Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Stay With Us Lord...

Mane nobiscum Domine is now availible in English translation.
Browsing through it I note a few passages which strike me:
15. There is no doubt that the most evident dimension of the Eucharist is that it is a meal. The Eucharist was born, on the evening of Holy Thursday, in the setting of the Passover meal. Being a meal is part of its very structure. “Take, eat... Then he took a cup and... gave it to them, saying: Drink from it, all of you” (Mt 26:26, 27). As such, it expresses the fellowship which God wishes to establish with us and which we ourselves must build with one another.

Yet it must not be forgotten that the Eucharistic meal also has a profoundly and primarily sacrificial meaning.(13) In the Eucharist, Christ makes present to us anew the sacrifice offered once for all on Golgotha. Present in the Eucharist as the Risen Lord, he nonetheless bears the marks of his passion, of which every Mass is a “memorial”, as the Liturgy reminds us in the acclamation following the consecration: “We announce your death, Lord, we proclaim your resurrection...”. At the same time, while the Eucharist makes present what occurred in the past, it also impels us towards the future, when Christ will come again at the end of history. This “eschatological” aspect makes the Sacrament of the Eucharist an event which draws us into itself and fills our Christian journey with hope.
One earns liberal brownie points by extracting the first part of paragraph 15 and quoting it in isolation. :)
An interesting suggestion is in paragraph 17:
”. One specific project of this Year of the Eucharist might be for each parish community to study the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The best way to enter into the mystery of salvation made present in the sacred “signs” remains that of following faithfully the unfolding of the liturgical year. Pastors should be committed to that “mystagogical” catechesis so dear to the Fathers of the Church, by which the faithful are helped to understand the meaning of the liturgy's words and actions, to pass from its signs to the mystery which they contain, and to enter into that mystery in every aspect of their lives.
I'm not sure how much enthusiasm the average parishioner would have for a study of the GIRM, but I like the fact that the Holy Father is drawing our attention back to the Patrisitic forms of Cathechesis. There are any number of patristic homilies in the Breviary which could serve as an inspiration for this sort of approach. The fact that we don't see more of it probably rests on the fact that the enthusiasm for the Fathers of the mid 20th century seems to have petered out to an extent, a lack of integration between the spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions of priesthood and (alas) the great number of priests who neglect the breviary.
The Holy Father closes his letter with exhortations to all the members of the church and the followinf conclusion.
31. We have before us the example of the Saints, who in the Eucharist found nourishment on their journey towards perfection. How many times did they shed tears of profound emotion in the presence of this great mystery, or experience hours of inexpressible “spousal” joy before the sacrament of the altar! May we be helped above all by the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose whole life incarnated the meaning of the Eucharist. “The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery”.(26) The Eucharistic Bread which we receive is the spotless flesh of her Son: Ave verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine. In this Year of grace, sustained by Mary, may the Church discover new enthusiasm for her mission and come to acknowledge ever more fully that the Eucharist is the source and summit of her entire life.


No comments: