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Daily Luther: Beware Your Feelings!

May 25th, 2012
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“Over against all that reason suggests or would measure and fathom, yes, all that our senses feel and perceive, we must learn to cling to the Word and simply judge according to it …. For if you insist on judging according to what you see and feel and, when you are told God’s Word, urge your opposite feelings and say: You have good talking, but my heart talks quite another language, and if you felt what I feel, you, too, would talk differently, etc.: then God’s Word is not in your heart, but by your own thoughts, reason, and musings you have smothered and extinguished it. In short, if you will not esteem the Word above all your feelings, eyes, senses, and heart, you will inevitably be lost, and there is no help for you …. I also feel my sin, and the Law, and the devil on my neck, that I lie prostrate under it as under a heavy load. But what should I do? Were I to judge according to such feelings and my strength, I and all men would have to despair and perish. But if I desire to be helped, I must verily face about and look at the Word and learn from it to say: I indeed feel God’s wrath, the devil, death, and hell; but the Word says otherwise, namely, that I have a gracious God through Christ, who is my Lord, superior to the devil and all creatures.” (St. L. VIII:1102.)

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  1. Jonathan Trost
    May 27th, 2012 at 07:20 | #1

    I have a RC friend who, over many years, out of curiosity, but only occasionally, attended services in various “mianline” Protestant churches. Based on those experiences, he made this comment/observation:

    “Yes, we Catholics, unlike Protestants, do have a pope. But, you Ptrotestants, unlike Catholics, have as many popes as you have congregations.”

    I asked what he meant by that, and he said words to this effect:

    “During homilies, as they might relate to doctrine or practice, or both, I’ve heard preachers say: ‘Based on my understanding of scripture and on my life’s experiences, I’ve long felt or believed that…

    ” We, Catholics, however, aren’t interested in, and don’t want to be informed primarily by, the personal life’s experiences and understandings of the homilist. Rather, we ask: ‘What do the words of Christ, as interpreted and explained by Holy Mother Church, have to say on the topic at hand?”

    What better catechisis we in the pews would receive if preachers were to read the words of Luther above before entering the pulpit. sharing with us the objective teachings of the Church, rather than the subjective obervations of the preacher.

    (My friend said that he had’t yet attended a Lutheran service, however. I invited him to do so.)

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