Friday, June 09, 2006

Remembering Zion

By the rives of Babylon
There we sat and wept
Remembering Zion.
Ps. 137

It is often pointed out that remembering is one of the key themes of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. When we remember the Exodus, or as Christian celebrate the Eucharist 'in memory of' Jesus Christ, we do more than paint an image inside our minds. We actually make present, we re-present the action that we remember.

Key to remembering is the idea that what is remembered is something that we do not possess fully in reality or are not witnessing in the present. Remembering is an act of hope, then, since hope has to do with things that can't presently be seen. By remembering, we draw our hearts toward their true goals by virtue of hope in God's promises.

What does it mean, then, to remember Zion, at least from a Christian perspective? Zion is usually taken by the Fathers as a type of the soul, the Church or of heaven. So we should ask ourselves: do we really remember our souls and the purity to which they are called? Do we remember the Church and the purity to which She is called? Most importantly, do we cultivate a longing for heaven, the perfection of the soul, of the Church and the summation of all things in Christ? If we do not do this work of remembering, will we not be prone to despair and all of the compensating vices that derive from despair.

Why are you cast down, my soul?
Why groan within me?
Hope in God, I will praise Him still
My Savior and my God!

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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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