Analysis by Oswald Sobrino, J.D., M.A., who has published in New Blackfriars (U.K.), Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Catholic Answer, New Oxford Review, CatholicExchange.com, and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly. He is a lay graduate student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. © 2002-06 Oswald Sobrino.
"There is much in Christianity which can be subjected to exact analysis. But the ultimate things are shrouded in the silent mysteries of God." --Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
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The Spin of Disingenuous Liberal Anglicans
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Saturday, December 20, 2003The Spin of Disingenuous Liberal Anglicans
Lately, the media has quoted remarks made in Rome by an Anglican laywoman, a Dr. Mary Tanner, who, in spite of the obvious deep freeze in Catholic-Anglican ecumenical talks due to the gay Episcopal bishop, boldly spins that the Catholic-Anglican ecumenical dialogue is in better shape than ever (see Zenit article, "Anglican Still Hopeful for Ecumenical Ties with Catholics," Dec. 18, 2003). Frankly, her thesis is plainly unbelievable. It is another example of how spin and yes deception, whether sincere or not, are the preferred tools of those who are seeking to subvert, correct, and revise the Christian faith. In Scripture, Satan is referred to as the "father of lies" (John 8:44). Well, today, in my opinion, he is also the "father of liberal spin." These are strong words, but they are necessary in the face of bold hypocrisy by those undermining core Christian teachings while wearing the false diplomatic mask of ecumenical dialogue.
It is interesting that the same Dr. Mary Tanner was a touted speaker in a 1995 conference in York, England, sponsored by the liberal Anglican faction known disingenuously as "Affirming Catholicism" (see Affirming Catholicism website; scroll down to 8th paragraph). Here is how she is described in Affirming Catholicism's description of the York conference: "Dr Mary Tanner, a laywoman involved in the highest echelons of ecumenical contact on behalf of the Church of England, spoke movingly of the ecumenical world in which all mainstream Christians now find themselves". As noted earlier in Catholic Analysis, this Anglican faction openly and explicitly endorses the morality of homosexual behavior as part of its "affirming" character (see Catholic Analysis, Dec. 13, 2003). So, here is a woman who is a leading figure in Catholic-Anglican ecumenical dialogue, implicitly affirming through her speaking appearance the legitimacy of "Affirming Catholicism." It is also worth noting that the editor of the collection of papers from the York conference was none other than a Canon Jeffrey John, who was in the news earlier this year as the homosexual cleric who was forced to withdraw, after conservative outcry, as the next Anglican Bishop of Oxford, England (see Affirming Catholicism website). Two of the leading voices of Affirming Catholicism are none other than the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who approves of homosexual behavior, and the U.S. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold who personally consecrated the new gay Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire (see U.K. Telegraph article, "Gay bishop's links to Williams go back 30 years," June 29, 2003, accessible at news.telegraph.co.uk; see also U.S. Affirming Catholicism website). This is the same Rowan Williams who traveled to Rome in October in an emotional display of supposed closeness to the Pope. This is the same Frank Griswold who was, until recently, the official Anglican representative to a commission devoted to Catholic-Anglican dialogue.
Well, equally bold Roman Catholics have news for Tanner, John, Williams, and Griswold and other "affirming" liberal Anglicans, namely, that the faith and morals of the Roman Catholic Church are not up for incremental revision or correction through infiltration or negotiation, however diplomatically attempted and however sentimental, and that we recognize and document duplicity when we see it. You cannot seriously claim closeness with Roman Catholicism while running around in the circles of "Affirming Catholicism." If "Affirming Catholicism" exemplifies Dr. Tanner's vision of the closeness of Anglicans and Roman Catholics, then we are not close at all, regardless of spin.
Friday, December 19, 2003Vatican Disassociates Itself from Cardinal Martino's Opinion on Saddam Treatment
The famously inane comments of Cardinal Martino on Saddam's being allegedly mistreated in a video-taped medical examination have been rejected by the Vatican. You can read the details from the Associated Press.
When new Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien made his own famously obtuse comments on contraception, homosexuality, and celibacy, there followed a a surprising public affirmation by Cardinal O'Brien of Church teaching on these very same specific issues. It is good to see that the Vatican has ways of correcting the errors of some of its newly named cardinals. Both Martino and O'Brien were elevated as cardinals in October 2003. So far, they have both been disappointments.
