Pope Francis on Mass: Lift up Your Hearts — Not Your iPhones! By Hannah Brockhaus VATICAN CITY—Beginning a new series of Wednesday audiences about the Mass, a fiery Pope Francis chastised those who spend Mass talking to others, looking at their phone, or even taking pictures during papal liturgies, saying these are distractions that take focus away from the “heart of the Church,” which is the Eucharist. “The Mass is not a show: it is to go to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord,” the Pope said Nov. 8. “The Lord is here with us, present. Many times we go there, we look at things and chat among ourselves while the priest celebrates the Eucharist.... But it is the Lord!” In particular, Francis condemned the use of cell phones to take photos at papal Masses. At one point during the Mass the priest says, “We lift up our hearts,” he said. “He does not say, ‘We lift up our phones to take photographs!’” “It’s a bad thing! And I tell you that it gives me so much sadness when I celebrate here in the Piazza or Basilica and I see so many raised cellphones, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops.” “But think: when you go to Mass, the Lord is there! And you’re distracted. (But) it is the Lord!” During the general audience, Pope Francis said the Eucharist would be the new focus of his weekly catechesis for the year, because “it is fundamental for us Christians to
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The Fellowship of the Liturgy: Each for All and All for Christ A Centenary of Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy By Father Cassian Folsom, O.S.B. Editor’s note: This examination of Chapter Two of Romano Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy is the second in a series of seven essays marking the centenary of Guardini’s book.
he philosophical writings of Romano Guardini on the relationship of the individual to the community are like a luxurious vine: trunk, branches, tendrils extending here and there, leaves and, of course, fruit in abundance. In this article, the reader will get a stripped-down version, reduced to the essentials, and poor in comparison. The hope is that this simplified explanation of Guardini’s thought will lead the reader to the text itself, The Spirit of the Liturgy,1 where he can enjoy the full breadth of our author’s insights. First a summary of Chapter Two, “The Fellowship of the Liturgy,” will be given. Next, the ideas presented in this chapter will be fleshed out by insights from other works of Guardini. Finally, there will be a reflection on the implications of Guardini’s thought for liturgical reform.
“How does the individual person enter into this larger reality of the liturgical community? He does so in two ways: by sacrifice and by personal action.” Summing up “Fellowship” Guardini’s philosophical musings are rich and densely packed. In this second chapter of The Spirit of the Liturgy, it might be helpful to use the interpretive key of participation, although Guardini doesn’t use the word here. He explains that the liturgical fellowship or Gemeinschaft he is talking about is the Church, the corpus Christi mysticum, the “we” of the entire body of the Church. How does the individual “I” relate to this liturgical community? Or, in other words, how do I participate in the Church’s liturgy? Let us examine the
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The person is oriented toward the vastness of the great human community, which in its turn, however, is composed of individuals who sustain and complete it. In the liturgical field, this relationship between individual and community indicates that a complete Christian humanity exists only where the Church and the individual person live in a natural reciprocal relationship.
following elements more closely: A) the community, B) the individual and C) the participation of the individual in the liturgical action of the community. A: The Community2 The liturgy is not celebrated by the individual, but by the entire body of the faithful, not merely those present, but all the faithful on earth (across the limits of time and space) and all the saints in heaven. “Who celebrates the liturgy?” In answer to this question, Guardini says: the Church, which is more than the sum Each for All and All for Christ A Catholic can frame worship as a personal love for Jesus, but Benedictine Father Cassian Folsom shows how Romano Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy sees a bigger picture.....1 The Passion of the Christ Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ is an awesome award-winning epic, but as Pope Francis reminds us, the Mass is the real blockbuster. ...................................3 River of Fire The incarnate Jesus, says David Augustine, embodies the Lord’s glorious return to his Chosen People. But equally enlightening is the Fire of the Holy Spirit poured out to inflame our hearts. .........................................6
of its parts. It is the Mystical Body of Christ, animated by the Holy Spirit. The individual participates in this common action of the Church. In the liturgy, the individual “sees himself face to face with God, not as a [single] entity but as a member of this unity” (37). How does the individual person enter into this larger reality of the liturgical community? He does so in two ways: by sacrifice (Opfer) and by personal action (Leistung).3 The sacrifice required by the person who wishes to Please see GUARDINI on page 4 Merit Badges at Mass? While former translations of the Missal rarely spoke of “merit,” Mike Brummond explains how the present translation merits another look at the term as both right and just—and even meritorious...........................9 Book Review The House of the Lord: A Catholic Biblical Theology of God’s Temple Presence in the Old and New Testaments, by Steven Smith. Review by Jeremy Priest...............................12 News & Views..................................................2 The Rite Questions........................................10 Donors & Memorials....................................11
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Continued from IPHONE, page 1 understand well the value and meaning of the Holy Mass to live more and more fully our relationship with God.” In the Eucharist we rediscover, through our senses, what is essential, he said. Just as the Apostle Thomas asked to see and touch the wounds of Jesus after his resurrection, we need the same thing: “to see him and touch him to be able to recognize him.” In this way, the Sacraments meet this very “human need” of ours, he said. And in the Eucharist, in particular, we find a privileged way to meet God and his love. The Second Vatican Council was inspired by the desire to help Christians understand the beauty of the encounter in the Eucharist even better, he continued. This is why “it was necessary first to implement, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an adequate renewal of the liturgy.” A central theme emphasized at Vatican II was the liturgical formation of the faithful, which Francis said is also the aim of the new series of catechesis: to help people “grow in the knowledge of this great gift God has given us in the Eucharist.” As a side note, Francis asked if people had noticed the chaotic way children make the sign of cross at Mass, moving their hand all over their chest, and asked people to teach children to make the sign of the cross well. “We need to teach children to do the sign of the cross well,” he said, noting that this is how Mass begins, because just as Mass begins this way, “so life begins, so the day begins.” Concluding his reflection on the Mass and the Eucharist, Pope Francis said that he hopes that through these brief weekly lessons, everyone will rediscover the beauty “hidden in the Eucharistic celebration, and which, when revealed, gives a full meaning to the life of everyone.”
Liturgical Institute Offers Second Annual Conference for Young Adults This summer, the Liturgical Institute is again offering a three-day conference on the Catholic liturgy for young adults—but this time they’ll spend time before the altar and before a chalkboard. The three-day conference, “Transfigured,” will be held June 15-17, at Mundelein Seminary, University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL. “Transfigured” invites young people from around the country to learn more about Catholic liturgy in practice and also to experience the exciting life of the mind that is fostered at the Liturgical Institute (LI) inside and outside the classroom. Participants will attend five classroom lectures offered by LI faculty. But it’s not all study and no play at the conference. Once class is dismissed, all are invited to attend a special evening presentation, “Drinking with the Saints,” by Michael Foley, who literally wrote the book on how to drink cocktails the Catholic way. Associate Professor of Patristics at Baylor University, Waco, TX, Foley has written Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour (Regnery, 2015). The event will include a “liturgical” cocktail tasting hosted by Foley. On the final day of the conference, Sunday, June 17, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago Joseph Perry will celebrate Mass, assisted by the LI’s schola. After Mass, Bishop Perry will speak on the value of liturgical tradition. Ideal for those new to the Catholic faith or those lifelong Catholics seeking to enrich their understanding of the Catholic liturgy, the conference will underscore the importance of Christ’s transfiguration in the liturgy. “God wants us all to share in His own divine life, and so He sent His Son to bring humanity into the very life of the Trinity,” the conference website states. “He gave a pledge of this great gift at the Transfiguration, where Christ and His garments became dazzlingly white, radiant with the light of heaven.”
The conference’s registration fee includes room and meals. For more information about the event, visit LI’s website for the conference: www.betransfigured.com.
Schola Cantus Angelorum to Hold 6th Annual Liturgical Conference Special guests from around the world are coming to this year’s Sacred Liturgy Conference sponsored by Schola Cantus Angelorum. To be held June 27-30, in Salem, OR, this year’s conference, “Transfiguration in the Eucharist,” focuses on the Eucharist as the way of beholding Jesus in his glory. Participants and Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland welcome as special guest speakers Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan; Father Cassian Folsom, founder of the Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, NE. The Sacred Liturgy Conference is organized by the Director of Schola Cantus Angelorum, Lynne Bissonnette-Pitre. The conference will include an opening night reception, twelve important and informative lectures, four Mass and chant workshops, four beautifully celebrated liturgies in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and the Dominican Rite, two lunches, an evening banquet, regularly scheduled opportunities for confession, and plenty of time for fellowship. “From its modest beginnings in 2013,” conference organizers say, “this conference has grown into a premiere annual event with participants coming from throughout the United States and beyond. Our mission however remains the same—to educate and inspire the faithful about the life-changing realities of the Holy Mass, to encourage dignity and beauty in the celebration of the sacred liturgy, and to promote the use of sacred music according to the mind of the Church.” Open to anyone interested in the treasures of the Catholic liturgy, the Sacred Liturgy Conference seeks to help Catholics deepen their understanding and love for the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Registration fee covers the cost of reception, lectures, workshops, liturgies, lunches, banquet, coffee breaks, and educational material. See www. sacredliturgyconference.org for complete information.
Cause for Sainthood of “Rosary Priest” Moves Forward
eventually television, utilizing the help of Hollywood celebrities and artists. He is most known for his public rallies to encourage families to make pledges to pray the Rosary together, which were attended by thousands of people. He founded the “Family Rosary Crusade” and popularized the phrase: “The family that prays together stays together.” In addition to working in the U.S., he also led missions in Latin America and in the Philippines. Peyton died June 3, 1992, in San Pedro, California, and is buried on the grounds of Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.
Second Miracle for Paul VI Approved for Canonization By Hannah Brockhaus and Edward Pentin VATICAN CITY (CNA News/National Catholic Register)—On February 6 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the second miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Pope Paul VI, allowing his canonization to take place, possibly later this year. According to Vatican Insider, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the miracle by a unanimous vote February 6. The next step is for Pope Francis to also give his approval, with an official decree from the Vatican. Then the date for the canonization can be set. At the end of a closed-door question and answer session with priests of Rome on February 15, the Pope said it will be a “holy year” for Paul VI. “There are two Bishops of Rome who have recently become saints: John XXIII and John Paul II,” the Pope said. “Paul VI will become one this year. Benedict and I are on the waiting list. Pray for us.” The miracle attributed to the cause of Paul VI is the healing of an unborn child in the fifth month of pregnancy. Pope Paul’s cause for canonization was opened in 1993. In December 2012, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the “heroic virtue” of Paul VI, giving him the title “Venerable.” He was beatified in Rome on October 19, 2014. As pope, Paul VI oversaw much of the Second Vatican Council, which had been opened by Pope St. John XXIII. He also promulgated a new Roman Missal in 1969. Paul VI published the encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, which reaffirmed the Church’s teaching against contraception.
