Spring 1977

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DESIGN FOR AMERICAN WORSHIP

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CHICAGO STUDIES EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor ¡ George J. Dyer

Associate Editor John F. Dedek Production Manager Edmund J. Siedlecki

Business Manage~ Dean Semmer Executive Director Marjorie M. Lukas

Editorial Advisors Louis Cameli Willard F. Jabusch John Canary Edward H. Konerman, S.J. William D. Carroll Thomas B. McDonough Johri J. Collins Charles R. Meyer Agnes Cunningham, sscm Joseph J. O'Brien James P. Doyle Timothy E. O'Connell Mose Glynn John J. Shea . Edward F. Harnett Thomas F. Sullivan Richard J.' Wojcik CHICAGO STUDIES is dedicated to the continuing theological development of priests and other religious educators. The editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. All communications regarding articles and editorial policy should be addressed to the editors. Subscriptions should. be sent to CHICAGO STUDIES, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. 312-566-6401. Subscription rates: $6.50 a year, $12.00 for tw? years, $22.00 for four yeat:s; Foreign subscribers: add $1.00 per year. CHICAGO STUDIES is published three times a year by Civitas Dei Foundation, Box 665, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. Third Class postage paid at St. Meinrad, Ind. Views expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of the editors of editorial board. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical & Literature Index and New Testament Abstracts. Microfilms of current and backfile volumes of CHICAGO STUDIES are available from University Microfilms, Inc., 300 N. Zeeb Roa.d, An~ Arbor, Michigan 48106. Manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by self address.ed stamped envelope. Copyright, 1977, by Civitas Dei Foundation.


VOLUME 16

SPRING 1977

NUMBER 1

Contents DESIGN FOR AMERICAN WORSHIP

Articles MAN AS A RITUAL BEING

5

Raimundo Panikkar

LITURGICAL CELEBRATION

AMERICAN STYLE

29

John Gallen, S.J.

THE THEOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE

45

James L. Einpereur, S.J.

THE SPIRITUALITY OF CELEBRATION

63

Louis John Cam eli

75.

Peter Coughlan

THE PRAISES OF ISRAEL' WORSHIP IN THE OLD TEST AMENT

99

John J. Collins

.SACRAMENTAL ASPECTS OF PAUL'S THOUGHT

• 117

THE NEW ORDER OF THE MASS

Adela Yarbro Collins . THE HISTORICAL EXPERIENCE' A REVIEW OF THE GREAT AMEN, IN CHRISTIAN TRADITION

135

Dennis W. Krouse AUTHORS

157

OUR COVER' Singing Man by Ernst Barlach


Raimundo Panikkar

Man as a Ritual Being Ritual is neither accidental nor incidental to the more important concerns of life. Rather it has a central claim upon the shaping of our lives and upon the construction and re-creation of our world. PROLOG UK A FABLE

Once upon a time there "was" a Man. Unlike "primitive" Man, this Man had lived consciously for millenia. He had outlived his history, and had all the data and riches of the world at his disposal, but he seemed to have no hope. He could not bear to look toward the future any longer. He remembered too well. He remembered the fiasco of all kinds of "progress," and the failure of every sort of "humanism" to free Men from their own inhumanity. Wars~ revolu¡ tions and violence had upset him, and resolved nothing. All the sophisticated gadgets of human ingenuity had long since become boring and repetitious. And all the ex a 1ted achievements of the human spirit had not managed to fulfill even the most elementary human needs. And though he was "educated" and well-fed, millions were starving, victims of injustice. The Man felt troubled, uncertain-a future for him seemed unlikely to be bearable, his pres. ent he found quite uninhabitable, and his past he knew to be lost to him, irretrievably. He was only too conscious that he could not bring back the past, but he also knew that if he could bring it all back he would not want to live there either. He had constructed an entire world-view, which some would call ideology. He had thought about everything: he thought all thinkable things and found the impotence of reason along with the need for it. He could demonstrate the existence of God and could equally invalidate every proof; he could think of life as meaningful, but he could equally find arguments in favor of its meaninglessness. He could imagine technology 5


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solving all his problems, and he could by the same token show technology to be the greatest blight ever to afflict human existence. He began to surmise that what are called freedom and democracy are nothing but expressions of the ¡human despair offinding truth. His head grew tired, and his thinking aimless. He began to fear that one thing might do as well as another, provided he never examined the extreme consequences of anything. Then, exhausted, he began to look for an icon, to sing, to dance, to gesticulate, and even something like an inarticulate prayer went up from his body. Soon enough he fell asleep, or died, or was annihilated by forces beyond his control. Nobody remarked his passing. And yet something had happened. I. THE STARTING POINT, A PASTORAL CONCERN

The more contemporary western Man thinks about his own situation, the more he seems disoriented as to the meaning of his life and his civilization. At the end of this process there is an acute crisis of rituals, which is ultimately a crisis of symbols. This is a point on which even the most divergent specialists seem to converge. Are there today any symbols which remain intact for western Man? Where does one turn for universal symbols nowadays? "GOd" has become partisan, "Nation" debatable, "Democracy" suspicious, "Power" ambiguous, "Progress" suspect, "Goodness" relative, "Beauty" subjective and "Truth" unattainable; "Capitalism" is a bad word, and "Socialism" not a better word, and So fo_rth and so on. No wonder that the rituals by which.such symbols are lived and re-enacted are also adrift, and equally little wonder that within the mainstream of Christian churches the crisis of liturgical celebration hints at .a muc:;h deeper cause than mere confusion following on the reform of some official prayerbooks, or the decision of Vatican II to let the multisecular walls of contention fall away. And the so-called new religions as well, whether of Christian or non-christian origin, find it extremely difficult to give cultic expression to their beliefs, which may in fact be one reason for the ephemeral life-span of many such movements. One cannot live out of purely intellectual intuitions for very long. Man needs particular incarnations in space and time of his tempiternal insights. Man longs to associate his body and his neighbor's here and now, in a


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communion with a greater reality. Or, as the Ramayana will recall from an older tradition, the demons are called asuras (etymological scholars notwithstanding) because they refused to espouse Varuni, the deity of liquor; and the Gods are called¡suras, because they accepted wine (sura) as the gift of communality. The Gods are happy beings and invite Men to their celebrations. The demons are the sad ones! In a word, Man cannot live without rites. Interpretations of this fact may certainly vary. Some may see in it a liberation which helps us rid ourselves of an overly ritualistic mentality, yet others may fear that the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater. Some may advocate a return to the roots oftradition, while still others would rush forward unhampered by the burden of the past. NEED OF A NEW BEGINNING

¡For those in immediate contact with the. religious life of the people, the problem becomes a serious pastoral concern. But precisely because of this urgency, the directions generally taken, be they to the left or to the right, tend merely to be positive or negative reactions to a rather superficially assessed status quo. And so we get a series of well-intentioned reforms, changes, improvements and the like, but, generally speaking, within a framework not wide enough or deep enough¡ to allow for an awareness of the central problem. The issue at stake here is not simply one of making things work better, or of trying harder so that we might get the "expected" results. Rather, the entire problem must be subjected to a more fundamental reflection. Or, in plain Christian terms, we need a more profound metanoia, a radical conversion from our man-made and history-laden routines to a new beginning in which the human is not stifled, but blended with the cosmic and the divine. The fundamental character of such an attempt is patent: it involves listening-i.e. being obedient-to the larger reality of the universe in which Man is not alone. In traditional religious language, such a conversion implies a critical"but confident obedience to the Spirit, who constantly makes all things new. In other words, the solution does not lie in finding new techniques, or in being "creative" according to our own models of creativity, but in getting ready for a new innocence which may permit us to celebrate life--which is always a new life--rather than just dragging out our existence in learning, working, resting,


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struggling a little, enjoying a little, and feeling bound to repeat ourSelves again and again with decreasin'g enthusiasm. The scholastics used to like to quote an old saying from the Proverbs that the Lord does everything for his own sake, much as traditional Indian masters liked to emphasize that yoga is not for the sake of Man, but vice.ver;;a. Perhaps all hum~nisms have begun to exhaust their potentialities. We may suspect that this state of affairs is the high price western civilization has had to pay for ihe stupendous achievements of its power of rea~on. We have neglected our human roots and oUr lives are the poorer for it: Modern western Man has epitomized his being in mere reason, and reason in mere rationality. It could perhaps be said that orthodoxies of all kinds have replaced the more encompassing orthopraxis, or that mere poieses and activisms of all sorts have thrown off the delicate balance between action and contemplation, the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. There is no question of going back and replacing modern anthropocentrisms with ancient theocentrisms since these become impossible the moment we recognize that all has to be filtered through our human categories. Now, rather than qualifying and explaining these heavy pronouncements by continuing the critique of modernity, we may be permitted to try another tack. Taking into account all criticisms and constructive essays, we shall attempt here to integrate and harmonize the different fields represented by western disciplines, as well as the variegated spheres of other civilizations, without ignoring the contributions of the primordial religions. I should perhaps apologize for the over-condensed presentation, and would like to presume that the other articles of this issue will spell out what here remains in statu nascendi.

II.

THE CENTRAL POINT:

A COSMOTHEANDRIC PROHLEM In order to introduce our central subject we shall begin with a description of what ritual looks like, continue-with a reflection on the power of ritual symbolism, and end with a consideration of the meaning of liturgical action in the light of the religious experience of Man. 1. PHENOMENOLOGYOFRITUAL

Any ritual 1s first of all an act or event. The ritual does not


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9

belong to the realm of mere thought, it is not a doctrine or an ideal entity, it does not appertain exclusively to the domain of the logos. It belongs rather to the realm of gesture, of external and corporeal manifestation. A good intention or a beautiful thought is not a riturrl. Ritual belongs to the domain of incarnation, of the visible, the temporal and the spatial. A football game or a bullfight can be a ritual, but to write or to read a book can hardly be one (except perhaps when it is part of a much larger communal act-like that of genuine Academia). The human being is seen to perform many sorts of acts. There is usually a certain continuity between the subjective aim of an act and its objective goal. Man wants food and so he sets about cooking, or hunting, or cultivating the earth. But there are also some acts in which an external observer can discern no such congruity between the immediate goal of the act and the farther aim. The observer finds a gap, a hiatus, which is not seen in the same way by those performing the ritual. The observer sees people eating a meal not just because they are hungry or want to enjoy good food, but because they wish to obtain the energy of the God, or to destroy the evil force of a foe, or to express a communality which is only detectable because no stranger will be admitted to such a meal. The observer discovers people dancing not just because there is music and a desire to let the body also become music: he detects a superior pattern to the music or the dance itself, and surmises, as it were, a certain transcendent aim not immediately apparent if one does not stand within the particular context in which that act is performed. The insider assumes or rather believes, in a way that the observer does not, that the prayer may bring rain, the song may appease the divinity, the blessing may forgive sins, the sacred meal may confer grace, and so on. The believer is certainly aware that there is a rupture of planes between the empirical act and its invisible or transcendent target, but he is also convinced that there is no other way for him, in that particular context, to reach that goal than through the act he' is performing. In this first approach we use the words (subjective) aim and (objective) goal, but we should add immediately that the ritual has a very peculiar goal-orientation. It is not a causal aim, as in most of the other acts we perform¡. If I want an apple I go to the tree, my neighbor or the market. If I want a son I shall try to beget. one with a. woman; but if I pray for food or if I perform the 11-'Vamedha


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sacrifice for obtaining a son, It IS not to substitute this rite for agricultural or biological causality. To convert the special goalorientation of the ritual into a causal one is what constitutes the essence of magic. The magical act does not fail if well performed: if I stick the pin properly into the doll, in the right place and in the right manner, the Man toward whom the act is directed will automatically be struck by the corresponding ailments. Magic is supposed to work causally outside the physical or merely psychical realm. Ritual does not. The fact that there is a rupture of planes, that the food is supposed to give me spiritual strength, or the prayer to be vouchsafed, presents a constitutive ambiguity and a spectrum of possibilities which belong to the very nature of ritual. The ritual intends the transcendent in a transcendental way; it intends alaukika upaya, to get at the non-mundane, as Sayana says in his classical commentary on the Black Yajur Veda . .In sum, ritual appears to be an act by which Man expresses, reaches, conveys, intends, effects something which otherwise¡would remain void. And yet neither does the ritual act ever completely succeed in reaching the . goal: it points out, it suggests, hints, foreshadows . , . it discovers by covering again. In so many words, the target always remains transcendent. The ritual act sets out to climb the mountain whose peaks have already become visible, but it never sets foot on the summit: like Moses it leads the people to the Promised Land, but does not enter. And on the few occasions when ritual produces the enlightening experience, the taboric transformation, we have already transcended ritual and we don't know what to say, what to do or where we are. There is no place for two (the I and its conscious reflection) on the peak. By the grace of God I am who I am says an upanishadic utterance of St. Paul to the Corinthians: Ahamasmi. THE REPETITION OF RITUAL

For this reason repetition is a characteristic of ritual. Not so much or only because it re-enacts a primordial act which happened 'in illo tempore,' but mainly because no single act can fully reach the transcendent: you pray again, you renew your vows, you worship for a second time, you eat, dance, sing and meditate again and again following a more or less flexible pattern which seems to be conditioned by the very goal of the act and not by your own aims.


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The "once and for all" of some special rituals--those of initiation, marriage and burial for example--is not a denial of what we are saying. First of all these acts are supposed to transcend time, and thus to lead us to that other shore from which there is no return. But the shore is not yet the hinterland. Initiation breaks something which cannot be put together again: innocence is lost. Marriages are made in heaven, says a hindu proverb, but celebrated • on earth, which is the same as the Gospel saying: What God has joined together, let no Man put asunder. Burial is perhaps the clearest example. We cannot repeat it. Time has elapsed. Yet, secondly, as long as we live in time and space, a ritual is needed to keep that link with the transcendent alive and in force. A "twice-born" is so forever and the nuptial bond supposed to be permanent, and yet one can lose brahminhood, and marriages can break. Rituals are precisely needed to sustain our living link with transcendence. Every authentic commemoration is a kind of reenactment. If I don't live like a brahmin, behave like a spouse or act as a priest the ontic fact may be superseded by a new ontological factor. The anniversary of a coronation or a constitution, the celebration of a victory, the confirmation of a vow. or the actualization of an ordination is more than just the commemoration¡ of an act locked up in the past. It also fortifies and vitalizes the present. The realm of ritual, to put it in upanishadic terms, is not the realm of the senses' objects, or the mind's concepts, or the will's images, but the realm of the avyakta, the unmanifest, the invisible, the transcendent. "For. as seeing the unseen, he endured," says the Epistle to the Hebrews describing the greatest prophet of the Jewish Covenant. If there is only what meets the eye, or what the will wants, or what is discerned by the intellect, then there is no place for ritual in human life except perhaps as a provisional forerunner for what is still unknown, unexplored, not yet charted and chartered by our reason. Ritual may then be tolerated as the "pre-scientific'' attitude of the "unenlightened,'' as the soothing "religious'' balm for our ignorance, or as the faltering first step toward knowledge, whether this latter is called science or gnosis. Phenomenology can certainly go into the details of the different rites and complete the picture just given, but it cannot say much more nor can it venture any philosophical interpretation. This we may try to do now.


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2. PHILOSOPHY OF THE RITUAL SYMBOL

Ritualism is the great enemy of ritual. We may understand by the former the degeneration of the latter. Ritualism is the mere continuation of the externals of the rite without the internal faith, the inertia of the rubrics without the enlivening power of the nigrics; the empty shell, the habit of sticking to a determined action once it has lost its symbolic power. In other terms, ritualism enters once we persist in doing a certain rite in spite of the fact that we have meanwhile found another more direct way of expressing what until then could only find its adequate expression through the ritual in question. A ritual candle to Santa Barbara, legitimate as it may still be from some viewpoints, can no longer replaee the protective effects of a lightning rod." ' We have spoken of ritual as an act which leads beyond the immediate goal of the isolated action itself: the ritual unction of the sick leads beyond the soothing effect of the oil. In other words, ritual is a symbolic act, i.e. an act which has a special (symbolic) power by which it symbolizes "that" which otherwise would not-路 or could not-be symbolized. Now a symbol, in contrast to a sign, is not an epistemic signal, a quid pro quo, according to acknowledged convention. A symbol is the revelation of "that'' which is disclosed only in the symbol. The symbol is always the symbol of the symbolized, which appearS-qua symbol-only in the symbol. Our body is not our (whole)路being, nor even a mere part of it, and yet it is the symbol of what we are, so that outside the body we cannot speak of oursel_:es as we are. It is in and through the symbol that" we encounter the symbolized, and yet we should not confuse or confound the two. I meet you in and through your body, and yet my encounter with you cannot be reduced to a mere corporeal meeting: the body is your symbol. 路 For this very reason, the symbol resides neither in the object alone (over there) nor in the subject alone (over here), it is neither merely objective nor purely subjective. The symbol is constitutively a relation: it is symbol only for those for whom it is symbol and who thereby relate to it directly. This is why a symbol which needs to be interpreted-and precisely insofar as it needs to be interpreted-is no longer symbol. The true symbol would be that by means of which we interpret the former (and by this very fact already obsolete) symbol. The symbol like the salt is good, but if it loses its symbolic 路 power like the salt its saltness, "how will you season it?" Once the


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various symbolic acts of the Mass, for instance, no longer reveal to the people what they are intended to disclose, they have ceased to¡he living symbols. This should not however he understood in an individualistic way. Symbols have a power which transcends by far the understanding and acceptance of the individual. It may very well be that the individual is carried away by the "spell" of a ritual which he does not fully apprehend, but which is still alive in the environment where he lives. To be sure, we have said that a symbol will not bear being inter-preted, i.e. being dependent on an intermediary, a go-between that explains to us the meaning of the symbol. Strictly speaking, one does not grasp symbols: rather one is open to them, one finds oneself in them so that it is in participating in them that they make sense or become conducive to the understanding of what they are symbolizing. A symbol is a mediator, not an intermediary. Ultimately, one believes in symbols. This does not mean that we cannot he in a position either to "learn'' or to make anew the symbolic experience which opens us up to the power of the symbol. An interpreted symbol is not a symbol, but through a certain interpretation I may be brought into contact with a symbol if that mediation succeeds in touching the core of my being. Because ritual is a symbolic aCt, any authentic ritual-in spite of the fact that it may strike only a very particular aspect of human life and be limited in scope and form-ultimately touches the very core of Man's being. A ritual against fear, a ritual to win the favor of a saint, a ritual of purification from some sin or impurity, may all be very limited in the way they express their scope, but in the final analysis they all refer, through one particular aspect of human life, to the central mystery of the real ... which transcends us and over which we exercise no control. No degree of rationalization can help me rid myself of my fearor my awe, once this has penetrated, gotten under my skin; the favor I am asking of a saint is not. so much triggered by my uwn desire for that particular favor as by the urge to complete my own being; the sin I want to get rid of is really whatever keeps me from my own total and final purification, and so on. In other words, any authentic ritual always finally expresses the ultimate urge of Man's total being. Or, in the famous words of a Upanishad: it is not for the sake of the husband or the wife, or sons, or wealth, or even for the sake of the world or the Gods that ¡all these things are dear, but for the sake of the atman. Authentic ritual


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is always adhyatmic, it refers to the ultimate mystery of existence without excluding or despising the intermediary steps of penultimate things. 3. THEOLOGY OF RITUAL AcriON

We have been saying that¡ in and through ritual Man steps toward transcendence, in whatever sense w~ may. interpret it intellectually. This seems to be an important and highly relevant question for our times. Man cannot live without stretching himself out toward what he is not yet; he cannot support the pondus vitae without an elan which helps him to overcome the burden of a mere temporal existence with the hope of reaching, in one way or another, the transtemporal, be it postponed to a future, hidden in an enlightenment or hoped for in a heaven. Man is the animal which strives for more and ever more, be it in the vertical or the horizontal direction, in time and space or beyond their confines, by means of spiritual disciplines, art, politics, science or wh8.tever, A more traditional way of putting this is to speak of the desire for God, or the urge for happiness, or the striving for salvation, liberation or wholeness, inbuilt in the very heart of Man. Now at the earliest stage of almost every civilization, this thirst for transcendence, as we may call it, seems to have been linked with an action, with a holy action, perhaps with sacrifice, in any case with a set of rituals by which the human being can fulfill his life and attain the "salvation" he desires. It is the karmakanda of the vedic religion, the sacrificial cults of most traditions, the liturgy as understood in the .first centuries of christian history and as still defined today by the first of the constitutions of Vatican II: the Church exists for the sake of the liturgy that lives in her, for the liturgy aims precisely at the salvation of Man and of the entire universe. That this leitourgia, popular work, activity of the people, public action cannot be identified with a handful of'sacred' performances should be evident at least for those who read the constitution Sacrosanct urn Concilium in the context of all the other documents of the same Council. Yet there seems to be a second, rather kairological than chronological, moment in most human traditions, in which.the sacred actions are so interiorized that the decisive act becomes the act


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of the mind, the intention, etc. There is a famous passage in the Vedas in which Yajnavalkya is asked with what he would perform the life-giving sacrifice if the prescribed materials were not available. With milk, he answers, or with grass, or water, etc., if whatever he first proposed as a substitute were also impossible to obtain. And if there were nothing at all, he finally answers, I would still be able to perform the sacrifice without anything, in pure faith. Neither in Jerusalem nor in Garizim ... The process is very complex and we cannot even attempt to summarize it. We may however point to a single example in the evolution of the western Christian world. We could date it around the 13th century, when. the explanations for the existence of God were beginning to be considered proofs instead of mere efforts at intelligibility. Or we may want to link it with the discovery of the printing press a little later. We refer to the change-over that took place by the end of the scholastic period from the symbolic power of action and the image, to the intellectual power of reason and the idea. Until the change to "literacy," what was believed to bring salvation and happiness was the active participation in the symbolic power of the ritual, embodied in the liturgical participation in communal life, and in the power of images. Now, after the change, what is believed to put us in contact with the transcendent is the power of the mind, the light of reason, the idea which can soar up to the heights of the divine. Even God's existence can be proven, a fact which implies that the basis of the intellectual proof, ultimately our intellect, is not only capable of reaching the transcendent, but in a way is more powerful than the transcendent itself, since it becomes the very basis for proving the latter. Certainly the scholastics knew very well the distinction between quoad se and quoad nos, but the fact nevertheless remains that the organ for transcendence is the intellect and not the praxis, action, ritual. No wonder that pandits, intellectuals, "enlightened" souls and "educated" people would soon begin to consider religious praxis merely a matter for the uneducated masses, whereas those who know need not perform the sacrifice, or go to Mass, or belong to any institutionalized religion. For this mentality, religious practices are at best substitutes for the real knowledge, whether-! repeat-it is called sacred gnosis or secular science. And here the crisis of the ritual begins. It drops to a second order of importance. It can all be scientifically documented: was it not written even in John that eter-


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. nallife is to know Him? Was the christian revolution not in fact a reaction against the "elements of this world"? Was the protestant reform not also a powerful reminder that "sola fide" we are saved? Has there not been serious talk in contemporary western theological milieux about "religionless" christianity?.Am I then pleading that we go back to primitive religiousness and again worship trees, rivers and stones? Am I pleading in fav~r of astrology and polytheism? Am I despising reason and praying for the return of Dionysos? .RITUAL AND MOOEHN INTELLECTUALISM

I am neither for the "tonal" nor for the "nagual." We are reflecting on the nature of ritual and I venture to say that mere onesided reactions in favor of rationality or irrationality do .not solve the problem, not only or primarily because of the partiality of extreme positions, but precisely because the question of ritual escapes this dialectical presentation. Dialectics belong to the realm of the logos, and to the logos alone, but ritual does not. So the proper approach to ritual cannot be exclusively dialectical-unless we assume that the. nature of the entire reality is dialectical, which is an unwarranted extrapolation to say the least. Whatever the nature of reality may be, it is at this level that we should insert our reflections about the nature and function of ritual. We may¡ begin with a negative critique of modern intellectualism and then proceed with a more positive defense of ritual. After the;collapse of so-called German idealism, and western Man's shattering experience of the last two world wars (in spite of the highest.rank being given to rationality), it is not too difficult to voice the philosophical statement that human reason has no saving power, that. mere rationality cannot de facto solve human problems. Or, assuming that transcendence can contribute to the liberation of the human being from his entanglements, we could equally maintain that the very concept or idea of transcendence is a contradiction in terms: it denies what it affirms. If transcendence is a concept. then at least insofar as I conceive it, it is not beyond my power¡ of conception, i.e. it is not transcendent. The realm of the transcendent may be beyond the reach of my hand or my body or perhaps my will, but certainly not beyond the power of my mind, which speaks of it and claims to have. a concept, an idea of it. We may make all the fine distinctions we like between essence and existence and the


