One of the neat things about being a Christian is our unique connection with all of the other Christians who have ever lived. The Christian life is not just a trendy cultural fad or some fleeting “enlightened” moment in history. It’s something that has stood the test of time and has been uniquely preserved. And we are all connected as one Body, not only with the other Christians living along side us on Earth today, but across time and space.
We are connected with all Christians who have ever lived. And we are connected with them as the Church Triumphant (those in heaven), the Church Suffering (those being purified in Purgatory) and the Church Militant (those of us, as St. Paul said, still working out our salvation here on Earth).
Of course we are connected most intimately, especially and mysteriously through the Eucharist and the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. That is what makes it all possible. But that has been made practically tangible for us and passed down to us by way of that most familiar of historical conduits: Tradition. And, in particular, the Tradition of Jesus’ Apostles.
That’s why it is so comforting to look back at what the first Christians did to practice their faith and to find the familiar Catholic Mass. It’s quite the connection.
The following video recounts a letter from St. Justin Martyr to the Emperor Antoninus Pius in 155 AD explaining what Christians back then (only a generation or two after the Apostles) did to worship. Cool stuff.
More on the early Church Fathers here.