By Hannah Brockhaus
Revised Rules for Relics Issued by Vatican
VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has recognized the heroic virtue of Father Patrick Peyton, an Irish priest known for his promotion of the Rosary. Now called “Venerable,” Peyton was born in County Mayo, Ireland, January 9, 1909. In 1928 he and an older brother sailed to the U.S. to join his elder sisters who had already emigrated and were living and working in Pennsylvania. Peyton worked as a janitor at St. Stanislaus Cathedral in Scranton several years before deciding to pursue the priesthood with his brother Thomas. In 1938, while still a seminarian, he fell gravely ill with tuberculosis. Thinking he might die, his older sister brought him Marian novenas and reminded him of the Blessed Mother and the power of the Holy Rosary. Encouraged by his sister and a Catholic priest, he gave himself over to God through the Blessed Virgin Mary. Soon, doctors discovered that the spots in his lungs had disappeared; and in 1941 he and his brother were ordained priests of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. He was one of the first pioneers of evangelism via mass media, using radio, film, advertising and
VATICAN CITY (Zenit)—The Congregation for the Causes of Saints on December 16, 2017, issued a new Instruction on the handling and authentication of relics, according to Vatican News. The new instruction, “Relics in the Church: Authenticity and Preservation,” covers the handling of relics during the process that leads to beatification and canonization. It also provides direction for the exposition of relics for the veneration of the faithful. The new instruction is directed to bishops and others responsible for the handling of relics. According to the new instruction, relics in the Church “have always received particular veneration and attention, because the bodies of saints and blessed of the Church, destined for resurrection, were on Earth the living temple of the Holy Spirit and the instruments of their sanctity, recognized by the Apostolic See through beatification and canonization.” The instruction intends to ensure that relics are treated with proper respect and that relics placed for veneration are authentic. It also prohibits the sale and trade of relics.
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The Passion of the Christ—Coming to a Church Near You By Christopher Carstens, Editor
im Cavielzel, the actor who portrayed Jesus in the 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ, confirmed recently that a sequel focusing on the resurrection of Jesus was in the works. My first reaction to this news, I admit, was a mix of skepticism and interest: assuming it follows the scriptural “script,” I know already how the movie ends, but I would be sure to see the movie on the big screen. My second reaction was one of gratitude. On February 25, 2004—Ash Wednesday—a group of coworkers and I took the afternoon off and went to The Passion’s opening. Since then, the film’s images, portraying history’s most central event, have stuck with me. Ever since that first viewing in 2004, I’ve tried to watch The Passion at some point every Lent. But there is still another reason for being thankful for The Passion of the Christ and, I hope, its sequel (tentatively called, according to reports, “The Resurrection”). I’ve found the 2004 epic a truly useful tool for understanding, and helping others to understand, the liturgy itself. Consider the similarities between the Mel Gibson movie and the Mass. Both have as their content, the passion of Christ, the high point of Jesus’ saving work. (As an aside, The Passion of the Christ and its sequel could, together, give a clearer picture of the Paschal Mystery—the suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension—that is the content of every liturgical celebration.) In a recent catechesis on the Mass—part of his regular Wednesday audiences in 2018—Pope Francis said, “This is the Mass: to enter this passion, death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus; when we go to Mass it is as if we’re going to Calvary itself ” (see full text of the Holy Father’s audience, below). Both movie and Mass share the same subject matter, Jesus’ passion. Here’s another similarity between cinema and celebration: both convey the passion of Christ using a tapestry of outward signs and symbols. Director Mel Gibson, for example, uses actors, such as the abovementioned Jim Caviezel, who portrays Jesus, and Maia Morgenstern, who plays the Blessed Virgin Mary. He uses specific texts: most of the film employed Aramaic, with some occasional Latin, and were based on the scriptures (and colored in by the writings of Catholic mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich). A soundtrack, itself nominated for “Best Original Score,” accompanies the film. Characters wear costumes from the time of Christ; sets and scenery bring ancient Palestine to us—or us to it. The actors use props such as crosses and scourges, and bread and wine, with commensurate actions and gestures. In short, the director’s art employs many devices: people, text, music, costumes, actions, sets. It ought not to be a stretch to recognize similar elements in the sacramental liturgy, especially the Mass. While those involved in the liturgy are not actors, the Mass’s rites include people and ministers: priest, deacon, lectors, servers, and assembly. A script must be followed
by each, much as the movie’s actors do, although these texts are from the Missal and Lectionary. The choir and musicians provide a “soundtrack,” including the singing of dialogues, Mass ordinary, antiphons and hymns. Vestments are worn, and the Mass’s many ritual actions are assigned particular places, such as the chair, the altar, and the ambo. And items such as chalices, thuribles, and candles accompany the Mass’s many ritual actions, including blessing, bowing, and processing. Like the movie, The Passion of the Christ, the Mass’s version of the passion of the Christ weaves together many threads to depict its content. But despite such similarities, there is an important way in which movie and Mass differ: one is real, the other is not. When it first came out, critics described The Passion of the Christ in such terms as “realistic,” “graphic,” “true to life,” or “visceral.” Nonetheless, the movie is not, in reality, the actual passion of Christ. This is not to say that the movie is not meaningful or moving—it is not difficult to find stories of conversion— from average Joes turning back to the Mass of their childhood to hardened criminals turning themselves in to law enforcement—after seeing the film. All the same, Mel Gibson’s movie does not present the passion of the Christ with the same reality that the Church’s Mass does. A film director’s signs are simply not as effective as the Church’s sacramental signs—Gibson’s work may be graceful in execution but it does not, like the Mass, provide the channel of grace afforded by the Mass. Again, Pope Francis’s catechesis on the Mass says it plainly: “The Mass is experiencing Calvary; it is not a spectacle.” The movie is a production, a show, and its viewers are just that, “spectators” who watch, even if with intense involvement. The Mass, on the other hand, is the representation of Calvary—indeed, the whole mystery of Christ—truly present before us. The faithful don’t simply watch this saving work carried out before them, but are called upon to join with it, to become coactors along with Christ. If this analogy, with its similarities and its differences, is true, then consider the consequences for the Sunday morning Mass. The “director” of the Mass, the presiding priest, along with his ministers, are obliged to celebrate the rite according to the script, and in the most beautiful way possible. Can you imagine if Jim Caviezel went off script? What if the soundtrack’s composer incorporated (for example) a banjo? How would the audience react if the movie had been filmed in the arctic circle (or at any rate, a location that didn’t resemble Palestine)? At the Mass, of course, it is the Holy Spirit who is “the artisan of God’s masterpieces” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1091), and Jesus himself is the primary actor— the efficacy of the Mass is not principally dependent upon our human skills. Still, the Church today speaks of ars celebrandi, an “art of celebrating,” where the ministers and the many other elements of the liturgical rite come together to portray the radiant Christ in all his glory.
On the Passion of Christ Present in the Mass By Pope Francis Wednesday Audience, November 22, 2017
et us ask ourselves: what essentially is the Mass? The Mass is the memorial of Christ’s Passover. It makes us participants in his victory over sin and death, and gives full meaning to our life. For this reason, to understand the value of the Mass, we must first understand the biblical significance of “memorial.” It is “not merely the recollection of past events but makes them in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1363). Jesus Christ, with his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven brought the Passover to fulfillment. And the Mass is the memorial of his Passover, of his “exodus,” which he carried out for us, so as to lead us out of slavery and introduce us to the promised land of eternal life. It is not merely a remembrance, no. It is more: it is making present what happened 20 centuries ago. The Eucharist always leads us to the pinnacle of the salvific action of God: the Lord Jesus, making himself Bread broken for us, pours out upon us his mercy and his love, as he did on the Cross, thus renewing our hearts, our existence and our way of relating to him and to our brothers and sisters. The Second Vatican Council said: “As often as the sacrifice of the cross[,] in which Christ our Passover was sacrificed, is celebrated
on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried on” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 3). Every celebration of the Eucharist is a ray of that never setting sun that is the Risen Jesus. Taking part in the Mass, particularly on Sunday, means entering the victory of the Risen One, being illuminated by his light, warmed by his compassion. Through the Eucharistic celebration the Holy Spirit makes us participants in the divine life that is able to transfigure our whole mortal being. In his passage from death to life, from time to eternity, the Lord Jesus also draws us with him to experience the Passover. In the Mass we celebrate Passover. We, during Mass, are with Jesus, who died and is Risen, and he draws us forth to eternal life. In the Mass we unite with him. Rather, Christ lives in us and we live in him: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ,” Saint Paul states, “who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). This is what Paul thought. Indeed, his Blood frees us from death and from the fear of death. It frees us not only from the dominion of physical death, but from the spiritual death which is evil, sin, which catches us each time we fall victim to our own sin or that of others. Thus our life becomes polluted; it loses beauty; it loses meaning; it withers. Instead, Christ restores our life; Christ is the fullness of life, and when he faced death he destroyed it forever: “By rising he destroyed death and restored life” (cf. Eucharistic Prayer IV). Christ’s Passover is the definitive victory over death, because he transformed his death in
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The Mass is the true medium of the Passion of the Christ in today’s world.
Another consequence of the real passion of the Christ at Mass devolves upon the participants. While the Church’s ministers have the obligation to celebrate the Mass so that Christ’s saving work is revealed, the Church’s participants are called upon to actually participate in this work—and not simply “watch” it or, worse, not watch it. Important activities require not only execution, but preparation and follow-up. A job interview, for example, requires preliminary legwork, attentive presentation during the meeting, and subsequent contacts and reflection. So, too, is it the case with the Mass. Participating in the passion of the Christ can’t be something one stumbles into mindlessly. When I think back to seeing the movie on that Ash Wednesday in 2004, I remember arriving early and choosing a seat for the best viewing. There was no popcorn and Coke during the film (Ash Wednesday aside, The Passion didn’t lend itself to the usual customs of a moviegoer). And when it concluded and I was on my way back to the office, my regular temptation to turn on the radio or engage in some other worldly distraction was easily checked by my experience in the theater earlier that day. Whether it’s the weekly or weekday Mass, or the Paschal Triduum at Lent’s end, roll out the red carpet for these liturgies and see them for what they really are: the Passion of the Christ—more real and powerful than any movie could ever be. the supreme act of love. He died out of love! And in the Eucharist, he wishes to communicate this, his paschal, victorious love, to us. If we receive him with faith, we too can truly love God and neighbor; we can love as he loved us, by giving our life. If Christ’s love is within me, I can give myself fully to others, in the interior certainty that even if the other were to wound me I would not die; otherwise I should defend myself. The martyrs gave their own lives in this certainty of Christ’s victory over death. Only if we experience this power of Christ, the power of his love, are we truly free to give ourselves without fear. This is the Mass: to enter this passion, death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus; when we go to Mass it is as if we’re going to Calvary itself. But consider: whether at the moment of Mass we go to Calvary—let us ponder this with the imagination—and we know that that man there is Jesus. But will we allow ourselves to chat, to take photographs, to put on a little show? No! Because it is Jesus! We certainly pause in silence, in sorrow and also in the joy of being saved. As we enter the church to celebrate Mass, let us think about this: I am going to Calvary, where Jesus gave his life for me. In this way the spectacle disappears; the small talk disappears; the comments and these things that distance us from something so beautiful as the Mass, Jesus’ triumph. I think that it is clearer now how the Passover is made present and active each time we celebrate the Mass, which is the meaning of memorial. Taking part in the Eucharist enables us to enter the Paschal Mystery of Christ, giving ourselves to pass over with him from death to life, meaning there, on Calvary. The Mass is experiencing Calvary; it is not a spectacle.
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
Celebrating a Century of Romano Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy, 1918-2018
“The requirements of the liturgy can be summed up in one word, humility.” Servant of God, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val (d.1930), served Pope St. Pius X as Secretary of State and has long been associated with the “Litany of Humility.”