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like, but the fact remains that as long as we claim to have an idea of transcendence, this very idea destroys that transcendence, at least on the noetic plane. And thus we have prepared our ground for the defense of ritual. I should not be misunderstood. I am not advocating a return to an irretrievably lost innocence, or saying that we have to dance ourselves into a trance, to sing in sanskrit or latin, or go hack to whatfor us---<oould not but appear as superstitions. I spoke at the beginning of a new innocence, not of an artificial effort to recoup the first one. The tree of the science of good and evil has set its roots ubi. quitously in our human soil; and cannot be eradicated without destroying us in the bargain. Even more, as the Katha Upanishad will say: that tree is upside-down, it has its roots in heaven and yields its fruits on earth. This is not only our human condition, but the very structure of the entire reality. The felix culpa of the Easter liturgy is much more than mere wishful thinking post factum, it is the declaration that what went on on Golgotha, and goes on in us today, is more than a mere accident of reality. It is an adventure in which all the three worlds are intimately involved. The same could be said if we were to speak about the vedic sacrifice, for instance. IN DE~'ENSE OF RITUAL

What I am suggesting is a new discovery of the central place and function of ritual as an integrative human activity by means of which Man may walk toward the transcendent, discover the value of life and collaborate in the construction, reconstruction, redemption or re-creation of the world. Ritual is not escapism, in the guise of celebration, from the otherwise more painful but exceedingly hlqre "serious'' human affairs of work, business, or whatever. True liturgy is not primarily a balm or medicine for what ails Man, or a beautiful psychological outlet for draining all our violent tendencies, frustrations and unfulfilled desires. It may well be that rituals perform this function and that without a re-instatement of traditional sacrifices humans may go totally mad and murder one another in the¡absence of rituals institutionalizing this creativity, violence, need for self-affirmation, sense of uniqueness, and so forth. All this may be quite true; and, in fact, modern Man is now

beginning to discover that the primordial religions were not so very primitive with their incessant rituals and celebrations. Ritual was


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the way to institutionalize the humanum and canalize the urges of Man. But, I repeat, all this is only secondary. ¡It is but the result of the very nature and function of ritual. A manipulated ritual, performed because of its beneficial sociological or psychological effects, would be both inauthentic and ineffective. By saying this I may be exploding a closed and narrow conception ofrite and I shall return to this at the end of this section.¡ The function of ritual is not to keep Man just doing something harmless, or even useful, when there is nothing better to do. It is not something accidental or incidental in human life. No restoration of ritual can be achieved if we lose sight of the central claim of ritual in shaping Man's life and even in helping direct the destiny of the entire cosmos. Lokasamgraha, the mai.ntenance of the world, has been a classical expression of Indian spirituality since the Gita. Ritual is neither rubrics, i.e. ceremonials, nor nigrics, i.e. ideas, important as these two constituents are, but anthropog~nesis, or rather cosmotheandrogenesis, the collaboration of Man with the World and the Gods, in the genesis and sustenance of the entire reality. Man has to reshape himself and, in a way, the entire reality by that integral action in which all his potencies are engaged. Ritual is the orthopraxis by means of which Man collaborates in the continuation of the whole of reality. Anything short of this not only minimizes ritual but puts it alr.eady in the wrong place and distorts its real meaning. "Cosmic Liturgy" is not originally a modern phrase, but a venerable and traditional expression of the Fathers of the Church. You do not build a cathedral or a temple for the private and secondary amusement of a select few. You do it because each holy shrine is the entire universe and the action performed therein has to do with the running of the whole cosmos: it is the place where Gods, Men and the rest of the World meet in order that each may do what they must so that that reality does not sink into chaos and nothingness. Each temple is the constituent parliament of the entire reality, the place for pa"ssing and discussing the laws that will govern the real. Perhaps the state of affairs in the world looms darkly nowadays due to the absenteeism of so many in the House of God and the People. Here the Gods alone are as powerless as Men alone are without the collaboration of the divine and the participation of Matter. The reconstruction of the body of the divine is a commonplace of Indian spirituality, as ¡is the edification of the Body of Christ in scriptural Christianity-until God be all in all.


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"The Sacrifice is Man," says the Shatapathabrahrnana, centuries before the sacrificial pronouncement of Pilate: ecce homo! , The old liturgies were not there for the solace of Man or for his relaxation, so that he could afterwards¡ work ¡better, but- just the other way around: work was done for the building of the cathedral, life was lived for the celebration of Creation and in praise of the Creator. Liturgy is not an appendix to Man's life, just as the churches of Christian Europe were not build at random in any available corner of the city. If we face a crisis today it is not a crisis of techniques of worship or means of celebration, but a crisis of life itself. If the altar is not the center of the world, there is little scope for liturgical renewal. THE INTEGRATION OF HuMAN LIFE

We should not of course blind ourselves to the dangers of rampant priestcraft, superstition, fatalism, totalitarianism and dictatorship--of all kinds. The signs of our times seem to be crying out, however, that without an integration of human life, an individual and collective schizophrenia may overwhelm and kill the human race. The problem of ritual should be faced at this level. All the rest minimizes the question and reduces ritual to ritualistic amusements. If we seek to orient our lives as ritual beings, we may ask the Amerindian tradition what it intends with its Sun Dance; or ask Indian theology what it says when speaking of lila, the entire creation as a play of-and for-the Lord. We may ask the Christian tradition when it centers in the Eucharist, what the entire purport of Christian life and cosmic existence is. We may ponder the buddhist enlightenment for the sake of the three worlds, or we may even reflect on socialist Man concentrating all private and public efforts on the building of a more humane society. Or again, to be dangerously specific, we might have interrogated economists and politicians at Bretton Woods in July of !944, in those agonizing moments in which the outcome of World War II was already visible and responsible people were beginning to face the problem not just of how to win a battle but of how to reconstruct a world, and so set about creating secular agencies for the purpose. And from our asking we might discover that it was all part of a great secular ritual, given impulse by the reaction to the total profanation of human-


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CHICAGO STUDIES

kind in favor of a single race intended by the nazi ideology. In saying this, as remarked, I may be enlarging the notion of rite to include human activities which in the western world are or were not normally considered rituals, such as services (medical, political, intellectual, etc.), love relationships (parental, spousal, of friendship, etc.), artistic creations in all fields, and so on. All these activities may also contribute to the sustenance of the world and fulfill the description given of rite. And in point of fact I submit that we should include such secular actions as possible ritual activities. Three remarks are pertinent here. First, in order to know what a thing is or simply to know the meaning of a word, we may proceed a priori by our understanding of the meaning in its usual context(s). In this case I am certainly extrapolating when using the word ritual to cover all those above-mentioned activities. But we can also proceed a posteriori by analyzing the function of a thing or the implications of a word so as to be able to win an understanding applicable also outside my cultural province and my particular dialect.¡ In this case I may be justified in calling "ritual" many a secular activity performed with the sacred conviction that it performs the same function that the old rituals were. I am not affirming that any secular activity is already a ritual. I am saying that the secular is not opposed to the sacred (as is the profane) and that ritual, because it is a human existential, varies with the human process. Second, historians of religions, anthropologists and other scholars are so accustomed to seeing sacred rituals and studying them only in past or remote cultures, that we are taken aback when considering the possibility of secular rituals and of modern society being full of ritual performances. This does not mean that any modern ritual is good, just as it does not mean that any ancient rite is acceptable. Perhaps the vertical transcendence that the latter tend to over-emphasize may be corrected and complemented by the horizontal transcendence that the former tend to over-stress. Third, I am not diluting the meaning of ritual, but recovering the insight that, in traditional parlance, whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God; that whatever we undertake we do it for something more than ourselves and that we recognize the presence of the mystery in all human activities. Not every love relationship, or any medical service, or each work of art, is automatically a rite--nothing is a rite automatically-but only those actions which somewhat transcend the intention of private usefulness or egoistic pleasure


RITUAL BEING

21

and intend a collaboration for the welfare of the world. A sincere blessing of a meal can convert a biosociological act into a real symbol of community, fellowship and communion. Both the stone-cutter and the masterbuilder were constructing the Cologne cathedral -according to the well-known anecdote. Ill. THE FINAL POINT A CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE

Until very recently, Christian religious life--and this is Christian ritual-did look, and still looks in many places, like ¡an intriguing and peculiar combination of old and new. Old: Christians perform a series of rather anachronous acts: some days of fasting, a prayer at meals, songs and coming together once a week, ritual water for initiation, oil for the sick, and especially the re-enactment, though in an incruent manner, of a bloody sacrifice, eating and drinking from the risen body of their Founder. Christians go down on their knees before statues and monstrances, they kiss holy objects and the hands of their priests, place incense and candles before holy pictures, dress their ministers in a uniform inore than a thousand years old, hold processions, venerate holy places, go on pilgrimage, believe in sacred mountains, icons and spirits, formulate prayers for any possible human activity, make their own vows, keep their own calendar, form their own religious fraternities or groups, and so forth. New: Christians are not only present in all activities of political, education_al, scientific, financial and industrial life, but they become leaders fully engaged in merely temporal goals. They drink, smoke and dress like others, do not seem to have a special moral code of their own, have made such fine a¡nd sophisticated distinctions in their own doctrines and practices over the centuries that their God is hardly distinctive anymore; their so-called sacrifice does not look like on~, their sacra1nents seem merely social gettogethers, their meetings are without disciplina arcani, open to everybody and without a language of their own; and their dealings generally are those of honorable law-abiding citizens. They may stand for¡ peace, but they pay the taxes for weapons; they may protest against divorce, abortion or euthanasia, but within a short time they tend virtually to abandon all their resistance and accept the trend of the times like any of their contemporaries; they were the


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anti-liberals par excellence and now they are the genuine liberals against the "sin of socialism," although very soon socialists may again be the only good Christians .... No wonder that there is life and tension, but also disorientation and crisis, within the Christian community. If we take the largest and most compact group of them, the Roman Catholics, we may find these traits.exacerbated to the point of exasperation. . Certainly there is a historical reason for these tensions. Christians are, like everybody else, children of their times: when slavery and child-labor were acc~pted, Christians accepted them; when sexdiscrimination and wars were matter-of-fact, Christians also went along with it; when religion took ascetic or monastic forms, Christians followed the same pattern, etc .. And yet, be it with delay in respect to other groups or in advance of them, prophets and saints have not failed to spur Christians toward the uncompromising pursuit of higher priorities. Christians have always felt the tension of not being of this world and yet being in it. Now, if this idea is thought through to the very end it will likely produce the "muero porque no muero" of some mystics, or a declared schizophrenia only tamed by stopping to be logically consistent. How to live a sacred vocation in a profane world? Ritual is here the answer. The ritual is performed in this world and all with worldly ingredients, and yet it is not of this world. It is a kind of response to, reaction from, participation in a higher instance, in a transcendent realm, calling, destiny, vision or however it may be interpreted. My point here is relatively simple to formulate though much more difficult to carry out. It touches the very centrality and importance of ritual in the life of a living tradition. In a pluralistic world, the issue is not so much doctrinal orthodoxy as ritual orthopraxis. Christians--and mutatis mutandis, this¡ applies to humankind in general--should no longer seek a monolithic doctrinal unity or even a common opinion regarding fundamental things because to begin with, the first problem lies in deciding what is fundamental and what is not. In other terms, what unites Men is not so much common opinions as common goals. The Christian fact is neither necessarily nor fundamentally an ideology, just as "Christian revelation'' is not basically propositional. The Christian unity is rather an existential one expressed in ritual actions more than in ideas. Christians react positively to a set of symbols as being central-to their lives and perform the cosmotheandric liturgy around the central


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figure of Christ; they re-enact the mystery of existence, death and new life in the Eucharist-if we do not fall now into doctrinal speculations--as the central act of their lives. That¡ the Church makes the Eucharist and the Eucharist the Church is an old traditional formulation of this state of affairs. The central issue does not consist in discussing possible interpretations but in carrying on what the Christian symbols symbolize. We could speak oftl)e intersection between the vertical and the horizontal factors of life, represented in the Cross. Certainly, I am assuming that the logos is not all that there is to human life. Or, in overcondensed theological jargon, I suspect that most of the "theology'' of the last millenium of christian history has fallen into the cryptoheresy of subordinationism: the Spirit has been subordinated to the Logos, the Word has taken the upper hand (language, reason, intelligibility) and overshadowed the Spirit. I would add, has overshadowed "gesture," "life," ''experience," if I were not obliged to say it. The new innocence is not with the logos (the logos is promised after Man is expulsed from Paradise), but in the realm of the Spirit-and yet we should not separate the Trinity. It would be irresponsible to attempt now to tackle these formidable problems in a mere article. I shall limit myself to a few sketchy hints regarding ritual. SEVEN SUTRAS

1. RITUAL IS NOT PRIMARILY PEDAGOGICAL OR DOCTRINAL BUT SYMBOLICAL

No discussion of ritual should get stuck in the mire of intellectual interpretations. Any ritual, as a symbolic act, is polysemous through and through. Although we are entitled to dig out the philosophical assumptions of any given rite, the life of that rite and its function for the people have only a very loose connection with its intellectual underpinnings. Theological discussions on transubstantiation for instance have little bearing on the actual cultic performance of the Eucharist. This latter has an existential reality and function which is not totally dependent on whatever theological hypothesis attempts to make it intelligible. Rituals have a life of their own. They produce knowledge rather than being the product of knowledge, as divus Thomas himself pointed out.


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The symbolic experience, in contrast to conceptual understanding, may be nourished and filled with an om or an amen, a darshan or an "attendance.'' The trouble begins when we want to know and are repressed; are not allowed or are without an opportunity to learn. Even if the old innocence were better, the movement is irreversible and it would be immoral to hinder it. 2. RITUALS CANNOT BE CREATED. AND IF 'MANIPULATED. THEY DEGENERATE

Every ritual has its own ontonomy. an internal cohesion and structure that makes it impervious to any heteronomous impositions, and independent _of any autonomous eclosion. Ritual has roots in the archaic prehistory of Man: the rite is an expression of .something which belongs to the human race. We may of course give it a theological or mythical or mystical explanation. It comes to the same thing. Whether it is handed down by a God or God's envoy, or is a product of the deepest archetypes of the unconscious, every · authentic ritual transcends the whims of the individual and equally resists the dictates of a foreign God: it has an ontonomy of its own. You may no longer drink the Soma or eat the Body of Christ, but you cannot so easily abolish all ritual meals or stop the symbolic power of taking food. Ritual is essentially a participatory act, a sharing in something greater than ourselves, and any manipulative intervention in the higher instance from which the rite derives its 'raison d'etre' would automatically convert it into priestcraft, although the rite may still be genuine for those who are not aware of the manipulation. 3. RITUALS EMERGE WHEN A PROPITIOUS CONSTELLATION OF CIRCUMSTANCES APPEAR.

If rituals are the integrative ways which Man takes toward transcendence, the emerging of a new rite because a new goal appears or in response to a new call from the beyond~r so it is felt (all theorizing aside}--is a perfectly natural process. To a new ·opening from the Mystery, or toward the Mystery, new forms of dealing with the concrete human situation may emerge as ritual actions. Generally speaking these rituals emerge as corrections and modifications of old ones. ·


RITUAL BEING

25

Thanksgiving, for instance, may be said to be a fundamental human attitude. Man feels the need to respond with gratitude to the experience of the gratuitously given and discovers that the immediate given is not the ultimate gift, so that he opens up to the beyond. Now this thankfullness may take as many forms as we discover means of expression for it-and we only genuinely ex-press ourselves in response to what im-presses us. It all depends on how open and vulnerable we are to such impressions, and how free and genuine we are in our expressions. The origin of the Eucharist offers a clear paradigm. Christ did ¡ not plan anything. He wanted to celebrate what he foresaw would be his last paschal meal with his disciples; he was cornered into death, he had no other issue and having loved his "friends" up to the "end" he completed the Jewish commemoration of thanksgiving for liberation and community with the sacrifice of his own life, really symbolized in the breaking and eating of the bread and sharing of the wine. 4. TO REJECT A RITUAL BECAUSE WE CANNOT COMPREHEND ITS MEANING IS AS INADEQUATE ASTO KEEP IT BECAUSE WE DO COMPREHEND IT. The gates to the realm of ritual are opened only by the innocence of the living myth in which we live. To mistake a ritual for a rational manifestation of the sacred is to belittle the nature of Man and to distort the nature of the sacred. A ritual is not the translation into action of an intellectual content; it is not the putting of a 'script' into a scene, but the performance of a set of actions from which a "script" can be derived, though the very performance will follow a certain pattern laid down in a previous act-which might be recorded in some rubrics. To greet a friend by wishing him a good day or many happy returns can be a ritual if 'el buen dia nos de Dios'; or the barak is an act embodying all my sinc.,re congratulations, which I myself am not able to spell out except in the ritual greeting or the blessing. I neither¡ fully comprehend nor fail to comprehend what I am doing. I know that I am greeting or blessing a friend and that friendship is unfathomable and my wishes infinite. The ritual is prior to its interpretation: "Am Anfang war die Tat." A ritual makes sense, although it does not necessarily have to disclose a meaning. It has a purport, puts us in one direction and we


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sense it, but no rite can be exhaustively comprehended without being destroyed. If we could explain a ritual we would explain it away. If we could get at the meaning of a ritual, that meaning would be more powerful than the ritual and make the ritual obsolete. The upanishadic sage who knows, no longer lights the sacrificial fire. There are no ¡sacraments in heaven. This is the danger of all gnostic spiritualisms, against which tantra and the Resurrection of the Flesh are bold correctives. If the Flesh rises again there must be rituals in the new earth as the Book of Revelations reveals . . 5. TO UNDERSTAND A RITUAL MEANS TO STAND CONSCIOUSLY UNDER ITS SPELL.

We say "consciously," which i!llplies freely, but we do not say willingly, in order to avoid the compulsion of willing ourselves to¡ accept a ritual. I am advocating neither blind submission to tradition nor immature rebellion against it. Our relation with 'a living rite is something given and freely accepted, but not something we can control at will. The latter would be the beginning of magic. Western scientific civilization is not accustomed to dealing with such "existentials," and we often lack not only methods of clarification but also means of expression. We accept a ritual not just because it has been handed down or has always been so transmitted, but rather because we sense its spell. We share in its dynamism. This obviously cannot be done by just sitting around and thinking about it, but only by taking part in the dance, in the prayer, in the action. We have to see a film if we want to react to it. Pure logical epistemology, cannot help us understand a rite: we have to experience it. Indeed, we have to really be there-freely and totally present, with an open heart and an open mind-for the ritual to be really there for us at all. This does not mean irratio~alism or. sheer ~oluntarism. It means the recognition that the intellect is not everything that there is, not even in us. It entails, further, the awareness of the very foundation of our intellect, the skambha or support on which our own understanding rests, the under on which we stand. 6. WITHOUT RITUAL THERE IS NO LIVING TRADITION.

What makes a tradition tradition is not the continuity of ideas,


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27

which change, sometimes substantially, but the ritual transmission from generation to generation, from place to place, of the values, treasures, secrets, myths, the mystery ... of that particular tradition. Tradition is precisely the 'tradere' (from trans-dare) the handing down of that which is bigger than ourselves, that which transcends us and which we alone cannot manipulate or exhaust, and thus we pass it on. Without ritual a people, civilization or religion cannot subsist; it cannot have that continuity which implies more than either physical continguity or intellectual agreement. No monarchy, no republic, no corporation and no family can continue in space and time without some act which re-enacts the transmission of power, life or myth. A case in point is the apostolic succession in the Christian church. There has to be something like water, prayer, laying on of hands, fire and Holy Spirit in order that the continuity be established. Either Esau or Jacob has to receive the blessing if Israel is to survive. We may discusg the essence of the priesthood or the meaning of being a Christian, but only by a ritual act can such realities be transmitted. Is modern education, when it really purports to pass on and increase the riches, data and skills of a particular civilization, not a form of ritual? Genuine transmission of culture is a ritual act, and not only an intellectual exercise. 7. THE NECESSARY SACREDNESS OF ANY RITUAL DOES NOT NEED TO BE AT THE EXPENSE OF l'fS SECULARITY.

Living rituals have always been down-to-eartli and close to liuman life. Rituals are not merely profane activities, but they are generally.very secular ones as the celebrations accompanying them still show. Rituals are generally public, festive and integrated in the daily life of the people. Marriage is a feast, ordination and baptism are public celebrations, and burial often a banquet. The Christian liturgy is properly celebrated within the frame of the whole Sunday as a holy day. The proliferation of daily private Masses was an ex- '\ ample of the neglect of the secular and sociological aspects ofritual. The great challenge today is tO convert the sacred bread into real bread, the liturgical peace into political peace, the worship of the Creator into reverence for the Creation, the Christian praying community into an authentic human fellowship. It is risky to celebrate the Eucharist. We may have to leave it unfinished, having gone first to give back to the poor what belongs to them, or we¡ may end


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up in the Town Hall or in prison or in the ghetto, or taking part in the many processions in honor of some saint called Justice, Peace, Non-discrimination, Tolerance, Food, Simplicity, the Blessed Sacrament ___ or Mary. In sum: Man is a ritual being in as much as it is to a significant degree in and through ritual-and not by his reason or will or body alone--that he reaches the ultimate goal of his existence: to become God, to be fully Man, to be so pure that he becomes sheer Nothingness, or simply to be happy, saved, free ... Ritual is certainly action, praxis, karma, demanding involvement and commitment, but it is an orthopraxis impelled by devotion, love, surrender, bhakti, and impregnated with knowledge, awareness,jnana, wisdom. Marginal rituals and peripheral cults, if they lose contact with the center, are as inadequate as scientific ideas or romantic ideals if they lose contact with the wider reality. Worship in the sense of adoration, latrin, was intended to be a wholistic act; only, in the interpretation and practice of many, its aim was directed to a separate and manipulable entity, and has thus become another object among many, often degenerating into idolatry. The metalatrin we are looking for has to reintegrate all the broken pieces of our turmoiling universe, including even the very search for such a primordial ritual. The exploration•for a ritual for our time converts our own search into a ritual time. This may appear as an intriguing task for secular Man and as a challenge for those who believe that it is time itself-the temporal, i.e. sec~'lar reality-that has to be redeemed: exagorazomenon ton.kairon. -


John Gallen, S.J.