The Curse of Hedonism
In the famous book The Ratzinger Report (Ignatius Press 1985), Cardinal Ratzinger is quoted as follows commenting on the years after Vatican II:
Ratzinger Report, p. 30 (original emphasis).
Today, if you press and question many people in the U.S. about their beliefs, you will find beneath all the exterior adornments the life philosophy of hedonism: get as much as you can get, as fast as you can get it, before you die. This "getting" includes as much money, sexual activity, luxuries, power, and perks that you can obtain. What is gotten are objects, not instruments for a greater good: money, sexual activity, luxuries, and perks become ends in themselves, not means to a good. Given this philosophy, the consequences that fill the news and our anecdotes are not surprising: financial dishonesty from the petty to major corporate scandals, politicians who are deformities of human integrity, indiscriminate sexual activity with minors, with acquaintances, with strangers, adultery, and the use of shopping as a narcotic. Add to all of this the never-ending abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. What we have in the U.S. today is a frenetic and desperate attempt to squeeze as much short-term pleasure from as many sources as possible.
The irony is that, as many discover, the "pleasure" secured is a peculiar kind of pleasure whose apparent benefits evaporate quite quickly, leading to further ratcheting of consumption and pursuit of the same "pleasure." Thus, there is a perpetual lack of satisfaction that engenders further manic consumption. In the end, life has passed without vocation, without mission, and without meaning. And death cannot be bribed or bought off. Death approaches inevitably, solemnly, sometimes early and by surprise and sometimes in agony prolonged by excessive and extraordinary medical interventions.
Of course, our economy has no problems with this irrational philosophy of life because it produces compulsive consumers who are never satisfied and therefore have an insatiable appetite for new products and services, however unnecessary or foolish. Our society then becomes a vast "pleasure" machine in which we are the cogs. But, we have become cogs voluntarily and freely. And, on the outside, we feign happiness and vigor. We have created and freely chosen our own "hell on earth."
The greatest rebuke to this irrational and ultimately painful hedonism is the Catholic Church. That is why she is the villain in the minds of so many, some of whom are still present within her in body but certainly not in heart. The ultimate irony is that the so-called pleasures of the hedonistic philosophy are in the end not so pleasing. The proof is our perpetual lack of satisfaction and peace. The curse of hedonism is the pain of hedonism.
Thursday, December 18, 2003One Year Anniversary
Pat Sweeney of the Extreme Catholic (quite a politically incorrect name!) blog kindly congratulated me today on the one year anniversary of Catholic Analysis. I, in turn, would like to publicly congratulate Pat for also reaching the one year mark (one day earlier than Catholic Analysis) and for his refreshing insights.
At this time, thanks are appropriate first of all to the Almighty who always surprises us with unforeseen opportunities to use our particular abilities to proclaim the Good News. Thanks are also appropriate to all readers for their visits. May their visits bear good fruit in their particular lives and circumstances, all of which are in the hands of God. St. Augustine, in the Confessions, has a prayerful refrain that expresses so much of what we all yearn for: "may I dwell calmly under your wings" (Bk. XII, ch. xi). That is my sincerest wish for all readers of this site, whatever their religion or opinions: may you dwell calmly under His wings.
Balthasar on Christian Meditation
In his book Christian Meditation (Ignatius Press 1989), the late Hans Urs von Balthasar makes some strong points worthy of careful consideration for those seeking to listen to the Lord's will in their lives. The key theme in the book is, in my view, the centrality of Scripture in Christian meditation. In Scripture, we come in living contact, not merely historical, memoir-like contact, with Jesus, the Word of God. In Jesus, we "perceive the attitude and state of God" (Meditation, p. 13). One of those states and attitudes is one rarely mentioned by the milque-toast liberal fog that permeates a significant part of American Christianity: anger. As Balthasar writes, "[w]hen Jesus is angry (as Mark frequently mentions), when he brandishes the whip, we perceive how and why Yahweh, the jealous God, is angry" (p. 13).