Continued from GUARDINI, page 1 participate in the liturgical fellowship is the renunciation “of everything in him which exists merely for itself and excludes others” (38). The personal action required of him is the widening of his outlook, which results from his acceptance and assimilation of a more comprehensive scheme of life than his own—that of the community. B: The Individual4 Thus we have the big picture: the participation of the individual believer in the common action of the liturgical community. Guardini then examines in greater detail how integration of the individual into the community works. People are not all the same, and therefore their modes of participation in the Gemeinschaft, the Mystical Body, will necessarily be different. Guardini takes into consideration two basic temperaments or dispositions: the individualistic disposition (we might say introverted) and the social disposition (we might say extroverted). Within the individualistic category, there is a further subdivision: those drawn to the objective and impersonal, and those drawn to the subjective and personal. Thus Guardini speaks of three personality types (to use contemporary language), and for each one, he outlines the kind of asceticism needed (involving sacrifice and personal action) in order to participate in the liturgical community. The person with an individualistic temperament, drawn to objective and impersonal thinking is concerned with ideas, the ordering of things, objectives, laws, rules, tasks to be accomplished, rights and duties. He perceives the community as a great concrete order. The sacrifice he must make, in order to participate in liturgical fellowship, is to renounce his own ideas and his own spiritual preferences, to submit to the ideas of the liturgy, to surrender his independence and pray with others, to obey the liturgical norms instead of freely disposing of himself, to stand in the ranks. He must take certain forms of personal
action: shaking off the narrow trammels of his own thought to make way for a far more comprehensive world of ideas, going beyond his personal aims and adopting the aims of the great fellowship of the liturgy, taking part in exercises which do not respond to his particular conscious needs, petitioning God for things which do not directly concern him but concern the community at large, taking part at times in proceedings whose significance he does not entirely understand. The virtue required by this kind of person is humility, because he must renounce self-rule and self-sufficiency, accept the principles of the liturgy, overcome pride and intolerance, and assimilate an entire system of communal aims and ideas. The person with an individualistic temperament, drawn to subjective expression and feeling focuses on his sentiments and intimate feelings. He perceives the community as a broad fabric of personal affinities and interwoven reciprocal relationships. The sacrifice he must make in order to participate in liturgical fellowship is to renounce his spiritual isolation, to share his existence with other people, to share with others the intimacy of his inner life and feelings—these others being not just a few neighbors or congenial friends, but all, even those who are indifferent, adverse, or even hostile. He must take certain forms of personal action, for the sensitive soul must break down the barriers around its spiritual life and issue forth from the self in order to go among others and share their existence. The virtue required by this kind of person is charity, because he needs that great and wonderful love which is ready to participate in the life of others, that vigorous expansion which goes out of self in order to include others, that life lived in common with the other members of Christ’s body. He must master the repulsion of the strangeness of corporate life and triumph over exclusiveness, that is, the desire to be only with people of his own choosing. The person with a social temperament eagerly and consistently craves for fellowship, automatically seeks out congenial associates, presses toward
togetherness in a way alien to the liturgy. People like this will not find all their expectations immediately fulfilled in the liturgy and the fellowship of the liturgy will appear to them frigid and restricted. The sacrifice this kind of person must make in order to participate in liturgical fellowship is different from the other cases. He must accept the boundaries the liturgy imposes on togetherness. He must realize that in the liturgy, the union of the members is not directly accomplished from one person to another, but is accomplished by and in their joint aim, goal, and spiritual resting place—God. In
“At the very beginnings of the Liturgical Movement, it was common enough that the objective celebration of the liturgy went one way, and the subjective piety of the people went another: our own times are dominated by a similar subjective emphasis.” the liturgy, the individual is never drawn into contacts which are too extensively direct and therefore he must submit to the austere restraint which characterizes liturgical fellowship. The social temperament must take certain forms of personal action. He must realize that in the liturgy, all are not equal, but there are differences of rank and role. The formality of the liturgy produces a certain restraint, a reciprocal reverence. While the liturgy establishes a genuine community, one individual can never force his way into the intimacy of the other, nor force his own characteristics, feelings and perceptions on the rest of the assembly. He must learn to subscribe to the noble, restrained forms which etiquette requires in the House and at the Court of the Divine Majesty. The virtue required by this kind of person is reserve or restraint. It is this reserve alone which in the end makes fellowship in the liturgy possible; but for it, togetherness would be unendurable. C: Individual Participation in the Liturgical Action of the Community Thus in a few short pages, Guardini sketches out for us his understanding of liturgical fellowship or community, into which individual believers must be inserted. The participation of the individual in the liturgical action of the community requires asceticism, the precise form of which varies considerably from one temperament to another. The common principle, however, is this: the
individual must submit himself to the objective order of liturgical prayer. Guardini on Guardini In his book, Liturgical Formation5, written in 1923—a few years after The Spirit of the Liturgy—Guardini returns to the theme of the relation between the individual and the liturgical community. In brief, he argues that the whole man must participate in the whole Church in a way that unites the subjective and objective aspects of the human person. A: The Community6 Against what he calls an “anti-historical, rationalistic-doctrinaire and romanticsentimental” view of the Church, expressed in a false kind of universalism, Guardini insists that the whole Church is incarnate in the diocese and in the local parish. There is no contrast between the Church Universal and the local expression of the Church. Certainly we must understand the Church as a whole, since she is founded by Christ, and is united in him, “but we must affirm her, love her, live in her and work there where she meets us in an immediate way: in the diocese and in the parish community” (63). The “whole” Church includes both her universal and particular expressions, both the spiritual reality of the Mystical Body of Christ and the human reality of the hierarchical structure. B: The Individual7 Likewise the individual subject must not be considered in a reductive way. The subject of liturgical behavior is the “whole” man, who includes in his own expression the entire creation. But when is it, Guardini asks, that one can speak of the “whole” man? Only when he is inserted into the community. In both— the totality of the single individual and the totality of the community—there is present something that is beyond time and history. The two things are correlated: the person is oriented toward the vastness of the great human community, which in its turn, however, is composed of individuals who sustain and complete it. In the religious field, he goes on to say, this relationship between individual and community indicates that a complete Christian humanity exists only where the Church and the individual person live in a natural reciprocal relationship. In a way reminiscent of St. Augustine’s expression Christus totus, Guardini is arguing for an Ecclesia tota and a homo totus.8 Homo totus includes two forms of liturgical expressivity: the subjective manifestation of personal experience and emotion and the objective emphasis on content, reality, truth, being. In chapter five of Liturgical Formation, Guardini explores these two aspects at length. In the historical context of the time, at the very beginnings of the Liturgical Movement, Please see GUARDINI on next page
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018 it was common enough that the objective celebration of the liturgy went one way, and the subjective piety of the people went another. Guardini decries this situation in no uncertain terms, lamenting that the profound, authentic homo liturgicus has been buried and needs to be awakened. He offers a severe critique of an excessively subjective liturgical piety. This critique is worth summarizing here, as our own times are dominated by a similar subjective emphasis. Guardini observes that self-expression, as a manifestation of what is subjective and particular, cannot have any pretense of meaning something to others outside the person, or outside the intimate circle of those who are linked to that person. It would be an unbearable presumption, he says, to think that individual selfexpression could have any great significance beyond that circle. That which is expressed in this way seduces the community, and forces it into a condition in which it becomes an echo of the expressive individual will. This is a form of domination. On the contrary, Guardini argues for a recovery of the objective meaning of the liturgy. Liturgical expression of this kind is oriented to otherworldly realities, to metaphysics, to that which endures, and in this way acquires a significance for everyone. This liturgical expression involves also recognizing the laws of the medium of expression (in this case, the liturgy) and having profound respect for them, but inserting these laws into that superior law which allows each element to take its proper place. This kind of liturgical behavior does not dominate, but serves. While Guardini contrasts the subjective and objective expressions of the individual’s behavior in the liturgy, toward the end of his treatment of this topic, he affirms that these two poles of human experience exist together. It becomes a question of in what measure one or the other predominates. Observing things from a historical point of view, Guardini argues that from the Renaissance to the Protestant Reformation all the way to the 20th century, the subjective aspect has dominated. He sees, in the initial stirrings of the Liturgical Movement, signs of a return to objectivity. C: Individual Participation in the Liturgical Action of the Community9 In order for the whole man to participate authentically in liturgical fellowship, a rigorous program of liturgical asceticism is necessary. Guardini affirms that the liturgy is the self-expression of man, but of man as he should be (not as he presently is), and for that reason, the liturgy involves a severe discipline. Liturgical prayer must be accompanied by a long and severe discipline, until the depths of man re-awaken. This transformation by means of the liturgy, up until now, can scarcely be found. For that reason, Guardini says, “you must come to my school” (92). We can see that all of his intense philosophical labors were ordered to the goal of liturgical formation. In 1926, Guardini published an essay about the order that exists between persons.10 His philosophical reflections on what it means to be a person lie outside our present scope, but suffice it to say that when Guardini insists that the individual must submit himself to the common action of the liturgical community, he does not mean, in any way, to efface the uniqueness of the individual personality. At the end of the essay he takes up once again the question of the relation of the individual to the larger group. His particular focus in this section is the order that exists between persons. He explains that there is an objective form of order, which exists independently of its individual parts,
such as friendship, family, the work group, community, state, and so on. The individual person participates in this objective totality in a way that is free, unconstrained. The unique, unrepeatable person, characterized by self-possession, is connected to the totality in a particular way. That is, the person not only receives this order, but also produces it, and in this way energy and dynamism are released. Herein lies the paradoxical contrast of the relationship between the objective order and the individual person. The impersonal order is based on that which is global, above the person; the individual is drawn into this order willy-nilly. The single person must accept this order, interiorize it, transform it, and then freely externalize it as his own. Guardini doesn’t apply these natural categories to the Church or to the liturgy; in fact he says in a note that this can only be done analogously. But it is easy to see how they could be applied to the liturgy. The question is the relation between the sacred, objective order of the liturgy and the personal, individual subject.