Liturgical Celebration American Style The author sees the developing shape of American religious experience as contemplative freedom in search of mystery. To be effective our liturgy must celebrate this distinctive experience. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached inspiringly at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama, twenty-one years ago (November 4, 1956), about a God who was a living God, God of power and might, energetically active in the history of today's America: God of the universe, of this place where his glory dwells, dynamic and creative source of all life an¡d being and surging impulse towards fulfillment. Dr. King called upon a God who was God of America and of all people. "And now," he cried, "And now unto Him who is able to keep us from falling and lift us from the dark vaJley of despair to the bright mountain of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy; to Him be power and authority for ever and ever." A few months earlier (May 17), he told a congregation in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, "Today we are witnessing a massive change. A worldshaking decree by the nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court opened the Red Sea, and the forces of justice are crossing to the other side ... looking back we see the forces of segregation dying on the seashore." (See Coretta Scott. King, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1969, pp. 139-141.) Dr. King spoke from the conviction that God was stupendously alive in America, wielding the force of his powerful right arm,lifting from the valley of despair to the mountain of hope, driving darkness away to bring the daytime of joy, drowning the howling forces of today's evil in the suffocating waters of his own dread 29


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fury. Not an absent God! A God of Real Presence! A God who is, indeed, Lord of our history. God with us. Each year, in the liturgy of the Paschal Vigil, we make a profession of this same faith in dramatic ritual gesture whose significance, we can hope, does not escape us. Taking hold of the great Easter candle, Church carves into its precious substance the year of salvation history in which God's children exult and offer their song of praise before the face of the Holy One. "Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him and all the ages, to him be glory and power through every age for ever. Amen." (Easter Vigil, No. 10) All time is bathed in the light of Christ, dead and risen. The affirmation of faith is complete and it is total: "all time belongs to him and all the ages." This year, this history of ours, this time, this place, this people, this culture-<werything is Christ's, and Christ i God's' There is nothing that is held from the shimmering and transfiguring light of God's own shining-forth in the rising of Jesus. All time,-and so, American time. All ages,-and so, the American age! On the paschal candle is marked the sign of the cross of Jesus and of his wounds, his "holy and glorious wounds" (Ibid., No. 11 ). The whole, taken together, proclaims the crucified and risen Jesus alive in the midst of his Church, m every time and place, in this American time and place. QUESTIONS FOH AMERICANS

The reformation of the Holy Week liturgy, begun by the Roman Congregation of Rites on February 9, 1951, and brought to its latest stage by our present Sacramentary under the inspiration of the Second Vatican Council, forces this paschal affirmation of faith to our attention: Do we believe it? Is this our faith? Is this American experience of ours empowered by the life of the risen Jesus, and does it submit to his dominion? Karl Becker has beautifully written, in a little book that was a mine of riches for many of us years ago: "In the light of these immortal words (prayed over the candle) the whole meaning of Easter becomes clear: eternal God adjures his remoteness and draws near: he becomes man and by the obedience of his death brings the wodd back to where it came from: to the li~­ ing God. Everything created belongs tO him, heaven and earth, water and land, chaos and cosmos, light and darkness. All things


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31

are filled with his glory and in the brightness of the Easter sun, which is Christ himself, all things should appear like the world described in the Apocalypse (21: 1-7): 'Then I saw a new heaven and a· new earth.'" {0 Truly Blessed Night, St. Louis: Pio Decimo Press, 1956, p. 27)

All of this is carried out, of course, not by some fictitious au-

dience but' by a sharing, participating congregation of flesh-andblood men and women. In our case, by Americans. It is our year of grace, graven into the paschal candle by American hands, our Easter Proclamation, the praeconium paschale, which sings not of events over and done with but of what the Lord does now with his people here, in America. Haec nox est! This night! This, our time, an American time of liberation-and passover. In both of the Opening Prayers of the "Bicentennial Mass for 1976,'' to take one example, there is no doubt at all that the American experience is and has been God's work. "All-powerful Father," one text reads, " ... As you have called us from many peoples to be one nation, help us to give witness in our lives and in our life as a nation to the rich diversity of your gifts." This America of ours is no melting pot at all, but the gathering into community of many diverse gifts that have come from the loving hand of the Creator Lord. And the alternative prayer underlines the message with inescapable clarity: "For what has been achieved," it reads, "we give you thanks." In short, God has been at work. This Bicentennial liturgy has taken the American experience seriously. Have we all done so? Listen again. The many peoples that have come together to become this nation, one of the Prayers over the Gifts proclaims in the Bicentennial liturgy, may be compared to the grains of wheat that have become one bread, and the many grapes, one cup. A eucharistic nation? An American eucharistic people?! Is there anything to justify all this? Fundamentalism and literalisms of every brand aside, and taking into account the ghastly reality of sin, is there any way we can call America "God's country" and dedicate it to him in our Easter prayer? The prayers of our Bicentennial liturgy echo the claim of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address (January 20, 1961 ), which was itself the repetition of a theme that lies at the heart of the American tradition. (Rightly or wrongly, let history decide.)" ... let us go forth," said Kennedy, "to lead the·Iand we·love, asking his (i.e. God's) blessing and his help,


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but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own." No mistaking the meaning here: God's work is our work. The American experience is the carrying out of God's will on earth (cf. Robert N. Bellah, "Civil Religion in America," Daedalus, XCVI (Winter, 1967), 1-21 ). God's work is in our hands, specified quite exactly in the first Opening Prayer of the liturgy as "the works of justice and freedom for all." AMERICAN CHURCH AND LITURGY

These reflections help to focus the question that is proposed by our topic: "Liturgical Celebration American Style." What is being asked is, whether there is any true and positive sense in which we may speak of an American Church which has an American liturgy to celebrate? The question is exciting to some and unnerving to others. The nineteenth century European Roman Catholic Church had, of course, given an answer to the question when it Was raised in the form of "Americanization" in those days, most dramatically in 'the Apostolic Letter of Leo XIII ( Testem Benevolentiae, January 22, 1899) to James Cardinal Gibbons. In spite of the fact that Archbishop John Ireland had pointed out that "The Church of America must be, Of course, as Cathoiic as even in Jerusalem or Rome; but as far as her garments assume colour from the local landscape, she must be American." Though he spoke in the most pacific of terms, Europe was nonetheless unnerved (See Willard L. Sperry, Religion in America, New York: Macmillan, 1946, p. 219). But this is a new day. So let us raise the question once more. What shall we say, and even do, about Liturgical Celebration, American Style"? I propose to treat the question in three stages: first, I shall offer a set of presuppositions to the question; secondly, it will be important to pay attention to negative elements of the American experience which are not only distracting but can lead to disaster; and finally, I should like to presume upon the patience of all by offering, modestly but firmly, a positive thesis about where the God of Mystery may well be calling his American people today and tomorrow. This ¡last point will, of course, suggest the elements of an American liturgy. PRESUPPOSITIONS

First of all, I wish to call our attention to six presuppositions


AMERICAN

l >

I f

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which represent the context in which the question of an American liturgy may be discussed: 1. A primordial truth is the root vision of liturgy as a function of spirituality and religious experience. That is, liturgy has never stood by itself as religious activity. It has always been the way in which the community of believers has been able to celebrate and thus bring to fulfillment in communal symbolic action what the Lord has already been doing in their lives. It is not possible to have a celebration, unless there is something to celebrate! Liturgy celebrates faith. Liturgy is that event in which the experience that people have been having of God's real presence in their liVes and history is brought to expression in community prayer. Not only that. The very expressiveness, mailifest in the community, carried out in t~e power of God's Spirit, intensifies and enlarges what God has already begun to do so wondrously. Like all religious experience, liturgy is God's work. It is the Holy One who, revealing himself, makes us into believers and empowers the community, with Jesus in the midst of us, to celebrate liturgy. It is for these reasons that we call liturgy the "sacrament of faith" (sacramentum fidei) and affirm that the shape of the community's faith-experience is manifest in the liturgical celebration; indeed, not only manifest in the liturgical celebration but it is the community's faith which determines what the liturgy will be. At the same time, the opposite is true: liturgical prayer shapes the faith of the Christian community. Faith is manifest in and shapes liturgy, and liturgy is manifest in and shapes faith. (Lex orandi est lex credendi, and vice-versa. For a history of the phrase, see H. Schmidt, lntroductio in liturgiam occidentalem, Rome: Herder, 1960, pp. 131-139) So we are able to summarize by saying that liturgy both mirrors and shapes the faith-experience of the Christian community (Recent use of these principles may be found in Pius XI, Quas Primas; AAS 17 (1925) 598; Divini Cultus; AAS 221 (1929) 33-34; Pius XII, Mediator Dei (Nos. 44-47); Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 59, and Nos. 5-46). We are not asked to choose between these two roles of the liturgy, fixing or; the one we prefer to espouse, but to accept them both. Liturgy is the celebration of faith-life. 2. The structure of the contemporary Roman reform of Christian liturgy is so articulated that it might proceed as a two-stage process of development. Stage One calls for the recovery of the authentic Christian tradition of liturgy, both in general and in terms of


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specific liturgies, so that all the liturgical service books might be revised in the light of this recovered tradition and be made available for our people. This;first stage of the reform is oriented to the second, which is the enormously challenging task of enfleshing the recovered tradition .within the psychology, anthropology and sociology of culturally defined communities of people all throughout the. world. In short, c.ultural evolution, the cultural adaptation of liturgy (For¡ the general plan of reform, see the three "Instructions" which followed the Constitution 'on the Liturgy to describe its proper implementation, as well as the Constitution itself). All religious experience is itself a cultural phenomenon, and so is its ritualization in the liturgy which rises out of such religious experience. There is no doubt that the Gospel will always call upon us to be resolutely counter-culture wherever human sinfulness has betrayed the holiness of this divine milieu which is the created Presence of the God of Mystery: our world and cosmos. But there is also no doubt that we are called to share in the same commitment of love which Jesus makes to our world-a world transfigured by his Presence at its center .. So Paul VI wrote movingly only a few months ago (December 8, 1975) on evangelization:" ... what matters is to evangelize man's culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way as it were by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots) .... " (Evangelii Nun¡ tiandi, No. 20) We might parallel his words in a liturgical vein, and say that what matters is not to decorate the liturgy with American flags or to coat its language with the thin veneer that may be drawn from the conversation of contemporary American television talkshows, what matters is not to make the Eucharistic celebration resemble in so many of its aspects the worst features of the fast-food industry in this country, what matters is not to transform the wedding liturgy into talent shows during which every friend of bride and groom is called upon to perform his specialty before a captive and exasperated audience. What really matters is the discovery of how American men and women are shaped in their experience together so that wherever there is authentic human experience, God, the Creator Lord, ll)ay show himself there! Whatever is truly human, is divine-is J:loly. 3. An awareness is required of the complexity of the question under discussion here (as many authors have noted). That is, there must be a cautious sensitivity exercised by all of us as we ask about


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"American" faith and "American" worship concerning whether it is appropriate to speak of something that is uniquely American or rather, perhaps, distinctively American. 1'he point is, of course, that we deal with human experience here, al~it American human experience. America is in continuity with a long and varied history of human experience (On the point, see Anthony T. Padovano," American Culture and Theology," Proceedings of the 26th Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological So~iety of America, XXVI; John W. O'Malley, S.J., "Reform, Historical Consciousness, and Vatican II's Aggiornamento," Theological Studies 32 (1971), 575-576; Walter J. Burghardt, S.J., "A Theologian's Challenge to Liturgy," Theological Studies 35 (1974), 233-248). 4. On the other hand, allowing quite rightly for !;he continuity of the human experience, there is no a priori cause to preclude the possibility that the human process may at this or that moment, say at the American moment, combine such elements of unfolding humanity so as to arrive at newnes&--newness of vision, of daring, of peace, of loving, of courage. Or of evil. Is there really nothing new under the sun? I take it as a presupposition that there can be. And I strengthen that presupposition by the remembering that there is no way I can conclude that the God of power and might can be bound or confined to what I would have devised to be the outer limits of possibilities for his loving kindness. And so: very much aware of the continuity of human-religious experience, the possibilities of a noncontradictory discontinuity should not escape us. 5.. Preoccupation, or even curiosity, about the possibilities for America cannot obscure the awareness we have of the dangers of chauvinism: just good, old-fashioned, overweening pride. Thus it is our fifth presupposition that blind and selfish nationalism in any of its manifestations is an ever-present temptation. This fear, of course, is tempered somewhat by the realization that this has not been the way, in recent history, that concupiscence has translated itself into temptation for the American Church in its relations with its Roman headquarters. That is: the American Church has not had a notable history of self-indulgent rebelliousness, setting itself over against Rome, like some rambunctious child. It has not shown itself ' to be intractable, unsubmissive, belligerent, disobedient or in any marked degree cantankerous when presented with the guidelines that flow from the institution's central offices. Upstarts we have not been! If anything, we have been childlike and even, on how many


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occasions, childishly immature in our struggles to relate to legitimate authority. 6. Finally, a point o"f the utmost importance which needs to receive more and more acute notice on all sides. It is this. As we ask the question that is before us today about the fashioning of an American liturgy, about where we are going and what our future is shaping to be, these questions need to be raised at the same time that we become less and less concerned with ourselves and our own liberation-experiences, and more and more concerned about our ·children, about those who come after us. I do not mean, of course, that we should be any the less grateful and full of praise to the Lord who continually liberates us and fills us with true freedom, or be anything less than full-hearted in our loving response to his gracious touch, or not struggle painfully to grow in lasting fidelity as he draws us into the bright future he holds out to us. What I do mean is this: our moment of history, the one we have recently been living through for twenty years or so, is so profoundly characterized by the phenomenon of "breaking out,'' of "letting go,'' of moving on and away from many shapes and forms of Christian life and worship that have no longer seemed helpful, nourishing, productive, life-giving and enriching. Some, in fact, needed to be discarded because· they were not only non-productive but counter-productive. That is, like men and women all throughout history, we erected our own kinds of idols in the place of the living God and gave them worship. We have, in short, been sinful. As we have been led away from our past, however, we have been very much fascinated (as well as may have been) by the di~covery of newness. Yet our fascination cannot be allowed to preclude the care we must exercise for those to whom we owe a heritage, those who quite justly expect from our hands a patrimony, the inheritance of the saints, Yes, let us be attentive to our own lives; but let us likewise pay much more attention than we have been to the task of helping our children build a new world! These are the presuppositions of our present discussion. NEGATIVE ELEMENTS THAT PERTAIN TO THE AMERICAN '• - ... EXPERIENCE

Our second majOr·consideration must be to pay attention to some negative and troubling elements which are inherent within the


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fabric of American experience and can be expected continually to compromise our efforts. I would like to suggest that these difficulties may be gathered under the headings of three major kinds of liabilities: the liabilities of freedom, the liabilities of progress, and the liabilities of youth. 1. THE LIABILITIES OF FREEDOM

The heady experience of freedom which we have so richly enjoyed in our country, whose bicentennial anniversary we celebrated last year, has not been without its pitfalls. Quite legitimate reverence for the import of unconstrained personal choice can and has led to the attendant problems of subjectivism, individuality, and a shallow kind of spontaneity that masquerades as. creativity. Whenever the corruption of true personal freedom explodes in these ways, "rugged individualism" tends to become the order of the day: each individual becomes the center of the world; everyone becomes an irreproachable expert who puts forth indisputable ideas and matchless plans; there are no "professional experts" who are able to surpass the expertise that belongs to just anybody; the bloody and painful struggle for precise training in a particular competence loses all significance; and rank amateurism pervades the scene. Liturgically, the manifestation of these symptoms of what we might call "true freedom gone mad" is surely clear to all. Without, for example, the benefit of two thousand years of experience, amateur individuals or amateur groups are able to create Sunday eucharistic celebration on Saturday night at the duplicating machine. We at times perform liturgically as though we had nothing to learn from all those who have gone before us, reaching all the way back to Abraham, our father in this faith! High-handed authoritarianism, of course, is not the remedy for these embarrassing and chronic seizures that seem to ~e endemic to an American temperament that (still) consistently betrays a weakness for a rashness and an adventurism that are the dark side of imaginative initiative and courageous trail-blazing. Nor will it do to diminish or supress in any way our newly discovered sense of the whole community as Church and the need for the exultant participation of each individual, each with his or her own gift, in the full life of that Church and¡ in her liturgical prayer (See the remarks of Kenneth Smits, "Liturgical Reform in Cultural Perspective," Worship 50 (March 1976), 98-110).


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2. THE LIABILITIES OF PROGRESS

"I find," wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, "the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving .... We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor." (The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table) American has been endlessly in movement, not at anchor, endlessly in progress towards the fulfillment of the great American dream: a "land of promise,'' a "land of opportunity," "gold in the streets," "go west, young man"! Not that this impulse towards growing out and going forward has been all bad, or entirely corrupt, as I will indicate in just a moment. But progress is a seductive creature, and its blandislunents, even when recognized as making a direct, no-nonsense appeal to greed and lust for power, are not easily resisted. The American dream became a nightmare, and brought death for salesman Willy Lohman; uncritically pursued it was responsible for the unravelling of the "man in the grey flannel suit;" and finally, erected into a national ideal in terms of economic and commercial productivity, it became a national passion madly out of control. The flower-children of Haight-Ashbury dropped out of American big business,. and the music of Woodstock shrieked against it. Even the liturgical reform has been a victim of progress. Whenever, that is, we have dealt with liturgy more as a marketable product intended for the utilitarian advance of a consumer public, instead of reverencing it for the nonutilitarian, end-in-itself, adoring worship that it is, then we have transformed liturgy from prayer to product. Whenever and to the extent that we have used the liturgy as a tool for "progress,'' a moral tool (to avoid sin) an educational tool (to learn our catechism), a disciplinary tool (to train our habits), a political tool (to "create community"), an economic tool (to maintain our budgets), then we have pandered to the consumerneeds of a product-oriented society, instead of allowing liturgy to be a people's dance before the ark of his Presence. Consumer-people exhaust things and persons, and work them to death. Celebratingpeople exult in things and persons, and cannot stop being full of wonder over them! (See my "Liturgical Reform: Product or Prayer?" Worship 47 (December 1973), 580-591). 3. THE LIABILITIES OF YOUTH

Children are not (and this is their definition) fully developed per-


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sons. They exhibit a wide range of imbalances, from physical uncoordination to the various levels of psychological vulnerability ¡that attach to immaturity. In some respects, America is like that. harmonious interweaving of unified elements in happily organic function has not yet been achieved by a youthful and struggling America. And so, as in the case of children, some elements predominate inordinately and are alternately comic, obscene or just in ~he way. We are, on occasion, "all ar~s and legs." Thus we have noticed in our experience that an American Church whose cerebral and rationalistic elements are not in co.ordination and balance with other .elements like imagination, leisure, trust, patience, creativity, community decision-making, a sense of the sacred character of material reality, contemplation,-a cerebral and rationaljstic Church out of abundant touch with these realities will exhibit tendencies towards legalism (a perversion of genuine law), spiritualism (a betrayal of true spirit), and authoritarianism (oppressiveness instead of leadership). Children are often but not always charming. Young people are sometimes models of dignified self-control, but frequently they are not. The American Church has .sometimes lacked charm and dignity. But we are learning! The American Church is young, and seeking its own self-identity. If its growing-pains cause grief, uneasiness and embarrassment, what is so surprising about that? Growth is never achieved without the pain of leaving one form and level of life for a new and more abundant one. It is this realization which brings us to our final consideration.

The

A POSITIVE THESIS, AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND WORSHIP

What is the shape of the American religious experience? How is God revealing his presence to contemporary American men and women, and to what adventure is he calling us? How will this religious experience uf ours be n1irrored in the liturgical celebration, where it will be nourished, intensified and deepened as well? These are the questions we must confront in order to get some grasp on what "liturgical celebration, American style" could mean. We have examined the presuppositions to the discussion, and have tried to take into account the problems which we might expect to encounter. How is our American Church shaping, we now ask? How shall we worship?


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An initial overview of American Roman Catholicism is surprisingly positive. Recent statistical analysis has yielded the perhaps startling information, for example, that 82% of our people find themselves engaged in individual prayer at least once a week, and that 60% of them do so daily; 50% of American Catholics attend weekly eucharist, where the proportion of those who receive Holy Communion has doubled in the last ten years. Indeed, in spite of the somewhat scary appraisals that can be read in some of the rightwing literature, more than 80% (an enormously high majority) approve of the liturgical changes sponsored by Vatican II. It is true that many of the forms ofreligious devotion have changed in recent years: visits to church and confessions, have all declined significantly. But there are brand new kinds of prayer meetings (new to us, at any rate) going on all over the land: a whopping 60% of our Church membership have been to a charismatic or pentecostal prayer meeting during the last two years? Religious attitudes are similarly interesting. While the local parish priest remains a very popular ch¡aracter in America, his views are not taken quite as seriously as they used to be (especially when offered in the sermon); 80% would accept the marriage of their clergy, and 63% already say they approve of it. 80% are very satisfied with their own marriages, and 38% say that, in general, they are "very happy.'' (See Andrew Greeley, William McCready, Kathleen McCourt, Catholic Schools in a Declining Church, Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1976) Even the presidential campaigns of 1976 indicated that the American people are showing a new sensitivity to what they regard as religious values and genuine idealism. Americans are not satisfied with what has been, and in their religious lives are seeking something more, something new. 67% of American Catholics, in fact, claim they approve of the "new Church.'' They approve the new growth that they witness, and of which they are a part. In short, something new is happening. What is it? CONTEMPLATIVE FREEOOM

My thesis is this: I believe it is possible to characterize the developing shape of American religious experience this way: contemplative freedom in search of mystery. Let me explain. By "contemplative,'' I mean visionary. William McNamara says that contemplation means "a long loving look at the real" (The


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Human Adventure, Garden City: Doubleday, 1974, p. 27). That says it. Whether a person is actively in motion or, for the moment, quite motionless, whether he stands or sits, works or plays, what makes him contemplative in any and all of these cases is being engaged, not with illusion or with artificiality, but with what is authentically genuinely real. Not any experience, but the human experience, because it is the experience of God-who-creates and shares life. Not any god but the living God. Americans are beginning to seek, beyond the plastic and prepackaged world, genuine life, genuine humanity. It is this developing contemplative experience which will need to permeate entirely the range of American liturgical prayer. Unless and until liturgy becomes contemplative, all caught up in the vision of God, it is nothing. Yet liturgy, we have been insisting all along, never stands by itself, but as a function, as a celebration of the religious experience that a community is having. Contemplative American liturgy will be the celebration of a more and more substantively contemplative American religious experience. All around us, there are signs that Americans are becoming willing to take the time for long, loving looks, to become contemplative (Ibid., p. 74). Americans have begun to search, and their liturgy should be characterized more and more by the qualities of a searching, yearning, seeking people of pilgrimage who ache for a vision of God wherever he may reveal himself. American liturgy must be less and less a time for instructions in morality, like the liturgy of the post-Tridentine Church, and less and less a time for instructions in enlightened doctrine (or, what we call today religious education), like the post-Vati~an II Church. In fact, American liturgy today should become more and more a big waste of time. That is, liturgy is not a time "for" anything, except to be there for play, to revel in the Presence of the Holy One, to read his face on the faces of one another, and cry "Glory!" If we will allow our liturgy to mirror an emerging American contemplative experience, contemplative liturgy will shape and form a contemplative people. If we will allow our liturgy just to be prayer, it will consume us. And that's what happens to contemplatives: they are consumed in the fire of the bridegroom's love! IN SEARCH OF MYSTERY

The search and pilgrimage of which we speak here has everything


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to do with the freedom to which Americans are so passionately attached. The experience of search is intimately linked with the experiimce of freedom, because of what freedom really is. Negatively expressed; of course; as "freedom from" something, freedom means the absence of inordinately restricting control. But the positive experience of freedom means this: freedom is the gradually unfolding and progressive search for self-fulfillment by the human person. Freedom is the process in which human persons search for their completion. In the search, they need to be protected from interference, and so "freedom from" is crucial. But "freedom for," the capacity for, what will fulfill us is the heart of our question. What will fulfill "you and me? What will make us happy? To put it as simply as we can: why were we made? The question, agonizingly and joyfully. put, brings us to mystery. ¡ Mary Richards has put it: "Mystery sucks at our breath like a wind tunnel. Invites us into it. Let us pray, and enter." "M.C. Richards, Centering, Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1969, p. 8) Mystery is not what is vague, or blurred, or sinister, or merely a riddle to challenge the nimbleness of our wits, Mystery is what is beyond. Mystery is what transcends us. And sO, we are for one another, "mystery." Each of our experiences is richly and uniquely our own, and the communion of life that we share is not the least-common-denominator of all our lives taken together, but is the reverential and awesome sharing of dignities and charisms and gifted presences whose reality, because they are not our own but the experiences of others, we can only glimpse in their beyondness, their "mystery." We are mystery for each other. Americans have had a sense of that, their otherness, though we have often betrayed it by assaulting, invading and attempting to control one another. But today there is a new and often gentle sensitivity beginning to take shape among us-a sense of the richness and mystery of other persons. Though we have been out of practice with regard to mystery, we are discovering it again. So too with regard to the world in which we live. Environmentalism is a striking indication for us of the concern that is manifest on all sides for the precious reality of our world-home here. "There lives," wrote Father Hopkins, "the dearest freshness deep down things'' (Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, New York: Oxford University Press, 1948, p. 70). Americans sense more clearly today what loveliness the world holds.


