Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 8

This covers paragraphs 34-38 of the Apostolic Exhortation. Please read my "introduction" to this effort if you haven't done so already. (Be patient, not only is the translation from Latin a bit rough, but also formatting in Blogger is a pain in the...it's my croix du jour to bear, let's just say.) The stuff I find to be incorrect will be stricken out, what I consider the best (or most approximate) translation will be in bold. 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.

PART TWO

THE EUCHARIST, A MYSTERY
TO BE CELEBRATED

"Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven" (Jn 6:32)

Lex orandi and lex credendi [i.e., "What you pray is what you believe."]

34. The Synod of Bishops reflected considered at length on the intrinsic relationship between eucharistic faith and eucharistic celebration, pointing out the connection highlighting the nexus between the lex orandi and the lex credendi, and stressing [literally, "underlining"] the primacy of the liturgical action. The Eucharist should be experienced It is necessary to live the Eucharist as a mystery of faith, celebrated authentically and with a clear awareness the conscience clear that "the intellectus fidei has a primordial relationship always and from the start [properly] connected to the Church's liturgical action." (105) Theological reflection in this area can never prescind from the sacramental order instituted by Christ himself. On the other hand, the liturgical action can never be considered generically, prescinding from the mystery of faith. Our faith and the eucharistic liturgy both have their source in the same event: Christ's gift of himself in the Paschal Mystery.

Beauty and the liturgy

35. This relationship between creed and worship is evidenced the mystery of faith as believed and worshipped is manifested in a particular peculiar [i.e., singular] way by the rich theological and liturgical category value of beauty. Like the rest of Christian Revelation, the liturgy is inherently linked to instrinsically bonded with beauty: it is veritatis splendor. The liturgy is a radiant expression of In the liturgy the paschal mystery [becomes] radiant, [and] in which Christ draws us to himself and calls us to communion. As Saint Bonaventure would say, in Jesus we contemplate beauty and splendour effulgence [i.e., glowing beauty] at their source. (106) This attribute of which we are mindful is no mere aestheticism, but the concrete way in which the truth of God's love in Christ encounters us, attracts us and delights us, arrives to us, fascinates us and captivates us, enabling us to emerge from ourselves and drawing us towards our true vocation, which is love: Love. (107) God allows himself to be glimpsed first in creation, in the beauty and harmony of the cosmos (cf. Wis 13:5; Rom 1:19- 20). In the Old Testament we see many signs of the grandeur of God's power as he manifests We find, therefore, in the Old Testament great signs of the splendor of the power [literally, "potency"] of God which manifests his glory in his wondrous the prodigious deeds among the Chosen People (cf. Ex 14; 16:10; 24:12-18; Num 14:20- 23). In the New Testament this epiphany of beauty reaches definitive fulfilment arrives definitively in God's revelation in Jesus Christ: (108) Christ He is the full manifestation of the glory of God divine glory. In the glorification of the Son, the Father's glory shines forth and is communicated (cf. Jn 1:14; 8:54; 12:28; 17:1). Yet Notwithstanding, this beauty is not [only] simply a harmony of proportion and form a simple harmony of form; "the fairest of the sons of men" (Ps 45[44]:3) [it] is also, mysteriously, the one "who had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him" (Is 53:2). Jesus Christ shows us how the truth of love can transform even is capable also of transfiguring the dark mystery of death into the radiant light of the resurrection. Here the splendour of God's glory surpasses all worldly mundane beauty. The truest True beauty is the love of God, who definitively revealed himself to us in the paschal mystery.

The beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime the highest [literally, "the most high"] expression of God's glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse showing [literally "a peeking out"] of heaven on earth. The memorial of Jesus' the redemptive sacrifice contains something traces of that beauty to which Peter, James and John beheld witness when the Master, making his on the way to Jerusalem, was transfigured before their eyes desired to transfigure before them (cf. Mk 9:2). Beauty, then, is not mere decoration a decorative element of the liturgical action, but rather an essential a constitutive element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. These considerations should make us realize the care which is needed, if the liturgical action is to reflect its innate splendour. Conscious of all this, we are to show great care, so the liturgical action may shine according to its proper [i.e., true] nature.

The eucharistic celebration, the work of "Christus Totus"

Christus totus in capite et in corpore

36. The "subject" of the liturgy's intrinsic beauty is Christ himself, risen and glorified in the Holy Spirit, who includes the Church in his work. The intrinsic beauty of the liturgy has, as its proper subject, Christ resurrected and glorified in the Holy Spirit which, in its acting [i.e., performance of its role] includes the Church. (109) Here we can From this perspective, it is useful to recall an evocative phrase the words of Saint Augustine which strikingly describes to great effect describe this dynamic of faith proper to the Eucharist. The great Bishop Saint of Hippo, speaking specifically precisely of the eucharistic mystery, stresses the fact that Christ assimilates us to himself: "The bread you see on the altar, sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. The chalice, or rather, what the chalice contains, sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ. In these signs By these, Christ the Lord willed to entrust to us his body and the blood which he shed for the forgiveness remission of our sins. If you have received them properly, you yourselves are what you have received." (110) Consequently, "not only have we become Christians, we have become Christ himself." (111) We can thus contemplate God's mysterious work action, which brings about effects a profound unity between ourselves and the Lord Jesus: "one should not believe that Christ is in the head but not in the body; rather he is complete in the head and in the body." (112)

The Eucharist and the risen Christ

37. Since the eucharistic liturgy is essentially an actio Dei which draws [literally, "involves''] us into Christ through the Holy Spirit, its basic structure is not something within our power to change fundamentals are not submitted to our decisions [literally, "our arbitration"], nor can it be held hostage by the latest trends yield to the pressure of the moment. Here too Saint Paul's irrefutable statement applies: "no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 3:11). Again it is It is the Apostle of the Gentiles who assures us again that, with regard to the Eucharist, he is presenting not his own teaching personal doctrine but what he himself has received (cf. 1 Cor 11:23). The celebration of the Eucharist implies and involves the living Tradition. The Church celebrates the eucharistic sacrifice in obedience to Christ's command mandate, based on her experience of the Risen Lord the resurrected [Christ] and the outpouring effusion of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, from the beginning, the Christian community has gathered for the fractio panis on the Lord's Day. Sunday, the day Christ rose from the dead, is also the first day of the week, the day which the Old Ancient Testament tradition saw as the beginning of God's work of creation. The day of creation has now become the day of the "new creation," the day of our liberation, when we commemorate Christ who died and rose again dead and resurrected (113).

Ars celebrandi

38. In the course of the Synod, there was frequent insistence on the need to avoid any antithesis it was insisted several times to transcend any possible separation between the ars celebrandi, the art of proper celebration with rectitude, and the full, active and fruitful participation of all the faithful. The primary way to foster the participation of the People of God in the sacred rite is the proper celebration of the rite itself. The ars celebrandi is the best way the optimal [i.e., main] condition to ensure their actuosa participatio. (114) The ars celebrandi is the fruit provenance of faithful adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness fullness; indeed, it is this manner of celebrating that has assured, for two thousand years this way of celebrating has sustained the faith life of all believers, called to take part in live the celebration as the People of God, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (cf. 1 Pet 2:4-5, 9) (115).

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