“Liturgical expression is oriented to otherworldly realities, to that which endures, and in this way acquires a significance for everyone.” Guardini intimates that the participation that takes place here (even if he doesn’t use the word) moves in two directions. The person receives the sacred order as objective and given, and by interiorizing it, makes that order his own. Then, producing a new synthesis, he bestows that back upon the liturgy. Formulating Principles of Reform To wrestle with Guardini’s arguments, to grapple with his philosophical distinctions is hard work, but very fruitful. His profound reflections show that the relation between the objective order of the liturgy and the personal subject is what we, today, call participation. In Guardini’s day, the problem was that there was no appropriation of the objective content of the liturgy. A wall of incomprehension had arisen between the individual and this objective content. Guardini’s solution was “participation by means of formation.” Or to be more technical, he argued that the objective content of the liturgy, celebrated by the liturgical community, was to be received by the personal subject, appropriated, interiorized, and re-proposed, thus creating a remarkable unity or synergy of participation. He realized, however, that such appropriation required the long, severe discipline (or, in other words, asceticism) of liturgical formation. In the post-Vatican II era, the solution proposed was much different. Having the same goal of the appropriation by the faithful of the content of the liturgy, the strategy devised was to change the liturgy, to adapt its texts and rites, so as to make the subjective appropriation by the faithful easier. What are some of the results? The subjective has taken over once again: a different kind of subjectivity than the one Guardini was fighting against, but nonetheless, subjectivity. The celebration of Mass versus populum focuses on the subjective (us) not on the objective (Christ’s saving action). The sign of peace, which Guardini described as a “masterly manifestation of restrained and elevated social solidarity” (41) when performed according to the rubrics, has degenerated into an artificial and forced intimacy. The liberty granted to the
celebrant by the liturgical books to adapt the rite and insert catechetical comments, breeds priestly subjectivity. The liberties taken quite beyond what the liturgical books allow are a manifestation of that creativity which arrogantly presumes to impose its subjective experience upon the community. It would seem that the reform of texts and rites is not the answer. In a famous letter11 written in 1964 on the occasion of the Third Liturgical Congress in Mainz, Guardini argues that the problems of liturgical reform are not, in the first place, problems of texts and rites, but rather something more fundamental. “If I see correctly,” he says, “the typical man of the nineteenth century was no longer capable of the liturgical act, indeed he no longer knew what it was. For him, liturgical behavior was purely and simply the intimate act of the individual—which then, in the context of the liturgy, assumed the character of public and official solemnity.”12 Here Guardini is arguing for a recovery of a sense of the Body of Christ, of the liturgical community. He is also urging a celebration of the liturgy in which the participants act not by rote, but with full awareness of its meaning. These are great themes in the liturgical movement, reacting to problems perceived in the liturgical praxis of the 19th century. What about the 20th and 21st centuries, after the liturgical movement, after Sacrosanctum Concilium, in our own day? One hundred years after the publication of The Spirit of the Liturgy, Guardini’s teaching remains an important point
“Guardini affirms that the liturgy is the selfexpression of man, but of man as he should be (not as he presently is), and for that reason, the liturgy involves a severe discipline.” of reference. His great contribution to the debate, it seems to me, is to call into question the value of the external reform of texts and rites if the deeper problem of liturgical formation is not addressed. _________________________________ Father Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., is a scholar of sacred music and liturgy, a cancer survivor, and the founder and prior emeritus of the Monks of Norcia. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1955, Fr. Cassian studied music before joining the monastic community of Saint Meinrad in 1974. He founded his monastic community in Rome in 1998 and transferred it to Norcia in the year 2000. Over the last 15 years, the Monastery di San Benedetto has grown, attracting new vocations and pilgrims from around the world. He recently retired as prior but continues to serve the community and teach liturgy at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome. 1. Original text: Guardini, R., Vom Geist der Liturgie, 1918. I am using the German edition Vom Geist der Liturgie, Freiburg: Herder, 1961, and the English edition: The Spirit of the Liturgy, trans. A. Lane, New York: Herder & Herder, 1998. 2. This is a summary and paraphrase of The Spirit of the Liturgy, 36-38. 3. Leistung is very hard to translate. Ada Lane uses a helpful paraphrase: “producing something.” The word can mean performance, production, achievement, contribution, work accomplished, etc. In this context, it involves personal action or the acceptance of responsibility as a prerequisite for participating in the common action. 4. This is a summary and paraphrase of The Spirit of the Liturgy, 38-42. 5. Original text: Guardini, R., Liturgische Bildung: Versuche, 1923. I am using the German edition: Liturgie und liturgische Bildung, Mainz: Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag, 1992 and the Italian edition: Formazione liturgica, Mi-
lano: Edizioni O.R., 1988. 6. This is a summary and paraphrase of Formazione liturgica, chap.4, “The individual and the community,” 61-76. 7. Using material from chapter 4, this section is a summary and paraphrase of Formazione liturgica, chapter 5, “The objective quality of the liturgy,” 77-100. 8. These are my terms, not Guardini’s. 9. This is a summary and paraphrase of Formazione liturgica, 90-92. 10. The original text: Guardini, R., “Űber Sozialwissenschaft und Ordnung unter Personen” in Die Schildgenossen 6 (1926) 125-150. I am using the Italian edition: Persona e personalità, Brescia 2005. This is a summary of section 5: “Order between persons: some distinctions,” 62-71. 11. This letter can be found in: Liturgie und liturgische Bildung, 9-17. 12. Liturgie und liturgisce Bildung, 9.
Liturgical Sacrifices for Lent: Which temperament is yours? Which Lenten and liturgical sacrifice might accompany it? Aloof Temperament Description: This person is concerned with ideas, the ordering of things, objectives, laws, rules, tasks to be accomplished, rights and duties. He perceives the community as a great concrete order. Sacrifice: The sacrifice he must make, in order to participate in liturgical fellowship, is to renounce his own ideas and his own spiritual preferences, to submit to the ideas of the liturgy, to surrender his independence and pray with others, to obey the liturgical norms instead of freely disposing of himself, to stand in the ranks. _____________________________ Introverted Temperament Description: This person focuses on his own sentiments and intimate feelings. He perceives the community as a broad fabric of personal affinities and interwoven reciprocal relationships. Sacrifice: The sacrifice he must make in order to participate in liturgical fellowship is to renounce his spiritual isolation, to share his existence with other people, to share with others the intimacy of his inner life and feelings—these others being not just a few neighbors or congenial friends, but all, even those who are indifferent, adverse, or even hostile. _____________________________ Gregarious Temperament Description: This person eagerly and consistently craves for fellowship, automatically seeks out congenial associates, presses toward togetherness in a way alien to the liturgy. Sacrifice: The sacrifice this kind of person must make is an acceptance of the boundaries the liturgy imposes on togetherness. He must realize that in the liturgy, the union of the members is not directly accomplished from one person to another, but is accomplished by and in their joint aim, goal, and spiritual resting place—God. He must submit to the austere restraint which characterizes liturgical fellowship.
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
AB/WIKIMEDIA. EL GRECO (D.1614), THE ANNUNCIATION
The divine descent upon Mary in the Incarnation serves as the fundamental New Testament fulfillment of the glory-cloud coming to rest on the tabernacle/temple in the Old Testament— with divine fire to follow.
The Altar Fire Returns: Sacrifice and the End of Exile
n an earlier contribution to Adoremus Bulletin, “Sacrifice as Deification: Reflections on the Augustinian Foundations of Ratzinger’s Sacrificial Theology,”1 I had opportunity to discuss the character of sacrifice as deification. In that essay, which was a three-way dialogue with St. Augustine, Joseph Ratzinger, and Matthias Scheeben, I suggested that the key to understanding the biblical concept of sacrifice, as it was expressed in both the Old and New Testament, was to see it as the ritual burning of the victim in the altar fire on the altar of holocausts in the forecourt of the Old Testament’s tent or Temple. In the Old Testament, the altar fire represented the moment of communion with God, the telos or goal of sacrifice. In the New Testament, such burning communion is God communicating with man, whom he “inflames” with grace and the virtues. As St. Paul indicates, the most important of these virtues is charity, so we are fired by this virtue especially to lead us to our end in the beatific vision. The movement here, following the Church fathers’ reading of Hebrews 10:1, is one from shadow (the material fire of the Old Testament) to image (grace and the virtues) to reality (glory) consuming the human being and thereby rendering him a living holocaust totally devoted to God’s glory. The thesis of this present essay builds on the argument in my last article, but it approaches its subject matter from an altogether different angle. In this essay my aim is not to inquire specifically into the nature of sacrifice, but, rather, to situate its New Testament fulfillment within a larger biblical framework, one that takes into consideration the concept of covenant and the relationship of Israel to God and thereby our own relationship with God. Anglican Bishop and New Testament
Scholar, N.T. Wright, in his Christian Origins and the Question of God series, has posited that Second Temple Judaism (i.e., at the time of Christ) conceives of Jews still as exiles awaiting return. Wright posits that one of the signs that the exile has ended is the “return of YHWH to Zion” (Isa 52:8),2 which will take place when the glory of God comes to dwell again in the temple in Zion (as in 1 Kgs 8:10f.; 2 Chr 5:13-14; 2 Macc 2:8). Using Wright as a point of departure and in conjunction with key biblical texts, my aim in this essay is to ask about the divine fire descending from God’s glorious presence and whether there is not, accompanying the end of Israel’s exile, to be expected a new and definitive outpouring of divine fire corresponding to God’s presence in Christ. In the second half of this essay, with the help of Catholic theologian Matthias Joseph Scheeben (1835-1888), I will locate where in the New Testament the divine fire is to be found.
“Considering the end of Israel’s exile and the anticipated fiery return of God, could one look forward to a new descent of fire from heaven, alighting on Israel’s altar of holocausts?” cloud filled the house of YHWH, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of YHWH filled the house of YHWH.’ Instead, Israel clung to the promises that one day the Shekinah, the glorious presence of her god, would return at last.”4 Wright’s point is well taken. There is no record of the glory connected with the pillar of cloud and fire again overshadowing the temple after the Babylonian exile, as it had first done upon the completion of the wilderness
tabernacle (Ex 40:34-38); nor as it had done at the inauguration of the priestly cult (Lev 9:23-24), a phenomenon that was renewed at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kgs 8:10-11; cf. 2 Chr 7:1-2).5 2 Maccabees—composed in the 2nd to 1st century B.C.— even depicts the conditions of the restoration from exile jointly as A) God’s ingathering of his scattered people, and B) the reappearance of God’s glory in connection with the disclosure of the location of the lost Ark of the Covenant (cf. 2 Macc 2:5-8). Viewed in this way, since YHWH had not yet returned to the restored temple, “the exile,” as Wright puts it, “is not really over.”6 Building on Wright’s scholarship, I would now like to pose a question that as far as I know Wright does not address: considering the end of Israel’s exile and the anticipated fiery return of God, on the basis of the same biblical sources, could one look forward to a new descent of fire from heaven, alighting on Israel’s altar of holocausts? The basis for such an expectation is found in those biblical texts in which this fire from heaven first appears to the Israelites of the Old Testament. The descending fire accompanies the descent of God’s glory at all the key junctures in which the latter occurs in the Old Testament texts. Thus, we first read of the descent of God’s glory on the tabernacle in Exodus 40:34 upon its completion, thereby rendering the tabernacle a “portable Sinai”7: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”8 While there is no mention of a fire from YHWH in this passage—as the tabernacle form of worship was not yet operational—we do see it appear in precisely the place where we would expect to find it: with the inauguration of the Aaronic priesthood in Leviticus 9. There, we read that after “the glory of the Lord appeared before all the people... fire came forth from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering...upon the altar” (verses 23-24). The heavenly altar fire shows up again in the Old Testament at the dedication of Solomon’s temple. Although not mentioned in 1 Kings 8, it is mentioned in the parallel account in 2 Chronicles 5-7. There, we read that, “when Solomon had ended his prayer [of dedication], fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering...and the glory of the Lord filled the temple” (2 Chr 7:1). Here again, we see the close connection between the divine glory overshadowing the tabernacle/temple structure, and the divine bestowal of the sacrificial fire. One last text in the Old Testament is worthy of mention. 2 Maccabees 2 Please see ALTAR on page 7 AB/WIKIMEDIA, JAMES TISSOT (D.1902), RECONSTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE OF HEROD, SOUTHEAST CORNER.
