Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 2

This covers paragraphs 11-16 (Hey, this is tough sledding! and I haven't had a chance to shake the rust off my Latin since 1981!) 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 translated, but which adds sense, I put it in [brackets]. Sometimes a translated word or phrase needs a little extra 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 together something, meaningwise, which might not have been apparent to me.

Figura transit in veritatem

11. Jesus thus brings inserts his own radical novum newness to the ancient Hebrew sacrificial meal. For us Christians, that meal no longer need be repeated repeating that meal is no longer necessary. As the Church Fathers rightly say, figura transit in veritatem: the foreshadowing has given way yielded its place to the truth itself. The ancient rite has been brought to fulfilment fulfilled and definitively surpassed by the loving gift gift of love of the incarnate Son of God. The food of the truth, Christ sacrificed immolated for our sake, dat figuris terminum. (20) By his the command to "do this in remembrance of me" (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:25), he asks us to respond compatibly [i.e. consistently, in a corresponding manner] to his gift and to make it sacramentally present represent him sacramentally. In through these words the Lord expresses, as it were let us say, his expectation that the his Church, born of his sacrifice, will receive take [i.e. give a home, shelter] this gift, developing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the liturgical form of the sacrament. The remembrance memorial of his perfect gift consists not only in the mere repetition of the Last Supper, but properly in the Eucharist itself, that is, in the radical newness of Christian worship. In this way, Jesus left us commissioned us with the task of entering into participating in his "hour." "The Eucharist draws internalizes us into Jesus' act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving We do not only receive passively the incarnate Logos, we enter into are implicated in the very dynamic of his self-giving." (21) Jesus "draws us into himself." (22) The substantial conversion of bread and wine into his body and blood introduces within creation the principle of a radical change, a sort of "nuclear fission," to use an image familiar known to us today, which penetrates to the heart produces in the most intimate [reaches] of all one's being, a change meant to set off awaken a process which transforms for the transformation of reality, a process leading ultimately to with the ultimate end being the transfiguration of the entire world, to the point the moment where God will be all in for all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

The Holy Spirit and the Eucharist

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

12. With his word and with the elements of bread and wine, the Lord himself has given us the essentials elements of this the new worship. The Church, his Bride, is called to celebrate the eucharistic banquet daily in his memory day after day in his commemoration. She thus makes introduces the redeeming sacrifice of her Bridegroom a part of human history into the history of men and makes it sacramentally present in every culture all cultures. This great mystery is celebrated in the liturgical forms which the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, develops in throughout time and space in diverse places. (23) We need a renewed To this purpose it is necessary to awaken within us an awareness of the decisive role played by of the Holy Spirit in the evolution of the liturgical form and the deepening understanding of the sacred mysteries. The Paraclete, Christ's first gift to those who believe the first gift for believers, (24) already at work active in Creation (cf. Gen 1:2), is fully present throughout the life of the incarnate Word: Jesus Christ is conceived by the Virgin Mary by the power work of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:35); at the beginning of his public mission, on the banks of the Jordan, he sees the Spirit descend upon him in the form of a dove (cf. Mt 3:16 and parallels); he acts, speaks and rejoices in the Spirit (cf. Lk 10:21), and he can offer himself in the Spirit through Him he offers himself (cf. Heb 9:14). In the so-called "farewell discourse" reported collected by John, Jesus clearly relates establishes a clear relationship between the gift of his life in the paschal mystery to the gift of the Spirit to his own (cf. Jn 16:7). Once risen resurrected, bearing in his flesh the signs of the passion, he can pour out the the Spirit upon them (cf. Jn 20:22), making them sharers imparts the the Spirit (cf. Jn 20:22), making his [people, disciples, followers] participants in his own mission (cf. Jn 20:21) The Spirit would then teach the disciples all things and bring to their remembrance remind them of all that Christ had said (cf. Jn 14:26), since it falls corresponds to him, as the Spirit of truth (cf. Jn 15:26), to guide the disciples into all completed truth (cf. Jn 16:13). In the account in Acts, the Spirit descends on the Apostles gathered in prayer with Mary on the day of Pentecost (cf. 2:1-4) and stirsanimates them to undertake the mission of proclaiming the Good News to all peoples. Thus it is through the working of the Spirit that Christ himself continues to be Therefore Christ himself by virtue of the action[s] of the Holy Spirit is present and active in his Church, starting with from her vital centre which is the Eucharist.

