The Sacramental Journey: a Musical Mystery

Discussion in 'The Sacraments' started by Scott P, Aug 16, 2020.

  1. Scott P

    Scott P New Member

    The Sacramental Journey: a Musical Mystery


    The Refined Notes, the Imperfect Notes: Priests

    STUDENT: OK, great, that makes sense. So what can we get out of this?

    TUTOR:Yes, to start, let us move on to a deeper analysis of the scale. Firstly, obviously there is a one-to-one correspondence between the sacramental steps and the nine note scale. Yet, the next thing is this: the black keys are obviously “imperfect” notes, since they don’t “fit” anywhere in the pure key. In short, the blacks serve this purpose: of the nine sacramental steps, exactly five of them are steps that require a priest to get to, meaning, of the seven sacraments, five absolutely require a priest [and in one case a bishop] to receive. And note, again, in every complete octave scale, there are five black keys, no more, no less.

    STUDENT: Ok, first of all, remind me what these five sacraments are.

    TUTOR: Sure, the five sacraments that require the priests are, in Roman order, confession, eucharist, confirmation, holy orders, anointing.

    STUDENT: Ok, review for us once again why a priest is absolutely necessary for these sacraments.

    TUTOR: Sure: in short, these five sacraments absolutely require a priest, and in one case, a bishop. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick: both entail the forgiveness of sins. The ministry of reconciliation emanates from the Apostolic offices alone, so that only bishops and priests can forgive sins. In Confirmation: the fullness of spiritual gifts to enable mature perseverance in grace clearly would require that some fullness of truth and grace is manifest in the community, hence, only where the stability of apostolic succession and Tradition exists could this sacrament exist. Holy Orders, of course, exists if, and only if, valid Apostolic Succession exists, and priests do not exist without Apostolic Succession. The Eucharist: only a priest can transform bread and wine into the Second Person of the Godhead. “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

    STUDENT: Ok, but I would like to inquire about the other two that you say don’t need a priest: baptism and marriage: that doesn’t make sense, since every baptism and marriage I have ever seen had a priest.

    TUTOR: True, but those are consequence of normality. Protestants have valid baptism in general, and so when a minister baptizes, it is valid. The Church defined that in early history. As for marriage, any two validly baptized man and woman, even if they are both Protestant, if they are free to marry, intend the vows, and such, and consummate, contract a valid sacrament of marriage. (marriages in which either spouse is of Apostolic Christianity, will require the presence of a true deacon or priest). Hence, the one who marries them is a Protestant minister, who is never a priest, and it is still a sacrament

    STUDENT: Wait a minute! Protestants don’t even usually believe that marriage is a sacrament.

    TUTOR: True, but it is, and they have it, cuz God doesn’t care about their ignorance; He gives them the grace anyway, cuz they need it!

    STUDENT: Actually, that is pretty excellent and quite radical. God saves us despite our own folly!

    TUTOR: Yes, exactly. Ok, now where were we?

    STUDENT: We were going to talk about what imperfect notes have to do with priests!

    TUTOR: Oh yes! Because PRIESTS ARE IMPERFECT MORTALS! They sin and fall short. And God has willed to mediate His grace primarily through sinful men.

    STUDENT: Why on earth would God do that? It doesn’t make sense! Preachers and priests should be shiny and squeaky clean, like angels.

    TUTOR: If only that were true. He wants to teach us humility. It would be easy to always receive Eucharist from saints. It takes patience, long-suffering, and meekness to receive grace from a man who may not even be as holy as you are.

    STUDENT: But shouldn’t a priest’s ability to give grace cease to exist if he sins seriously?

    TUTOR: Absolutely not! That was an old heresy called Donatism. The Donatists were angry that some clergy apostatized at the time of the Roman persecutions. They wanted such men removed from office, and believed that their efficacy as mediators of grace ceased when they fell from grace.

    STUDENT: So what did the Church do about that?

    TUTOR: They declared Donatus a heretic. Effectively, even back then—long before the moral corruption of the hierarchy in the late Middle Ages antecedent to the great Protestant rebellion, which was largely based on that moral corruption—the Church had to deal with wayward clergy. Their conclusion was, the efficacy of a priest is not contingent on his personal character but upon his office. Hence, their solution with some of these men that apostatized was to relegate them to some penance and readmit them later to practice.

    STUDENT: So let me get this straight: you are saying, in other words, that if a priest is in mortal sin, he can still confect the eucharist validly and forgive you your sins in the confessional.

    TUTOR: Absolutely, and the reason is that Jesus does not want us to be kept from His love and grace because of any possible wickedness of His shepherds. He loves us that much.

    STUDENT: Now that I think about it, that is radical and most excellent!

    TUTOR: By the way, did you see that a new Bill and Ted adventure is out soon in the theaters.

    STUDENT: Awesomeness! Waynes World!

    TUTOR: No, that is Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey. We need Keanu Reeves.

    STUDENT: I know, I was just sprucing things up!

    TUTOR: Ok, on to business.

    STUDENT: Ok, but why the hell did we do all this to begin with?

    TUTOR: Because, mon frere, there were five sacraments that require the priesthood without exception and there are exactly only five flats/sharps in an octave, no more, no less.

    STUDENT: And?

    TUTOR: AAAND!!! … the five flats of our scale occur EXACTLY BEHIND EVERY PURE NOTE THAT IS A SACRAMENT THAT REQUIRES A PRIEST, no more no less! And that would be amazing if only because it implies that one must “pass through the medium” of a black key, to get to the pure white key that is a sacrament that requires a priest. In other words, it would mean that God MEDIATES grace through the priest, an imperfect sinner, Just as God provides an imperfect medium to get to the note of that sacrament.

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