By David L. Augustine
Exile’s End In The New Testament and the People of God, Wright says that to understand the final things (or eschatology) as they relate to Second Temple Judaism and to Jesus, one must take stock of where Israel stands in relation to the Old Testament theology of exile: though abiding in the land, they live under the Roman yoke and have not been wholly restored to a right relation with God. Wright observes: “the need for [covenantal] restoration is seen in the common second-temple perception of its own period of history. Most Jews of this period...would have answered the question ‘where are we?’ in language which...meant: we are still in exile. They believed that, in all the senses which mattered, Israel’s [Babylonian] exile was still in progress.”3 According to Wright, although the disaster of the Babylonian exile of the 6th century B.C. had to some extent been mitigated by the Jews’ repatriation under the Persian king Cyrus, their inability to uphold their part of their covenant with God had not been fully remedied. As Wright notes: “Although she [Israel] had come back from Babylon, the glorious message of the prophets remained unfulfilled. Israel still remained in thrall to foreigners; worse, Israel’s god had not returned to Zion. Nowhere in the so-called postexilic literature is there any passage corresponding to 1 Kings 8:10 and following, according to which, when Solomon’s temple had been finished, ‘a
Although the disaster of the Babylonian exile of the 6th century B.C. had to some extent been mitigated by the Jews’ repatriation under the Persian king Cyrus, their inability to uphold their part of their covenant with God had not been fully remedied. Even though they had returned, YHWH had not returned to the Temple.
Continued from ALTAR on page 6 recounts a story of Jeremiah, at the time of the Babylonian exile, sealing up the tent, ark, and altar of incense in a cave (2 Macc 2:5). When certain persons try to disclose their location, Jeremiah rebukes them, responding: “The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy. And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated” (2 Macc 2:7-8). While the signs of Israel’s restoration are here specified as the repatriation of the people, followed by the appearance of the glory and the cloud, the references to Moses and Solomon serve to cue up the following thematically related observation regarding the fire descending from heaven: “Just as Moses prayed to the Lord, and fire came down from heaven and devoured the sacrifices, so also Solomon prayed, and the fire came down and consumed the whole burnt offerings” (2 Macc 2:10). We see once again the close association in Scripture between the cloud, the glory, and the descending altar fire. On a related note, 2 Maccabees 1:18-36 gives an account of the secret preservation and subsequent recovery by Nehemiah of the lost altar fire at the close of the Babylonian exile, thereby legitimatizing Second Temple worship. As Jonathan Goldstein notes, the point of the story here is to show that “the fire in the second temple was no strange fire but a continuation of the miraculous fire of the first temple.”9 This narrative clearly shows the ritual importance attached to the miraculous altar fire in the Old Testament for the ongoing legitimacy of the sacrificial cult. But this same narrative also raises a possible objection to the basic thrust of my thesis: if there is a record of the preservation of the altar fire after exile, is it really legitimate to expect its miraculous return as a phenomenon accompanying the so-called return of YHWH to Zion at the time of the full ingathering of Israel? In other words, if the divine fire which appeared at the beginning of the tent and tabernacle worship had disappeared with the Temple’s first destruction but then reappeared, in some way, at the return from Babylon, then why should we anticipate yet another, fuller, return? I maintain that expecting a return of the divine fire is legitimate because of the correspondence of types and figures that I’ve noted above. Note, for example, that the preservation of the fire kindled in Leviticus 9 did not rule out a fresh outpouring of it in 2 Chronicles 7. More to the point, when YHWH does in fact return to Zion for the eschatological ingathering of the people, he will do so in a quite new and unexpected way, one which surpasses the reality found in the “copy and shadow” of the Old Law (Heb 8:5)—that is, he will return in the person and work of the God-man, Jesus Christ. So as to identify the reality in the New Testament corresponding to the Old Testament foreshadow of the descending fire, let us now turn to the writings of Matthias Scheeben and see what light they might shed on where this New Testament fire is located in connection with the person and work of Jesus Christ. Heart-blood of the Logos In Jesus and the Victory of God, Wright posits that Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem during Holy Week is in fact YHWH’s long-awaited return to his sanctuary. “Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, climaxing in his actions in the Temple and the upper room,” he writes, “was intended to function like Ezekiel lying
AB/WIKIMEDIA, JEAN DE BEAUMETZ (D.1396).
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
Meditating upon the opened side of the crucified Christ, the New Adam, early fourth-century bishop Methodius of Philippi saw the Spirit outpoured, the costa Verbi, or “rib of the Word.”
“When the Lord does in fact return to Zion for the final ingathering of the people, he will do so in a quite new and unexpected way, one which surpasses the reality found in the ‘copy and shadow’ of the Old Law—that is, he will return in the person and work of the God-man, Jesus Christ.” on his side or Jeremiah smashing his pot. The prophet’s action embodied the reality. Jesus went to Jerusalem in order to embody the...coming of the kingdom. He was not content to announce that YHWH was returning to Zion. He intended to enact, symbolize and personify” this return.10 The dynamic of YHWH’s return that Wright here examines on the level of Jesus’ public ministry—but which is built on the back of a relatively high theology of Christ11—Matthias Scheeben develops in terms of a metaphysics of the person and work of Christ, with Christ’s work here being seen as an emanation of his identity as the Word Incarnate, with its accompanying interior graces. Put simply, for Scheeben, Christ’s interior unction of perfect sanctity perfumes the disciples once the vessel of his body has been shattered.12 Christ is Emmanuel, God-withus, God drawing-near, God come to dwell in the midst of his people Israel and, indeed, the whole human race by the very fact he is the one who has been anointed with the unction of the divinity par excellence.13 “The anointing of Christ,” Scheeben writes, “is nothing less than the fullness of the divinity of the Logos, which is substantially joined to the humanity and dwells in it incarnate.”14 Scheeben extends this line of thought by drawing out the Spirit-dimension of this anointing: the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as he proceeds from the Father through the Son, is sent down into the humanity joined to the Logos, since the Spirit himself is the perfume that gently radiates outward from the personal anointing that is the Logos, henceforward from his sacred humanity.15 Moreover, this same divine
unction (of the Logos and, at the same time, of the Spirit) is, by Scheeben’s reckoning, that which forms the basis of Christ’s priestly consecration. It is likewise, returning to our main theme, the heavenly altar fire that descends in and with the Logos and which renders him, on the level of his human existence, a sacrifice perfectly consecrated by this ennobling divine fire.16 In other words: Christ, by his very constitution as Godman, is the Logos who—together with the Holy Spirit who is the fragrance suffusing outward from his sacrificial humanity—has taken human nature for himself from the stock of Israel. Therefore, this same Logos is God
“The Holy Spirit poured out by Christ is ‘a spiritual river of fire who does not merely wash and refresh souls (as in baptism), but at the same time transfigures and warms them.’”
drawing near to Israel, God himself taking up abode in his temple, indeed God imparting himself by fire in a new and unexpected way. Scheeben brings out precisely this theme of Christ as temple in his commentary on Luke 1:31-37. There, focusing on Gabriel’s words to Mary at the Annunciation, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow [obumbrabit] you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy [sanctum]”
(Lk 1:35), Scheeben comments: “Both the ‘Sanctum’ as well as the ‘obumbratio’ [overshadowing] [in the angel’s speech] contains an allusion to the descent of God in the cloud on the tabernacle, so as to rest within it on the Ark of the Covenant and thereby to make the tabernacle into the ‘Holy Place’ [Heiligen] par excellence.”17 Thus, in Scheeben’s view, the divine descent upon Mary in the Incarnation serves as the fundamental New Testament fulfillment of the glory-cloud coming to rest on the tabernacle/temple in the Old Testament. Moreover, the type of the fire-cloud overshadowing the tabernacle contains an abiding reference to Christ on account of his personal constitution. Scheeben writes: “The Ark of the Covenant with the golden cover (the propitiatorium) and the cloud suspended upon it (the Schechinah or Chabod Adonai [the glory of the Lord]) were a highly significant type and symbol18 of Christ and of God’s dwelling among men realized therein.”19 Now, as I argued above, along with the descent of the glory of YHWH at the end of exile, the Bible also holds out the prospect of the outpouring of a new altar fire accompanying and corresponding to the new appearance of God in the midst of his people. On the one hand, as briefly noted above, this has its counterpart in Scheeben in the descent of God’s glory in the Incarnation as it subsists in Christ’s personal existence as a human being (think of the “fire” in the exodus fire-cloud). However, the descending altar fire also has another fulfillment, this time found in Christ’s operation and personal history: it is the event in Christ’s life through which by his nature as God-man he becomes accessible to the rest of humanity by grace. Although Scheeben does not make the following connection explicit, I believe we can find clues to the location of this latter antitype in Scheeben’s writings by turning to his treatment of the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit. As noted above, the Holy Spirit is, on Scheeben’s account, the fragrant aroma that wafts outward from the personal unction of the Logos anointing Christ’s humanity. The procession of the Holy Spirit from the Logos in salvation history is, however, the temporal counterpart to the Spirit’s eternal procession from Father and Son, but proximately from the Son. Now to what, let us ask, first, in the created order in general—and thereafter in Christ’s life (moving from type to antitype)—may we compare this relationship between Son and Spirit, that is, the production of a person other than by generation, necessary since the Spirit proceeds and is not begotten? According to Scheeben, only one such comparison is found: the production of Eve from sleeping Adam’s side in Gen 2:21-22.20 Furthermore, there is also a correspondence between this creation narrative and a similar New Testament narrative: the piercing of Christ’s side and heart21 while he slept the sleep of death on the Cross. It is in this sense that Methodius of Philippi calls the Holy Spirit the costa Verbi, the rib of the Word, but Scheeben thinks that “we shall do better to say that the Holy Spirit is sprung from the heart’s blood of the Father and the Son.”22 In other words, the outpouring of blood and water from Christ’s pierced side (which gives birth to the Church’s sacraments) expresses a parallel emission: the procession now become mission of the Holy Spirit from the Word. “The purifying and life-giving blood stream flowing from the heart of Christ over and into His Church,” Scheeben writes, “is at once the vehicle and the symbol of the temporal, and Please see ALTAR on page 8
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
AB/WIKIMEDIA, THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS; ILLUSTRATION FROM THE 1890 HOLMAN BIBLE.
With the inauguration of the Aaronic priesthood following the construction of the Tent of Meeting, we read that after “the glory of the LORD appeared before all the people, fire came forth from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering upon the altar” (Lev 9:23-24). Here and in other Old Testament passages, the consuming altar fire always follows upon the descent of the Lord in glory.
