Octave of Christian Unity – Deposit of Faith

+JMJ+ Welcome to Day 3 of the Octave of Christian Unity. I’m using a meditation book as a jumping off place for this series of posts, In Conversation with God,* by Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal. (I’ll refer to it as ICWG with volume & page number hereafter, or Ibid. You know, standard stuff, or as close to standard as I usually get. Notes and links will be at the end of the post.) In this post we’ll be looking at the deposit of faith and ecumenism.

“Ecumenical dialogue needs to be based on a sincere love for divine truth.”.

ICWG, vol. 6, 33

Ecumenical dialogue: what is it? Is it two sides of an argument, both parties bashing the other over the head with opinions, well-founded or not, or verses from the Bible with oftentimes questionable interpretations? That’s a caricature of ecumenical dialogue but, sadly, that is what many people experience when they try it. I know I’ve experienced it. Not on every Rosary thread I post, but on quite a lot of them, someone finds the temptation to pounce on me too much to resist. Only rarely do I find a pounce-er who is interested in real dialogue, hardly ever a person who genuinely wants to understand what the Church teaches and why, what the Church practices and why. (I’m planning to address these things in some Monday posts, coming soon-ish.)

This divine truth, this dogma, is the “fruit of divine revelation.” 

“The truths of the Faith can guide us to salvation because they are the fruit of divine revelation. These truths come to us from Jesus Christ who, in turn, gave them to the Apostles and their successors—the Pope and the bishops—who receive the continual assistance of the Holy Spirit. Each generation receives the deposit of the Faith revealed by Christ. Each generation transmits this deposit to the generation that follows, and so on until the end of time.”

Ibid. Emphasis in the original.

This whole chapter on true ecumenism and fidelity to the deposit of faith is so good and so needed right now, I’m tempted to post the whole thing. But, of course, I can’t do that. It’s not in the public domain. So I will share two more quotes and then end tonight’s post. 

Fr. Carvajal quotes a passage from the Commonitorio by St. Vincent of Lérins at length. I just did a search for that text and ended up getting both a PDF of it and a copy from Logos. It’s that important for the study of orthodoxy. Here’s what the blurb says about it:

“A classic text affirming the authority of Scripture and the teachings of the Church Fathers, The Commonitory was written as a “reminder,” in an effort to preserve the authority of the Christian tradition.”

From the description of the digital book at Logos. (Links in the notes below.)

Yep, right up my alley. Here’s the paragraph Fr. Carvajal quotes, taken from the one I just bought.  

“What is that deposit? It is that which is entrusted to thee, not what is invented by thee: that which thou hast received, not what thou hast thought out for thyself:* a matter not of ingenuity, but of doctrine; not of private usurpation, but of public tradition: a matter brought down to thee, not brought out by thee; in which thou oughtest to be, not a convener, but a trustee; not a founder, but an observer; not a leader, but a follower. “Keep,” says he, “that which is committed to thy trust:” preserve the talent of the Catholic faith inviolate, undefiled. Let that which has been entrusted to thee remain with thee, and be handed down by thee. Gold thou hast received: render gold. Substitute not one thing for another. Do not for gold impudently palm off lead, or fraudulently, brass: I want gold, not in appearance, but in its very nature.”

Commonitorio, Chapter 22, by St Vincent de Lerins, Logos format, English and Latin. (Links in the notes below.)

Fr. Carvajal ends this chapter by reminding us to give the truth with charity. 

“Saint Paul reminded the first Christians in Ephesus to speak the truth in love: veritatem facientes in caritate.10 This is how we ought to behave towards other people who are seeking the truth. Veritatem facientes in caritate with those whom we meet and work with every day. We ought to be understanding and cordial without compromising our beliefs. Even more, if for whatever reason we find ourselves in a more or less anti-Christian environment, we should follow the wise counsel of Saint John of the Cross:

Think of nothing else but that everything be ordered to God. Where there is no love, put love and you will draw out love

ICWG, v 6, 37. Quoting St. John of the Cross, Letter to M. Maria de la Encarnación, 6 July 1591. Emphasis added.
Pentecost by Jean Restout - Public domain

Blessed Mother, teach us to pray and to treat our separated brothers and sisters with charity even when and especially when they do not understand what we are saying or why. Help us to be gentle but uncompromising in witnessing our faith in Christ, your Son. Help us not give in to any temptation to water down the faith but to hand it on in a manner that is clear and undefiled. 

We ask this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I included some quotes in our Live Rosary threads on Twitter on Tuesday and will add some more on Friday during this Octave. (We’ve only been doing the Live Rosary two days a week this time around instead of nightly.) See note below.

Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and become who you were meant to be: a saint! May the Lord bless and keep you, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+

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Notes and Links

  • In Conversation with God, by Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal. 7 volumes, vinyl cover with dust jacket, boxed. I’ve used these since my early days of conversion.  And I always see something new and/or come to a deeper appreciation of it. (Amazon affiliate link. See Full Disclosure below.)
  • Not to be confused with that other set of books, Conversations with God, a very New Age set of books. I always need to point this out because there’s always someone who looks at me sideways when I say mention the Catholic books.
  • Vatican II, Unitatis redintegratio.
  • Commonitorio, by St Vincent de Lerins: PDF free at archive.org. English and Latin: Logos/Verbum format (can’t find one at the Verbum site, the one from Logos will work just fine, same digital book). English only: Logos/Verbum format. Latin only: Logos/Verbum format (these require Logos or Verbum software).  
  • Live Rosary Threads: Follow me @disciple96 on Twitter at 7pm Central, Tuesdays and Fridays. See the Rosary Project Live Archives to see what the threads are like.

Images: In the banner: The Last Supper, by Philippe de Champaigne. Pentecost, by Jean Restout. Both from Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

Full disclosure: When you make any purchase through my Amazon affiliate links (or my general Amazon link) on this site, I may make a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you. And thank you for your prayers and support.

Copyright: All original material on Catholic Heart and Mind is Copyright © 2009-2023 Lee Lancaster. All rights reserved. Read more.

Annotated Table of Contents for Christian Unity Series
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