Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Western Rite is SO Unlike the Eastern....

Some seem to believe the Western Rite is so unlike the Byzantine that it cannot possibly be Orthodox. Leaving aside the substance of that claim, there are many cases in which the praxis is identical. (Here's one example.) Ash Wednesday witnessed one of them.

The traditional Gospel for Ash Wednesday is taken from the the same text as that of the Byzantine Church on Forgiveness Sunday: St. Matthew chapter 6. The pericope's instructions about "when you fast" and instructions on almsgiving ties the Gospel to the start of Lent in either tradition. Both are saying:
O that I may have induced you, my brethren, to give away your earthly bread, and to knock for the heavenly! The Lord is that Bread. He says,"I am the Bread of life." But how shall He give to you, who givest not to him that is in need? One is in need before you, and you are in need before Another...Repentance for sins changes men, it is true, for the better; but it does not appear as if even it would profit ought, if it should be barren of works of mercy. St. Augustine of Hippo.
Once again, we find a commonality of Eastern and Western Rite Orthodoxy. In fact, there are innumerable overlaps, both of style and substance, between Eastern and Western practices that one need not artificially manufacture them. Let's join our hearts this Lent in seeking the one path that is truly profitable.

P.S.: Anyone have a better tag for this topic? A post on "Ash Wednesday" would be quite out of place on the chief topic where I present similar discussions: "Feast Days."

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Blogger Seraph said...

Ben, how would you personally compare Eastern and Western Rites as far as carrying the "freight" of Orthodoxy? Lived out, how are they the same and how different, as far as you know? I'm not trying to start an argument, I just am honestly curious. I know some Orthodox look askance at the Western Rite, and would like to hear from a real live Western Orthodox Christian how you believe it is the same/different/of like value and weight/ as the Byzantine Rite.

If you don't want to talk about that on your blog, feel free to contact me directly if you are able.

Yours truly and humbly in Christ our God.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Hi Seraph,

I hope to blog on this shortly but am short of time tonight. Just in case, how might I contact you offline?

God bless,

9:47 PM  

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