Continued from ALTAR on page 7 consequently of the eternal, outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”23 Let us join this now to the fire typology: Scheeben throughout his writings depicts the Holy Spirit as fire, especially insofar as he is closely connected in Scripture and in the Patristic and theological tradition to the divine charity (Augustine’s igne amoris) that abides in our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5) and makes us a living sacrifice. Upon these grounds, Scheeben refers to the Holy Spirit poured out by Christ as “a spiritual river of fire [Feuerstrom] who does not merely wash and refresh souls [that is, in baptism], but at the same time transfigures and warms them.” 24 It follows that just as Christ is the fleshly temple and living pillar of cloud and fire that corresponds to the Old Testament types, so too the effusion of the blood and water from Christ’s side—which is Pentecost in nuce25—is the antitype to the event recorded in Leviticus 9:23-24, where fire came forth from before the Lord to consume and consecrate Israel’s sacrifices and, therein, the people themselves, so as to render them (and us!) a living temple and sacrifice of praise to the glory of God the Father. It is precisely this fire which brings about the true end of the exile and the definitive reconciliation of the people with God, for “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ,” the two peoples having been made one, “a holy temple in the Lord,” fashioned into “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:13, 21-22). Concluding Remarks In dialogue with N. T. Wright, it has become clear that there existed the motif of the end of exile in the eschatology and worldview at the time of Second Temple Judaism; furthermore, there is also the prospect that Israel was
still awaiting the return of the glory of YHWH to complete her repatriation from bondage. In connection with the return of the divine glory, however, one question remained. Will the related phenomenon of the descending divine fire return likewise? The New Testament outpouring of this divine fire from the glory of YHWH was to be found in the effusion of blood and water from Christ’s side, that is, in the Pentecostal outpouring of the divine fire of love, from its very wellspring, the pierced heart of the God-man in the mystery of his Passion. This is the mystery of Christ’s bride, the Church at its very source: the redeemed community, led out of exile and called to become a dwelling place “Holy to the Lord” (Ex 28:36), as she steps forth from the crucible of the burning love of Father and Son, herself enkindled and even set ablaze with this same divine love, that love through which she herself becomes a living holocaust, a living sacrifice of praise, who loves, as St. John says, by dint of the fact that “he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). ________________________________ David L. Augustine is currently a doctoral candidate in the Systematic Theology program at Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. He is the research assistant to Drs. Matthew Levering and Reinhard Hütter. He is a recent graduate of the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary, IL, where he earned an MALS (Master of Arts Liturgical Studies). 1. David L. Augustine, “Sacrifice as Deification: Reflections on the Augustinian Foundations of Ratzinger’s Sacrificial Theology,” Adoremus Bulletin 22.1 (2016). 2. My citation here of Isa 52:8 follows N. T. Wright’s use, employing the NRSV, but substituting “YHWH” for “Lord.” 3. N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God [NTPG] (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1992), 268-69. 4. Wright, NTPG, 269, emphasis added.
5. See too N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God [JVG], Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996, 621: “But the geographical return from exile, when it came about under Cyrus and his successors, was not accompanied by any manifestations such as those in Exodus 40, Leviticus 9, 1 Kings 8, or ... Isaiah 6. Never do we hear that the pillar of cloud and fire which accompanied the Israelites in the wilderness has led the people back from their exile. At no point do we hear that YHWH has not gloriously returned to Zion. At no point is the house again filled with the cloud which veils his glory.” 6. NTPG, 270. 7. Nahum M. Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus (Philadelphia: JPS, 1991), 237. On the tabernacle as a mobile perpetuation of the Sinai experience, see L. Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015), 94, 96. 8. All Scripture citations are Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic edition, unless otherwise indicated. 9. Jonathan A. Goldstein, II Maccabees: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible 41A (New York: Doubleday, 1983), 173. 10. Wright, JVG, 615. 11. I say “relatively high” because Wright operates on the basis of what I consider to be a low view of Christ’s personal knowledge. Cf., for example, JVG, 606: “the Jesus we have described throughout must have had to wrestle [especially at Gethsemane] with the serious possibility that he might be totally deluded.” 12. Cf. Matthias Joseph Scheeben, Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik, V/2, 2nd ed., ed. Carl Feckes, in Gesammelte Schriften, VI/2 (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1954), n. 1478, where Scheeben describes Christ’s crucifixion “as a breaking that occurs, from without to without, by means of the expansive and diffusive force of Christ’s love and the penetration of the living vessel of his body via the streaming forth of his blood and his life.” (All translations of Scheeben’s Dogmatics are my own; all citations follow paragraph rather than page numbers.) For the anchoring of all of Christ’s created graces in the grace of union, i.e. in his unctio substantialis, see n. 910. 13. Cf. esp. Matthias Joseph Scheeben, Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik, V/1, 2nd ed., ed. Carl Feckes, in Gesammelte Schriften, VI/1 (Freiburg im Breisgau, Herder, 1954), n. 122: The man Jesus “is a substantially holy being [wesenhaft heiliges Wesen] and the true Son of God and therefore the promised Christ and Emmanuel and the true Lord of mankind.” 14. Matthias Joseph Scheeben, The Mysteries of Christianity, trans. Cyril Vollert (St. Louis: Herder, 1954 [5th printing]), 332. He continues, on 333: “Accordingly ‘Christ’ and the ‘God-man’ mean one and the same thing.” 15. See ibid. 332, emphases added: “When the Fathers say that Christ is anointed with the Holy Spirit, they mean that the Holy Spirit has descended into the humanity of Christ in the Logos from whom He proceeds,
and that He anoints and perfumes the humanity as the distillation and fragrance of the ointment which is the Logos Himself.” Cf. this with Ps 23:5: “You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.” 16. See Handbuch V/2, n. 1472. 17. Scheeben, Handbuch V/1, n. 123. 18. Lit: a “typical symbol [typisches Symbol].” 19. Scheeben, Handbuch V/1, n. 81, emphases modified. See too n. 549. For the significance of the pillar of cloud and fire as representing the objective presence of God in the tabernacle in Scheeben, see Handbuch V/2, n. 1439: “The objective presence of God in the tabernacle was represented by the moving in ‘of the glory of God,’ i.e. the light-cloud [Lichtwolke], which had accompanied the people on their march through the wilderness and which corresponded to the manifestation of God on Sinai [i.e. the tabernacle was a mobile Sinai], which was also, however, in its own way, a dwelling of God and which the Jewish tradition as such called Schechinah.” 20. For Scheeben’s whole discussion of this matter, see The Mysteries, “Appendix I to Part I: A Hypostatic Analogue in the Created Order for the Holy Spirit and His Origin,” 181-89. See too Matthias Joseph Scheeben, Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik, II, 3rd ed., ed. Michael Schmaus, in Gesammelte Schriften, IV (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1948), nn. 1019-26. 21. Scheeben holds that Christ’s side was pierced in such a way that his heart was pierced likewise, whether his chest was pierced on the left or trans-pierced from the right side. Cf. Handbuch V/2, n. 1206. On the rich significance of the piercing of Christ’ side in general, see n. 1205. 22. Scheeben, The Mysteries, 185. See too 395: “The Holy Spirit is nothing less than the life-sap welling from the divine heart of the Logos, and His lifeblood.” 23. Ibid., 184. For the sacrificial significance of Jesus’ heart, see Handbuch V/1, n. 713: the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is “the altar, on which the sacrificial fire burns, as well as the living organ of [Christ’s] priestly sacrificial disposition.... [it] is the most perfect symbol or sensible image of Christ’s sacrificial love.” 24. Scheeben, Handbuch II, n. 1010. Cf. too Handbuch V/2, n. 1478, where Scheeben speaks of the “fire of the Holy Spirit” at work in Christ’s Resurrection and the Eucharistic consecration. Also note: with his reference to Holy Spirit as the “river of fire” above, Scheeben has merged the biblical typology of the sacrificial fire with that of the life-giving water pouring out of the temple (cf. Ezek 47:1; Rev 22:1, both read in light of Jn 7:38-39). 25. i.e. insofar as the blood and water shed from Christ’s heart is the real-symbol of the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit from Father and Son become mission. On Pentecost, accordingly, the disciples enter into the mystery of the blood and water pouring forth from Christ’s side. This is the mystery of the Church at its fountainhead as it steps forth from the mystery of Christ’s Passion.
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
“In Crowning their Merits You Crown Your own Gifts”— A Proper Understanding of the Role Merit Plays in the Prayers of the Mass
By Michael Brummond, S.T.L., S.T.D. (cand.)
Also interesting are the various uses of this word that one finds in our liturgical prayers. While the above oration asks of God that we may merit eternal life, in Eucharistic Prayer I we pray, “…admit us, we beseech you, into their company, not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon….” What is one to make of this apparently contradictory notion of merit? Do we seek reward from God, or should we abjure our meager merit before God? It seems that the juxtaposition of these two attitudes toward merit actually provides a suitable answer to those who would now see a Pelagian spirit in our prayers. Graceful Merit Merit can be understood as the quality of a good work that makes it worthy of reward. Though strictly speaking God does not owe us anything, according to his promises he justly rewards us for good works done through grace. The prayers of the Roman Missal both affirm the traditional doctrine of merit, and offer a model of how the Christian faithful ought to stand before God vis-à-vis their merits. In considering how the Missal speaks of merit, we may first investigate the ultimate source of merit. Several prayers underscore merit as flowing from God’s gifts, mercy, and promises. Preface I of the Saints is paradigmatic in this regard: “For you are praised in the company of your Saints and, in crowning their merits, you crown your own gifts.” This Preface incorporates the thought of St. Augustine that merit is itself a gift, a grace.1 This Preface holds, along with Augustine, what many misunderstand regarding the use of the term “merit” in the prayers of the Mass—that merit and grace are not mutually exclusive. The theme of merit as God’s gift is found also in the Prayer over the Offerings for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: O God, who provide gifts to be offered to your name and count our oblations as signs of our desire to serve you with devotion, we ask of your mercy that what you grant as the source of merit may also help us to attain merit’s reward.
“It is God who provides the source of merit and God who brings to completion what merit attains.” Here, all our activity and devotion finds its foundation in God. It is God who provides the gifts offered back to him, the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine. It is God who provides the source of merits and God who brings to completion what merit attains. From beginning to end the work of man finds its wellspring in the graciousness of God. This prayer also points to another theme found repeatedly in the Roman Missal, i.e., that our merits flow from God’s mercy. In his “Exposition of Psalm 102,” St. Augustine amplified his notion that, in crowning our merits, God is crowning his own gifts, by adding that if God crowns us, we are crowned by his mercy.2 For Augustine, the supremacy of God’s mercy excludes any pride on our part, and calls us
“Are we now working our way to Heaven? Are we preoccupied with earning ‘merit badges?’ Do we favor merit over mercy?”
AB/Wikimedia, by Botticelli (d.1510).
n the first Sunday of Advent 2011, Catholics began hearing a word previously spoken only rarely in the liturgy: merit. Consider, for instance, that in Eucharistic Prayer II we pray, “we may merit to be co-heirs to eternal life.” Formerly the prayer was rendered “make us worthy to share eternal life.” Examples such as this abound, in which the previously untranslated word “merit” (forms of the noun meritum or verb mereor) now makes its appearance in our prayers. I have personally heard several complaints that the use of the word merit in our prayers is unfitting. Are we now working our way to Heaven? Are we preoccupied with earning “merit badges?” Do we favor merit over mercy? I have even heard the accusation that our prayers are Pelagian. (Pelagianism, named for its founder Pelagius, was a 4th century heresy that wrongly believed the human person by his own good acts could earn eternal life apart from divine grace.) Do our prayers really seek reward independent of God’s gift of grace?