While affirming that "the believer's closest approach to God takes place in the eucharistic mystery of the surrendered flesh and blood of Jesus," Balthasar makes clear that there is also "a real re-presenting, a making present" of Jesus in the Scriptures, especially the Gospels in which "Jesus is most immediately present to us" (pp. 23, 37):
Meditation, p. 28.
This high view of the written Gospels is evident in the recent version of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in which the book of the Gospels is placed on the altar during the Liturgy of the Word. Christ is supremely and most powerfully present in the Eucharist, but He is also powerfully present in the written Word in a living and timeless fashion. For Balthasar, meditating on Scripture places us "before the very event itself embedded in it" (Meditation, p. 29).
Meditating on the Gospels also requires a "readiness to accept punishment for our guilt . . . [as] inseparable from suffering with Jesus for all guilt and, therefore, implies readiness to atone with him for the guilt of others, both known and unknown" (p. 37). This aspect of the Gospel is intimately related to the recent approving reaction of the Pope in viewing the Mel Gibson film "The Passion of Christ." This aspect is why it is reasonable to anticipate that a film such as this, precisely because it is faithful to the Gospel accounts, will result in many conversions.
Balthasar also points to the significant role of silence in Christian meditation (pp. 39-47). Again, this aspect of silence is also mirrored in the directives of the revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
In remarks important to a consideration of the Rosary as Christian meditation, Balthasar makes clear that Christian meditation is a "Marian way" (pp. 57-73). This Marian way is based on the following correspondence between Mary's attitude and what our attitude should be:
Meditation, p. 66.
The Marian way is Christocentric.
In a highly apt statement which needs to be emphasized to those seeking to meditate and to engage in contemplation, Balthasar rejects the ranking of meditation above vocal prayer:
It is a neo-Platonic superstition that would present meditation as a "higher degree" of prayer than vocal prayer, whether liturgical or personal and spontaneous. To rate vocal prayer as a lower degree would be an antiincarnational spiritualization. Jesus taught us vocal prayer, which presupposes, however, that we try to penetrate the depths of his words, which he places in our mouths as the fruit of his own prayer. Ecclesially this is all the more plausible, since the prayer of an assembled community must of necessity be to a considerable extent vocal and because only in alternation with this common prayer can there be such a thing as a common meditative silence.
Meditation, p. 79 (emphasis added).
The combination of vocal prayer and meditative silence described by Balthasar is, in my view, an implicit endorsement of the Rosary as a highly desirable form of Christian meditation. It is gratifying to see many of Balthasar's insights influencing current liturgical thinking. This salutary influence confirms once again his importance for Catholic theology.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003Pope Approves of Mel Gibson Film on Passion of Christ
The Wall Street Journal's editorial page website has an article by Peggy Noonan reporting the Pope's terse approval: "It is as it was."
As Noonan's article points out, the Pope stands heads and shoulders above some of his cardinals. He is indeed a mensch. But we knew that already.
Ecumenical Realignment: A Conservative and Biblical Episcopal Network Emerges
In prior analysis (12/13/03), I have noted that the new direction for Catholic-Anglican ecumenism lies in dialogue and discussion with Episcopalians and other Anglicans who embrace the biblical, and therefore divinely revealed, teaching on the immorality of homosexual behavior. Now, the New York Times is reporting the emergence of an entity we should make a central partner in those ecumenical discussions (see "Dissident Episcopal Bishops Form New Group," N.Y. Times online, by Laurie Goldstein, Dec. 17, 2003 [free reg'n required]). Thirteen American Episcopalian dioceses have officially formed a network dedicated to supporting biblical authority against the heresy of the U.S. Episcopal Church. In my opinion, what we are seeing is the beginning of a historic transformation. The U.S. Episcopal Church, with the Canadian Anglican Church not far behind, is evolving into a sect whose relation with Christianity itself is on a par with that of the Mormons-- another sect making claims for Christian identity that just don't hold water. The majority of First World Anglicanism, i.e., that in the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, and continental Europe, will likely gravitate to the same "sect" status, leaving Anglicans in Africa, Asia, and Latin America as the only ones with a genuine and full Christian identity. That evolution means that the center of Catholic-Anglican ecumenism will eventually shift dramatically to contact with those Anglicans, mostly in the Third World, who reject the gay lifestyle.
