Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 16

This covers paragraphs 72-75 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.

Iuxta dominicam viventes – living in accordance with the Lord's Day according to [the] Sunday

72. From the beginning Christians were clearly conscious of this This radical newness which the Eucharist brings to human life introduces to the life of man has been present in the Christian conscience since the beginning. The faithful immediately perceived the profound influence of the eucharistic celebration on their manner of life. Saint Ignatius of Antioch expressed this truth when he called defined as Christians "those who have attained a arrived at the new hope," and described them as "those living in accordance with the Lord's Day according to [the] Sunday" (iuxta dominicam viventes). (204) This phrase of the great Antiochene martyr clearly highlights the connection between the reality of the Eucharist and everyday Christian life in its everyday aspects. The Christians' customary practice of gathering on the first day after the Sabbath to celebrate the resurrection of Christ – according to the account of Saint Justin Martyr (205) – is also what defines the form of a life renewed by an encounter with Christ. Saint Ignatius' phrase – "living in accordance with the Lord's Day according to [the] Sunday" – also emphasizes that this holy day becomes the paradigmatic value which this holy day holds in regard for every other day of the week. Indeed, it is defined by its difference is something more than the simple suspension of one's ordinary activities, a sort of parenthesis in one's usual daily rhythm. Christians have always experienced lived this day as the first day of the week, since it commemorates the radical newness brought by Christ. Sunday is thus the day when the Christians rediscovers the eucharistic form which their lives are his life is meant to have. "accordance with the Lord's Day according to [the] Sunday" means living in the awareness to live conscious of the liberation brought by Christ and making developing our lives into a constant self-offering to God, so that his victory may be fully revealed to all humanity manifested to all men through a profoundly renewed existence [one's] intimately renewed conduct.

Living the Sunday obligation precept

73. Conscious of this new vital principle for living which the Eucharist imparts to places on the Christian, the Synod Fathers reaffirmed the importance of the Sunday obligation mandate for all the faithful, viewing it as a wellspring of authentic freedom enabling them to live each day in accordance with what they celebrated on "the Lord's Day." The life of faith is endangered when we lose no longer feel the desire to share in the celebration of the Eucharist and its commemoration of in which we commemorate the paschal victory. Participating in the Sunday liturgical assembly with all our brothers and sisters, with whom we form one body in Jesus Christ, is demanded by our Christian conscience and at the same time it forms that conscience. To lose a sense of Sunday as the Lord's Day, a day to be sanctified, is symptomatic a symptom of the loss of an authentic sense of Christian freedom, the freedom of the children of God. (206) Here some Regarding this, great were the observations made by my venerable venerated predecessor John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (207) continue to have great value. Speaking of the various dimensions of the Christian celebration of Sunday, he said that it is Dies Domini with regard to the work of creation, Dies Christi as the day of the new creation and the Risen Lord's gift of the Holy Spirit, Dies Ecclesiae as the day on which the Christian community gathers congregates for the celebration, and Dies hominis as the day of joy, rest and fraternal charity.

Sunday thus appears as the This day is [therefore] manifest as the primordial holy day feast, when all believers, wherever they are found each of the faithful whatever his place, can become heralds and guardians someone who announces and has custody of the true meaning sense of time. It gives rise to From this springs the Christian meaning of life existence and a new way of experiencing living [out] time, relationships, work, life and death. On the Lord's Day, then, it is fitting that Church groups should organize, around Sunday Mass, the activities of the Christian community: social gatherings, programmes for the faith formation of children, young people and adults, pilgrimages, charitable works, and different moments of prayer. For the sake of these important values – while recognizing that Saturday evening, beginning with First Vespers, is already a part of Sunday and a time when fulfilling the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled is permitted – we need to remember that it is Sunday itself that is meant to be kept holy, lest it end up as a day "empty of God." (208)

The meaning of rest and of work

74. Finally, it is particularly urgent nowadays in our time to remember that the day of the Lord is also a day of rest from work. It is greatly to be hoped that We hope with great interest [literally, "vehemently"] this fact will also be recognized by civil society, so that individuals can be permitted to refrain from work without being penalized may be freed from obligations of labor without penalty. Christians, not without reference in [a certain] conjuction to the meaning of the Sabbath in the Jewish tradition, have seen in the Lord's Day a day of rest from their daily exertions [literally, "fatigues"]. This is highly in itself significant, for it relativizes work and directs it to the person: work is for man and not man for work. It is easy to see how this actually protects men and women, emancipating them from a possible form of enslavement. As I have had occasion to say, "work is enrobed of with a fundamental importance to the fulfilment of the human being and to the development of society. Thus, it must always be organized and carried out with full respect for human dignity and must always serve the common good. At the same time, it is indispensable that people not allow themselves to be enslaved by work or to idolize it, claiming to find in it the ultimate and definitive meaning of life." (209) It is on the day consecrated to God that men and women come to understand the meaning of their lives and also of their work activities. (210)

Sunday assemblies in the absence of a priest

75. Rediscovering the impetus [literally, "impulse"] for the significance of the Sunday celebration for the life of the Christians naturally leads to a consideration of the question spontaneously arises [concerning] the problem of those Christian communities which lack priests and where, consequently, it is not possible to celebrate Mass on the Lord's Day. Here it should be stated that a wide variety of situations exists. The Synod recommended first that the faithful should go to attend [literally, "approach"] one of the churches in their Diocese where the presence of a priest is assured, even when this demands a certain sacrifice. (211) Wherever great distances make it practically impossible to take part in the Sunday Eucharist, it is still important for Christian communities to gather together to praise the Lord and to commemorate the Day set apart for him. This needs, however, to be accompanied by an in the context of adequate instruction about the difference between Mass and Sunday assemblies in the absence of a priest. The Church's pastoral care must be is expressed in the latter case by ensuring that the liturgy of the word – led by a deacon or a community leader to whom this ministry has been duly entrusted by competent authority – is carried out according to a specific ritual prepared and approved for this purpose by the Bishops' Conferences. (212) I reiterate that only Ordinaries may grant the faculty of distributing holy communion in such liturgies, taking account of the need for a certain selectiveness. Furthermore, care should be taken that these assemblies do not create confusion about the central role of the priest and the sacraments in the life of the Church that these assemblies create confusion about the central role of the priest and the sacramental dimension in the life of the Church it is to be avoided. The importance of the role given to of the laity, who should rightly be thanked for their generosity in the service of their the Christian communities, must never obscure the indispensable ministry of priests for the life of the Church. (213) Hence care attentive vigilance must be taken to ensure that any such assemblies in the absence of a priest do not encourage give rise to ecclesiological visions incompatible with which are in contrast to the truth of the Gospel and the Church's tradition. Rather What's more, they should be privileged moments of prayer for God to send holy priests after his own heart. It is touching, in this regard, to read the words of Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 1979 about those places where the faithful, deprived of a priest by a dictatorial regime, would meet in a church or shrine, place on the altar a stole which they still kept and recite the prayers of the eucharistic liturgy, halting in silence "at the moment that corresponds to the transubstantiation," as a sign of how "ardently they desire to hear the words that only the lips of a priest can efficaciously utter pronounce." (214) With this in mind, and considering Given this perspective and on account of the incomparable good which comes from the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice, I ask of all priests to an active and concrite willingness to visit willingly and as often as frequently as possible the communities entrusted to their pastoral care, lest they remain too long without the sacrament of love charity.

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