Pelagius was a fourth century monk who wrongly believed that the human person by his own good acts could earn eternal life apart from grace.
rather to remember all that God has given us, and to offer him fitting praise. The Roman Missal likewise roots merit in God’s mercy. One of the Prayers over the People (16) offered in the Ordo Missae prays: Look with favor on your family, O Lord, and bestow your endless mercy on those who seek it: and just as without your mercy, they can do nothing truly worthy of you, so through it, may they merit to obey your saving commands. Worthy Words God’s mercy is understood here as essential to any supernaturally good work, anything “truly worthy” of God, echoing the words of Jesus in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” In the above oration, the fruit one would bear, or merit, by remaining in the mercy of God, is to obey his commands. It is significant that the object of merit here is hardly self-seeking reward. Rather, what we seek to merit is the ability, through God’s mercy, to keep his saving commands. Likewise, on Ash Wednesday, in the Prayer over the People at the conclusion of Mass, the priest prays, “Pour out a spirit of compunction, O God, on those who bow before your majesty, and by your mercy may they merit the rewards you promise to those who do penance.” The attitude of humility pervades this prayer, and mercy is seen as the means by which merit is possible. There is a connection between penance and meriting rewards, but the emphasis is on the necessary role of God’s mercy, as well as his promise to give such rewards. Unbroken Promise As we consider God as the source of all merits, this theme of God’s promise is also noteworthy. For instance, in the collect for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear: Almighty ever-living God, increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise. What may be merited is coextensive with what God has promised; merit stands in utter dependency on God’s promises. This, however, is not the only way this prayer pictures human dependency on the divine. The prayer first asks for an augment in the theological virtues, which can originate only in God. It then petitions God to make us love what he commands. The “so that” of the final clause indicates that any human merit is dependent, not only on God’s promise, but also on the condition that he moves us to delight in his precepts. Not only is God the source of all merit; God’s liberality is so great that what he gives surpasses what we merit. The collect for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time reads: Almighty ever-living God, who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you, pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads and to give what prayer does not dare to ask. This is not a petition that we may merit something; rather,
St. Augustine maintained that, in crowning our merits, God is crowning his own gifts, and that if God crowns us, we are crowned by his mercy. Human merit is grounded in God’s mercy.
a statement is made regarding God’s generosity vis-à-vis our merits as the grounds for our confidence in making a further request. There is again an attitude of humility as well as confidence in God, asking that he mercifully pardon what conscience fears and in granting what prayer does not presume to ask. This confidence in God is founded on his exceeding both our merits and desires. Not only is God the source of all human merits, but this prayer also recognizes that any calculating quid pro quo would be unfitting in light of God’s superabundant generosity rewarding far beyond our just deserts. Alas—a Lack A number of orations also declare our lack of merits before God and an attitude of distrust in our own merits. Several prayers in the Roman Missal powerfully communicate the need for humility with regards to our own merits and the need to place our confidence in God alone. The Nobis Quoque of Eucharistic Prayer I (“To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners…”), for instance, petitions, “admit us, we beseech you, into their [the Saints’] company, not
“While a great number of prayers in the Roman Missal attest to the reality of human merit, it is notable that nowhere in the orations of the Mass do we present our merits to God as the reason or grounds for God to grant what we ask.” weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon….” The petition asks for a share in the fellowship with and admittance to the company of the Saints. While in certain prayers we pray that we might merit entrance into the company of the Saints, the Roman Canon specifically asks God not to consider our merits in granting this petition. Instead, we ask God to hear our request by granting his pardon. There is here an attitude of distrust in our own merits. While a great number of prayers in the Roman Missal attest to the reality of human merit, it is notable that nowhere in the orations of the Mass do we present our merits to God as the reason or grounds for God to grant what we ask. We pray that we may merit certain things, and we may speak of benefiting from the merits of the Saints, but when it comes to our own merits, this oration from the Roman Canon is paradigmatic. Once again, it’s important to note, when seeking benefits from God, we place our confidence in his mercy, generosity, and gifts rather than in our own merits, even to the point of specifically asking him not to weigh our merits in consideration of what we ask. Another example of this denial of the worth of our merits is found in a Prayer over the Offerings, repeated several times during the Season of Advent: Please see MERIT on page 10
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
THE RITE QUESTIONS
Q What is the liturgy? A :
LETTERS Visiting the Imprisoned During the 20 years I was in prison, Adoremus Society generously donated a subscription to the Adoremus Bulletin. I read each issue with interest and passed it on to others, too. I also was able to share with the wider community, who didn’t read the Bulletin, what I’d learned from it. I do not know if you can really appreciate the benefit that was to me and my fellow inmates. Aside from the opportunity to learn and grow from this, it was a great inspiration to see the corporal and spiritual works of mercy carried out by your company through these donations. I hope that you will continue to have both the ability and the will to do this sort of thing. Now that I am out of prison, to that end, I would like to make this small donation to help you continue your ministry to prisoners. May God bless you all. Yours in Christ, — J im Blum Aurora, CO
High Spirits Dear Adoremus Staff, We are most grateful for the wonderful article on Romano Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy. May God bless your work and please know it is appreciated. Be assured of a remembrance in our prayers. Wishing you all a most blessed Holy Lent and a glorious Easter. Sincerely and gratefully in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, — The Discalced Carmelite Nuns Rochester, NY
Sharing the News
Thank you for continuing to send me Adoremus. I enjoy the paper and pass it on to priests. — J anet Gabonay Irwin, PA
Love of Learning We greatly appreciate your love for and teaching of our beloved Catholic liturgy. —R ev. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Flatley Carlsborg, WA
File Under: Grateful Thank you for sending us the Adoremus Bulletin. Please continue sending our library this timely newspaper on the Liturgy. —B r. Anthony Kreinus, SVD, Librarian, Divine Word College Epworth, IA
Informed Readers Respond Thank you for your informative newspaper about what’s happening in Church liturgy. —M r. and Mrs. Harold Booms Madison Heights, MI
: Perhaps the most noteworthy definition for us today is that given by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: “the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members” (7). Still, when submitted by one of our readers in Camarillo, CA, this question—“What is the liturgy?”—caught me off guard. After all, we at Adoremus spend most of our waking hours teaching, speaking, writing, reading, and reflecting on all aspects of “liturgy”—its music, ministers, rites, and rubrics. Yet the fundamental question, “What is the liturgy?” is often overlooked and, truth be told, not easy to define in a succinct way. Many definitions of the liturgy, particularly those in the early 20th century, made “officialdom” the distinguishing liturgical mark, namely, that an act was
considered “liturgy” if carried out by duly appointed ministers and celebrated according to an officially-promulgated book. Consider, for example, Romano Guardini’s own definition in his 1918 The Spirit of the Liturgy: “The liturgy is the Church’s public and lawful act of worship, and it is performed and conducted by the officials whom the Church herself has designated for the post—her priests.” That a liturgy is carried out by the Church’s ministers and follows a dulyapproved ritual is not wrong, but it also does not capture or define the liturgy’s fundamental essence. We hear in the Second Vatican Council’s definition, above, like those before it, the acknowledgment that liturgy belongs to, and is celebrated by, the Church and her hierarchically-arranged members. But we are given two additional aspects to consider: 1) the unseen content of the liturgy, which is “the priestly [work] of Jesus Christ,” and 2) its manifestation by efficacious “signs perceptible to the senses.” Thus, at a minimum, it seems that a basic definition of liturgy ought to include three indispensable parts. First, it must recognize that the reality or
substance of every liturgical action is Jesus Christ, and particularly his saving Paschal Mystery—his suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension. Second, the definition ought to recognize that Christ’s saving work is made manifest through signs and symbols. More than simple reminders or pointers to Jesus, these sacramental signs and symbols actually bring before the Church him whom they signify, Christ. Third, our definition needs to acknowledge that the liturgy’s signs and symbols are organized and carried out in an ecclesiastical rite or ritual, of which the Church—Christ’s own body—is the sole celebrant. And it is important to note that this Church is not simply her clergy, but each of the baptized who actively participate in the saving Paschal Mystery of Jesus made present in the liturgy’s sacramental signs, giving their whole selves through Christ to God the Father and, in return, becoming divinized. In short, here is one possible definition: the liturgy is Christ and his Paschal Mystery made present in the Church’s sacramental signs. —Answered by Christopher Carstens, Editor, Adoremus Bulletin
: What are the Church’s norms about the Paschal Candle?
: The most succinct directives for the Easter Candle are from the 1988 document of the Congregation for Divine Worship, “On the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts,” Paschales Solemnitatis: “The paschal candle should be prepared, which for effective symbolism must be made of wax, never be artificial, be renewed each
year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size so that it may evoke the truth that Christ is the light of the world. It is blessed with the signs and words prescribed in the Missal or by the Conference of Bishops” (82). That is, the parish’s paschal candle ought to be made purely of wax; it ought to be replaced each year, and not held over from the past year(s); it
ought to be alone at the vigil, and not accompanied by other Paschal Candles, for example, from a second or third parish pastored by the priest; and it ought to be large. It is a sacramental sign of Jesus: new life, new light, new promised land. —Answered by Christopher Carstens, Editor, Adoremus Bulletin
Continued from MERIT on page 9
our own works and the work of Christ’s sacrifice—the reception of the effects of God’s mercy is attributed exclusively to the latter. There is also a contrast between our merit and God’s mercy. This eschewing of our merit in the Prayer over the Offerings is even more notable given that the collect of the same Mass petitions God to “graciously grant that we may heed [Christ’s] lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection.” By the juxtaposition of these two prayers, it is clear that the lex orandi of the Church keeps in tension the real possibility of meriting eternal life through our good works along with a strong disavowal of any kind of selfconfidence that could arise by trusting in those works to the exclusion of God’s mercy for attaining the same end.
Two aspects of our merit are constantly present in the Missal. Through God’s grace and promise, we are truly capable of meriting eternal life by our works and we may hope to gain that merit before God. At the same time the Missal offers a pattern of approaching God with an attitude of humility, placing hope in his mercy and distrusting our own merits. The former is a truth about God’s healing and elevating grace; the latter is a spiritual truth about our attitude or posture before God’s transforming grace. _________________________________
Be pleased, O Lord, with our humble prayers and offerings, and, since we have no merits to plead our cause, come, we pray, to our rescue with the protection of your mercy. Through Christ our Lord.3
Humble Before Thee This prayer explicitly mentions the attitude of humility as we approach God in our prayers, and it is in humility that we confess that we lack any merits by which we might sway God to hear us. Once again, not trusting in our merits, we instead place confidence in God’s mercy. Rather than see this as a denial of the very possibility of merit, which would contradict not only Catholic Tradition but also numerous other prayers of the Missal, we should see this prayer instead as a statement of the proper attitude that should accompany our merits as we implore God for our needs. Moving past Lent, the Prayer over the Offerings of Palm Sunday is another clear example of a denial of the worth of our merit: Through the Passion of your Only Be- gotten Son, O Lord, may our reconciliation with you be near at hand, so that, though we do not merit it by our own deeds, yet by this sacrifice made once for all, we may feel already the effects of your mercy. Through Christ our Lord. A contrast is made in this prayer between
The Merits of Truth What is it, then, that we are able to merit? The Missal speaks of meriting growth in discipleship: following, loving, and serving God, as well as obeying his commands. We merit participation in the mysteries of Christ, forgiveness of sins, increase in grace, and an outpouring of God’s Spirit and his gifts. Eternal life is a reward we hope to merit, which is also referred to as eternal joy—or simply heaven. The same idea of heaven is communicated through various images: the kingdom, glory, a homeland, an inheritance, and a banquet. We also hope to merit to attain to God himself through the beatific vision, union with Christ and being conformed to him, and fellowship with the saints in the same reward as them.
