’s name, says, “My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her” (6:9). Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, “There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God”? (Ephesians 4:5)....."

-St.Cyprian of Carthage, 251 A.D.

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