This evolution will also have a dramatic effect on the internal dynamics of the Catholic Church herself. Catholic liberals espouse the same embrace of the gay lifestyle pioneered by the U.S. Episcopal Church. For Catholic liberals, the U.S. Episcopal Church, with its ordination of women and embrace of the gay lifestyle, is their model for a "progressive" and "affirming" Catholic Church. That model will eventually slide into complete irrelevance on the ecumenical scene. These events and transformations underline the heretical nature of the causes espoused by First World Anglicans, and make clear that the predominant form of First World Anglicanism is nothing that authentic Catholicism can even remotely look at for inspiration or example. God brings good out of evil. He is bringing great and good clarity out of the sacrilegious ordination of the gay Episcopal bishop. And clarity is always good. It will take time, as is typical, for some Vatican officials to catch up with the new reality, but, with prodding from Cardinal Ratzinger and with events fast leaping ahead of them, these officials, such as Walter Cardinal Kasper, will have no choice but to eventually recognize the handwriting on the wall, however reluctantly. History has a way of dragging the reluctant.
Update: A minor and insignificant update: The N.Y. Times is reporting on Dec. 19th (National section) that some of the thirteen dioceses listed as joining the network are claiming that they have not joined. The issue apparently concerns three dioceses in Florida. It appears from the cryptic article that they have not completed the process of formally deciding to join the network, but have signed a "theological charter" associated with the new network.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003The Strange Sentimentality of Cardinal Martino
Cardinal Renato Martino, a Vatican diplomat, has made a strange and obtuse statement about the arrest of Saddam Hussein:
See A.P. story.
The statement betrays how reflexive ideological hostility over the Iraq war has discredited Martino as a credible diplomatic spokesman. He is out of touch with reality. He refers to the dictator as "destroyed." The man was not killed or shot or injured in the capture. The man was receiving medical attention. Probably, the best commentary is one coming from a member of the Iraqi Governing Council who was among the group that confronted the dictator after his capture. One of them noted that if the roles had been reversed Hussein would have made mince meat of the Governing Council. Thousands in Iraq can confirm that observation with gruesome tales of the fate of their family members.
But there is something more deeply troubling about Martino's statement, something that is more deeply dysfunctional: the perversion of Christian pity and compassion into superficial sentimentalism. On the Christian scale of values, humility is a blessing, a beatitude. The opposite of that beatitude is the arrogance and power of dictators like Saddam, Hitler, and Stalin. In the Christian world view, those exercising and abusing absolute tyrannical power are in fact the most wretched even at the height of their power. So, for such a megalomaniac dictator like Saddam Hussein to be reduced to a humbling status is not a cause for sentimental pity or compassion. Rather, such reduction to a humbling status is an objective opportunity for blessing even for one as evil as Saddam Hussein. If this genocidal dictator is to experience any sort of conversion, it will occur as a result of his "humiliation." That is the Christian world view. In our own very different personal worlds, some of us have experienced conversion precisely through humiliation-- a conversion that would have been unlikely precisely without the element of humiliation.
The superficial and sentimental world view evinced by Martino's statement is strangely unChristian and instead adopts the world's scale of values: the powerful should be treated with the utmost respect and decorum. That is surely a strange sentiment from someone whom the Associated Press describes as being in charge of the Vatican's "Justice and Peace department." The Cardinal Keith O'Brien "Foot-in-Mouth" Award is hereby awarded to Cardinal Martino.
Practical Advice on Praying the Rosary from St. Louis de Montfort
In his short work The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis Grigñon de Montfort (1673-1716) gives his recommendations for praying the Rosary. St. Louis de Montfort's writings on Mary played a pivotal role in the life of Pope John Paul II. As a preface, it is worth quoting de Montfort's emphasis that the purpose of the Rosary is to teach "people about the virtues of Jesus and Mary, and [that it] leads them to mental prayer and to imitate Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, trans. Mary Barbour, T.O.P. [Bay Shore, N.Y.: Montfort Publications1991], p. 85).
