Thursday, February 3, 2011

24:15 Praxis Makes Perfect

Orthopraxis isn’t something you get at the dentist.  You might recognize it more easily if I use a similar word: orthodoxy. Ortho is a Greek word meaning “straight, correct”. “Doxy” refers to doctrine and belief, “praxis” refers to “use, practice, discipline”. If we are to be faithful Catholics, we must have both right doctrine and right practice.

A quick example: in the period of the Divided Kingdom after the death of King Solomon the Jews split into two kingdoms — the 10 tribes of Israel in the north and 2 tribes of Judah in the south. The division began as a political dispute over taxation and forced labor, but both camps worshiped the LORD. Right away, Israel was condemned by the prophets. Why?

Because the Temple was in the south and was the only acceptable place to offer the true worship of the true God. Having gone north, the Israelites could no longer do this. They did not have right practice (orthopraxy) even though they had right doctrine (orthodoxy). In an effort to justify themselves, the northern kingdom set up rival temples and practices and eventually fell into idol worship, so that they no longer even retained their orthodoxy.

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