Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 1

This covers paragraphs 1-10 of the Apostolic Exhortation. Please read my "introduction" to this effort if you haven't done so already. If there is something that isn't in the text to be transaled, but which adds sense, I include in [brackets]. Sometimes a word needs a little help in making itself clearer, so in put any such clarification(s) [italicized in brackets]. I haven't made any comments yet, and I know that I have been VERY nitpicky in the translatin' so that anyone with a better sense of these things than I can piece something together which might not have been apparent to me.

INTRODUCTION

1. The sacrament of charity (1), the Most Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, thus revealing to us God's infinite love for every man and woman each man. This wondrous admirable sacrament makes manifest that "greater" love which led him to "lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). Jesus did indeed love them "to the [extreme] end" (Jn 13:1). [With this phrase] the Evangelist introduces Christ's act of immense humility: before dying for us on the Cross, he tied a towel around himself and washed the feet of his disciples. In the same way, Jesus continues, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, to love us "to the end," even to offering giving us his body and his blood. What amazement stunning emotion must the Apostles have felt in witnessing what the Lord did and said during that Supper! What admiration [i.e., reverence and awe] must the eucharistic mystery also awaken in our own hearts!

The food of truthFood of the truth

2. In the sacrament of the altar, the Lord meets us, men and women encounters man, created in God's image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:27), and becomes our companion along the way accompanying him along the way. In this sacrament, the Lord […] becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom. Since only the truth can truly make us free (cf. Jn 8:32), Christ becomes for us the food of truth. With deep human insightpenetrating insight into human reality, Saint Augustine clearly showed highlighted [i.e. put in bold relief] how we are moved spontaneously, and not by without constraint, whenever we encounter something attractive and desirable which awakens desire. Asking himself what it is that can move us most deeply, the saintly Bishop went on to say: "What does our soul desire more passionately ardently than [the] truth?" (2) Each of us has an innate and irrepressible desire Every man has an indelible desire for ultimate and definitive truth. The Lord Jesus, "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), speaks to our thirsting, pilgrim hearts, our hearts yearning for the source of life, our hearts longing for truth addresses the yearning heart of man which thirsts and wanders [i.e. is on a pilgrimage], a heart longing for the wellspring of life, a heart that is begging [i.e. in beggary] for the truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth in person, drawing the world to himself. "Jesus is the lodestar of human freedom: without him, it loses its focus [proper] orientation [i.e. direction], for without the knowledge of truth, freedom becomes debased, alienated and reduced to empty caprice denatured [i.e. unnatural], isolated and reduced to a sterile arbiter. With him, freedom reencounters itself." (3) In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus shows us in particular the truth about the love which is the very essence of God. It is this evangelical truth which challenges each of us and our whole being Jesus [specifically] shows us in the sacrament of the Eucharist the truth about […] love[,] which is the very essence of God. It is this evangelical truth that is of interest to every man and to the whole man. For this reason, the Church, which finds in the Eucharist the very centre of her life, is constantly concerned to proclaim to all, opportune importune whose vital center is the Eucharist, is bound to [i.e. is vowed to, places herself in obligation to, has solemnly promised to] proclaim to all, “in season, out of season” (cf. 2 Tim 4:2), that God is love.(4) Precisely because Christ has become for us the food of truth food of the truth, the Church turns to every man and woman, inviting them freely to addresses man, inviting him to freely accept God's gift.

The development of the eucharistic rite

3. If we consider the bimillenary history of God's Church, guided by the wisdom wise action of the Holy Spirit, we can gratefully admire we admire, filled with gratitude, the orderly development, through time, of the ritual forms in which we commemorate the event of our salvation. From the varied forms diverse modalities of the early centuries, still resplendent in the rites of the Ancient Churches of the East, up to the spread diffusion of the Roman rite; from the clear indications of the Council of Trent and the Missal of Saint Pius V to the liturgical renewal called for by established with the Second Vatican Council: in every age of the Church's history the eucharistic celebration, as the source and summit of her life and mission, shines forth in the liturgical rite in all its richness and variety multiform richness. The Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held from 2-23 October 2005 in the Vatican, gratefully acknowledged the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this rich history. has manifested a profound gratitude to God for this history, recognizing in it the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In a particular way In particular, the Synod Fathers acknowledged have attested and reaffirmed the beneficial influence benefits on the Church's life of the liturgical renewal which beganreform set in motion starting with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (5). The Synod of Bishops was able to evaluate the reception of the renewal in the years following the Council. There were many expressions of appreciationThe positive judgments [i.e. opinions] have been numerous. The difficulties and even the occasional abuses which were noted, it was affirmed, cannotThere has also been attestation to the difficulties and even the certain [i.e. known, not “some” or “several”] abuses committed, but which do not overshadow the benefits worth and the validity of the liturgical renewal, whose riches are are yet to be fully explored not yet fully discovered. Concretely, the changes which the Council called for indicated need to be understood ought to be read [i.e. interpreted] within the overall unity characteristic of the historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities ruptures.(6)

The Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist

4. We should must also emphasize place in [bold] relief [i.e. highlight, underline] the relationship between the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and the events which have taken place in the Church's life in recent years. First of all, we should must recall the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, with which my beloved Predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul II, led the Church into the third Christian millennium. The Jubilee Year clearly had a significant was undoubtedly characterized by a strong eucharistic dimension. Nor can we We cannot forget that the Synod of Bishops was preceded, and in some sense prepared for, by the Year of the Eucharist which John Paul II had established with great foresight, wanted for the whole Church to celebrate. That Said year, which began with the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara in October 2004, ended on 23 October 2005, at the conclusion of the XI Synodal Assembly, with the canonization of five saints Beati, distinguished for their eucharistic piety: Bishop Józef Bilczewski, Fathers Gaetano Catanoso, Zygmunt Gorazdowski and Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, and the Capuchin Fra Felice da Nicosia. Thanks to the teachings proposed set forth by John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine (7) and to the momentuous arguments [i.e. logical proofs, proofs] and helpful valuable suggestions of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,(8) many numerous initiatives were undertaken by Dioceses and various ecclesial groups in order to reawaken and increase eucharistic faith in the believers, to improve the quality dignity of [Eucharistic] celebration[s], to promote eucharistic adoration and to encourage a practical animate an effective solidarity which, starting from the Eucharist, would reach the needy. Finally, mention should be made of the significance it is necessary to mention the importance of my venerable venerated Predecessor's last Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (9), in with which he left us a sure definite magisterial statement of the Church's teaching on the Eucharist Eucharistic doctrine and a final testimony of the central place that this divine sacrament had in his own life.

The purpose of this Exhortation

5. This Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation seeks to take up [once more] the richness and variety multiform richness of the reflections and proposals which emerged from the recent Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops – from the Lineamenta to the Propositiones, along the way of the Instrumentum Laboris, the Relationes ante and post disceptationem, the interventions of the Synod Fathers, the auditores and the fraternal delegates – and to offer some basic directions aimed at a renewed commitment to eucharistic enthusiasm make explicit certain courses of action aimed at a awakening a new eucharistic momentum and fervour in the Church. Conscious of the immense patrimony of doctrine and discipline accumulated over the centuries with regard to this sacrament,(10) I wish here to endorse by means of this document to recommend, taking into account the avowed wishes expressed by the Synod Fathers (11), the Christian people to deepen their understanding of the relationship between the eucharistic mystery, the liturgical action, and the new spiritual worship which derives from the Eucharist as the sacrament of charity. Consequently, I wish to set the present Exhortation alongside my first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est Given this perspective, I wish to establish a relationship between the present Exhortation and my first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, in which I frequently mentioned mentioned several times the sacrament of the Eucharist and stressed its relationship to Christian love, both of God and of neighbour: "God incarnate draws us all to himself. We can thus understand how agape also became a term for the Eucharist: there God's own agape comes to us bodily, in order to continue his work in us and through us" (12).

PART ONE

THE EUCHARIST, A MYSTERY
TO BE BELIEVED

"This is the work of God: that you believe in him whom he has sent" (Jn 6:29)

The Church's eucharistic faith

6. "The mystery of faith!" With these words, spoken immediately after the words of consecration, the priest proclaims the mystery being celebrated and expresses his wonder admiration [i.e. awe] before the substantial change in substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord Jesus, a reality which surpasses all human understanding. The In effect, the Eucharist is a "mystery of faith" par excellence: "the sum and summary of our faith." "the compendium and sum of our faith." (13) The Church's faith is essentially a eucharistic faith, and it is especially nourished it is nourished in a particular way at the table of the Eucharist. Faith and the sacraments are two complementary aspects of ecclesial life. Awakened by the preaching of God's word, faith is nourished and grows in the grace-filled encounter with the Risen Lord which takes place in the sacraments The faith which is awakened by the annunciation [i.e. proclamation] of God's word is nourished and grows in the grace-filled encounter with the Risen Lord which is produced by the sacraments: "faith is expressed in the rite, while the rite reinforces and strengthens faith." (14) For this reason, the Sacrament of the Altar is always at the heart center of the Church's life: "thanks to the Eucharist, the Church is reborn ever anew!" (15) The more lively alive the eucharistic faith of the People of God, the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples. The Church's very history bears witness to this. Every great reform has in some way been linked to the rediscovery of belief faith in the Lord's eucharistic presence among his people.

The Blessed Trinity and the Eucharist

The bread come down from heaven

7. The first element reality [i.e. object] of eucharistic faith is the mystery of God himself, trinitarian love. In Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus, we find an illuminating expression in this regard: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3:16-17). These words show demonstrate the deepest source root of God's gift. In the Eucharist Jesus does not give us a thing "something," but himself; he offers his own body and pours out his own blood. He thus gives us the totality of his life and reveals the ultimate origin of this love. He is the eternal Son, given to us by the Father. In the Gospel we hear how Jesus, after feeding the crowds by multiplying the loaves and fishes, says to those who had followed him to the synagogue of Capernaum: "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world" (Jn 6:32-33), and even identifies himself, his own flesh and blood, with that bread: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh" (Jn 6:51). Jesus thus shows that he is manifests himself as the bread of life which the eternal Father gives to mankind.