The Holy Spirit and the eucharistic celebration

13. Against In this backdrop context we can understand the decisive role played by of the Holy Spirit in the eucharistic celebration, particularly with regard to transubstantiation. An awareness of this is clearly evident in All this has been well documented by the Fathers of the Church. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, in his Catecheses, states that we "call upon God in his mercy to send his Holy Spirit upon the offerings before us, to transform the bread into the body of Christ and the wine into the blood of Christ. Whatever the Holy Spirit touches is sanctified and completely transformed" (25). Saint John Chrysostom too notes that the priest invokes the Holy Spirit when he celebrates the sacrifice: (26) like Elijah, the minister calls down the Holy Spirit so that "as grace comes down upon the victim, the souls of all are thereby inflamed" (27). The spiritual life of the faithful can benefit greatly from a better appreciation It is very [i.e., vitally, crucially] necessary for the spiritual life of the faithful to be fully conscious of the richness of the anaphora: along joined together with the words spoken by Christ at the Last Supper, it contains the epiclesis, the petition to the Father to send down make descend the gift of the Spirit so to the ends that the bread and the wine will become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and that "the community as a whole will become ever more the body of Christ" (28). The Spirit, which is invoked by the celebrant upon the gifts of bread and wine placed on the altar is the same Spirit who gathers the faithful "into one body" and makes of them a spiritual offering pleasing to the Father (29).

The Eucharist and the Church

The Eucharist, causal principle beginning of the Church

14. Through By the sacrament of the Eucharist Jesus draws incorporates the faithful into his "hour;" in this manner he shows us the bond union that he willed to establish between himself and us, between his own person and the Church. Indeed In effect, in the sacrifice of the Cross, Christ gave birth to begets the Church as his Bride and his body. The Fathers of the Church often meditated on the relationship between Eve's coming forth origins from the side of Adam as he slept (cf. Gen 2:21-23) and the coming forth of the new Eve, the Church, from the open side of Christ sleeping in death: from Christ's pierced side, John recounts, there came forth blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34), the symbol of the sacraments (30). A contemplative gaze Contemplating [i.e., pondering, looking upon meditatively] "upon him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19:37) leads us to reflect on consider the causal connection between Christ's sacrifice, the Eucharist and the Church. The Church "draws her life from the Eucharist" (31). Since the Eucharist Given that it makes present Christ's redeeming sacrifice, we must start by acknowledging recognize (i.e., admit) that "there is a causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church's very origins" (32). The Eucharist is Christ who gives himself to us and continually builds us up as his body. Hence, in the striking interplay between the Eucharist which builds up the Church, and the Church herself which "makes" the Eucharist The Eucharist is who gives himself to us, edifying us continually as his body. Therefore in the correlative [i.e. symbiotic] relationship between the Eucharist which builds the Church and the Church that makes (i.e. confects) the Eucharist (33), the primary causality is expressed in the first formula> the first affirmation expresses the primary cause: the Church is able to celebrate and adore the mystery of Christ present in the Eucharist precisely because this very Christ first gave himself to before her in the sacrifice of the Cross. The Church's ability to "make" the Eucharist is completely rooted inhas as its root Christ's self-gift donation [i.e. selfgiving] to her. Here we can see more clearly the meaning of Saint John's words: "he first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). We too, at every celebration of the Eucharist, confess the primacy of Christ's gift. The causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church's origins definitively discloses both the chronological and ontological priority of the fact that it was Christ who loved us "first." For all eternity he remains the one who It is he who eternally loves us first.