Mike Brummond holds a pontifical Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary, IL, and is a doctoral candidate at the same institution. His dissertation, which he anticipates defending later this year, focuses on a liturgicaltheological examination of merit in the prayers of the Roman Missal. He is also an assistant professor of systematic studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, WI. 1. Compare Preface I of the Saints (“…in crowning their merits, you crown your own gifts;” “…eόrum coronándo mérita tua dona corόnas”) to St. Augustine in En. Ps., 102.7 (CCSL 40:1457.9-10): (“Therefore he crowns you because he crowns his own gifts, not your merits;” “Ergo coronat te, quia dona sua coronat, non merita tua.”). 2. En. Ps., 102.7 (CCSL 40:1457.18-19): “Ergo et quod coronaris, illius misericordia coronaris.” 3. The prayer appears as the Prayer over the Offerings on Tuesday of the First Week of Advent, Friday of the First Week of Advent, the Second Sunday of Advent, Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent, Friday of the Second Week of Advent, Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent, and Friday of the Third Week of Advent.
Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
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Adoremus Bulletin, March 2018
Book Review: Find God Where He Lives
New Book Shows Liturgical Design Behind Rise and Fall—and Resurrection—of God’s Temple The House of the Lord: A Catholic Biblical Theology of God’s Temple Presence in the Old and New Testaments by Steven C. Smith, Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 2017. 392 pp. ISBN: 978-0996930543. $60 (hardcover).
Wellhausan’s anti-priestly ideology to see the Temple and its priesthood as “devolution[s] away from the purer moral law of Deuteronomy” and the prophets (6). Thus, Smith notes, “the characterization of Jesus as a priestly Messiah or of the priestly identity of Jesus’ Apostles are all but absent in many studies of the Gospels today” (7). The Temple theme runs, as Smith puts it, like fiber optic cable from Genesis to Revelation, as God builds the temple-sanctuary of the first creation and the temple-city of the new creation. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of The House of the Lord is the upshot that Jesus’ temple-building mission has for our understanding of the liturgy—and indeed of the liturgical foundations for the church building itself. Smith spends the conclusion of the book exploring the “impact and reception of the temple theme within the early Church” (375). Since the mission of Jesus is to restore the proper communion between God and man begun in Eden, embodied in the Temple, accomplished in the Resurrection and Pentecost, prefigured in the mysteries of the Ascension, and envisioned in the final chapters of Revelation, the liturgy and the church building are meant to embody the union and communion between God and man.
By Jeremy Priest
ut who do you say that I am?” Our Lord addresses this query to the first twelve bishops of the Church, his Apostles, but the question is meant for all of us. It is one of the fundamental question of life. Who is Christ and who do we say he is? In liturgical circles over the past 60 years, though, another related and fundamental question has been, “What say you of the Temple?” Is the Temple and its sacrifices the primary source of our liturgical roots, or is it the Synagogue and its scriptures? Or perhaps the family home? Seeing “the Temple and the sacrificial priesthood in its proper place at center stage” of the scriptures allows the relationship between Jesus and the Temple to become “more coherent” (4). Seeing that St. Luke’s Gospel begins in the Temple with the annunciation to Zechariah and ends with the apostolic band “continually in the Temple blessing God” (Lk 24:53), we are able to more clearly understand why the Temple is so important in the Gospels—and for the liturgy. For instance, we better understand incidents like Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple (Lk. 19:45-48) in relation to the priestly-sacrifice which occurred there. If Jesus was challenging the daily wholeoffering (tamid) as a means of atonement, it was because he was preparing us, three chapters further along in Luke, for the institution of the Eucharist (Lk. 22:14-20), which clearly takes “the place of the daily whole-offering…table for table, whole offering for whole offering.”1 To help us better understand these connections, Steven C. Smith’s The House of the Lord: A Catholic Biblical Theology of God’s Temple Presence in the Old and New Testaments offers a comprehensive view of the Temple and its relationship to the drama of salvation history. Houses of the Holy The course of events which Smith examines in The House of the Lord amount to a series of flawed attempts in scripture to build a temple that will be pleasing to the Lord. Smith begins with the Temple of Eden where Adam stands as priest-king of the Garden, charged with kingly and priestly tasks—to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28), as well as to “till” and “keep” (Gen 2:15) the garden sanctuary—technical terms for cultic activity. Smith sees this as man’s overall mission—ultimately fulfilled by the “root of Jesse” (Is. 11:10)—to expand the original Edenic Temple, to “fill the earth” with the “knowledge of the glory of the Lord” (Hab 2:14; cf. Is 11:9). Not only does Adam fail, however, but man is later confounded in the building of the “Tower of Babel”—a temple, Smith notes, which man has dedicated not to God but to himself. Later in the Old Testament, Smith examines how even the Patriarchs regularly build altars, approximating the temple-building task originally given to Adam in the garden. Significantly, Smith notes that Moses is finally able to establish a Temple with the construction of the desert Tabernacle. But Moses only succeeds because his building plans are based on the pattern of God’s Temple—a structure that was not made with human hands. Rather than creating the design himself, Moses finds his design after witnessing it on Mt. Sinai in the desert Tabernacle. From Moses, Smith moves on to the ultimately successful effort to build a Temple during the time of Israel’s kings. With David, the Temple becomes “the embodiment” of God’s kingdom-covenant with his people, where “the triple relationship” between the Lord, the “House of David and the people of Israel was established” (151). As the Kingdom of Israel reaches its flowering in the actual Temple built by David’s son, King Solomon, an internalization and universalization takes place, embodied in Isaiah’s prophecy that in the “latter days” the “law and the word of the Lord” will cause all “the nations [to] stream toward” the “mountain of the house of the Lord” (Is 2:2–3; cf. Smith, 178–9). In the end, though, Smith notes, even this First Temple does not last and, after Israel’s return from exile, must be replaced by a second Temple. The destruction and rebuilding of the Temple, combined with the corruption of the high priesthood and foreign occupation, made Israel ripe for counter-temple movements, the likes of which were ubiquitous in first-century Palestine. Dwelling on a New House The hopes for a “new David” were also tied to the construction of the new Temple (151): the “embodiment” of God’s kingdom-covenant with David (151). This new
David, just like David himself, would reunite all Israel; defeat Israel’s enemies; build and restore the Temple; establish the forgiveness of sins; and draw the nations to the Lord (239–240). Each of these five “hopes associated with the coming Messiah can be traced back, in one way or another, to the Davidic covenant and to the establishment of the House of the Lord, the Temple” (239). One hope, the forgiveness of sins, emerges with John the Baptist. With his offer to forgive sins once reserved for the Temple precinct, we see that a restored Temple is “already taking shape” as Jesus is coming on the scene (251). Jesus’ miracles and exorcisms “represent an unprecedented outpouring of forgiveness and mercy, formerly associated with God’s presence in the Temple” (266). Indeed, the Temple “was the primary venue for healing within Judaism” (268). As such, Jesus’ notoriety can be understood in light of all his miracles and exorcisms: he was understood to be “the mobile embodiment of the Temple” (268). Just like the high priest’s garments, whoever touches Jesus becomes holy (268). Christ’s Church is another hope fulfilled. As the “Davidic Messiah, who, like the son of David,” builds a Temple, Peter is given a “priestly authority” not simply over the Kingdom of Heaven, but over the ekklesia/ Temple that will be built upon Peter (265). Indeed, “something greater than the Temple” and “greater than Solomon,” the original Temple builder, is here (Mt 12:6, 46). As witnessed by the apostles in their work after Christ’s ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God represents a temple-building mission, whereby he was “filling the earth” with God’s glory by filling and uniting men in the Holy Spirit (258; see 330–332). Jesus’ death and resurrection (cf. Jn 2:19) constitute the new Temple of the Spirit in his flesh (see Heb 10:20; 356). It might be said that “The Word became the eternal High Priest and perfect offering—in every way He is the Temple of God” (358). Liturgical Blueprint The significance of The House of the Lord for the study of the liturgy is that it puts “God’s Temple presence” under the wide-angle lens of biblical theology—situating the Temple and its “significance within the larger framework of the biblical canon” (3). While there are many merits to historical criticism, the post-Vatican II period saw less and less of the insightful works produced by Jean Daniélou and Yves Congar (especially Congar’s The Mystery of the Temple). In contrast, Smith offers a “typological-sacramental” reading of the Scriptures which is “not merely salvation-historical, but also sacramental and liturgical” (Foreword by Brant Pitre, xii). Such an approach helps us to understand why biblical scholars such as E.P. Sanders can assert that it is “almost impossible to make too much of the Temple in firstcentury Jewish Palestine” (xi). Yet, much of Protestant and indeed Catholic scholarship over the last 150 years has applied the views of Lutheran biblical scholar Julius
Model Home As an example of this awareness in the early Church, Eusebius of Caesarea relates the centrality of Christ and the Temple in relation to the building of a church at Tyre: “But the Father having proved Him now as well as then,” he writes, “has established him as the head of the corner of this our common church. This, therefore, the living temple of the living God, formed of yourselves, I say, is the greatest and the truly divine sanctuary, whose inmost shrines, though invisible to the multitude, are really holy, a holy of holies.”2 Indeed, as Eusebius suggests, the church building is the very trysting place between God and man where, in Christ and his Church, heaven and earth overlap and interlock. While the “aims of [Smith’s] conclusion are modest” (375), gaining a nuanced biblical theology of the Temple and its priesthood opens the way for nuanced Christological application in countless ways and reminds us that “all aspects of worship: architecture, sacred music, and even…iconography” are at the service of the Lord (376, quoting Bouyer). Perhaps the great payoff of Smith’s book, which solidly presents a biblical theology of the Temple, is the way it broadens the horizons of liturgical theology. Too often the time given to the Bible hardly allows “for a theme to be developed from the perspective of Scripture itself or questions from the Bible to be raised that were not covered in the body of the Church’s teaching.”3 This focus on the Temple as prefigurement of Christ avoids what Anglican biblical scholar N.T. Wright has described as a methodological problem with approaching sacramental theology from isolated dogmatic texts: by starting with “what you believe about Baptism or Eucharist,” you “will simply collapse into the rather sterile antithesis between different, well-known, well-marked theological positions.”4 By locating God’s Temple Presence on a larger biblical map, Smith opens new horizons, thereby enabling new conversations in liturgical theology. While Smith’s grounding of the Sacraments in Scripture’s covenantal narrative does not solve debates, The House of the Lord: A Catholic Biblical Theology of God’s Temple Presence in the Old and New Testaments creates new points of entry—new doors and windows for new light to enter and illuminate our understanding of the importance that the historical Temple of the Old Testament holds, especially in its relationship to the Living Temple, Jesus Christ. _____________________________________________ Jeremy J. Priest is the Director of the Office of Family Life and Pro-Life Activities for the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, OK. He recently completed his STL at the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL. He and his wife Genevieve have two children and live in Tulsa. 1. Jacob Neusner, “Money-Changers in the Temple: The Mishnah’s Explanation,” New Testament Studies 35 (1989): 287–290, at 289–90. 2. Eusebius, An Ecclesiastical History to the 20th Year of the Reign of Constantine, trans. Parker S.E. (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1847), 416 [10.4]. 3. Joseph Ratzinger, “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: Chapter VI,” in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, ed. Herbert Vorgrimler (New York: Herder and Herder, 1967-1969), 3:267. 4. N.T. Wright, “Space, Time, and Sacraments: Part One” a public address th given at Calvin College on January 6 , 2007, accessed February 26, 2018, https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/space-time-and-sacraments-n-t-wright/