A free gift of the Blessed Trinity

8. The Eucharist reveals the loving plan design that guides all of salvation history the whole [i.e., total, entire] history of salvation (cf. Eph 1:10; 3:8- 11). There the Deus Trinitas, who is essentially love (cf. 1 Jn 4:7-8), becomes fully a part of united to our human condition. Through the bread and wine under whose appearances Christ gives himself to is given unto us in the paschal meal (cf. Lk 22:14-20; 1 Cor 11:23-26), God's whole life encounters us and is sacramentally shared with us divine life arrives unto us, and is shared with us in the form of the sacrament. God is a perfect communion of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At creation itself, man was called to have some share in a certain measure of God's breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7). But it is in Christ, dead and risen, and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given without measure that [God’s breath] is given to us without measure (cf. Jn 3:34), that we have become sharers of God's inmost life there we are converted into true participants in the divine intimacy. (16) Jesus Christ, who "through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God" (Heb 9:14), makes us, in the gift of the Eucharist, sharers in God's own life communicates [i.e. imparts] that same divine life to us, in the eucharistic gift. This is an absolutely free gift, the superabundant fulfilment of God's promisesGod's promises fulfilled above all measure. The Church receives takes to its bosom [i.e. gives a loving home to], celebrates and adores this gift in faithful obedience. The "mystery of faith" is thus a mystery of the trinitarian love, a mystery in which we are called by grace to participate. We too, should are to therefore exclaim with Saint Augustine: "If you see love, you see the Trinity." (17)

The Eucharist: Jesus the true sacrificial immolated lamb

The new and eternal covenant in the blood of the Lamb

9. The mission for which Jesus came among to us was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery. On the Cross from which he draws all people to himself (cf. Jn 12:32), just before "giving up the Spirit," he utters the words: "it is finished" (Jn 19:30). In the mystery of Christ's obedience unto death, even death on a Cross (cf. Phil 2:8), the new and eternal covenant was brought about accomplished (i.e. started, established). In his crucified flesh, God's freedom and our human freedom the freedom of God and the freedom of man met definitively in an inviolable indissoluble, eternally valid pact. Human sin was also redeemed expiated once for all by God's Son (cf. Heb 7:27; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10). As I have said elsewhere, "Christ's death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up give new life to man and save him. This is love in its most radical form." (18) In the Paschal Mystery, truly our deliverance from evil and death has taken place. In instituting the Eucharist, Jesus had spoken of the "new and eternal covenant" in the shedding of his blood (cf. Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20). This, the ultimate purpose of his mission, was clear from the very beginning of his public life. Indeed, when, on the banks of the Jordan, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him, he cried out: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). It is significant that these same words are repeated at every celebration of Holy Mass, when the priest invites us to approach the altar that we may receive communion: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." Jesus is the true paschal lamb who freely gave himself in sacrifice for us, and thus brought about the new and eternal covenant. The Eucharist contains this radical newness, which is offered to us again at every celebration. (19)

The institution of the Eucharist

10. This leads us Because of this we come to reflect on the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. It took place within the context of a ritual meal commemorating the foundational fundamental event of the people of Israel: their deliverance the liberation from slavery in Egypt. This ritual meal, which called for the sacrifice of lambs (cf. Ex 12:1-28, 43-51), was a remembrance commemoration of the past, but at the same time a prophetic remembrance, the proclamation of a deliverance yet to come memory, that is to say, a declaration of a future liberation. In effect, the people had come to realize experienced [i.e. internalized the knowledge] that this earlier liberation was not had not been definitive, for their history continued to be was still too [i.e. overly] marked by slavery and sin. The remembrance of their ancient liberation thus expanded opened itself up [i.e. left itself open] to the invocation and expectation supplication and hope of a yet more profound, radical, universal and definitive salvation. This is the context in which Jesus introduces the newness of his gift. In the prayer of praise, the Berakah, he does not simply thank the Father for the great events of past history, but also for his own "exaltation." In instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus anticipates and makes present implicates [i.e. binds, involves, melds] the sacrifice of the Cross and the victory of the resurrection. At the same time, he reveals that he himself is the true sacrificial lamb, destined foreseen in the Father's plan from the foundation creation of the world, as we read in The First Letter of Peter (cf. 1:18-20). By placing his gift in this context, Jesus shows the salvific meaning of his death and resurrection, a mystery which renews becomes the renewing factor for history and the whole cosmos. The institution of the Eucharist demonstrates how Jesus' death, for all its violence and absurdity, became in him itself violent and absurd, is transformed in Jesus into a supreme act of love and mankind's definitive deliverance liberation from evil.