The Eucharist and ecclesial communion

15. The Eucharist is thus constitutive of the Church's being and activity actions. This is why Christian antiquity used the same words, Corpus Christi, to designate Christ's body born of the Virgin Mary, his eucharistic body and his ecclesial body.(34) This clear datum fact of the verily present in tradition helps us to appreciate augment within us a consciousness [i.e., a conscious knowledge, a full awareness] of the inseparability of Christ and the Church. The Lord Jesus, by offering himself in sacrifice for us, in his gift effectively pointed to through his gift announced in an efficacious [i.e., complete, thorough, having a proper effect] manner the mystery of the Church. It is significant that the Second Eucharistic Prayer, invoking the Paraclete, formulates its prayer for the unity of the Church as follows: "may all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit." These words help This passage permits us to see clearly understand clearly how the res of the sacrament of the Eucharist is includes the unity of the faithful within in ecclesial communion. The Eucharist is thus found at the roots of the Church as a mystery of communion (35).

The necessary relationship between Eucharist and communio had already been pointed out called to our attention by the Servant of God John Paul II in his Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia. He spoke of made reference to the memorial of Christ as "the supreme sacramental manifestation of communion in the Church" (36). The unity of ecclesial communion is concretely manifested revealed in the Christian communities and is renewed at the celebration of the Eucharist in the Eucharistic act, which unites them and differentiates them in the into particular Churches, "in quibus et ex quibus una et unica Ecclesia catholica exsistit" (37). The fact that Precisely because of the reality of the one Eucharist which is celebrated in each Diocese around its own Bishop helps allows us to see how those particular Churches subsist in and ex Ecclesia. Indeed. In effect, "the oneness and indivisibility of the eucharistic body of the Lord implies implicates [i.e., establishes the fact, makes clear] the oneness of his mystical body, which is the one and indivisible Church. From the eucharistic centre arises the necessary openness of every celebrating community, of every particular Church. By allowing: to allow itself to be drawn into the open arms of the Lord, it achieves continues the insertion into his one and undivided body." (38) Consequently, in the celebration of the Eucharist, the individual members of the faithful find themselves in their Church, that is, in the Church of Christ. From With this eucharistic perspective, adequately fully [i.e., properly, correctly] understood, ecclesial communion is seenrevealed to be catholic by its very nature (39). An emphasis on Underscoring this eucharistic basis of ecclesial communion can also contribute greatly effectively [i.e., having proper effect] to the ecumenical dialogue with the Churches and Ecclesial Communities which are not in full communion with the See of Peter. The Eucharist objectively creates establishes a powerful bond of unity between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, which have preserved the authentic and integral nature of the eucharistic mystery. At the same time, emphasis on the [bold] relief given to the ecclesial character of the Eucharist can become an important element of the dialogue with the Communities born of the Reformed tradition (40).

The Eucharist and the Sacraments

The sacramentality of the Church

16. The Second Vatican Council recalled commemorates [i.e., reminds us] that "all the other sacraments, and indeed as well as all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up united with the Eucharist and are directed towards ordered [i.e. ordained] by it. For in the most blessed The Holy Eucharist is contained the entire spiritual wealth contains all the assets [i.e., goods, property] of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch Passover and our living bread, who gives life to humanity through his flesh – that flesh which is given life and gives life by the Holy Spirit whose flesh is living and gives life to men by the Holy Spirit. Thus men and women are invited and led taken to offer themselves, their works and all creation in union things created with Christ him." (41) This close intimate relationship of the Eucharist with the other sacraments and the Christian life existence can be most fully understood is understood to its depth [i.e., root, core] when we contemplate the mystery of the Church herself as a sacrament. (42) To this end, the Second Vatican Council in this regard stated that "the Church, is in Christ, is a sacrament or a sign and instrument – of communion the intimate union with God and of the unity of the entire human race humankind." (43) To quote Saint Cyprian, as "a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," (44) she is the sacrament of trinitarian communion.

The fact that the Church is the "universal sacrament of salvation" (45) shows how the sacramental "economy" ultimately definitively determines the way that Christ, the one only Saviour, through the Spirit, reaches our lives existence in all their particularity propriatery [i.e., individual, particular, specific] conditions. The Church herself receives and at the same time expresses herself what she herself is in the seven sacraments, thanks to by which God's grace concretely influences the lives of the faithful, so that their whole existence life, redeemed by Christ, can become an act of worship pleasing acceptable to God. From this perspective, I would like here to draw attention to some underscore certain elements brought up signaled [i.e., indicated, "flagged"] by the Synod Fathers which may help us to grasp might be helpful in comprehending the relationship of each of the sacraments to the eucharistic mystery.