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We are surrounded by and plunged into the depths of mysterybut aboundingly so as we discover ourselves caught up in the embrace of the God of mystery "who dwells in unapproachable light" (1 Timothy 6: 16}---the One in whom we live and move and have our being, who aboundingly transcends every form of human experience and human imagining and yet who, in the lavishness of his own love, touches us with his presence. Mystery is the enchanting and summoning presence of what is here, delighting us and still beyond, beckoning us, inviting us, making promises to us,-being a future for us. Liturgy is the celebration of mystery, and is itself mystery, is itself beyond. Make no mistake about it. It must be for us, to be sure, an American celebration, or it will not be ours at all. But an American celebration of mystery, which is itself mystery, will be necessarily a celebration of the God who is beyond America! Yet it is precisely this God of mystery who is the accomplishment of the restless searching of freedom for fulfillment. What will make us happy? The Mystery-God! Where shall I give myself to him? Wherever he shares himself with us, reveals himself, communicates himself, makes the gift of himself speaks his Word. That is, everywhere. "He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him." (Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, p. 74) These three elements, characteristic, I suggest, of an unfolding American religious experience, must entirely color an American liturgy: contemplation, freedom, mystery. The American experience is, more and more, "contemplative freedom in search of mystery." Liturgy is its celebration. And so, our liturgy is to be filled with contemplation, freedom and mystery. Or else it will not be ours. Martin Luther King's words ring out with a new and enchanting clarity for American contemplatives in search of mystery. For you and for me in the midst of all our joy and ecstasy, in the midst of all our grief and all our brokenness, all our true sacrifice and miserable infidelity: "And now unto Him who is able to keep us from falling and lift us from the dark valley of despair to the bright mountain of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy; to Him be power and authority for ever and ever." So may this cry of the American heart become for us our song of praise before the Holy One, a simple song: Lauda laude. May this cry of the American heart bring us to the paschal liturgy


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and there, gathered into the splendid light of Jesus who is risen, let us pray: Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him and all the ages, to him be glory and power through every age for ever. Amen.


Jame., L. Empereur, S.J.

The Theological Experience Liturgy is a mystery of faith that can be dealt with only in terms of sym bois, models and paradigms. The author describes five possible modeL• of liturgical theology and sketches the practical implications of each of them

INTRODUCTION: MODELS OF LITUHGICAL THEOLOGY

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Liturgy is a mystery and cannot be defined according to visible components alone. A definition of the liturgy which would proceed from clear and univocal concepts is impossible. As with everything else in the area of faith there are no categories which exhaustively express the meaning of the liturgy. It is a mystery of faith and can only be dealt with in terms of symbols, models and paradigms. But because the liturgy as mystery is a rich and complex reality, it is possible to speak about it in terms of several models. Models by their nature are inadequate. They attempt to clarify reality in terms of our human experience. No single model can ·be used alone. One should not absolutize any particular model to the detriment of the others. What one model might be ohscure·about; another will serve to enlighten. This pluralism of models is a theological necessity today. For instance, in the last few decades there have been several operating models to describe the Church that have been popular: Mystical Body, People of God, Sacrament of Christ and Church as Servant. The models change as the Church seeks to find its identity in a changing world. There are obvious limitations to the use of models in theology hut the value of this 45


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kind of approach is that it allows for conversation among the various theological ·outlooks at a time when theological pluralism is considered a desideratum. Needless to say, this shift of paradigms can be very threatening for some people' and they resist such change. Such a shift implies more than a change of lang·uage. It means the adoption of new values, priorities and commitments. The polarization in the Church today should come as no surprise to someo'ne who is aware of the changing models of the Church. Tolerance of pluralism is the only solution. No benefit will result from trying to impose any one model as the last word. It is true that one model can function as a unifying focus for a particular theologian's framework of thought. And even in the same theologian, one model will be operative in one area of theology and another model in another area. But the theologian is called to go beyond these images. He/she must use the image in a reflective and critical way and when that takes place, he/she is working with the model theologically. The use of models in theology should emphasize for us that at no time do our concepts and symbols actually capture the infinite that lies behind our liturgical experiences. And since all models have their limitations, the task is to work with several models as complementary. It is very important to realize that when the liturgy is described in terms of theological models one is talking about it in metaphorical terms. One is using images that have an evocative power. The use of models in a liturgical theology is only an attempt to speak of worship analogously in terms of life experiences. Such images and symbols are able to focus human experience in a new way because they so exceed the powers of abstract thought. These models convey a meaning which is apprehended in a nonconceptual way and which have a transformative effect on the horizons of human life. RELIGIOUS MODELS AND EXPERIENCE

While religious models can influence our att_itudes and suggest courses of action, their validity is dependent upon their ability to articulate our own religious experience. Certain models of the litur· gy no longer are able to t.hematize our present experience of worship and these models are less helpful now than others. The images of the liturgy which are important today are those which can be found to be deeply rooted in the experience of t.he worshipping congrega-


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tion. There is a kind of schizophrenia that takes place when there is such discontinuity between the models we use to talk \'bout liturgy and the way we actually experience it. In a sense the crisis of faith is a crisis of images as Avery Dulles has so well indicated He says: "Many traditional images have lost their former¡hold on people, while the new images have not yet had time to gain their full power ... Many of us know very little from direct experience about lambs, wolves, sheep, vines, and grapes, or even about kings and patriarchs as they were in biblical times. There is need therefore to supplement these images with others that speak more directly to our contemporaries." (Models of the Church, p. 19) We cannot, however, pretend to create these images on the spot. They are born and they die but they cannot be manufactured by committees or individual theologians. Yet these models are indispensable for any liturgical theology. Some of the models of the liturgy have an exploratory or educative value in that they highlight for us elements and qualities of our worship to which we have not previously averted. Often this will have practical consequences for us which were less pressing at a former time_ But there is no way in which one can prove the truth of the models used. One can say that their validity depends upon whether or not they work, whether they are more helpful than some others to articulate what is going on in the worshipping community informed by Christ and the gospel. Liturgy like any area of theology must begin in faith and with the fact that we are dealing with a community of revelation. Because certain models do not describe what is actually going on in certain parishes today does not immediately call into question the usefulness of the model. It may be that such a model is necessary to call those parishes to a "liturgical conversion." The truth of a model depends upon the consequences that follow upon the use of such a model. If a model leads to distortions and abuses on the practical level, then it is judged to be a bad model. There are more models than the five described here. But the ones I have selected appear to me to be most helpful. It is better to work with a few models in an article of this length and risk some oversimplifications than to cause confusion by multiplying the paradigms of liturgical theology. It should be obvious that what is said of each model does not apply to it exclusively. It is a matter of emphasis and predominant reference.


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This view of the liturgy presupposes an ecclesiology which sees the Church primarily in terms of its visible structures, its officers and its required procedures. Such a view is more than the affirmation that for the Church to accomplish its task for building up the kingdom of God, it is necessary to have some kind of visibility, some leaders and some accepted methods of conducting its business. Rather it is the institutional aspect of the Church which is regarded as primary. It is the model for understanding the Church. According to this model the Church is described in terms of teaching, sanctifying and governing. All three of these tasks are done for the faithful by the leaders of the Church, thus identifying these leaders with the Church itself. The liturgy in this framework would be seen as something which is primarily done by the clergy for the people. The clergy is the source of grace that flows through the ritual actions. The liturgical celebration is basically a pyramidal event, in which the ordinary worshippers find themselves in a primarily passive position. There is also a clear cut distinction between clergy and faithful in the liturgy itself. Liturgy here becomes a legalistic consideration. The observance of liturgical regulations takes on paramount importance and the sanctifying power of the sacraments is dependent upon the proper observance of canonical rules. It is important in this model that the test of authentic liturgy be what can be juridically verified. The criteria for the liturgy of Church must be visible as are the standards for membership¡ in the Church itself. This view of the liturgy is basically triumphalistic in character. Those who consider worship primarily as institutional see little need for the liturgy to change. It was perfect from the beginning and any questioning of the significance of any of the structures becomes a threat to the underlying ecclesiology. And so it is only logical that this model which is based on the presupposition that what is essential is unchanging would place a great deal of importance on the institution of the liturgy by Christ. The seven sacraments would be seen as being either directly or indirectly instituted by Christ. And the Church must have been brought into existence by Christ with the same fundamental structure that it has today. The liturgy is necessarily hierarchical because that is also of divine institution. Since theology in this view becomes basically defending what the Church has already taught and since there can be no question in


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this position of any new revelation after the close of the deposit of faith, liturgical theology becomes the attempt to find in the sources of revelation the proof for what the Church is saying about the liturgy. As in the case of the other areas of Church life, the chief beneficiaries of liturgy are the members of the Church themselves. The sacram~ntal

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liturgy becomes the source of nourishing graces for

those who belong to the "Catholic Church." Other liturgical forms such .as the liturgy of the hours are reverenced to the degree that they approach the sacramentality of the specifically seven s~cra­ ments. And the purpose of this liturgy is to bring people to heaven, to help them to stay on the straight and narrow path and to stay within the parameters of the Catholic Church so that their salvation can be assured.

In this empirical approach to liturgy a great deal of stress is placed on what is statistically measurable. For instance, baptisms, marriages, anointings, converts and communions are counted. Remember the days when the priest sat in the confessional with his hand counter clicking away as he tallied up the number of penitents. Or how often in the old days did one hear at jubilee celebrations the recounting of how many thousands of masses Father soand-so said in his life as a priest.

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LIMITATIONS OF THE INSTITUTIONAL MODEL

Is this view of the liturgy still in existence? Very definitely. It has strong endorsement in official church documents and by the leaders in the Church. Certainly, it is still clearly stressed in the document on the liturgy that the Church's worship is of divine institution. Many hold on to this view of liturgy because it gives them a sense of stability in an ever-changing world. At times these people focus on relatively unimportant aspects of worship such as genuflections and incense because they want to have at least one thing in their life which does not change. The unchanging liturgy gave Catholics a strong sense of identity. The remark was often made that the wonderful thing about the Latin Mass was that one could go anywhere in the world to worship in any Catholic Church and always .feel at home. There are some serious limitations to the juridical model of liturgy. There is little if any New Testament evidence for such an approach to worship. What we find there is more flexible, pluralistic


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and adapted. The liturgy before the formation of the Roman Rite in the fourth and fifth centuries was a rich and variegated phenomenon. Until the freezing of the Missal by Pius V in 1570 there was considerable diversity in the Roman liturgy itself. Another problem with this approach is that it reinforced the clericalization of the liturgy. it is no coincidence that as the institutional model of the Church gained control, the juridical model of the liturgy became paramount. The history of the liturgy becomes the gradual removing of the liturgy from the people. Fidelity to rubrics becomes more important than the quality of the celebration and attendance at mass under pain of sin looms larger than the call to authentic worship. In the USA the concern over communion in the. hand has gone .far beyond any regard for worshipping in spirit and in truth. Liturgy can hardly have a prophetic quality about it if the local authorities are preoccupied with the observation of minor liturgical regulations. This juridical concept of liturgy.raises problems for theology. For instance, there is little leeway for the developing of the ecumenical liturgical experience. The problem of intercommunion becomes one of fidelity to the Roman See. This view of liturgy seems to render the liturgical life of other Churches (non-Roman) as without content and life. Needless to say, in this approach anything like a charismatic liturgy would be highly suspect. Perhaps, that is the reason why the Catholic Charismatic Movement has gone out of its way to be "law-abiding" in its liturgical celebrations. LITURGY AS MYSTERY

Odo Case!, the author of the mystery-theology approach to liturgy, has been unjustly passed over. The fact is that despite the criticisms about his position, many of the ideas of Odo Case! have been accepted by the document on the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. This is especially true of his notion of Christ's presence in the liturgy. It is inappropriate for a council of the Church to embrace any particular theologian's position, but the sounds of Case! ring through the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, especially in Chapter one. For instance in No. 2 the document states: "The liturgy is thus the outstanding means by which the faithful can express in their lives the mystery of Christ." It is a fact that many of Case!' s ideas have become part of the post-conciliar theology.


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Case! defined mystery ¡as a "sacred ritual action in which a saving deed is made present through the rite; the congregation, by performing the rite, takes part in the saving act, and thereby wins salvation."

The content or meaning of mystery in Casel's thought (and in the framework of those who identify themselves with the mystery-theology approach to ligurgy) refers first of all to God himself as he exists in himself and in the things that he has made. Secondly, it refers to Christ, not just the person of Christ but Christ performing his salvific actions, especially his death, resurrection and ascension. Thirdly, mystery means the saving activity of Christ in the Church and in the sacraments. This third sense is really the one that is most operative in this liturgical theology.¡ As such the liturgical mystery possesses a sacramental mode of being. It means making present again by a cultic action. The content of this ritualizing is not just the power of the effect of Christ's saving deeds, but these very deeds themselves. It is the presence of historic-non-recurring actions of salvation, not of some eternal, extra-temporal sal vi fie will nor of an event in heaven. And what is made present is the reality which lies behind the historical actions, not these actions in their historical trappings. Christ is not separated from his mysteries but is present and active within them. The presence of the Risen Christ is not properly speaking the reality made present in the liturgy but is the preliminary condition making possible the presence of what is essential, the saving actions of Christ. It is necessary that Christ and his saving work be present in the liturgy because a person only becomes a Christian by participation in this saving activity. Neither the presence of the person of Christ, nor the presence of divine life in him, nor the mere presence of the body and blood are enough. The redeeming work itself must be present. Our participation in the mystery of salvation demands a real and mystical participation in the life and death of Christ which must be present in the sacramental act. The great breakthrough that Case! made was to move the focus in eucharistic theology away from the presence of ,Jesus's body and blood to the presence of the redemptive action itself. WORD AND SACRAMENTS

The saving action of Christ is not limited to the sacraments. It is

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communicated by the Word of God. Case! says that one should not make too great a distinction between the presence of Christ in the divine office and in the eucharist. He admits a difference but blames late scholasticism for seeing almost nothing in the Mass but the real presence as the effect of transubstantiation. It makes too little of Christ's saving action in the Word. For the ancient Church there was only one saving action of Christ and this was the ground for the entire liturgy, both word and sacrament. Christ is not divided. Even blessings and consecrations participate in and show forth the mystery of Christ. How the saving acts of Christ are rendered present is difficult to understand. We can say that the mystery of Christ is incarnated in the mystery of worship which consists of actions performed both by people and by Christ. Salvation becomes visible because the sacramental symbol is visible. The content of the cui tic mystery is present as soon as the sign is set forth because there is a necessary connection between the sacramental process and the incarnation. The sacraments are images of Christ full of the reality of his being and ¡his activity. The saving work of Christ is objectively present in the sacraments and it exists before the effect itself. Past historical events can only be rendered present again through the sacramental mode of existence which can only be understood in faith. Just as the mystery of Christ's redemptive work is sui generis because it is both supernatural and yet accomplished in time, so the sacramental mode of existence is different from every natural way of existing. The sacramental mode of existence is not the same as the natural or historical way of existing. The exterior rites are performed in time but the content of these cultic actions does not exist in time. There is no question of a repetition of Christ's saving deeds. The act of Christ is one because it is an eternal, supernatural and transtemporal mystery. There is no before and after. Odo Case! did not attempt to explain metaphysically how the mystery of Christ is sacramentally present in the liturgy. It was for him a matter of understanding what a sacrament is and how it differs from other signs. There is only one mystery although birth, death and resurrection are events different from each other. It is the substance of this mystery in its totality that is rendered present in the cui tic acts. And the substance of the liturgical mystery is the transitus Christi, the paschal mystery. Since the paschal mystery is the central mystery,


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Easter is the feast. But a liturgy adequate to the whole mystery of salvation requires a liturgical year and liturgical feasts. The Christian liturgy participates in the sacramentalism inherent in the whole life of the Church in time. There will be present in every liturgical celebration the mystery of God communicated to people in Jesus Christ. Each liturgy celebrates the real presence of Jesus who came at the end of a period of preparation, the paschal mystery now reconciling people to God in the Church, and the prophecy of the kingdom inaugurated in sacramental signs and to be manifested fully in the parousia. LITURGY AS SACRAMENT

The sacramental model ofliturgical theology is presently the one most widely used. It is basically the model that is operative in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, although the institutional model is ever present in that document. This model is the one employed by most Catholic (Eastern and Western) liturgical theologians today. There. is a considerable spread of emphasis among these liturgists and there is a variety of ways in which they utilize this method for articulating a' liturgical theology. For instance. on one hand, you have Vagaggini";ith his highly scholastic approach to liturgy and on the other, Broccolo who makes use of the psychological model as an adjunct to the sacramental one. Theologians such as Bouyer, Verheul, Martimort and Dalmais are found somewhere in between. But to the extent that these liturgical theologians attempt to construct any real systematic approach to worship, they work within the rather wide parameters of what. is called here the sacramental paradigm. In this view the Church is the primordial sacrament and the liturgy, which at heart is sacramental in the narrow sense, is the expression of the Church and is directed toward the building up of the Church. We have the Second Vatican Council to thank for the most articulate and official expression of the sacramentality of the Church. In the Constitution on the Church we find this: "The Church is a kind of sacrament of intimate union with God and of unity of all mankind; that is, she is a sign and instrument of such union and unity." (art. 1) The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says: "The Liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fountain from which

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all her power flows." (art. 10) The same document says that the Church "reveals herself most clearly when a full complement of God's holy people, united in prayer and in a common liturgical service'' join together in worship. A contemporary understanding of sacramentality as applied to the Church and liturgy would be based upon an understanding of the human person as an incarnate reality. Avery Dulles has put the matter as well as anyone. "The structure of human life is therefore symbolic. The body with all its movements and gestures becomes the expression of the human spirit. The spirit comes to be what it is in and through the body. The symbolic expression does not simply signify what previously existed independently of it. Rather, the expression and the realization accompany and support each other. The corporeal expression gives the spiritual act the material support it needs in order to achieve itself; and the spiritual act gives shape and meaning to-the corporeal expression." (p. 60, Models of the Church). Liturgy' according to this model would be seen primarily in terms of this meaning of a sacrament: an outward sign of a spiritual reality, not in the sense that it merely points to something beyond itself, but as an efficacious sign so that it intensifies that which it is bringing to expression. Because of the incarnational structure of the human spirit, we can talk about sacraments conferring what they contain. SACRAMENTS AS SOCIAL SYMBOUl

Sacraments are dialogic in character. They are social symbols which allow the experience of God to break through in terms of a human interaction. Sacraments as the encounter with God are not experiences in isolation. They are communal symbols of grace coming to visibility. For this reason we do not baptize ourselves, we do not anoint ourselves, and for this reason the so-called individual celebration of the Eucharist can only be described as a highly deficient sign. Thus, worship in this model is primarily participative. There is no room for spectators at the liturgy. Sacramentality by its very nature calls for participation. In participating in the sign of the liturgy, the worshippers are actually creating the Church and the sacramental sign. To the extent that this model makes use of such images as Body of Christ and People of God it sees the liturgy in the context of the


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Church as community. This emphasizes that what is being brought to sacramental expression is a Spirit-filled fellowship of charity and truth. The main focus will not be on the visible institutional structures of the liturgical assembly. A liturgical theology in which these metaphors are prominent would stress the union of grace on the personal level which is made visible through the ministry and the sacraments. The union that exists among the worshippers is that of the graces of the Holy Spirit which make this community more than a purely sociological phenomenon. Worship is not seen primarily in juridical terms but according to a union which is deeper than any merely human union. The purpose of the liturgy is to establish a deep and lasting union between God and Christians. What is celebrated in the.liturgy is grace as a communal gift. The sacramental approach to liturgy then, brings together the institutional and more community oriented approaches. For liturgy to be sacramental it must be visible; it must be incarnated through outward signs. It must be structured. It is more than communal undifferentiated enthusiasm. But it is more than structure. It is event. It is the dynamism of grace realizing itself in coming to visibility. It is the community's spirituality achieving historical tangibility. There is an internal thrust in the spirituality that the liturgy articulates that demands coming to expression. In the actual liturgical celebration this spirituality is not only reflected but also constituted. And this means that something must happen in the lives of the worshippers. They must be transformed by the spirit so that they manifest the biblical gifts of that same Spirit. This approach does not claim for liturgy a monopoly of the grace of God coming to expression. Grace and salvation are found outside of liturgy. However, it would affirm strongly that liturgy is the clearest articulation of the Christian's experience of God. Christ and the Church as sacraments of God's reconciling love for the world imply that liturgy is the unambiguous manifestation of this sacrament.alit.y of Christ. and the Church. Grace is always seeking visibility, and it is most adequately articulated in the liturgical celebrations. God's working in the world outside of the areas under the sphere of influence of the Church's liturgy will tend to be more ambiguous in their witnessing character. This liturgical theology can easily view the worship situation in a much too exalted fashion. References to the heavenly liturgy can make the theology seem too artificial or unrelated to actualliturgi-

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cal experiences. With this approach liturgy can turn out to be the plaything of aesthetes and the social and ethical dimensions of the liturgical assembly can be underplayed .. There is an in built tension in this model when it stresses the community aspect of worship. There can be a great deal of frustration with the liturgy when it is described iri terms of a community celebration. The fact is that the experience of community at most liturgical services is quite deficient. One can so idealize this aspect of the sacramental model that it cannot be found verified any place in human living. It is necessary to be realistic about what can actually be achieved here in terms of this more interpersonal model. The search for a perfect human community which can adequately celebrate the liturgy is illusory. LITURGY

AS PROCLAMATION

Most Protestant and some Catholic liturgical theologians are more at home with understanding the liturgy as an event of the proclamation of the Word of God. Liturgy is constituted in the proclamation of the Word. It takes. place in the very act of proclamation. Proclamation is a linguistic event in which the Church is constituted. Sacraments are looked upon as "visible words.''

The theology of liturgy which is articulated in terms of proclamation is based upon the fundamental understanding that the relationship of God to the world and to human beings is to be seen in terms of a dialog between the two. God has shared himself in creation and is calling it to union with himself. This dialogic relationship which describes the reality between God and persons presupposes the mutual presence of God and humans to each other. In this dialog between God and ourselves, it is God who takes the initiative. God¡ speaks first. The basiC attitude on our part is to listen. It is necessary to listen ifGod is to become present to us. God becomes present in his actual speaking. If the relationship between God and ourselves is one of dialog, then this relationship can only come about through communication. When God speaks and when we listen there is that mutual presence which is so necessary for this dialogic union. The presence of God to us is a human presence; it is a personal presence. But it is a presence brought about through language.