Thus, the Rosary, like all Christian devotion, is Christocentric. Here are some of the saint's recommendations:
1.) Ask "for some special grace": "Always be sure to ask of Almighty God, by this mystery [of the Rosary] and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, one of the virtues that shines forth most in this mystery or one of which you stand in particular need" (de Montfort, p. 92). Notice how this advice personalizes the recitation of the Rosary and gives one a personal stake in its recitation. In other words, we are being advised to have a specific purpose in praying the Rosary, a purpose that will make a difference in our lives.
2.) Pray slowly: ""[P]ause briefly several times as you say the Our Father and Hail Mary. . . . At first, you may find it difficult to make these pauses because of your bad habit of saying prayers in a hurry; but a decade [one Our Father and ten Hail Marys, followed by the Glory be to the Father] that you say recollectedly in this way will be worth more than thousands of Rosaries said all in a rush-- without any pauses or reflexion" (de Montfort, p. 93). The Saint gives more similar advice: "It is not so much the length of a prayer, but the fervor with which it is said which pleases Almighty God and touches His Heart. One single Hail Mary that is said properly is worth more than one hundred and fifty that are badly said" (p. 87).
3.) Say it reverently: "I would like to add that the Rosary ought to be said reverently-- that is to say it ought to be said, as far as possible, kneeling, with the hands joined and clasping the Rosary" (de Montfort, p. 95). Thus, if possible, we are to align our posture with our thoughts. Another commentary that confirms the damage caused by liturgists who crusade against kneeling.
4.) And probably the most significant advice: "[T]o say the Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace [i.e., not in mortal sin] 'or at least be fully determined to give up mortal sin' " (de Montfort, p. 88). Thus, the Rosary is an instrument of continual conversion.
5.) To deal with inevitable distractions that are to be expected in repeating the same prayers: "Above all, do not forget to offer up each decade in honor of one of the mysteries and while you are saying it try to form a picture in your mind of Jesus and Mary in connection with this mystery" (de Montfort, p. 90).
6.) When possible, group recitation of the Rosary is powerful: "There are several ways of saying the Holy Rosary, but that which gives Almighty God the greatest glory, does the most for our souls and which the devil fears more than any other, is that of saying or chanting the Rosary publicly in two groups" (de Montfort, p. 96). The saint's reasoning on group recitation is the most powerful and persuasive argument for Christian community that I have ever heard; it easily outstrips in persuasive power the bland exhortations about the importance of "community" that we are burdened with by liturgical bureaucrats.
7.) "Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray" (de Montfort, p. 103). The saint makes clear the biblical basis of this confidence in prayer. Protestant evangelicals will find familiar echoes in this aspect of the saint's writings on the Rosary.
8.) Be humble: "Do not imitate the pride of the Pharisee whose prayer only hardened his heart and increased his guilt; imitate rather the humility of the Publican whose prayer obtained for him the remission of his sins" (de Montfort, pp. 102-103).
9.) Keep asking: "I must add also perseverence in prayer. Only he will receive, will find and will enter who perseveres in asking, seeking, and knocking. . . . we must never tire of asking" (de Montfort, p. 104).
10.) Remember that we are praising the Trinity: "Although this new hymn [the Hail Mary] is in praise of the Mother of God and is sung directly to her, nevertheless it greatly glorifies the Most Blessed Trinity because any homage that we pay Our Lady returns inevitably to God Who is the cause of all her virtues and perfections" (de Montfort, p. 44). Everything Mary has comes from Christ, and Christ is God.
There are more insights in the saint's little book that are worth reading, but the above struck this reader as particularly useful.
Monday, December 15, 2003Fear and Evil
The incarceration of the evil genocidal dictator Saddam Hussein completes the liberation of Iraq in a way that is described by the words of St. Thomas Aquinas:
Summa Theologiae, Pt. I-II, Q. 42, Art. 6 (emphasis added).
People living under the heel of a genocidal terror-dictatorship, whether in Nazi Germany or Baathist Iraq, are frozen in fear because the ruthless terror regime seems to be eternal and impregnable. Now, fear is lifting from the people of Iraq.
