Archive for the ‘Asceticism’ Category

Christ – Our Only Carer in John’s Repose

June 11, 2013

In the apocryphal “Repose of St. John the Evangelist and Apostle” (found here), John is quoted as praying:

Jesus is the one who plaited the crown with your own plaiting. The one who created the crown of all the saints and these many plants which transformed into people, yours is the flower which does not wither at all. The one who sowed in you his words, who alone cares for his servants. The physician of our body cures them all in vain. Our sole benefactor. The one without arrogance. The merciful who loves everyone. Sole saviour and just one who is everywhere and has been forever, God Christ Jesus.

What I found particularly interesting about this excerpt is the absence of later-arising mariolatry. Jesus’ uniqueness is emphasized in ways that leave no room for Mary to be a co-savior, a co-carer, a co-creator of the crown of the saints, or a co-benefactress.

Likewise, amongst Christ’s titles, the author includes “the true stone,” which fits well with Scripture, though not so well with Roman interpretations of Matthew 16:18.

So, while this writing is defiled by the early error of asceticism (John is quoted as claiming that Jesus repeatedly prevented him from marrying, though John wanted to marry and John is praised as a virgin) and while this writing is marred by being falsely written in the first person, it is not marred by many of the later errors that arose later.

I would date the version that serves as the basis for this translation as being from the 4th century. The reference to Christ being “consubstantial” with the Father and the Spirit suggests a post-Nicene production of the work. On the other hand, the absence of references to Mary suggests a pre-5th century dating. Also, the work seems to suggest an explanation for a lack of primary (i.e. first class) relics of John the Evangelist-Apostle, despite the legend of his having been buried. This suggests authorship within the age of necromania, but prior to any loud claims of possession of significant first class relics – thus, early in that age, as opposed to later in the 5th or 6th centuries, as that mania increased and the number of supposed relics multiplied.

If I understand correctly, the work purports to be (or at least has been averred to be) an account by St. Prochorus, allegedly his disciple and one of the proto-deacons (the original seven deacons). The work itself, however, does not appear to name the author. I’m not aware of any particular scholar who has dated this work, though I would be interested if someone could identify one.

– TurretinFan

No Food or Water for 70 Years / Only the Eucharistic Host for Decades

April 30, 2010

That’s the claim that the man described in this article (link to article) makes. Of course, it’s false. What is interesting, though, is that his claims are being taken seriously and investigated.

Roman Catholic priest, Dwight Longenecker, pointed out an interesting coincidence, namely that he noticed a related article on the feast day of Catherine of Sienna, a woman who is allegedly a saint within the Roman Catholic pantheon of saints (link to article).

Longenecker notes that Catherine of Sienna is alleged to have lived for decades on nothing except the Eucharistic host. There are many parallels between Indian mystical claims and those associated with ascetic sects and branches. As Longenecker points out: “He’s a sadhu– a Hindu holy man. The sadhus are well known for their extreme asceticism and amazing supernatural powers–levitation, painless body piercings, being impervious to extreme cold, fire walking etc.”

Asceticism, whether it be Hindu or Roman Catholic, is a surprisingly attractive error. The good things that God has given are to be received with thanks by believers, not treated with contempt. The alleged miracles of ascetics, however persuasive they may seem, are no match for the teachings of Scripture. Even if it could be demonstrated that this sadhu is honestly not consuming food or water, we will simply pity the man for his intentional self-abuse.


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