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Wherever sharing in someone's life is to take place (and this is what is meant by a dialogic relationship), it is necessary to be adequately present to that person. This is equally true of the dialog between friends, married people or between God and ourselves. This adequate presence comes about through communication. And this communication requires a form oftanguage. In the case of God he is adequately present to us in Jesus Christ. Christ is the form of his communication. Christ is the language of God. He is thus called the Word of God. Not that he s~ys everything about God that there is to say, but that he adequately expresses the reality of God so that this sharing of life, this mutuar" presence, this union or dialogical relationship can be brought about without excessive difficulty. To understand how it is that Christ is the Word of God, how he is the one who makes it possible for the dialog between God and ourselves to take place, and why it is that it is the liturgy which becomes the common language of God and his people, it is necessary to know something of the nature of proclamation. What is the meaning ofproclamation7 Surely, it is more than speaking in a loud voice. It is more than mere talking. One could hardly talk about liturgy as proclamation if to proclaim meant little more than communicating information such as reading a dinner menu to someone who is blind. THE MEANING OF PROCLAMATION

Proclamation is language, but not any kind of language. It is not the language of ordinary conversation or of a business transaction. It is more than verbal communication. It is what theologians call a language-event. By that is meant that language has a broader meaning than the words we use. All forms of human communication such as smiles, laughter, mU:sic, art, dancing, making love and other non-verbal gestures can be proclamatory. Two persons embracing, kissing, or having sexual intercourse may use the words "I love you." But they need not and real communication, real proclamation would have taken place without any words at alt. In this wider sense, language becomes the way that human beings communicate and become mutually present. In this sense human presence depends upon language. The human presence brought about through a language-event is a personal presence. For instance, if you are in a crowded subway train, there may be a num-

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ber of people who are physically present to you, especially if they are pushing and shoving you. But it is only when someone speaks or smiles at you that there is a question of human personal presence. At that moment your personal reality has been constituted by language. We live in relation to others to the degree that they are present to us through a language event. The point of all this is that language creates us because it enables us to relate with others. When this happens we have ar{ event of proelamation. The proclamatory word (which need not be verbal) brings meaning into our lives. It challenges us to make a decision. We can accept or reject this proclamation to us, but in some sense it calls for decision. Whether it is a question of acceptance or rejection, a new relationship is constituted. This kind of proclamation can be creative of community. The eventful word both depends on the community and is constitutive of community. A community is that group of people who share the same language, who assent to the same proclamation in their lives. The community of the Church is that group of individuals who have heard the proclamation of the Word of God and who now live according to the vision put forth by that language-event. They are people with the Christian vision and the Christian language, because what they share is Jesus Christ with a certain explicitness. This is so because Christ is for them their eventful word. Liturgy then can be described as the dialog between God and ourselves because of the place of Christ in the liturgical celebration. When God speaks, proclaims, to us his Word who is Jesus Christ, we have liturgy in the form of the gospel and the sacraments. When we respond to God through the prayer of Christ we have the language of liturgy in terms of praise and thanksgiving. In the liturgy Christ becomes God's most perfect proclamation and at the same time he is our most adequate response. Christ is God's best answer to his own call and he is also the fullest proclamation of the community. Christian liturgy, as the community's proclamation, is the articulation of the presence of God in Christ especially in terms of the Paschal Mystery. In the words of one liturgist: "Liturgy is the permanent proclamation of the Pascha I Mystery which constitutes and reflects the Church. The liturgical assembly is the most explicit expression and manifestation of the Christian life because it lights up what is going on in the rest of Christian living." This model of liturgical theology has some important implica-


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tions for the planning process. The liturgical dynamic is one of proclamation and response. The very structure of the liturgy should be designed in terms of the rhythm of proclamations and responses. This will influence the placing of music in the celebration, the use of gestures and the celebrational style of the ministers. In all of the rites, response should follow proclamation. One should not employ several proclamations or several responses in a row. To do so would destroy the rhythm which is so necessary for an enlivened celebration which is supposed to articulate the very rhythm of our lives in a Christian perspective. LITURGY AS PROCESS

The process model for constructing a liturgical theology is developed in the light of the principles of what is called process theology, a specifically American systematic conceptuality for understanding God and the Christian message. This theoretical framework stresses the relationship of God to the world as one of unity rather than separation. God is always at work in the world and the world is the symbol of God, the manifestation of God's presence. This world, the only one we have, is the arena of God's activity and existence.

According to this view there is no possibility that liturgy would be seen as worship of an absent God, or a God who is infinitely separated from this world. Rather it is the liturgy which is the human activity which highlights for us that God is working in and through the world to bring about a greater union with himself. This view of reality places considerable emphasis on the interrelatedness and interdependence of all reality. Reality is highly relational. This means that the usual dichotomies between God and the world, the Church and secular society, Christ and the rest of humanity are broken down and blurred. Another important component of a process theology is that it is the "becoming" of reality which is stressed. It is process rather than substance, becoming rather than being which are the inclusive categories of understanding reality. God who is intrinsically related to all reality is a God who changes, who is living and yet is perfect. Perfection in this framework does not demand immutability. With such a presupposition, liturgy can never be seen as a finished product. It is an event always in process. It is the constant result


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of creativity in life and in the actual celebration. The process mode of thinking would eschew anything like an immutable Church or an isolated and independent liturgy. The Church is a distinctive stream in the general flow of reality. Its purpose is to bring out of concealment the directionality of the total process but it is in noessential way separated from it. Thus, the language and gestures of liturgy would be the language and gestures of today' s culture. GOD INVOLVED IN LIFE

A process liturgical theology presupposes a God who is very much involved in people's lives. It rejects the God who has no feelings and emotions, who is self-contained and outside of time, a God to whom nothing in the world can really make any difference. The fact is that worship does presuppose a God who is personally concerned with the worshipper's problems and desires. Process theology says that God is so personally involved in this world and with human beings that he is actually affected by what is going on. He is diminished by our sinfulness to the degree that he cannot become that kind of God which he would become had we not sinned. God is enriched by our contributions as we become more fully human. In this sense the world is constantly changing God. He sees the direction in which he would like the world to go and he tries to lure this world to greater and greater humanization, to greater and more creative things. But he cannot coerce. This position is not pantheistic. God and the world are not reduced to each other. But God is part of the fabric of this world. God and the world are unthinkable without each other. This view, then, helps us to overcome the kind of conflict we have had between our traditional theology and the prayers of our liturgy. Often our theology said that God could not be affected by what we did and yet our prayers and hymns presumed otherwise. Liturgy can be seen as that event in the Christian community where we have the clearest and best statement, by means of ritual, of how God is affecting the world and how the world is contributing to God. God does not enter our world through the liturgy and when we are at worship we are not addressing someone who is outside of the liturgical assembly. God is always there and because of our ritualizing he rises to visibility for the community which is gathered together, hears the gospel, shows forth its ministry and shares in the supper of the Lord.

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The liturgical experience which is constantly undergoing change is open-ended. The Christ of the liturgy is evolving. There is no immutable, static Christ. He is always in the process of completion. This does not mean that there is no relation between the Christ of the liturgy and the Christ of the past. There is continuity with the death and resurrection. However, this is continuity and not mere repetition. There is always something of the past in each liturgical event, but there is always something that is novel. In this sense, the direction of the liturgy is more to the future than to the past. It follows from this that if liturgy is truly to be alive and working, then it is necessary to build change into the structure of worship itself. Christian ritual does not mean to repeat only what Christians have done before. The liturgy does more than reiterate the past because it responds to the present community and where it is at the present time. Liturgy facilitates the growth of the Church by taking into itself what is new in present ecclesial relationships. In that sense liturgy is caused by the future. As the process theologian sees it, God, Jesus Christ, the Church, and the sacraments are in the process of becoming, and in this sense the liturgical life is lived from the future. God through JesusCiirist assumes a persuasive posture toward the Church in the direction of greater humanization and union with himself. Thus, the Church's sacramental life is to be in a constant process of creative advance. Sacramental liturgy is to be viewed as the special moment in the Church where the relationality that makes us Christian, our relation to God in Christ, is highlighted and established in a deeper and more unambiguous way. Through the individual sacraments, the event of the Church in process continues to be created. Liturgy is the way that the Church is maintained in process. This process liturgical theology can be summarized in the following points: 1) liturgy is a processive-relational event; 2) the God to whom the liturgy is directed is a changing God who so interacts with the world that he is both its creator and is created by it, a world he entices to further growth and enrichment; 3) the liturgy is future-directed implying that the worshipper, the worshipping community and the mediating Christ are constantly evolving; 4) the Christ who does the worshipping in the liturgy makes it possible for the community to be the paradigm of the relationship of God and the world; 5) the Church whose spiritualtiy is articulated ritually in

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liturgy is an event-always-becoming, and 6) the sacraments are those special moments in the Church's life where its relationship to Christ and to the individual members is so expressed that the liturgy becomes a celebration of salvation by appropriating the past, by relating to the present and by responding to the allurement of the future. CONCLUSION

How is one to evaluate these models? They are not all equally appropriate to a contemporary liturgical theology. Each model must be judged in terms of its basis in scripture and tradition, the degree that it corresponds to modern religious experience, its ability to give the worshippers a sense of mission and identity, how much it fosters Christian virtues and ecumenical dialog and especially how creative it is for theologizing about worship. The institutional model rightly emphasizes a structured liturgy although it can lead to a rigid preoccupation with rubrics. The mystery model clearly indicates the importance of the liturgical realism of the ritual action in that worship is the prolongation of Christ's work on earth although this approach runs the risk of viewing the liturgical symbol too Platonically and of viewing the presence of Christ (in distinction from his actions) too statically. The sacramental model highlights very well that it is the community at worship which is the primary symbol of God's salvation, but it can also cause an excessively in-house consideration of the liturgy. The proclamation model sees the liturgy as the primordial place of the event of the Word of God although there is always the danger of a form of fundamentalism. The process model avoids the ever present temptation to separate liturgy from life, but it does not speak as clearly as do some of the other models of the transcendence of God and the eschatological dimension of the Church's worship. No one model can be the supermodel under which the others are subsumed. The liturgical theologian must work with them all in a complementary fashion. An individual theologian may choose one model as the dominating image if he/she in no way excludes the other models. I do not believe, however, that the institutional model can be taken to ¡be a primary image in a liturgical theology because institutions and structures are subordinate to persons and life. In fact the imperialism of any model in a liturgical theology will be detrimental to that theology because ultimately worship is part of the mystery of Christ and the Church.


Louis John Cameli

The Spirituality of Celebration People who "go to Mass on Sunday" would like some contact with God, some sense of being together as family, as neighbors, as Catholics. The author seeks out those elements that make liturgy an inspiring and inspired experience.

When does a liturgy "succeed?" When does a liturgy "fail?" The questions are difficult. Everyone knows when a liturgy has touched the lives of a community singly and together. But to elaborate specific criteria for evaluating a liturgical experience--that is the difficulty inherent in these questions. In the following pages, I propose some criteria for evaluating or judging the "success'' or "failure'' of liturgy. The words need quotation marks enclosil).g them, because we will consider success and

failure on a special level-the level of spiritual experience, that is, the experiential or sensed awaren~ss that flows into the lives of individuals and communities who participate in public worship. People who-in their words-" go to Mass on Sunday" want inspiration. In language and thought that is uncluttered with theological jargon, they would like some contact with God and some sense of being together as family, as neighborhood, as Catholics. The task of this paper centers on discerning those elements which make a liturgical experience an inspired and inspiring experience. To speak of spiritual experience, to speak of evaluating it in terms of its in-spirited and in-spiriting qualities is to speak of a task 63


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of spiritual theology or spirituality. For spirituality grapples with the question of discernment as a task of theological reflection which judges authentic movements of the Spirit or inspirations. Spirituality as a theological endeavor can speak generally. Spirituality as pastoral ministry must listen and speak to the specific situation. These theoretical reflections, then, must be taken up by pastoral ministers and applied. WORDS FOR SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

Spirituality has used three terms to describe the spiritual life, often in view of its progressive development. The terms are purgation or purification, illumination, and union." The words are said to apply to "stages" of spiritual life. A person begins by ferreting out those sins and roots of sin in the purgative stage of spiritual life. The soul thus prepared can receive illumination or enlightenment, the second stage of spiritual development. Finally, the grace of union, indeed, mystical union is given in the third and final stage of spiritual development. Characteristically, writers have portrayed the stages in a sequential order. Persons successfully complete one stage before progressing to the next. This kind of perspective of spiritual development holds an ascensional or ever-rising movement as typical of spiritual development. A more contemporary view which draws from many of the spiritual classics situates purification, illumination, and

union as special dimensions of Christian life throughout the whole Christian life cycle. There is growth and movement, but it is movement about a more clearly defined focus and growth in contact with a center. The visual image to which this pattern corresponds is no

longer a line ascending at an angle into infinity but a spiral which moves to a point. In Christian life, then, persons will experience purification or il.

lumination or union with greater intensity at various times. All three elements form significant cOmponents of Chrisians in movement.

When believers examine their lives and discern experiences and movements of purification, illumination, and union, they can recognize the effects of the Spirit at work in their lives and a process of spiritu'al growth taking place. When we apply the experiential components of purification, il-


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lumination and union to the community worship of the Church, then we may begin to see some possible criteria for judging and dis· cerning the inspired and inspiring quality of liturgical celebration. We will not have constructed a comprehensive spirituality of litur· gy. Some authors have made contributions in that direction. Rather, what we will have at the end of our study is an elaboration of some specific dimensions of spiritual experience as Christians might await them in liturgical celebration. So, to take dimensions of spiritual experience, such as purification, illumination, and union and to apply them to liturgical celebration as criteria of an experience of life lived and developed in the Spirit can be extremely valuable. Once again, it is good to note that left on the level of theo· ry these criteria have little value. People who care about the quality of worship, people who plan and work for liturgical celebration, must sit together and reflectively seek to apply what is relevant here to the particular situation. PURifiCATION

Purification can take many forms. Perhaps we tend to think less of "purification," because the very word suggests a sort of right· eousness, a Puritanism with which we are uncomfortable. Yet puri· fication is rooted in the Gospel call for conversion and death to self. Purification when it becomes its own goal becomes pharisaical and inauthentic. Genuine purification prepares for and leads to some· thing other than itself. Conversion as a turning-from prepares for a turning-to. Death to self leads to resurrection to new life. In liturgical celebration, people can or, better, ought to experi· ence purification on many different levels and 'in various ways. Purification. w; focusing. Liturgical celebration creates a time and space for worship. It displaces other events in time and other uses of space. In the midd.le of a world charged with many concerns, it attempts to refine the atmosphere to allow people to deal with what is at the heart of the matter. To make a schedule, to build a building for worship has already parted time and space, has already made a way for the Lord. In the midst of this creation of a focused time and space, the worshiping believer engages in an asceticism and purification of playfulness. Romano Guardini has noted that liturgy requires of its very nature a shift from the complexity of daily life with its purposes and cross purposes to a playful simplicity


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that is the refined and purified atmosphere of wasting time on God. The purification of focusing time and space into a playful simplicity before the Lord and one another taxes some of our most deeply ingrained American proclivities to productivity. Perhaps at times our approach to "doing liturgy" defeats from the very start the possibility of¡ experiencing the purification of focusing. Purification and the movement of decentration. In one of the very last talks he gave in Bangkok before his deatli, Thomas Merton summarized the scope of monasticism both Eastern and Western as a movement of the transformation of consciousness. The monk is convinced that he must move off of himself as center and surrender himself in love to the other. Although monasticism embodies this movement in a particularly dramatic and forceful way, decentration, the movement from self to other, belongs to the core . ofthe development of the Christian experience. It implies a death to self and a "practiced" dying we call asceticism which leads one day to ful) surrender. To participate in liturgy is to submit and to surrender to a larger will, to a collective or community style which will never exactly coincide with my personal world. The very submission to a discipline of worship and order not my own enables the creation of a wider community of. praise and worship--but only on the condition of the ascetical and purif'ying moment of my own dying to my owri spontaneous style. Participation in the liturgy then becomes a symbol and a funding of a wider kind of movement. that ought to permeate my entire life. Purification of the feelings and rhetoric of prayer. There is a certain trust which we ought to have in the spontaneous outpourings of our heart. Augustine looked inward and found God drawing him in the restlessness that characterized his interiority. But when we follow our hearts exclusively, they can also take us down a narrow road that reveals little other than our immediate private concerns, and they may lead us in the dangerously roundabout ways of subjectivism. To pray liturgically means to walk in the discipline of a pre-established rhetoric and ritual designed to evoke a certain pattern of feelings. At times praying within this disciplined framework engenders the pain that comes with birth into a wider world. Perhaps even more painfully, it forces us to look at our symbolic world, our words and our feelings, and to renew and correct their direction. The purification of our inner life of prayer through interaction . with a praying community will enrich our interiority by inaking it


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more accessible to a larger experience. So, for example, to feel and pray in terms of our own personal sense of estrangement from family may lead us in circles of guilt and resentment. To resituate our rhetoric and feelings in the language and ritual of a communal reconciliation service can aid us in redefining the terms of our prayer and situation and possibly enable us to make a breakthrough in ways that would not occur in our private reflections. Purification of complacency. The strivings of human spirit never die, never are extinguished completely. But the cares and involvements of the here and now can rapidly blanket deeper concerns. The very valid concerns about making a living and managing the business of life can induce a spiritual torpor. The reason for torpor rests not in our laziness but rather in the consuming concerns that direct our energy to the short term Questions and issues and let a certain complacency about ultimate questions settle in. Liturgy can be provocative at times, can be an energizing force that shakes us out of complacency. More commonly, however, liturgy purifies us of spiritual complacency in a far more subtle manner. Worship is the undone task. We never celebrate liturgy and say that the work is complete, the task is finished. We keep repeating and returning to the celebration of liturgy implicitly yet powerfully acknowledging to the world and to ourselves that worship in spirit and truth does not come to a conclusion. It is unlike anything else we do. A consciousness of the unfinished character of worship can purify us of our complacency and readiness to let the questions and issues of spirit slide by. Purification of sin and evil. We commonly associate "purification" with a cleansing from sin and evil. Before we assume too much about purification of sin in the liturgy and the way in which this translates itself into experiential terms, we ought to note how the liturgy does not approach the question of sin and evil. The liturgy does not look upon sin from a moral or ethical perspective. In other words, liturgy does not judge situations and make moral decisions. When liturgy serves a moralizing purpose, we sense that something is wrong, that something is out of place. Liturgy, then, does not deal with sin and evil by identifying its manifestation and then attempting to eliminate or, alternatively, offer patterns of correct behavior. Liturgy initiates a purification not by confronting the sinful and evil elements of life but rather by introducing worshiping partici-


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pants into the sphere of the holy. As we are drawn into a communion of worship with the Lord and with one another, we gain the awareness of being a community set apart, a holy people. Confront~d with a vision of what it is to be called as a holy nation, a people set apart, the community must experience a certain purification of those elements which enslave it and restrain its ability to respond to its calling. Thus, liturgical worship becomes an experience of purification of sin and evil not by confronting the evil but rather by introduCing us to the holy. We recognize in the contact which liturgy affords us the distance that intervenes between what we are called to be and who we are at this moment. In the confrontation between an assembly gathered for praise, worship, and reconciliation and an assembly that responds poorly or not at all to its calling a purifying moment of self awareness emerges. Purification of the religious response. A dimension of liturgical experience which may often escape our notice is the continuous purification of our religious response. Religion comprises that set of responses and approaches to what is holy and revealed. It "is a human response and therefore always subject to the limits and, at times, distortions which result from human freedom. So, for example, an inadequate and indeed false religious response would be one that relies exclusively on ritual, remains detached from life, and closes in on itself in a spirit of self satisfaction. Liturgical celebration grows from a work of the Holy Spirit but also from a human religious response. Thus, it stands in need of continuous purification. If purification does not take place, church doors will open to the world a steady stream of smug self satisfied worshippers who feel that they have done their part and can now live as.they had been living before they attended their services. Liturgy properly celebrated keeps a self-purifying dynamic. For liturgy properly celebrated moves from life experiences, brings them into the very act of worship where they find consecration and inspiration, and returns again to day to day life in a spirit of mission. In this way, liturgy can never remain a detached and self satisfied observance closed in on itself. Through experience, then, those who share in the celebration come to recognize that it is not enough to pray with their lips but that their prayer must be from the heart and eventually it must lead to a transformation of life. Purification of the world. As often as the liturgy is celebrated¡ in the Church, it contributes to the purification of the world and to the


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world's conversion. As often as liturgy is celebrated, an implicit protest against idolatry takes place. A principal hazard for the world is its involvement with idols. This amounts to the ultimate perversion of a right instinct for worship. Liturgical celebration creates the space that allows for a witness of the true direction of adoration. It purifies the world in its testimony to true worship. ILLUMINATION

The ideal of enlightenment has marked the religious strivings of peoples in the East as well as the West. The illuminative moment appears as especially graced, for it is bestowed by the one who said, "Let there he light." The first letter of John characterizes the whole of the Christian life as walking in the light. The writers of the Christian mystical tradition use the imagery of light and darkness to give feeble expression to radically ineffable experiences. The point is clear. Christians must experience illumination in some form if they are "walking in the light." The illumination we speak of may be of the intellect or of the imagination. It may refer to specific situations or simply to a general awareness. However it is expressed, the illumination which touches the life of the believer involves a restored and indeed penetrating vision of the world and the self in God's making. That illumination on three levels of pedagogy, disclosure, and celebration c¡an and ought to be an experience which accompanies liturgy. A pedagogical process. Illumination need not come with the intense and quick brillance of a flash cube. Our illuminations in life are ordinarily gained through the slow and steady process of education. A gradual learning process is at the very heart of the Gospel experience of discipleship. For the disciples, as the Greek root indicates, are learners. And in the Gospels they are slow learners who miss the point, need continuous exposure to the Master, must follow in his footsteps, and finally gain the power to perceiw and understand through an interior gift of the Spirit of wisdom. The community of disciples becomes a people of vision through a process of gradual assimilation of the teachings of the Master and, ultimately, through contact with His very life and death and resurrection. The liturgy reproduces the conditions of gradual assimilation through repeated exposure to and contact with the teachings and events of the life of the Master.


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A dimension of "input" provided by contact with Sacred Scripture gives an entree to the experience of Jesus Christ, teacher and light of all nations. But perhaps to classify the giving of the word in liturgy through Scripture as "input" is to obscure the issue. For there is no question that this consists in detached knowledge or bloodless theory. It is not a word about a history or a narrative. It is a word to in-form the hearers, shedding light on their history and mobilizing them for action. The word of Scripture is given and is proclaimed. It is not the sought word whose message is conditioned and determined by the likes and dislikes or moods of the community. The word fixed in its cycle of proclamation in a lectionary comes not as a thing we select but simply as something graciously given. The word in liturgy offers not distant appraisal of life. It leads to immediate action in eucharistic celebration and issues an imperative for mission at the end of the 'liturgical celebration. The word given in liturgy is not meant to be enigmatic nor magical. When it is read, it is explained in preaching, contextualized in a series of readings, and situated in a larger pattern by the feast being celebrated. In short, the word in liturgical celebration draws its hearers into that pattern of illumination that constitutes the learning process of disciples in com- . munity. The learning process of liturgy which leads to a process of illumination moves--as all good teaching does--in a gradual and repetitive pattern. The liturgical year gradually unfolds the essential mysteries allowing at each major phase, a time of preparation before and a time of assimiliation after. The liturgical year lets the same plot play out each year in an endlessly repetitive cycle. Yet for all the repetition and for all the sameness, there is a difference. For each year of history provides its own backdrop to the liturgical cycle. The backdrop never substantially alters the plot but reshapes it, so that it remains ¡fresh for today precisely because it makes redemptive sense out of today. The pedagogy is good. It works gradually, repetitively, and always in relationship to today. There are many elements to life and many to liturgy. The final and most decisive aspect of pedagogy which draws us to illumination takes the disparate elements and continually focuses them on . I one thing-Jesus Christ in His paschal mystery. The growth of learning runs about this central point annually through the liturgical year and daily through a eucharistic worship which reverberates


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in hours of praise and thanksgiving. When learning leads to a central focus or perspective from which all else can be viewed, then it generates wisdom. Wisdom illuminates not simply the particularities of the day or year or culture but draws everything into the framework of a vision. Liturgy, then, is an illuminative experience in so far as it is a pedagogical process which draws us into a teaching that is alive and oriented towards mission and situates all people and things in the saving wisdom which is Jesus Christ in His paschal mystery. A disclosive process. Poetry, art, and music exercise a fascinating power. They take words, colors, and sounds and in a moment of surprising disclosure achieved through the artist's talents reveal what is hidden in ordinariness. Artists exercise a creative function in the sense of developing new things but also in the sense of uncovering the various possibilities of what is already created. Perhaps a large part of the excitement engendered by artistic endeavors is the heuristic ch~racter of artistic work. It discloses this marble, these colors, this sound in a new form, and so it hints that all of what surrounds us may be bearing forms we have not yet imagined. In a similar process, liturgy can hold a power of disclosure. It! takes the simple elements of life in material, in gesture, in human interaction. It takes the common and at times the stylized patterns of life and then discloses deeper realities sym~olized within them. The liturgy takes life events, such as birth, marriage, and reconciliation, and life elements, such as words, water, oil, bread, and transforms them into signed realities which carry symbolic meaning. In creating signed realities, the liturgy discloses all reality as signed. By participating in the liturgy's symbolic universe, our daily world receives illumination. The commonplace events and interactions of life take on new meaning, for the liturgy has given us a hint of an underlying meaning of ordinary things and events. Liturgy that is "working" begins to uncover for people new possibilities in what they ordinarily take at "face value." Liturgy which touches people, in other words, keeps disclosing to them the sacramentality of their world. In a word deeply rooted in the traditions of spirituality, liturgy acts as a school of discernment. Participants in worship gain a perceptive skill in distinguishing and seeing beyond the surface. People will not be gifted with discernment quickly, just as their aesthetic sensibilities cannot emerge after a few artistic encounters. The skill