The capture of the evil dictator is an opportunity to set the record straight. First, contrary to the protestations of numerous pundits, Saddam Hussein is a terrorist: he ruled Iraq by terror and made Iraqis the main object of his terrorism. He is as much a terrorist as Osama Bin Laden. In addition, there is now a report from the United Kingdom claiming that one of the masterminds of the September 11th attack might have actually received terrorist training in Saddam Hussein's Baghdad (see article in U.K. Telegraph newspaper: "Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam," by Con Coughlin [free reg'n required; easily found if you search under "Abu Nidal Iraq"]). If this report is true (and some have attacked its credibility), it would not be a surprise. In any event, it is undeniable that Saddam gave safe haven to terrorist Abu Nidal in Baghdad until the terrorist's mysterious death in Baghdad. Any link between Saddam and terrorists would be a reasonable expectation--except maybe for partisan Democrats and anti-American Europeans.
These partisan Democrats, including virtually all of the current presidential candidates, are examples of naked ambition in desperate search of content. From the odd Howard Dean to the elitist John Kerry to the chameleon-like, anemic Wesley Clark, we have big egos making up issues in the service of their unhinged ambitions. Now, the world will see the overwhelming evidence of evil at a public trial that will pull the rug from under the "creativity" of the naked ambitions of these candidates. A Catholic Chaldean-American friend of mine, who emigrated from Iraq as a child decades ago, summed up the political impact in the U.S. in words that I cannot improve upon: "I believe that the Democratic Party is and should be in ruins." I cannot argue with that.
Even some Catholic leaders will have egg on their face as the evidence of evil publicly and dramatically emerges. Some Catholic leaders--but let me make clear not the Pope--went out of their way to argue against U.S. efforts in Iraq as if Saddam Hussein were a legitimate, respectable leader. These European Catholic leaders obviously felt comfortable mimicking the fashionable anti-Americanism of their home societies. Their outspoken anti-Americanism helped to shield and encourage an evil dictator. They ill-served the Pope with their intemperate statements (see story).
George Weigel commented on these unfortunate statements during the period prior to the beginning of the war:
George Weigel is a Catholic theologian and a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington. He takes issue with what he calls the politically motivated judgments of many Catholic religious leaders who openly oppose the war. "The pope's commentary, which has been the most intelligent on this, has simply pressed for every effort to be made to achieve a diplomatic resolution of the conflict. Others go beyond that and suggest that this is American imperialism, that this is a war for oil, that we are not yet at last resort, that Saddam Hussein can be cajoled into coming around. None of this makes very much sense at all," Weigel said..
Fortunately, the Pope wisely kept his own statements focused on a general plea for peace, as is appropriate for the supreme Vicar of Christ on earth. One Latin American cardinal, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Madariaga of Honduras, even went so far as to claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq in order to profit financially from the reconstruction (see Catholic Analysis archives for Mar. 29, 2003). To my knowledge, no apology for this delusionary insult to the American people has been made.
The truth will emerge. What a testimony to the reality of original sin: an evil dictator and so many others blind to the bitter lessons of history.
Sunday, December 14, 2003Gaudete Sunday: Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18
There is an air of excitement and anticipation in all of the readings today. God commands us through the prophet Zephaniah: Shout, Sing, Be Glad, Exult! Why this joy? The Lord "has turned away your enemies."
In the Responsorial Psalm, Isaiah, known as the "Fifth Gospel," makes clear the basis of our celebration: "God is indeed my savior; I am confident and unafraid."
Saint Paul tells us: "Rejoice in the Lord always." In transliterated New Testament Greek, "Chairete en kyrio pantote." The verb "chairete" or "rejoice" is a command or, in terms of grammar, imperative mood. This imperative form of the word "rejoice" appears 11 times in the New Testament. Because it is a present imperative, it is a command "to do actions that are repeated (done more than once)" (John H. Dobson, Learn New Testament Greek [Baker 1993], p. 206). It is not a command we fulfill only once. In other words, we are to rejoice again and again. The word "pantote" ("always") adds to this sense of repeating our rejoicing by emphasizing that we are to rejoice "always, on every occasion" (Dobson, p. 173).
So we have a new commandment: Rejoice again and again, always, on every occasion.
In Luke, John the Baptist tantalizes the people by announcing that the Messiah "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." He is telling them that, however much you may be excited about me, just wait: you have seen nothing to compare with what you will see.
Today, for many reasons, it is truly Gaudete or "Rejoice" Sunday. Let us repeat this rejoicing always, on every occasion, for God has saved us and turned away our enemies.