Monday, June 11, 2007

Triumphalism? Embarrassment? Or Remembering?

Then-Joseph Ratzinger: "Corpus Christi also brings to mind the issues raised by the liturgical renewal with all its theological insights. Is it right, we had to ask ourselves, to have this annual celebraton of the Eucharist in the form of a state visit of the Lord of the world, with all the outward signs of triumphal joy? We were reminded that the Eucharist was instituted in the upper room - and somehow this must be a normative factor. The signs of bread and wine, chosen deliberately by the Lord, show that the Eucharist is meant to be received as food. Therefore the correct way of showing gratitude for the institution of the sacrament is actually to celebrate the Eucharist; here we celebrate his death and Resurrection and are built up by him into the living Church. Anything else seemed to be a misunderstanding of the Eucharist. Then we had a horror of everything that looked like triumphalism: it seemed irreconcilable with the Christian awarenes of sin and with the tragic situation of the world. So it was that Corpus Christi became an embarrassment. The standard textbook on liturgy which appeared between 1963 and 1965 does not even refer to Corpus Christi in its treatment of the Church's year. Somewhat shamefacedly it offers us a page under the heading 'Eucharistic Devotions;' in its embarrassment it makes the curious suggestion that the Corpus Christi procession should conclude with communion of the sick, this being the only functional rationale for a procession with the Host" (See A.G. Martimort (ed), The Church at Prayer, 2 vols. (New York 1968 and 1973).

"The Council of Trent had been far less inhibited. It said that the purpose of Corpus Christi was to arouse gratitude in the hearts of men and to remind them of their common Lord. Here, in a nutshell, we have in fact three purposes: Corpus Christi is to counter man's forgetfulness, to elicit his thankfulness, and it has someting to do with fellowship, with that unifying power which is at work where people are looking to the one Lord. A great deal could be said about this; for with our computers, meetings and appointments we have become appallingly thoughtless and forgetful.

"Psychologists tell us that our rational, everyday consciousness is only the surface of what makes up the totality of our soul. But we are so hounded by this surface awareness that what lies in the depths can no longer find expression. Ultimately man becomes sick for sheer lack of authenticity; he no longer lives as a subject: he exists as the plaything of chance and superficiality" (J. Ratzinger, "Feast of Faith" Ignatius [1986] 129).

Quantum potes, tantum aude
(Dare to give all the praise you can).

Fear not for damage to secularity. The greater the piety and the gift of self to God, the greater the autonomy and freedom of the person. The greater the responsible freedom, the less the secularism, and the greater the secularity.

Take a look and a listen!



Anonymous said...

Will read your post more carefully when i get chance..God bless

Federico said...

Vocations are born when we bring Jesus to the streets of NY! How inspiring. Thanks Father Bob for posting this video. Delfina.