Skip to comments.Eating Truth (Scott Hahn on the early christians and the Eucharist)
Posted on 06/17/2013 9:52:15 AM PDT by NYer
How many times, in movies about intrigue, have you seen a scene in which a spy is given a secret, written in code, and which, the agent having deciphered it eats it? Well, maybe the answer is: not very many times in the Digital Age. But, trust me, it was common motif in its day.
Now that sort of fact snack wasn’t particularly nutritious. But there is in Judeo-Christian literature stories – two in the Bible and others from tradition – of prophets and holy men being given words to eat by angels (or Our Lady), scrolls the consumption and digestion of which are transformative. An angel gives Ezekiel a scroll to eat (“and in my mouth it was sweet as honey”), and then the prophet is able to go and preach – with understanding – the very words the angel gave him to chew and swallow.
Sure, these may be lessons about the way we “consume” knowledge from texts. How many times have you heard a student wish he could just place a book against his skull and absorb the information “by osmosis”? And the idea is very alluring: of God simply pouring into us in a moment the insights that make us saints.
There was that time in the synagogue at Capernaum when Jesus spoke words that must have been about as controversial as any every uttered to an audience:
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. [John 6:51]
And all of this, as Scott Hahn makes clear in his latest book, Consuming the Word, was a foreshadowing of the institution of the Eucharist.
As Vatican II put it (Lumen Gentium): “Eucharistic sacrifice is the source and summit of the Christian life.” It’s unique among world religions, in that it happens one or more times a day in just about every Catholic church throughout the world. Dr. Hahn describes the process by which the earliest Christians merged Holy Communion with the reading of the Scriptures, especially the New Testament; indeed, that term is synonymous with both the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist, each express (even reenact) the historical proclamation of our new Covenant with God through Jesus Christ. The New Testament is a sacrament.
Dr. Scott Hahn
It’s hard, actually, not to think as one reads Consuming the Word that the Fathers made a mistake by not sticking with the common usages of the first centuries of the Christian Era: Old Covenant and New Covenant. I don’t mean to suggest that “Testament” isn’t a fine word, let alone that something essential has been lost in using it. But “Covenant” seems to me a much more powerful word. It’s one thing to be bound to God by words and traditions; another to be bound by flesh and blood.
Hahn writes that for the first Christians the New Testament wasn’t a book, it was the Eucharist, and when at the Last Supper Jesus established a “new covenant in my blood” [Luke 223:20]:
He declared it to be the New Testament – and the Testament was not a text but an action. He did not say “read this” or “write this,” but rather “do this.” By the time the Gospels and the Epistles were written, the Church had already been faithful to Jesus’s instruction for decades. The New Testament was a sacrament at least a generation before it was a document.
Saint Paul, in fact, preached the Gospel before there were Gospels. Through his preaching, Paul stressed to those he converted that that they are made one with Christ in sacrifice, i.e. the Eucharistic celebration, and that this in turn required priests, and with the priestly office came baptism, marriage, and so on.
There’s a subtle correction here to the sola scriptura view of the faith: it’s not that the books of the Covenants are diminished, rather that we recognize that the sacrifice preceded the documents. But, in no sense does Scott Hahn depart from belief in orthodoxy with regard to the Bible:
From Jesus to the apostolic Church to the pastors and theologians of the second century there is full unanimity of conviction on Scripture’ divine origin, divine authority, and divine truthfulness.
And there’s also an important message here for the New Evangelization, namely that we’re all a part of it. Hahn writes that “salvation history did not end the ascension of Christ;” it goes on daily – in church and out. Though we hear the words proclaimed at every Mass in readings from the Old Testament, the Epistles, and the Gospels, Catholics really do need to read the Bible more – and know how to read it; how to consume it.
You won’t find a better introduction than Scott Hahn provides in this book.
Before this degenerates into another “Catholics don’t know what they are talking about WRT...”(insert early Church teaching here) type of thread I was wondering:
Does Scott Hahn ever appear on Catholic Answers radio? Anyone know?
I did a search and found this - http://www.catholic.com/radio/shows/browse/all/all/Scott%20Hahn/all
:: He did not say read this or write this, but rather do this. ::
Even for a Lutheran, this statement is highly instructive regarding the SofA. One of those LexO, LexC things where-in one is charged by God to “walk-the-walk”.
Oh, how nice, a new book. It’s not in Mecklenburg library, I’ll have to check at Union.
Do a YouTube search. There are quite a few videos of Scott Hahn providing answers on Catholic Answers. And there are a number of very long videos, over an hour, in which he explains things beautifully and compellingly. What a witness! I pray for him constantly and I listen to his videos while I’m working.
I got this on Kindle.
Thanks for the suggestion I think I’ll do that. It should help with my commute home.
Scott Hahn knows the Bible indepth.
And there are many more, all enlightening, humorous, delightful, and full of Christian wisdom.
This looks like an excellent book.
**From Jesus to the apostolic Church to the pastors and theologians of the second century there is full unanimity of conviction on Scripture divine origin, divine authority, and divine truthfulness.**
Apostolic Succession — in before the Scott Hahn haters?
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant;
so your[a] faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good!
Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 O fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no want!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
97 Oh, how I love thy law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Thy commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep thy precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep thy word.
102 I do not turn aside from thy ordinances,
for thou hast taught me.
103 How sweet are thy words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Apologies ... the above is Psalm 119
Eucharist, Holy Meal
Scott Hahn on Our Lady
The found soul of Scott Hahn
The Lost Soul of Scott Hahn
Eucharist in the Pontificate of Benedict XVI (Commentary by Scott Hahn)
Do the Fathers Support Scott Hahns Theory?
Do the Fathers Support Scott Hahn's "Dragon" Theory?
The Scott Hahn Conversion Story
Our Father - In Heaven (Dr. Scott Hahn)
An Urgent Note >From Scott Hahn
recent Hahn videos online:
Eucharist and Early Church Fathers: http://www.catholicbiblesblog.com/2013/06/summer-reading-discussion-begin-next.html