O is for Omnipotence, Orthodoxy, Orders

O is for Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence – all pervasive, all encompassing stands for God. He is Omnipotent – with unlimited power, Omniscient – with all knowledge, Omnipresent – present in all place and at all times. This attribute can only be ascribed to God the Almighty!

O is for Orthodoxy, literally translated “right belief” –  The belief As the Lord taught, As the Apostles preached and As the Fathers of the Church preserved. The Church’s duty is to teach and preach the gospel as mandated by Christ the Lord. And in order to accomplish this our Blessed Lord set the church on the foundation of the twelve apostles and Christ Himself being the corner stone.(Eph 2:20) The teaching  must adhere to what was taught in the Apostolic times. One such way this is maintained is the unbroken chain of Apostolic Succession through which Holy Orders have been passed on.

According to Vernon Staley, The power to act as ministers of Christ was,as already said, given by Jesus Christ in the first instance to the Apostles. But this ministerial commission was not intended to be exercised only by them, and to cease- when they died. The Christian Ministry was formed as the appointed means of applying the blessings of the Incarnation to mankind; and the Incarnation is not a paising event in the world’s history,but an abiding reality. The permanent character of the Ministry which Christ ordained,rests upon the permanent character of His Incarnation.

Our Lord intended the office which He bestowed upon the twelve Apostles, to live on after their deaths, until the end of the world.The Apostolic Ministry is an abiding fact in a world of change. It is true that the commission,-” Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the.Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,”  It was given to the Apostles, but it was accompanied by the promise,-” Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” This promise was not addressed to all Christian people, but only to the Apostles,’ and that too in connection with the official acts of teaching and baptising. It is as though Christ had said,-” Baptise and teach all nations, and I will be with you in so doing.” Moreover, He promised to be with the Apostles in performing these ministerial acts “unto the end of the world.” But how could He be with the Apostles in their work “unto the end of the world”?

“The end of the world” of which our Lord spake, has not yet come; how then is His promise to the Apostles fulfilled? The only possible meaning of the saying “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world “is this,-” I will be with the Ministry of which you are but the first members, I will be with you, and not only with you, but also with all who shall come after you in the Ministry. You will die, but your office will live on, and I will be with that office in the persons of your successors, even unto the end of the world.”

Thus we have the great promise on which the doctrine of the Apostolic succession rests.As Christ was with the Apostles cunfirming and ratifying their official acts, so He has promised to be with their successors as long as His mediatorial Kingdom lasts. We have thus the best possible grounds for believing in the continuity of the Apostolic Ministry as it now exists among ourselves.(Vernon Staley, The Catholic Religion p.20)

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O is for Orders: From Jesus Christ to the Apostles to the Ordained Ministers

The Apostolic Succession confirms and validates the sacred orders to the ministry:

The Apostolic Ministry was to be secured by the Apostles in their life-time providing successors to their office. As our Blessed Lord ordained the Twelve to be His representatives when He left the earth,so the Apostles chose others to take their place when they in turn were withdrawn by death.This plan of continuing the Apostles¬∑ Ministry was to be carried on from age to age until the end of time. As a fact of history, it has been carried on. It is now nearly two thousand years since our Lord’s promise was made.During this long period, successors of the Apostles, first receiving and then in turn handing on the Divine power and authority which Christ gave to the Twelve, have never been wanting. Such successors of the Apostles are with us now. The Apostolic succession is the link or bond which connects the Church of the nineteenth century with that of the first century.

In passing on the ministerial office to their immediate successors, the Apostles “used the laying on of hands. This ceremony signifies the transfer of authority, and it gave its name to the -rite of ordination. Ordination is the setting apart of men to be ministers of Christ.The Apostles laid their hands upon their successors, and these successors in turn did the same to others. There are several instances of this method of passing on the ministerial offices in the New Testament.(See Acts vi. 6. 1 Tim. iv. 14; v. 22. 2 Tim. i. 6.) What was then done has been done ever since. Every bishop, priest, and deacon, is now set apart by the laying on of hands. By this means there has been no break in the transmission of the ministerial commission in the Church of God, from the times of the Apostles down to our own day.(Vernon Staley, The Catholic Religion p.21)

The greatest possible care has ever been taken in this matter, to secure the true succession. It became a rule of the Church in very early days, that at least three successors of the Apostles (or bishops as they were called),should lay their hands upon the heads of those whom they admitted to the highest office of the Ministry.

God, Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent sent His only Son Jesus Christ, who promised to be with us to the end of the world. He appointed the twelve and the twelve passed on that authority that they received from the Lord through the Laying on of hands. It is the Church’s duty to preserve and be a steward of the ‘faith once delivered unto the saints.’

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