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of discerning, of seeing beyond, comes with time and gradual exposure. Celebration. Few words receive the overworking that "celebration" does. Yet liturgy as celebration fits precisely into that moment of enlightenment which we see as essential to its nature as a spiritual experience. In a way which is similar to its disclosive power, liturgy is celebration because it is the joyful illumination of the created and redeemed goodness of a surrounding world. To a "natural" eye, much of the world and much of what humanity is ab~ut falls under a shadowy ambiguity. The personal reaction we share is alienation, a sense of not-at-homeness even in the only world that we have ever known. We can grow¡ in that reaction and hesitate to be involved and distance ourselves even more from what we sense as essentially a hostile world of people and things. The lit: urgy joyfully illuminates or celebrates that world by a proclamation in praise and thanksgiving that it is created good, that it has been and is lovei:l ¡unto salvation. Such celebration as joyful illumination opens a climate of trust and thereby enables people to commit themselves in freedom and without fear to one another and to work for and in the world. Celebration, then, marks the liberating uncovering of the truth of the world in the midst of all its ambiguities and the corresponding human hesitancies.

p UNION

People have debated whether liturgy presupposes community or creates it. Liturgy in fact both creates and presupposes community. Some level of union with one another and with God remains the implicit presupposition for entering worship. Yet, paradoxically, liturgy constitutes the very thing that it presupposes. For it draws us into an experience of union with one another and with God. This final section will examine the ways and the levels on which this experience of union occurs in liturgy. It is perhaps most dramatically evident in its absence, for example, in a worshiping community deep in conflict. But its presence can also be positively noted. Communion. The depth of a relationship and the closeness of its bonds can be measured in a way. When two people share not only common experiences which serve as a background for conversations and common enterprises but when they share a common life, they have passed a certain threshold that makes the relationship not


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only close but intimate. Shared life rests on full and mutual knowledge and love. By this standard of shared life in knowledge and love, few if any congregations of worshiping people seem to qualifY for an intimate communion. Indeed the exact opposite is painfully evident in the gross anonymity of Sunday Eucharist in large urban parishes. Liturgy offers no facile adhesive which would bind strangers closely together. It does offer, if not the present reality, the pressing hope and future possibility of the unthinkable communion of life of all people. Liturgy opens us to full and mutual knowledge of each other, certainly not on the level of factual information but on the deepest level of who we are as divided within ourselves, searchers for healing, people with a dream. Liturgy projects the individual story of each one of us onto a screen of a collective story that is no less personal because it is collective. Rather, liturgy is telling us about ourselves and¡ about each other because, surprisingly, we share the same story. Liturgy opens us to love one another certainly not on the level of sensible affection but on the deepest level of what makes love happen-the fact of a prior experience of being loved. The empowering moment of the prior love of God in our lives creates and sustains the possibility of our love for one another, a love which can even mean laying down one's life for one's friends. The experience of communion among those who enter liturgy remains germinal but germinating. It must remain at this time an unachieved love but one that is a very real possibility. The Catholica. In order to draw us into an experience of union, the liturgy must lift us out of ourselves, out of our well defined world. When the. prayers reflect sentiments which are not ours, either of joy or of sorrow, when the invocations touch on people long passed away, when the bishop of Rome and our bishop find mention in the liturgy, we sense ourselves being lifted out of time and space. We find a link of union with others in different p~rts, in life after life, in a different set of worldwide concerns. The liturgy situates us in a universal union. Our deeply resonating experience of the worshiping community ought to be a global awareness that steps beyond provincial, indeed, parochial concerns into the wide arena of concern for humankind. Heavenly liturgy. If Teilhard de Chardin' s ruminations about the cosmic and spiritual dimensions of evolution seem extravagant and strange, then perhaps we have not caught the very same


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resonances in our liturgy. For our liturgy links us to a cosmic movement of angels and worship before the heavenly throne--hardly imaginable but situating us in a magnificent sweep of life into the very mystery of God. Our worship remains partial and unfulfilled and unfulfilling, but liturgy affords if not a foretaste at least a pledge of consummated adoration as an already realized fact. The current complaint of a "loss of mystery" in the "new liturgy" is perhaps partially explainable as a continuous nostalgia to which certain times and certain rites have more or less adequately responded. We always have and always will experience the partial quality of our liturgy precisely because we have some runt of a complete way of worship to which we are united. Mystical union. Our union in liturgy, as P.,rhaps we have already sensed, finds its deepest roots in the singular union we experience in the liturgy with the glorified Lord Jesus. He remains the "pioneer of our salvation," as the letter to the Hebrews states, interceding for us before the throne of grace. Through the liturgy offered on earth we come in contact with the mysteries of His saving life, death, and resurrection. The believer who worships finds an access to union路 with Him. This is no mere union by 路dramatic re-creation of events which have long ago taken place. Rather, we come in unforgetable contact with the person of the saving Lord who effects our transformation by the power of His Spirit and does all this in our fuller and deeper assimilation into His Mystical Body. Contact with the saving Lord Jesus, a contact which leads to union, ought to mark the liturgical-spiritual experience of believers. As they are drawn into this contact not simply as single individuals but as a community, they come to experience in fact and in hope the work of reconciliation. They share more fully of the union with God 路and with one another that is the seed of eternal life which waits to die so that it may bear abundant fruit: CONCLUSION

Liturgical celebration, as we have noted, is a work of the Holy 路Spirit. When the Holy Spirit transforms and transfigures those who worship, they will bear signs of the Spirit's presence in purification, in illumination, and in union. All that remains for us is to wait, watch, and be open to those experiences. Gradually, a community which worships the Father through the Son in the Spirit will itself become the clear sign of God's presence in the world.


Peter A. Coughlan

The New Order of the Mass: ¡ recent developments future possibilities There has been a perceptible shift in liturgical studies in the past ten years. There is a desire to see liturgy in its wider dimensions in the light of the social sciences. This. shift in focus comes at a time when the horizons of liturgical renewal are opening in the direction of cultural adaptation.

This article will have two parts. Firstly, it will consider a few of the features that constitute a context for the new Order of the Mass, the Lectionary, and the Missal. Secondly, it will look briefly at the reform itself and at some recent developments. There will be a semi-bibliographical element in the article; but it is in no sense exhaustive and is restricted to a number of publications in English. PART I: FEATURES OF A CONTEXT • .

I

CHRISTIAN COLLECTIVE MEMORY

"Do this 'for the anamnesis' of me." And as Gregory Dix remarks, was ever another command so obeyed? Among every race on earth, and in every conceivable human circumstance, the action of taking, blessing, breaking and giving of bread and the taking, 75


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blessing and giving of a cup of wine and water, has been "done in memory of him." That action has been carried out for princes at their crowning, and for criminals at their execution. Men have done this for Columbus setting out to discover the New World, and for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church. It was celebrated by men in the trenches of the First World War, and by vast crowds gathered in the Yankee Stadium in 1965. In prison camps, in high-rise apartments, in cathedrals and campus chapels you will find Christians gathered to do this in memorial of Christ the Lord. It is an extraordinary thing that whatever their differences this ritual action of eating and drinking in memory of Christ is something observed throughout the Christian Churches. There are differences in interpretation of the significance of this communal meal, but there are also ample measures of agreement regarding the context of what Jesus said, did, and suffered on the occasion referred to in the narrat~ve of institution. Moreover, while each group or com¡ munity contextualizes the ritual in its own history and outlook, the most significant aspect is a fundamental similarity that transcends ¡divergences. What happens? The Church-wherever it gathers and under whatever form-makes this act of remembrance and understands itself to be saying and doing something of supreme importance for its own sense of identity and purpose. This collective memory of the Church, enshrined in the ritual processes of gestural speech and symbolic action that are handed on and evolve from one generation to the next, is a central element in the faith of Christianity. It is hardly surprising that the processes of liturgical renewal, in which the majority of Christian Churches and communities have been engaged in the course of the twentieth century, have engendered tension and strain. In this attempt to discover afresh the wellsprings of vitality and energy that their ritual embodies, the . Churches are probing the nature of their own experience and identity. Minutiae of ritual can become battle-grounds because of the part they play in each individual's universe and because of their significance in the past history of a group. It is good to remember that the reactions for and against liturgical reform are mirrored in Christian Churches other than the Roman Catholic communion, but also significant to remember that these Churches in the West have committed themselves to a renewal of their worship.


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77 SYMBOLISM AND RITUAL

The references to ritual and responses to it draw our attention to the perceptible shift in the direction of liturgical studies over the last ten years. While writings and research prior to the Council were mainly concerned with the genesis and historical development of liturgical rites and with the theology implicit therein, seminars, books and articles have begun to pay considerable attention to the understanding of liturgy in the light of the human sciences. Indeed, if the reader were to compare the themes and language of articles in this issue of Chicago Studies with writings on the liturgy of fifteen years ago, he would see this immediately. There is an urge to see liturgy in its wider dimensions. References to the work of social anthropologists abound, and many are looking to the work of people such as Victor Turner and Clifford Geertz for further understanding of the various aspects of ritual. As one surveys this phenomenon, one is struck by the fact that it comes at a time when the horizons of liturgical renewal are opening in the direction of cultural adaptation. This is coming through at many levels in the Church. To mention one important example: the theme of "indigenization" in the Church, including her liturgical expression, was one of the strongest currents at the Synod of Bishops in 1974¡. The bishops of the developing world were stronger and more articulate on this subject than had been the case in the years of the Council. There were not many ideas expressed on how to go about this indigenization; but I remember well, as secretary to one of the language groups at that Synod, that there was no mistaking the prevailing mood of the third-world bishops. Since 1974 the question has come up by stops and starts, and at the Plenary Session of the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship in November, 1976, it was the clearly expressed wish of the Fathers that the whole area of cultural adaptation in the liturgy should be studied in depth by people drawn from around the world who were competent in various aspects of the matter. It seems probable that the question of adaptation, and the allied questions regarding ritual symbolism, will be one of the major features of liturgical development in the remaining years of the century. Many readers will be conversant with the literature in this area of symbolism and ritual. For anyone who is not, I suggest three points of departure for further reading: David Power's four part article "Symbolism in Worship: A Survey" in The Way (October


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1973, January 1974, January 1975, April 1975); R. Grainger, The Language of the Rite (London, 1974); "The 1976 Meeting of the North American Academy of Liturgy" in Worship, July 1976. CHURCH AND WORSHIP

Within people's response to liturgical renewal and the further question of its "incarnation" in a given culture, there are many factors at work. One very important factor is a person's understanding of "Church.'' In a recent book (The Recovery of the Sacred, New York, 1974) .•James Hitchcock expressed his disagreement with the direction taken by the liturgical reform. Reflecting on his disagreement I am inclined to the view expressed in Nathan Mitchell's review in the March, 1975, issue of Theological Studies. After questioning and challenging many of Hitchcock's judgements he remarks: "The crisis in worship is symptomatic of more fundamental derangements in ecclesiology." The underlying notions of the relation of Church and world, sacred and secular, will often find expression on liturgical issues. I am more and more inclined to the view that we have so emphasized the sacred as to isolate it from the living streams of history. The Church is a part of the historical process; she does not thereby lose her identity. Sacred and secular likewise interpenetrate each other, and as Teilhard de Chardin wrote: "Nothing is profane for those who have eyes to see." An extreme example of reaction to the reform, which brought the intrinsic link between Church and worship sharply to mind, came in 1976 when events regarding Archbishop Lefebvre and Econe finally came to a head. The new Order.of Mass and the Missal of 1970 are at the center of the dispute, since these became the point at which differing approaches to liturgy, to the Church, and to the entire notion of the sacred were expressed. Pope Paul's letter to Archbishop Lefebvre of 11 October, 1976, which was echoed and further developed in Yves Congar's Challenge to the Church (London, 1975 ), focuses on this relation of Church and liturgical expression. The Pope said: "You would like to see recognized the right to celebrate Mass in various places of worship according to the Tridentine rite. You wish also to continue to train candidates for the priesthood according to your criteria, 'as before the Council,' in seminaries

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apart, as at Econe. But behind these questions and other similar ones, which we shall examine later on in detail, it is truly necessary to see the intricacy of the problem: and the problem is theological. For these questions have become concrete ways of expressing an ecclesiology that is wrapped in essential points." In the light of the above, one of the best introductions to the new Order of Mass and to future developments, is Avery Dulles' small classic Models of the Church (New York, 197 4 ). We need to determine what model of Church is predominant in our own thinking and examine it critically. Where the liturgy is concerned the model of Church implicit in worshippers' approach will be a determining factor in liturgical form. THE LITURGICAL MOVEMENT

The liturgy is never static. Like any living organism the Church is continually in the process of change. Sometimes the change is rapid, sometimes slow. But there is always life, pushing and surging forward. This is not just theory: the history of liturgy in the Western tradition bears it out. That history also makes one aware of the very high degree of interdependence between developments in society and Christian ritual expression. The beginnings ofthe twentieth century liturgical movement are witness to this. The sporadic attempts at reform in seventeenth-century France and in the German-speaking regions at the turn of the eighteenth century did not have lasting effect, and were probably a reflection of the general social context. It was from areas outside the liturgy that development was to come. The new awareness of the Fathers and of early Christian history, together with a rejuvenation of monasticism in the nineteenth century, prepared the ground. A further crucial factor was the new direction in ecclesiology opened up by men like Mohler, Scheeben and Newman. These ideas, and the change in social conditions at the end of the nineteenth century, made it possible for members of the laity to move beyond the defense of the juridical-organizational structures¡of the Church. They began to seek what was central and binding in their understanding of the Church of their time and what was the result of cultural conditioning. When we speak of 24 September, 1909, the date of Dam Lambert Beauduin's famous speech at the Lay Congress of Malines, as the


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"beginning" of the modern liturgical movement, we should remember that it was because Beauduin's challenge found a response in a newly alert laity that various currents were able to crystallize into a "movement.''

STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT

il"

At the risk of repeati'!g to the reader things well known already, I want briefly to outline a few principles as they emerge in the history of the liturgical movement up to··a-rid- including the CounciL· · Why? Because a glimpse of the past sharpens our awareness of the need for careful liturgical discernment in the coming years. Pius X, with his Motu proprio on sacred music, his decrees on the frequency of communion, and his constitution Divino afflatu which he described "as a fiist step in the reform on the Breviary and Missal," had already begun the work of liturgical reform. His famous phrase "We must not sing or pray during the Mass, but we must sing and pray the Mass'' points to a principle which underpins the entire liturgical movement: the corporate nature of worship. Lambert Beauduin was an intelligent and prominent advocate of the principle that is the natural corollary of the above: active participation. He urged that the liturgy should be understood as the action of the Church as whole, bringing the whole individual man in the whole community to God. Further impetus and depth were given by the German Benedictines of Maria Laach, especially Dom Odo Case!. The emphasis placed by Case! on the paschal mystery and on participation in this same mystery through the Church's-liturgical action has had enormous implications for Vatican II. Many will remember the writings of Pius Parsch which popularized a great deal· of the research and thought of Case! and others. It is to Parsch's lasting credit that he linked.liturgical renewal to the new focus in biblical studies, founding the periodical Bibel und Liturgie: This placing of the scriptures in the liturgical context is a marked feature of the spirituality that is maturing in the aftermath of Vatican I L

\I

.,i THE 1940S

The way the liturgical movement spread 'in the face of strong op-

·'

! '

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position, and in spite of the upheavals caused by the World Wars, is a remarkable testimony to its depth and strength. The encyclical Mediator Dei of Pius XII gave decisive backing to the movement, and with the establishing of a center for pastoral liturgy in Paris and an institute for liturgy in Trier in those same years, precise proposals for reform began to come forward. ¡ In 1948 the Rome-based periodical Ephemerides Liturgicae put forward a series of proposals for the reform of the Mass which eventually resulted in a meeting of liturgical scholars at Maria Laach in 1951. This meeting was, in a sense, the beginning of the concrete steps towards the Missal of 1970. Among the proposals for reform put forward by that meeting were: clearer distribution of roles in the celebration so that not all was carried out by the priest celebrant, a reordering of the introduction to the Mass, a three or four year cycle of readings, the reintroduction of Prayers of the Faithful, a simplification of the Offertory, a greater number of prefaces, a time for praise and thanksgiving between Communio and Postcommunio, etc. Many of those present at Maria Laach were later to work on the preparation of the Liturgy Constitution and its implementation, and we easily recognize in their proposals a foreshadowing of what was to come. The existence by this stage of a great deal of scholarly research was an essential element in the way the revival was making progress. Where the Mass is concerned Joseph Jungmann's The Mass of the Roman Rite (Missarum Sollemnia) (2 Vols., New York, 1950; revised and abridged 1 Vol. ed., New York,. 1959) is in a class of its own, and its influence has been enormous. Also to be recommended here is The Church at Prayer: The Eucharist (ed. A. G. Martimort, Shannon, 1973). The value of this book is that it traces the long and varied history of the Mass succinctly, indicating major influences upon it, helping one to see the relative importance of certain changes in its regard, and highlighting basic liturgical principles. THE 1950S It was in the 1950s that what had gradually been maturing in the Church began to bear fruit. More and more during this period the liturgical renewal came to be taken up and "directed by those with pastoral authority in the Church. The reforms of the Easter liturgy in the first half of the decade


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were important: the winds of .liturgical change began to be felt throughout the Church. During the same period evening Mass was allowed, the eucharistic fast mitigated, and several bi-lingual rituals approved for use. What had begun in small pockets of ecclesial life was moving rapidly by now. and in 1956 the Congregation of Rites was ready to sponsor an international pastoral-liturgical Congress in Assisi, a meeting of world-wide proportions. How many readers will remember the debate---sometimes ¡ heated-that accompanied the introduction of the "dialogue Mass" after the Instruction of 1958? The pressure for reform was building up, and with Pope John's announcement of the Council and his appointment of a pre-conciliar commission to prepare a document on liturgical reform, the whole process was accelerated. THE COUNCIL

It is obvious that an understanding of the direction and thrust of the conciliar Constitution on the Liturgy is a sine qua non for an understanding of the reform issuing from it. To speak here of the Constitution is to risk. repeating to the reader things well known already. To omit reference to the principles it outlines would be to leave untouched the bedrock of the niform. I shall compromise by highlighting j~st a few aspects. For the reader who wishes to refresh his memory I would suggest three commentaries on the document: J. J ungmann, "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (ed. H. Vorgrimler, Col. 1, pp 1-87, New York, 1967). J!lngmann's commentary is one of the best. It is concise and balanced, and is especially useful in presenting the genesis of each article and the importance attached to various issues of each article and the importance attached to various issues by the Council. The Commentary on the Constitution and on the Instruction on the Sacred Liturgy (ed. A. Bugnini and C. Braga, New York, 1965): the fact that the authors worked on the Constitution itself is a' guarantee of its value. F.R. McManus, Sacramental Liturgy (New York, 1967). Frederick McManus needs no introduction to readers in the United States. He writes with clarity and precision and with the needs of North America especially in mind. Another very useful work (always restricting oneself to publications in English) is The


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Liturgy of Vatican II: A Symposium in Two Volumes (ed. W. Barauna, Chicago, 1966). This offers a serious discussion of precise liturgical topics, and highlights fundamental ideas of the Council document. It lays especial stress on the theme offull and active participation of the faithful as a directing principle in the whole reform. THEOLOGICAL UNDERPINNING

The first thirteen Articles of the Constitution repay careful attention. They enshrine firstly the principle that the history of salvation continues in our own time, and that the "actualization" of this is made explicit in the liturgy. Worship is presented as a synthesis point where the proclamation of salvation and its presence as an efflictive reality are both to be found, and which, at its best, expresses a genuine search for total adhesion to God. Pivotal to its theological presentation is its understanding of the presence of Christ. Article 7 presents various modes of the presence of Christ in the liturgy, noting his presence "especially under the eucharistic species." When speaking on and discussing this particular area with various groups, I have found that there is difficulty in understanding .how Christ's presence in Christian worship integrates with the wider context of Christian life in Christ, and what sort of order or coherence is to be given to the understanding of his presence. In. the July, 1976, issue of Wory;hip Edward Kilmartin proposed for discussion of this theme four theses, originally formulated by B. Langemeyer, which the reader may find a useful framework for further reflection on this crucial element in the theology of celebration: "1. Basic to all other ways of presence of Christ to the Church is the presence of the risen Lord as source of faith in his eschatological presence. 2. All other ways of presence of Christ are ways of exercise of the basic presence of Christ in the faith. 3. The special presence of Christ in the liturgical events derives ¡ from the fact that the liturgy is a festive exercise of the faith of the Church. 4. The specific modes of presence of Christ in the different elements of the liturgical celebration correspond to the anthropological-per-


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sonal content of expression of these elements." If there are any hardy readers who have stuck with this article so far, they may share my initial reaction to that last sentence: I had to read it about four times before I began to see the light! I must admit to a preference for words of few syllables when life allows, and to a yen for a more earthy English than is becoming common in theological discourse! The value of the four theses, as I see it, is that they quite rightly portray the presence of Christ in the context of the faith of the whole Church community; once that is seen as the pivot, an integrated view begins to emerge. The faith shared by the community is itself a fruit of the active presence of the Spirit of the risen Lord. Must I add that such a view does not suggest that the presence of Christ is dependent upon the faith of the individual subject? Experience teaches me that it is wise to make that clarification. But before we become locked in the perennial philosophical merry-go-round of subject and object, let us move on. Intimately linked with the presence of Christ in the liturgy is another theme of the Constitution: the liturgy as the "actualizing'' of the paschal mystery, or as art. 6 puts it "that the Church might exercise the work of salvation which it proclaims, by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves." This in turn leads on to the sacramental nature of the liturgy, the presence of this mystery in symbol, and on to the worship_ping community itself. These points are little more than reminders of what the Council document contains. For our present purpose we must turn to the Order of Mass itself. PART II: DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REFORM OF THE MASS

Liturgical reform does not happen in a vacuum, and as we look to see what' developments there may be in the future it will be useful in a semi-factual way to focus on the reform of the Mass in the last fifteen years. SPECIFIC NORMS OF THE COUNCIL

_Chapter II of the Constitution, articles 47-58, was the section dedicated specifically to the reform of the Mass and article 50 is the key passage:


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"The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, can be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful can be more easily accomplished. "For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, while due care is taken to preserve their substance. Elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded. Where opportunity allows or necessity demands, other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the earlier norm of the holy Fathers." The following arts, 51-57, are concerned with particular aspects of the Mass-reform: a richer selection of readings over a set cycle of years, the importance of the homily, the Prayers of the Faithful, the vernacular, (cf. also arts. 36 and 39), communion under both kinds, concelebration-all of them things with which we are now familiar. There are also general principles in the earlier part of the document which were important for the Mass, for example art. 21: "texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify. Christian people, as far as possible, should be able to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community." At the same time there was caution: "There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them" (arL 21) "Care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing" (art. 23). Another general principle, the co'rollaries of which are still unfolding in our own time in terms of ministries and functions, was that "in liturgical celebrations, whether as a minister or as one of the faithful, each person should perform his role by doing solely and totally what the nature of things and liturgical norms requir¡e of him" (art. 28). Other articles pushed home the principle of the participation of¡ all (arts. 30 and 31 ), and art. 34 laid down an approach that those working on the reform of the Mass had continually to bear in mind: "The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people's powers of comprehension, and


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normally should not require much explanation." SECOND THOUGHTS?

These criteria for reform were faithfully adhered to by those entrusted with the task, and they remain valid for the future. . At the same time I would feel now, with the benefit of hindsight, that what might be termed the "celebrative" dimension was not given sufficient prominence. The stress on clarity and clear, simple lines, needs to be carefully balanced if it is not to result in an excessively cerebral approach: there is a danger of too much of the rational and too little of the heart. Mary Douglas has chided churchmen with being color-blind signalmen "made by the manner of their education insensitive to nonverbal signals and dull to their meaning" (Natural Symbols, London, 1973, p 64 ). As pointed out at the beginning of this article, she and others of late have increasingly drawn attention to the wider dimensions of the ritual we celebrate and offer a corrective to overconcentration on the verbal and conceptual. It is therefore very important to attend to the sense impressions of sight, sound and smell. Color, music and movement, the visual images associated with worship, all of these demand sensitivity. I, emphasized earlier the importance of the model of Church on our liturgical attitudes: it must also be remembered that the images and emotional responses occasioned by the way a Christian community relates and is structured when it gathers for worship, will have a very powerful influence on¡ a person's predominant model of Church! MOMENTS OF THE REFORM.

