|St Mark the Evangelist writing his Gospel|
Photo from Sacred Destinations
Today is the feast day of St Mark the Evangelist. It is a wonderful day, as far as I am concerned, for a very obvious reason – my name, Mark. (Happy feast day to all those who share the same name as me.) The second reading of Matins for today's feast of St Mark the Evangelist is from the writing of Saint Irenaeus against heresies. This reading could not have come at a more opportune moment this week as far as I am concerned.
Since there may be some without access to the prayers and readings of the Divine Office, I decided that I needed to share this reading on my Blog. (By the way, if you don’t pray the Liturgy of the Hours, take a look at this – Pope Calls All To Pray The Divine Office. I also wrote earlier on my Blog about the value of praying the Divine Office.)
I leave you to read these words of St Irenaeus for yourself without further comment from me, except perhaps to suggest that after you have read what St Irenaeus has to say, you then read my post about Squirming Shepherds, while contemplating the closing words of St Irenaeus: "no preacher however forceful will utter anything different – for no one is above the Master."
The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples. By faith, we believe in one God, the almighty Father who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became man for our salvation. And we believe in the Holy Spirit who through the prophets foretold God’s plan: the coming of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, his birth from the Virgin, his passion, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, and his final coming from heaven in the glory of his Father, to recapitulate all things and to raise all men from the dead, so that, by the decree of his invisible Father, he may make a just judgement in all things and so that every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth to Jesus Christ our Lord and our God, our Saviour and our King, and every tongue confess him.
The Church, spread throughout the whole world, received this preaching and this faith and now preserves it carefully, dwelling as it were in one house. Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.
The faith and the tradition of the churches founded in Germany are no different from those founded among the Spanish and the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world. Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Now of those who speak with authority in the churches, no preacher however forceful will utter anything different – for no one is above the Master – nor will a less forceful preacher diminish what has been handed down. Since our faith is everywhere the same, no one who can say more, augments it, nor can anyone who says less, diminish it.