So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, February 22, 2016

Liturgical catechesis. Reminders for renewal.

The Holy Eucharist confirms Christ's Resurrection.
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.—1 Corinthians 15:17.
Q. Where do we encounter the Risen Lord?
A. In the Church. 
Q. Where or when in the Church do we encounter the Risen Lord?
A. In the Mass, the Holy Eucharist. Which is to say, we encounter the Risen Lord in: Holy Scripture, especially during the Holy Gospel; the person of the priest acting in persona Christi; the congregation gathered in Jesus' name; (and most sublimely) the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. We encounter the Risen Lord in His Sacraments, all the Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance or Reconciliation, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction).
The Sacraments are visible signs of grace, of God's Presence among men.

Shouldn't the single most pressing issue with regards to the mission of the Church be a renewal of liturgical catechesis?

Everything Catholic hinges on the Holy Eucharist. The Catechism reminds us that the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The Eucharist is, then, the beginning and end of all evangelization. Our mission is to bring all people to a holy intimate saving encounter with the Eucharistic Lord.
  • CCC 1324 The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." "The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."
The Data

Authentic catechesis necessarily includes the communication of and leads to the full lived embrace of the knowledge that:
  1. The Mass is the one and same Sacrifice of Calvary. We give thanks for Jesus' magnificent act of mercy, His rescuing us from eternal death. CCC 1328 The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called: Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification. 1 Cf. Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24; 2 Cf. Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22.
  2. The Holy Eucharist is really and truly the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. CCC 1374 The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."
  3. Jesus Christ is the principal actor in the Mass. CCC 1348 All gather together. Christians come together in one place for the Eucharistic assembly. At its head is Christ himself, the principal agent of the Eucharist. He is high priest of the New Covenant; it is he himself who presides invisibly over every Eucharistic celebration. It is in representing him that the bishop or priest acting in the person of Christ the head (in persona Christi capitis) presides over the assembly, speaks after the readings, receives the offerings, and says the Eucharistic Prayer.
  4. The Mass is meant to be received NOT reinvented. The Mass is not ours to manipulate. Rather, the Mass is entrusted to us so that we may hand on the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, knowledge we have received from the Apostles and their successors. A) General norms: 22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. 2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established. 3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.—SC22.
Towards effective catechesis.

If the data of the Faith is skewed (i.e., heterodox, heretical), will any resulting relationship be skewed? We see skewed relationships in certain sects or cults that have strange notions about who God is.

What is the Roman Liturgy?
  1. The Roman Liturgy is a Scripture-saturated liturgy. The Mass is Holy Scripture come alive. The Canon of Holy Scripture was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Church. The Mass preceded the composition of the New Testament Canon of Holy Scripture. Books read in the Holy Liturgy were accepted into the Canon of Holy Scripture. The Church is the pillar and bulwark (foundation) of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
  2. The participatio actuosa of the Latin Rite is first and foremost internal orientation to God and participation in the Cross of Christ. It is not merely doing the will of God but being in the will of God.
  3. The ars celebrandi of the Latin Rite Mass. Beautiful ritual is the poetry of relationship. Ritual embodies word. The unutterable Mystery and our relationship to God are manifest in and through the sacred gestures of the Liturgy: genuflection and kneeling (adoration); bowing (during the Creed at the mention of the Incarnation: veneration); Sign of the Cross (the large Sign and the triple at the Gospel: receptivity to blessing; dedication to God); Sign of the Cross made by the priest (God's blessing on our offerings; dedication of people to God). In silent attentiveness, we encounter the fullness of the Word. The Lord's reminder is lost on the Marthas of the world (St. Luke 10:42). "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 to ensure their actuosa participatio. (114) The ars celebrandi is the fruit of faithful adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness; indeed, for two thousand years this way of celebrating has sustained the faith life of all believers, called to take part in the celebration as the People of God, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (cf. 1 Pet 2:4-5, 9) (115)."—Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis.
  4. The Roman Liturgy is conservative. The Catholic Roman Mass conserves, embodies and communicates sacred Tradition: lex orandi lex credendi lex vivendi.
  5. The Mass is the icon of the Kingdom of God, the icon of Christ dwelling in His Church.
CCC 1161 All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ: as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well. They truly signify Christ, who is glorified in them. They make manifest the "cloud of witnesses" who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united, above all in sacramental celebrations. Through their icons, it is man "in the image of God," finally transfigured "into his likeness," who is revealed to our faith. So too are the angels, who also are recapitulated in Christ:
Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets.

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