1964-69

Aware that to embark on a description of the process and mechanics of the reform of the Mass in detail would probably bore the reader to distraction, I shall just draw out a few points. It is curious to note that it was on December 4,'1563, that the Council of Trent entrusted the reform of the Missal to Pius V, and on the same date four hundred years later that Paul VI promulgated the Liturgy Constitution. Pius' Missal appeared in 1570, after seven years of work, and Paul's appeared in 1970, also after seven years of work. Those intervening seven years were far from being

a


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calm and even progression. Worthwhile changes rarely come easily. The Consilium appointed by Pope Paul for the implementation of the Constitution published its first major Instruction on Septem. her 26, 1964. The document had quite a dramatic impact. It signalled the introduction of the vernacular, a new distribution of roles in the celebration, and, very importantly, a strikingly different image of what happens at Mass: the separation of chair, lectern and altar as different foci of attention at different times in the Mass, and the celebrant facing and looking at the congregation. For the Christian people at large it was the first experience of the¡ changes in Catholic life heralded by Vatican II. The reform was launched, and once under way it gathered momentum. In 1965 a decree allowing concelebration and communion under both kinds took things a stage further, and by October, 1965, a draft version of the new Order of the Mass !was ready and there was a "trial run" in the presence of the bishops of the Consilium. The results of the bishops' views went to the Pope. A year later, in an allocution to the Liturgy Consilium, Pope Paul spoke of the work that was proceeding on the Order of the Mass, the texts of the Missal and the Calendar, and said: "These are matters of such serious and universal importance, that before approving them we cannot neglect to consult the bishops" (Enchiridion Documentorum Instaurationis Liturgicae, Rome, 1976, p 249). The, Pope was referring to the first 'Synod of Bishops that took place in 1967. Briefly, the questions posed to the bishops by the Pope were: whether to permit the introduction of three new eucharistic prayers (a positive response from the bishops), whether to allow an addition to the words over the bread in the institution narrative (a positive response¡, but with many wishing the same change to be made in the Roman Canon), whether to omit the words Mysterium fidei from the words over the chalice (a positive response, but with some making the suggestion that they should remain as an introduction to an acclamation of the people), and whether the Apostles' Creed could be admitted in the Mass (a positive response from the Bishops). There were further questions put to the bishops by Cardinal Lercaro, President of the Liturgy Consilium. The first question was simply whether the bishops approved the new Order of the Mass. The answer of the majority was "yes," but with a host of "iuxta


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modum" ("with reservations"). Their observations regarded many parts of the Mass, and were later discussed thoroughly by the bishops of the Cons ilium in the November meeting, 1976; and both the "modi" and the Consilium's views on these were submitted to the Pope. ¡ The second question regarded various forms of the penitential rite and this met with general approval. A more difficult and important question was that of whether three readings were to be obligatory on Sundays and feast days. Although there was a majority in favor, the nature of the "modi" was such as to imply a negative. There had in fact been a division of opinion among the consultors of the Consilium; the French-speaking liturgists tended to favor three readings and the German-liturgists only two. The net result was ' that three were encouraged but not made obligatory. The final question opened" up the possibility of replacing the entrance, offertory and communion antiphons with songs suited to those parts of the Mass; these received a clear affirmative. On January 11-13, 1968, Pope Paul had seen the new Order of the Mass in action when he participated in three different celebrations together with thirty people invited to share in the Eucharist with him. On February 10, the Pope expressed his basic approval of the new rite to Father Bugnini, Secretary of the Consilium, but ex¡cepted three areas: the entrance rite, the preparation of the gifts, . and the Agnus Dei. The Pope wanted the eucharistic celebration to open with a clear sign of the cross and the words "In the name of the Father .. :" (In the former draft the Mass began directly with one of the Pauline greetings), and he wanted forms of the penitential rite that were both richer and yet easier to use than those proposed. For the preparation of gifts the Pope wished the role of the faithful in the presentation of the gifts to be emphasized in the bringing up of the bread and wine. He also wished the dimension of human work-"work of human hands" as we now have- it-to be included in the blessings associated with the bread and wine. In the Agnus Dei, he wished the last petition always to be a prayer for peace. Through 1968 work proceeded swiftly on the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the texts of the Missal itself. In November, 1968, when the October session of the Cons ilium had made its final recommendations regarding the new rite, Pope Paul approved both the General Instruction and the Ordo Missae itself. In April,


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1969 the Pope sent the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum to the papal representatives and heads of Episcopal Conferences, and by March 1970, the Missal itself was ready for publication. THE LECTIONARY AND THE MISSAL

Time will show the strengths and weaknesses of these two major liturgical books. After a welcome period of stability-indications from around the world signal that there is now a strong and widelyspread desire for a period of stability-the time will no doubt come when revisions and adaptations in the areas embraced by the Lectionary and Missal will be necessary. The task now is to use them to the full, and to realize the treasures they offer. The Calendar reform is the framework for both books, as also for the Liturgy of Hours. When first published, the revision of the Calendar was not greeted with wild enthusiasm, but at least it stirred a response. In Rome an internationally famous film actress drove into St. Peter's Square with this slogan adorning the graceful lines of her Rolls Royce: "We want St. Christopher back!" In Naples crowds thousands strong gathered outside the Archbishop's residence and protested the "demotion" of St. Januarius. In army barracks there were ominous rumblings at the imagined slight to St. Barbara, patron saint of gunpowder! Truth to tell, the Calendar reformers had not the grammar of gunpowder in mind as they set about their task. Their main concern was to direct the minds of all primarily towards the feasts of the Lord, in which the mysteries of salvation are celebrated in the course of the year. This had to be given preference over the feasts of the saints. It was also intended that saints to whom there was a strong devotion locally shouls be celebrated with all festivity, but not that these should be imposed on the universal Church. In selecting those saints to be celebrated as "obligatory memorials" rather than "optional memorials," a chronologicSII Sind geographical balance in the choice of saints was attempted. It must be admitted that the Cons ilium found it difficult to devise a fair rule for judging saints "of universal significance." THEWORDOFGOD

In my view the Lectionary is one of the most important features of the entire liturgical reform.


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Vatican II said it was necessary "to promote that warm and living love for Scripture to which the venerable tradition--<Jf both Eastern and Western rites give testimony" (art. 24, Constitution on the Liturgy). As Edward Malatesta remarked in this periodical a year ago in his article "Sacred Scripture: Pure and Perennial ¡ Source of Spiritual Life" (Vol. 15, n I, 1976, pp 39-53): "The Christian liturgy is the moment par excellence to present God's Word to his people." The Lectionary is the Church's way of making this an effective reality as never before. One of the most powerful doctrinal statements of Vatican II is: "Like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and ruled by sacred Scripture" (Constitution on Divine Revelation, art. 21 ). The Lectionary is built on that awareness. Few aspects of the reform received greater preparation, research and consultation. The Secretary of the sub-commission for the Lectionary, Gaston Fontaine, who has for many years been in the Liturgy Office for French-speaking Canada, used to occupy the room next to my own in the days of the Liturgy Consilium. He is an inveterate pipesmoker and to enter his office was to be enveloped in clouds of acrid smoke. But when the smoke cleared, you could see the walls covered with charts, maps and diagrams on which were traced and related the history and content of all Christian lectionaries extant to us. The purpose was to see which books or passages of Scripture had been used for what purpose by this or that local Church. In addition to this there was very wide consultation of scriptural experts, catechists and pastors. The net result is the series of lectionaries under the umbrella term "Lectionary" that we now possess: the Sunday or festive lectionary, the weekday lectionary, the ritual lectionary, etc.: Of these the festive lectionary is of course the crucial one. Balanced carefully on the irreconcilable principles of 1) thematic unity (among the readings themselves or harmonizing with the season or feast) and 2) semi-continuity within the same book of Scripture, the festive lectionary offers us a multi-faceted portrait of Christ. It hinges on the synoptic Gospels, each of which are assigned to a particular year of the three year cycle. The Gospel of John the "spiritual Gospel," comes into its own in the Lent and Easter season, the time when the Church plumbs the depths of her origins and destiny in the celebration of the paschal mystery.


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Most of the literature on the Lectionary is concerned with helping the homilist, and the structure of the Lectionary is sometimes treated incidentally. In The New Liturgy (ed. L. Sheppard, London, 1970) there are some very useful sections on the festive lectionary translated from the Assemblees du Seigneur series. In The New Mws: A Pwtoral Guide (London, 1969) I attempted to offer an introduction to the Lectionary, and this was filled out further in a three volume Commentary on the Sunday Lectionary (by P. Coughlan and P. Purdue, Collegeville, 1970-71); both these works were useful as introductions, but now stand in need of revision. The best of all the aids to the new Lectionary in English is almost certainly Scripture in Church, published by Dominican Publications in Dublin, Ireland. It is published four times a year and has already reached Volume 7, n 25. It offers commentaries and homiletic notes on the Sunday readings and on the readings for Solemnities, besides headings and reflections for the weekday readings. In addition there are a series of articles on biblical theological themes, always with the Lectionary in mind. Among the many other commentaries on the Sunday readings, I would single out three, all of them keeping the focus on the readings themselves rather than offering ready-made homilies: R.¡H. Fuller, Preaching the New Lectionary: The Word of God for the Church Today, Collegeville, 1974 (originally published in Worship magazine, which continues to offer very useful aids for the understanding of the Lectionary); G. Sloyan, Commentary on the New Lectionary, New York, 1975; R. Crotty and G. Manly, Commentary on the Readings of the Lectionary, New York, 1975. There are a number of questions that people have begun to bring up regarding the Lectionary. Among them are: whether something simpler is required for groups at a very early stage of Christian¡development: whether the second reading should be integrated with the other readings in the thirty-four weeks of the year, rather than following the principle of semi-continuity; whether the readings between the Baptism of the Lord and the first Sunday of Lent should have their own coherence rather than being linked with the Sundays of following Pentecost, etc. There are countless other questions, and like all things human the Lectionary is certainly not perfect. As a final remark, it should be noted that other Christian. Churches, especially in Norch America, have accorded a very positive welcome to 'the Lectionary


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and have absorbed much of it into their own selections of readings. This is a compliment, but we also need to look carefully at what they have not adopted and why. The day could well come, even before full communion, where we could sh'!re a Lectionary with the other Christian Churches. THE MISSAL

The General Instruction at the beginning of the Missal is quite unlike the summary of rubrical directives of former days. It is concerned with the sacramental and community content of the liturgical action. As Vatican II's decree Christus Dominus said: "Pastors should arrange that the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is the center and culmination of the whole life of the Christian community" (art. 30). The General Instruction sets out to achieve this by a) insisting on what is properly sacramental-a sign of the Christian mystery, and b) by giving real attention to the total celebrating community. A further feature of the Instruction is its concern for balance and rhythm. It seeks to ensure balance between the poles of the liturgy of the Word and the eucharistic liturgy, balance in the degree of singing and silence, movement and proclamation. It is concerned with the rhythm of the celebration because it seeks to stress that the Mass is a single act of worship in which the parts are hamoniously related, and to move the liturgical action forward in an atmosphere of prayer and praise. When first published the General Instruction drew fire from some quarters. To counter this the doctrines of the Church regarding eucharistic sacrifice, the real presence, and ministerial priesthood-already in fact present in the first edition of the Instruction-were stated even more clearly in the introduction of the General Instruction in its second edition (cf. Notitiae, 1970, pp 40, 68, 138, 231 ). Among periodicals there is a very great deal on the Missal and new Order of the Mass. Briefly, let me just refer to a few of the books on the subject: The New Order of the Mass (ed. J. Patino, Collegeville, 1970) offers a good and detailed commentary on the General Instruction by the members of the Spanish National Liturgy Commission. P. Coughlan, The New Mass: A Pastoral Guide. (London, 1969) and A.M. Roquet, The New Mass (New York, 1970)


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both offer useful introductions, but both have been partially superseded by later publications. J.D. Crichton, Christian Celebration: The Mass (London, 1971) is one of the best introductions available in English to the new Order of the Mass: it places the Mass in the context of the worshipping community and outlines the general meaning of celebration, besides giving a critical commentary on the new Order itself. G. Manly, The Table of the Lord (Melbourne, 1972) and Sean Swayne, Communion: The New Rite of the Mass (Dublin, 1974) both offer short books on the Mass which are eminently pastoral and intended for a wide readership. Anyone wishing to go further into the origins of the Missal could begin with the outline of the sources of the Missal in Notitiae, 1971, pp 37, 7 4, 94, 134, 276, 409. These were drawn up by Dom Dumas who succeeded Placid Bruylants of.Mont-Cesar as secretary of the group working on the prayers and prefaces of the Missal. Two other useful "take-off points" are the presentations of the Missal by P. Jounel, La Maison Dieu (No. 103, 1970, pp 16-45) and C. Braga, Ephemerides Liturgicae (Vol. LXXXIV, 1970, pp 249-274), both of whom were engaged in the preparation of the Missal. Beyond that one must refer to the English language publications such as Worship, American Ecclesiastical Review; Homiletic and Pastoral Review, The National Bulletin for Liturgy, published by the Liturgy Office for English-speaking Canada, and to the enormous numbers of publications from diocesan liturgical commissions. Among the latter, the Chicago Liturgical Commission has a record for the steady production of aids well suited to pastoral needs that is hardly rivaled at diocesan level anywhere in the world. Since the publication of the Missal there have been many further documents affecting the General Instruction such as those introducing the ministries of acolyte and lector, extraordinary ministers of communion, the gradual extension of communion under both kinds, etc. There is one area, however, of especial importance, to which we should avert, superficial though our reference will be: the eucharistic prayer. NEW EUCHARISTIC PRAYERS

Over the eleven or twelve sessions since 1970 of the "Ongoing Theological Formation" courses for American clergy here in Rome I have noticed a strong interest in this area. The men's interest was not only in the "pastoral judgement'' questions of how many, what


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freedom, etc., but in the theological depths and content of the eucharistic prayer as such. It was in 1965 that the question of the eucharistic prayer first came up strongly, and the introduction of the vernacular into the Canon in 1966 ga\'e the matter added stimulus. At that time three revised versions of the Roman Canon had been proposed to the bishops of the Consilium and they were not altogether happy with the result. Over the following months debate ensued among the consultors of the Consilium, and a deciding factor was the publication in Italian of a book by Cipriano Vagaggini. I was so caught up with the debate that I immediately translated the book into English under the title of The Canon of the Ma.ss and Liturgical Reform (London, 1967). , V agaggini urged that the Canon be left as it was, but that a number of new eucharistic prayers be added, composed in the light of the eucharistic prayers of Christian tradition. He gave two example drafts of such prayers in his book, one with a variable preface in the Roman-Gallican tradition and one with an unvarying preface in the· Antioch tradition., Prayers III and IV of the present Missal relate to Vagaggini's projects, especially prayer III. The Pope finally entered into the debate and ·decided in favor of three new eucharistic prayers, each of them bringing out different aspects of the eucharistic mystery. Among the bookS in this area one would recommend the section on the eucharistic liturgy in The New Liturgy (ed. L. Sheppard, London 1970) and, as a general book on the theme, Louis Bouyer's Eucharist (Notre Dame, 1968): there is also L. Soubigou, A Commentary· on the Prefaces and the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Missal (Collegeville, 1971 ). Any. one wishing for further reading will find ample bibliographies in J.B. Ryan's The Eucharistic Prayer (New York, 1974) and J.H. McKenna's Eucharist and the Holy Spirit (Essex, 1975). In the late 1960s and early 70s there was a proliferation of unofficial eucharistic prayers, especially in certain parts of the Catholic world. At the Pope's request an international commission' was appointed to study the whole phenomenon and make recommendations. The matter was then discussed at many levels, and the net result was the Circular Letter of April27, 1973, to the heads of Episcopal Conferences. This letter stressed that the people had the right to hear the Church's faith proclaimed to them in its integrity in the eucharistic prayer, and that the matter could not be left to the


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whim of the celebrant. At the same time in nos. 6 and 10 of the document, certain possibilities were opened up to Episcopal Conferences in regard to further eucharistic prayers. For the Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne in 1973 two eucharistic prayers had been approved, prepared in close cooperation with the Holy See, one of them for a Mass with children, another for a Mass with aboriginal groups--since this group of aborigines have not a developed literary culture, their manner of conceptualization and communication made special demands. DIRECTORY ON CHILDREN'S MASSES

The reference to the Children's Mass on the Melbourne cricket ground brings up another aspect of the reform of the Order of the Mass: the Directory on Children's Masses, November 1, 1973. This important document was issued by the Holy See after considerable consultation and study, and in response to requests from many parts of the world. Requests from the English-speaking world were particularly insistent. One of the major aspects of this Directory is, in my view, the principle that it incarnates: it seeks to adapt the liturgical action and celebration to the nature and needs of the celebrating group. Without endangering the integrity of the rite or diminishing its significance, it gives flexibility and adaptability to meet the needs of a particular group. It draws a distinction between the needs of a heterogeneous Sunday congregation and the requirements of a given group--in this case children. In another context, James F. White, the Methodist writer, draws an illuminating parallel to the change in the business world from "a manufacturing mentality", to "a marketing mentality." He remarks: "Henry Ford is reputed to have promised the customer any color as long as it was black, but Ford Motor Company would not be in business today if it had kept that policy" (New Forms of Worship, Nashville, 1971, p 33). Like all analogies, this only goes so far ... In 1975, again¡ in response to requests from Episcopal Conferences, three eucharistic prayers for Mass with children and two eucharistic prayers on the theme of reconciliation were published by the Holy See. In the intervening period a number of other eucha-. ristic prayers were also approved for use for particular occasions


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such as the Synods in Switzerland and the Eucharistic Congress in Brazil. · ADAPTATION

The matters we have just touched upon bring us f~ce-to-face with some of the most intractable liturgical and ecclesiological questions of the present time: what unity and what diversity in the Church? what concrete relationship in the twentieth century between primacy and episcopacy? As the recent Anglican-Roman agreed statement on authority indicates, the implications of these questions are enormously far-reaching. In the liturgical sphere, the desire to see a fuller application of art. 40 of the Liturgy Constitution is growing. That is the article which treats of the "inculturalization" or "indigenization" of the liturgy. In practice, it is closely connected with the explosive issue of "cre3iivity'' in worship. On this issue of creativiiy/adaptation a good bibliography on post-conciliar reflection on the subject is given by A. PistoiaEphemerides Liturgicae (Vol. LXXXIX, 1975, pp 119-157). The same issue contains an article by C. Braga on the problems of the· adaptation ~nd "incarnation" of the liturgy in various cultures, with particular reference to experience in Latin America (pp 5-39). A further bibliography on the question of adaptation to various cultures is given in La Maison Dieu (No. 123, 1975, pp 108-111 ). This is particularly useful for references to adaptation in Africa and parts of Asia. India offers perhaps the best example to date of both the advantages and difficulties of adaptation. For the full history of this it would be advisable to refer to the periodical Word and Worship published by the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre in Bangalore. , A first step in this adaptation for India came at the end of the 1960s when the Holy See confirmed the Indian Episcopal Conference's approval of changes in gestures and rites ·(cf. Notitiae, 1969, pp 365-374). Among the adaptations were such things as posture (sitting on the floor, standing, etc.), bows instead of gelluflections, the extensive use of incense, adaptation of vestments, oil lamps instead of candles, and "in the offertory rite, and at the conclusion of the anaphora the Indian form of worship may be in-


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tegrated, that is, double or triple 'arati' of flowers, and/or incense, and/or light." In more recent times, the more radical and highly problematic questions have come up of whether the Hindu sacred writings could be used within the eucharistic celebration, and to what extent Hindu images and thought patterns could find a place in liturgical

prayer. In a country where Christians are a small minority among a vast population, and where the all-pervading cultural atmosphere is Hindu-a religion which has already absorbed apparently contradictory elements from other religions--the problems are very real indeed. How achieve Indianization without Hinduization or syncretism? Surely we would not wish a repetition of the famous Chinese rites intervention of the seventeenth century, but how are we to ensure that the specific identity and witness of Christianity is not submerged or intolerably muted in the process of adaptation? These questions concern not only the Church in India, but the entire Church. I think it is true, as some have suggested, that there will be a natural dialectic between the center und the local Churches. It is probably a condition of healthy growth. Yet my experience so far has been to observe the tensions and latent polarizations in the local Churches themselves, and the central authority has a unifying and healing role to play there. The way forward is complex and uncharted, and we need to move with care. But move we must! LITURGY AND SPIRITUALITY

I mentioned earlier that we seem to be moving into a period of relative stability in the liturgy. After a period of rapid and even bewildering change, there is a need to catch our breath again and take stock. Certainly no-one in his right mind is going to suggest and the newly acquired sacramentarics and other revised liturgical books now be jettisoned and the whole process start over again. The revised books will be with us for quite some time; it is in using them that new horizons will gradually open up and lead us on to a further stage. What seems vital now is to deepen and to interiorize all that is good in the reform so that it may become a genuinely spiritual renewal. In this we are seeking two things: firstly, that the liturgy


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should express the faith Christians bring to it and all that their life in Christ means; secondly, that participation in the Church's worship may nourish, deepen and strengthen the bonds of faith and love that commit Christians to God in Christ and to their fellowmen.

It is therefore vital that the Christian people may experience the renewed liturgy not just "done well" as if they were not part of it, but as an experience which challenges and sustains faith. Going back to what we cited from Mary Douglas--who writes from the standpoint of a professional anthropologist-we are aware that in the new Order of Mass, together with the changes in Catholic practice surrounding it, we have, in a certain sense, a new ritual system. What is now urgently required is that we offer people not merely explanations about it, but the experience of this ritual system functioning well. With this experience, if it is good experience will come a deeper Christian initiation, a new disposition, an enriched spirituality. The perfect liturgy does not exist, it never will. Every effort to bring it alive will however be worthwhile if, as its rruit, it helps men and women express the paschal mystery of Christ in their lives.


John J. Collins

The Praises of Israel: Worship in the Old Testament The Judaic experience teaches us that cult is essentially symbolic in character, expressing the genuine fullness of life, pointing to life's transcendent giver. It must always be held in vital contact with everyday experience.

When the Old Testament is viewed against the background of other religions of the ancient world, the feature which most readily stands out is its "horizontal" character: there is relatively little interest in what happens in heaven. Instead, the center of religion is located in matters of ethics and human justice, and the basic religious credos relate the historical experiences of the people of Israel. Modern scholars and theologians have repeatedly stressed the thisworldly character of Israel's religion. Harvey Cox was in line with a major current of biblical theology when he claimed that the Old Testament had begun the process of secularization and desacralization which culminated in the Secular City (The Secular City, New York: Macmillan, 1965, ch. 1). This perspective was re-inforced by the prominence in the prophetic books of outright attacks on the "vertical" religion of the sacrificial cult: "I hate, I despise your feasts and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings I will not accept them and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like 99


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waters and righteousness like a flowing stream." (Amos 5:21-24). In the words of Hosea (6:6) Yahweh wants "loving-kindness, not sacrifice." God is (at the very least) less concerned with formal direct acts of worship than with how we treat our fellow human beings. Worship, then, in the sense of ritual actions arldressed directly or vertically to God, is not the most crucial element in the religion of l srael. However, even the most superficial reading is enough to show us that worship plays a very major role in the Old Testament. The endless ritual prescriptions of Leviticus or the elaborate vision of the restored temple in Ezekiel 40-48 contribute little to a process ,)f secularization. The Psalter, which is perhaps our most significant guide to the religion of the common people, is built around the cultic worship of the Jerusalem temple. The cultic passages stand in abrupt contrast to the prophetic condemnations, but they are no less integral to the Old Testament or to the religion of Israel. Any attempt to understand the significance of worship in the biblical tradition must appreciate both the extensive part it played and the dangers which provoked the prophetic critique. SACRED TIMES

The idea of worship goes hand in hand with the idea of the sacred. While acts of worship may be carried out by individuals at any time, the solemn worship of the community requires that certain times and' places be set aside. In part this is a functional need, 1o allow the people to assemble. However, the times and places of worship were never, in the ancient world, considered merely as meeting-times and places. Rather, they constitute points of contact with the sacred and, simultaneously, points of orientation which give pattern and direction to life. In ancient Israel there were three main occasions when the people assembled to celebrate a feast to the Lord. The first of these was in the spring, for the feast of Unleavened Bread. This festival lasted seven days. In Deuteronomy 16 it is merged with the celebration of the Passover. It is probable that these were originally two separate festivals. In the view of Roland de Vaux, the Passover was originally a family festival which fell at about the same time as Unleavened Bread, so that they were eventually associated. (SeeR. de Vaux, Ancient Israel. Vol. 2 Religious Institutions, New York: MacGraw Hill, 1965, pp. 486-488). in Deuteronomy the combined festival is explained as a celebration of the deliverance from Egypt:


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"Observe the month of Abib and keep the passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. ... You shall eat no leavened bread with¡ it; seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction-for you came out of the land of Egypt in hurried flight-that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt." (Deuteronomy 16:1-3). Even when the feast of unleavened bread is mentioned without reference to the Passover, it is still connected with the Exodus (e.g. Exodus 23: 15; :l4:18). Both the Passover and the Unleavened Bread are woven into the story of the Exodus in Exodus 12. Yet there is a general consensus among scholars that these festivals did not originate with the Exodus from Egypt, but as traditional Semitic rites of spring. In the words of de Vaux: "The Passover is seen to be a rite practised by shepherds. It is the kind of sacrifice which noinads or semi-nomads offer, and no other sacrifice in all Israelite ritual is more like the sacrifices of the ancient Arabs. The Passover was the spring-time sacrifice of a young animal in order to secure fecundity and prosperity for the flock." (Ancient Israel, Vol. 2, p. 489). The feast of unleavened bread, celebrated the beginning of the barley harvest, the first crop to be gathered. During the festival only bread made with the new grain was eaten. No leaven, and so nothing held over from the previous year, was allowed. The festival thus marked a clean break with the old and a new beginning. It is an agricultural festival, which presupposes that those who celebrate it are settled in the land, and was probably taken over by the Israelites from theCanaanites. The Passover is thus the older of the two and may well date back before the Exodus to a time when the ancestors of Israel were still nomadic. It has been suggested that the bible itself refers to a Passover before the Exodus in Exodus 5:1, where Moses asks Pharaoh to "let my people go" to celebrate a feast to the Lord in the wilderness. In any case the rituals themselves point strongly to their pastoral and agricultural origins. We will see that the other major festivals of Israel were also rooted in the natural cycle but associated with the Exodus in the biblical accounts. PENTECOST AND TABERNACLES

The second major festival was the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. This feast is dated in Deuteronomy 16:9: "Begin to count the seven weeks from the time you put the sickle to the standing grain. Then


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you shall keep the feast of weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a free-will offering from your hand." Hence the name of the feast. It came seven weeks, or fifty days, after the first grain harvest (the barley harvest) and the feast of Unleavened Bread. The feast of Weeks is also known as the feast of the harvest (Exodus 23:16) and marked the summer wheat harvest. Again, Deuteronomy relates it to the Exodus by adding that "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt" (16: 12), but there is nothing in the festival itself to prompt this association. Rather it is a simple Thanksgiving Day at the end of the harvest. In post-exilic Judaism this festival was the occasion of a renewal of the covenant between Yahweh and Israel, commemorating the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. It became the most important festival in the calendar of the Qumran Sect which produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, not all Jews made this association, and the importance of the festival varied. It is omitted entirely in the cultic calendar of Ezekiel 45:18-25. The third festival, Tabernacles or Booths, was the most important festival of the year and is sometimes referred to simply as "the feast of Yahweh" (Leviticus 23:39) or even "the feast" (Ezekiel 45:25). It is dated to the fifteenth day of the seventh month in Leviticus 23:33-36, but to the end or "turning" of the year in Exodus 23:16 and 34:22. The passages in Exodus are based on the Old Israelite calender by which the year began in the Fall. The date in Leviticus is based on the Babylonian calendar, by which the year began in the spring, and which was adopted in Israel some time between the end of the eighth century BC and the end of the Babylonian exile (539 BC), although the religious New Year continued to be celebrated in the Fall. (See H. J. Kraus, Worship in Israel, Oxford: Blackwell, 1966, pp. 44-45). The feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Ingathering, "when you gather in from the field all the fruit of your labour" (Exodus 23:16) or "when you make your ingathering from your threshing floor and your wine press' (Deuteronomy 16:13). The name of the feast is clarified in Leviticus 23:39: "And you shall take on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, seven days .... You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all that are native in Israel shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I


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brought them out of the land of Egypt." As in the other festivals, the association with the Exodus is clearly secondary. Israelite tradition normally assumes that the people of the Exodus dwelt in tents in the wilderness, not in huts of the type described here. The "booths" must be explained in the light of some agricultural custom. So de Vaux writes: "Now from time immemorial until the present day, it has been the custom in Palestine to erect huts made out of tree-branches in the vineyards and orchards while the grapes and fruit are being gathered in: and this is still the most satisfactory solution." (Ancient Israel, Vol. 2, p. 501 ). Since Tabernacles marked the turning of the year some scholars have argued that it was also the occasion of a New Year's celebration or of a covenant renewal festival, but there is no clear evidence in the biblical text. (See Walter Harrelson, From Fertility Cult to Worship, Garden City, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1970, pp. 49-64). These were the major festivals which punctuated the Israelite year in the pre-exilic period. Other major festivals, such as the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and New Year (Rosh-ha-Shanah) developed relatively late and may have originally been preparatory stages for the feast of Tabernacles. Hannukkah and Purim were later still. It is probable that the cult in Jerusalem included some festivals related to the monarchy, but their precise nature is far from clear. 1 Kings 9:2 claims that Solomon celebrated the three main festivals, and it is quite probable that the royal cult was combined with the traditional festivals rather than celebrated separately. Throughout the history of Israel, however, the major festivals were supplemented by the more frequently recurring celebrations of the sabbath and new moon. The new moon, like the harvest festivals, was probably taken over from the Canaanites. The sabbath appears to be distinctively Israelite, but its origin remains obscure. Exodus 20:8-11 relates the sabbath to the seventh day of creation. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 relates it to the exodus. Neither association sufficiently explains the origin of the sabbath. Seven was commonly a sacred number of antiquity and the idea of a seven-day week has some precedents in ancient Babylon. Here again the association with specifically Biblical traditions is secondary and does not account for the basic nature of the celebration. CELEBRATION OF PAST AND PRESENT

It is important to appreciate that the main Israelite festivals


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were not based primarily or solely upon the recollection of the ancient past. They arose out of the familiar cycle of the year. They were celebrations for the completed work of harvesting and for the life-sustaining productivity of the land. There were two facets to the celebration. First there was the self-expression of the community in festive rejoicing. Dignity and restraint are not the most obvious features of these festivals. The book of Judges (21: 16-25) tells how the daughters of Shilo went out to dance in the vineyards on the feast pf Yahweh, and how the Benjaminites availed of the opportunity to carry off wives. More than a thousand years after the time of the Judges, the Mishnah (rabbinic pronouncements collected about 200 AD) relates that the young girls of Jerusalem danced in the vineyards on the Day of Atonement and sang "Young man lift your eyes and see who you are going to choose. Do not look for beauty but for good family." The custom seems inappropriate for the Day of Atonement, but fits well with the atmosphere of Tabernacles, -which was only five days later. Dancing still took place in the temple courtyard in New Testament times, on the feast of Tabe~nacles. Isaiah 9:3 compares the joy of the people when they are delivered from their enemies to "joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide spoil." The Israelites are repeatedly bidden rejoice at their festivals. Leviticus 23:40 tells the Israelites: "you shall take on the first day the fruit of goodly trees; branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God." Again Deuteronomy 16 says that on the feast of Weeks "you shall rejoice before the Lord your God" with relatives servants and even the sojourner and the fatherless, and that at Tabernacles "you will be altogether joyful." The psalmist recalls "how I went with the throng and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of than~giving, a multitude keeping festival" (Ps 42:4). This emphasis on rejoicing underlines one important aspect of the Israelite festivals. They provided an outlet for emotional expression and a time for relaxation. Rest from labour is built into the celebrations .not only on the sabbath but on all solemn festivals. Even the land was supposed to rest in the sabbatical years: "Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard. What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your undressed vine you shall not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land." (Leviticus 25:3-5). How these provi-


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sions were carried out is not clear, but the intention is. The ecological and psychological wisdom of the regular provision for the rest and rejoicing is apparent, but it also contains a forceful theological perspective. Life should be enjoyed, within its proper limits. The acquisitive tendencies of human nature are restricted. Nature, and even the human capacity for work, must not be exploited. At the same time the festivals are not primarily restrictive or limiting but make possible the positive enjoyment of the good things of life. SACRIFICE AND THANKS

A second facet of the festivals concerns what we more usually recognize as worship. In addition to the community celebration, the festivals also involved the offering of sacrifice and giving thanks to God. "They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed; every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God. which he has given you" (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Sacrifice and offerings to God have many forms and motivations in the Old Testament, but here at least the logic is clear. The fruits of the land which are celebrated at the festivals point beyond themselves to a transcendent giver of life. There is a beneficent power at work in the fertility of the land, which is not subject to human control but on which humanity depends. In worship this transcendent power is acknowledged. In this light the land and its fruitfulness take on a symbolic sacramental character. The grain, the wine and the oil (as the fruits of the land are frequently summarized, especially in the prophet Hosea) are not only good in themselves but are guarantees and signs of a greater beneficent power. In pointing beyond themselves to the God who bestows them they do not lose 'any of their own value. On the contrary, it is precisely because they are good and valuable in themselves that they are able to reveal the transcendent reality of God. Paul Ricoeur has written that symbols are characterized by an excess of meaning (The Symbolism of Evil, Boston: Beacon Press, 1969, p. 15) which is not exhausted by their literal meaning. So the fruits of the land are not only good in a material sense as food and nourishment, but they also convey a sense of the fullness of life which¡is not exhausted by their material use. The worshipping community acknowledges this greater meaning and tries to articulate it in the ritualized celebration. Acknowledgement undoubtedly reinforces a particular view of


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reality and cements the community that holds that view, but this process of acknowledgement cannot be adequately explained in pragmatic terms. It involves a dimension which goes beyond the social needs of the community. It expresses an immediate response to the world as we know it and in some form is indispensable to our self-understanding. However, it also goes beyond the self, individual or collective, in acknowledging the ultimacy of human dependence and the mystery of the gift of life. The ancient Israelites were not the only people "who saw a sacramental dimension in the fertility of the land. In Canaanite religion the experience of the gods was even more immediately bound up in the fertility of the land. Since the Israelite feasts had been adapted originally from Canaanite religion it is not surprising that many Israelites tended to confuse their cult with that of their neighbours, especially in the northern kingdom which was adjacent to the Canaanite culture of Phoenicia. The prophets of the northern kingdom, especially Elijah and Hosea, polemicize incessantly against the worship of Baal. However, what we may' find most surprising is the extent of the common ground which the prophets admit between the two religions. Both Hosea and his adversaries are convinced that the grain, the wine and the oil are gifts of a god, and point beyond themselves to some transcendent power. They disagree as to the identity and nature of that god. Israel's sin is that "she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine and the oil, and who lavished upon her the silver and gold which they used for Baal." The gifts attributed to Baal are really the gifts of Yahweh, but they are rightly recognized as the traces of transcendence in this world. There is more at stake here than the name by which God is known. There is also the question of the further ideas associated with this god and the type of behaviour which he demands from humanity.

THE EXODUS FRAMEWORK At this point the association of Israel's feasts with the events of the Exodus becomes significant. We have seen that these associations are secondary, in the sense that they do not explain the origin of the festivals nor the fundamental reasons for celebration. Yet they are by no means dispensible. They create a framework within which the fertility of the land and the acknowledgement which it evokes take on a larger meaning. The land is not only the gift of a


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transcendent, benevolent power. It is specifically the gift of Yahweh, the god who brought Israel out of Egypt. The excess of meaning in the fruitfulness of the land not only serves as a pointer to transcendence but also as a reminder of the traditions of the Exodus. The gift of the land was specifically related to the covenant: "If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments ... the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods ... you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land" (Deuteronomy 30: 16-18). The enjoyment of the land was hereby tied to keeping the covenant law. Similarly, Deuteronomy repeatedly reminds the Israelites that they were slaves in the land of Egypt. Certain consequences follow from that, which determine ethical and social behaviour. The cult of the Canaanites, as far as we know, had no such implications, but was confined in its focus to the ritual actions and the fertility of the land. The Exodus traditions thus played an integral part in Israel's cult by elaborating the idea of God and of the implications of worship for human conduct. The acknowledgement which arose out of the fertility of the land was not enough. Religion and worship are not concerned only with the order of nature, but also involve the social interactions of human beings. The traditions of Exodus and covenant bore directly on these relations. At the same time they provide a greater story in which the experience of the present is taken up and enlarged, and related to an abiding structure of the universe. This use of ancient tradition to provide a context for celebration is a typical phenomenon of religious cult. Mircea Eliade writes: "For all these palaeo-agricultural peoples, what is essential is periodically to evoke the primordial event that established the present condition of humanity. Their whole religious life is a commemoration, a remembering ... What happened in illo tempore must never be forgotten. The true sin is forgetting." (The Sacred and the Profane, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1959, p. 101). This is . precisely the perspective of Hosea: "I will punish her for the days of the Baals, when she burned incense to them . . . ¡ and forgot me, says the Lord." (Hosea 2: 13).


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To remind Israel, Yahweh will re-create the experience of the Exodus, by bringing Israel back to a state of wilderness and evoking a response "as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt." (2:15). It is the recollection of this Exodus experience and the ethical implications associated with it, which distinguishes the festival of Yahweh from the festival of Baal, and gives the experience of the sacred its peculiarly Israelite character. The festival days, then, were at once days of celebration and of recollection. In both respects they were special days, qualitatively different from everyday life. Eliade has written of "the abyss that divides the two modalities of experience--;;acred and profane" (The fiacred and the Profane, p. 14). In the context of the Old Testament this assertion must be modified. As we have seen, the sacred time of the festivals arises rhythmically out of the natural cycle of the year. There is an intrinsic and indispensable connection between the "profane" work of harvesting and the "sacred" celebrac tion. At least some strands of the Old Testament incline to the view that the people, the land and all the activities therein are "holy." Yet the distinctive character of the festivals should not be overlooked. They constitute peaks, which provide perspective and permit reflection on the remainder of life, when the values implicit in everyday living can be realized more intensely and thereby reinforced. There is a two-way flow between these sacred occasions and everyday life. The fulness and excess of life is the occasion for the festival as celebration. By placing that celebration in the context of the sacred history the festival articulates the meaning of the celebration in a particular way and gives a distinct orientation to everyday life. Worship lies in the combination of these two impulses. In the explicit acts of worship, such as the offering of the gifts, there is at once an acknowledgement of the creator and an acceptance of obligation. Where either of these facets is missing worship is deficient. SACRED SPACE

Hitherto we have been primarily concerned with the sacred time of the festivals. The role of sacred spaces was no less important. In one sense the whole land of Israel was consecrated space. The Psalmist protests the impossibility of singing the sing of the Lord in a foreign land (Ps. 137). However there were also specially con-


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secrated places within the land. In the early period of Israel's history there were a number of sanctuaries where the people assembled for worship-Gilgal, Shiloh, Shechem. In the period of the monarchy there were two main shrines in the Northern Kingdom, Bethel and Dan, while Solomon's temple in Jerusalem assumed the dominant role in the south. Finally, after the northern kingdom had collapsed, the Deuteronomic reform (621 BC) centralized the cult by forbidding sacrifice outside "the place which the Lord, your God will choose to make his name to dwell there" (Deuteronomy 12)-the temple at Je.rusalem. The importance of the temple in the life of the people is clearly reflected in the Psalms. Pilgrimages to the temple were a source of joy: "I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go up to the house of the Lord'" (Ps. 122:1). "Blessed is he whom thou dost choose to bring near to dwell in thy courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, thy holy temple!'' Here again we find discontinuity between the sacred and everyday life. Life in the temple area is qualitatively different: "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Ps. 84:10). The reason for this intensity is that the temple is no less than the dwelling place of God: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of ¡her, she shall not be moved." (Ps. 46:4-5). It is precisely at this point that the theological problem of the temple arises. In what sense can God be said to dwell in the temple? and why should one place be regarded as more sacred than the rest of Yahweh's land? The Old Testament itself is very conscious of these problems. When the question of building a temple in Jerusalem is first raised by King David, the prophet Nathan declines, in the name of Yahweh (2 Samuel 7). When Solomon eventually builds the temple the first book of Kings puts these reflections on his lips: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built." (1 Kings 8:27). The solution proposed in the book of Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic history in the books of Kings is that God sets his name to dwell there. This solution is deliberately ambiguous: it affirms that God is specially present in the temple but denies that he is there in any exclusive sense. 1 Kings 8 continues, to describe the function of the


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temple, and the occasions when people should pray there. The thrust of the passage is that whenever a crisis befalls the people they can make contact with their God at this place. It is not, obviously, that Yahweh needs a house, but that the people needs a focal point which will serve as a reminder of the presence of God and facilitate worship. The prayer of Solomon in I Kings 8 draws our attention to one aspect of worship which is less prominent in the festivals-supplication. In fact the great bulk of the psalms are taken up with prayers of need, or in terms of Ps. 130, cries from the depths. Joy is not the only experience of life which points beyond itself and propels humanity to worship. The psalms amply testify to the experience of both communal and individual suffering in Israel. These too have dimensions which transcend the power of literal description. The ailments of the Psalmists are typically presented as plunging-them into the infernal abysses: "Thou has put me in the depths of the Pit, in the regions dark and deep" (Ps. 88:6), "I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold. I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me." (Ps. 69:2). These descriptions give . no indication of the actual suffering experienced by the Psalmist, but they indicate a dimension of ultimacy in his experience which forces him to acknowledge his dependence and cry out for help. These prayers of supplication in the psalms are balanced by the psalms of thanksgiving and praise which acknowledge the gift of recovery and restoration to the enjoyment of life. (See C. Westermann, The Praise of God in the Psalms, Richmond, Va.: Jn. Knox ¡¡Press, 1965 ). THE TEMPLE

The role of the temple as consecrated space is directly analogous to the role of the festivals as consecrated time. On the one hand it is qualitatively different from all other space and mediates a more direct sense of the presence of God. Yet, on the other hand, its function is entirely bound up with the needs of everyday life. It is an outlet for the emotions of joy and fear, thanksgiving and need which are generated in everyday life. The consecrated place, like the times of the festivals provides the opportunity to stand back from everyday life and see it in perspective, and place it in a meaningful context of the traditions associated with the feast or place. The sacred


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space, then, is not totally discontinuous with the profane. It is rather a peak, which rises out of the surrounding land, articulates its meaningfulness and points it upward beyond itself. In this respect it is appropriate that the psalms frequently speak of Jerusalem and the temple as God's holy mountain. It is "his holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion in the far north" (Ps. 48:1 ). Neither the height nor the location (far north) corresponds to geographical reality. The reason is that the psalmist is applying to Jerusalem attributes usually associated with the house of Baal in Canaanite religion. The idea of a sacred mountain, however, gets its force not only from the traditional Canaanite usage but also from the natural aptness of the idea. Mircea Eliade writes: "the mountain occurs among the images that express the connection between heaven and earth; hence it is believed to be at the center of the world .... Since the sacred is an axis mundi connecting earth with heaven, it in a sense touches heaven and marks the highest point in the world; consequently, the territory that surrounds it and that constitutes "our world" is held to be the highest among countries.'' (The Sacred and the Profane, p. 38) The temple of Jerusalem was envisaged as the center not only of. the land of Israel but, ideally, of the whole world. One of the great eschatological visions of the Old Testament is a passage which occurs twice, in Isaiah 2 and Micah 4: "It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord .... '' Here the temple is envisaged as the focal point on which the worshipping acknowledgement of the whole earth converges. THE KINGSHIP THEME

As in the case of the agricultural festivals, the sacred space of Jerusalem was also invested with traditions which gave it a specifically Israelite character. The traditions of Jerusalem were not primarily those of the Exodus but were associated with the theme of kingship: the sovereignty of Yahweh over all creation and the kingship of his chosen representative in Jerusalem. These traditions derived in large part from the common ideology of kingship throughout the Near East. They affirmed the ultimate security and


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order of the universe: "The Lord reigns: he is robed in majesty ... yea, the world is established it shall never be moved; thy throne is established from of old; thou art from everlasting" (Ps. 93:2). The permanence and stability of God himself was manifested in the permanence and stability of the Davidic dynasty. Ps 2 has Yahweh designate the king as his son and affirm that "I have set my king on Zion my holy hill." (See also Pss. 45, 110 and the discussion by S. Mowinckel, The Psalms in Israel's Worship, Nashville: Abingdon, 1967, pp. 42-80). The temple cult was very closely tied to the political ideology of the Davidic monarchy, and often reinforced the idea that the royal house was essential to the well-being of creation. However, the close association of the king with Yahweh also imposed certain obligations on the king and reinforced a particular vision of society. If Yahweh reigns, "righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne" (Ps. 97:2) and he is the "mighty king, lover of justice¡who¡has established equity." (Ps. 99:4). The king is expected to manifest these divine characteristics: "Give the king thy justice, 0 God, and thy righteousness to the royal son' May he judge thy people with righteousness and thy poor with justice! ... May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, and give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor'" (Ps. 72:1-4). The royal traditions of the Jerusalem cult thus served a purpose analogous to the Mosaic traditions at the annual festivals. On the one hand, they created a context in which the praise and prayers of the individual were related to universal concerns and pointed beyond the universe to the God who maintains it. On the other hand, they reinforced a vision of society in which justice was of primary importance and demanded that king and people alike act in a manner worthy of the divine kingship. ALIENATED WORSHIP

We have seen that the institutions oflsrael's cult arose out of the lives of the people to express their acknowledgement of a divinity on whom they depended, and who in turn made certain demands on their lives. The development of such institutions to express a society's fundamental convictions is a universal phenomenon, grounded in the nature of humanity. In the words of Peter Berger: "Man, as we know him empirically, cannot be conceived of apart from the continuous outpouring of himself into the world in which he finds himself.'' (The Sacred Canopy, Garden City, New York: Doubleday


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Anchor Books, 1969, p. 5). Humanity is engaged in an unending process of "world-building" by which we develop languages, institutions and structures of society to articulate our grasp of life and reality. The products of this human activity are intended to serve as means of human expression and to facilitate the living of life. However "the humanly produced world becomes something "out there." It consists of objects, both material and non-material, that are capable of resisting the desires of their producer." (Berger, The Sacred Canopy, p. 9). This phenomenon is what Berger calls "alienation." Institutions become "alien" to us and no longer serve as instruments for our purposes. The problem is a familiar one in the modern world of rampant technology and bureaucracy where we often find ourselves controlled and shaped by the demands of the computer. ReligiOus institutions are as prone to alienation as any other. In the gospels Jesus tells the Jews that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." Evidently some people acted as if man were made for the sabbath. This a classic illustration of alienation. An institution which was originally intended to provide relaxation and ease the stress of anxiety had come to be regarded as an end in itself, to which basic human needs were subordinated. We have seen that worship in the Old Testament involved a twoway flow. It was not only intended to be a celebration but also to point beyond itself to a transcendent God, and inversely to reflect back on the community by demanding certain ethical standards. The social and ethical implications of worship were vitally important. They reinforced the integral connection between the worship of the community and its everyday life, and the sacramental character of that communal life. Worship arose out of the fullness of life, but was only valid if the life celebrated was really good. Only a society where justice flourished could claim that fullness of life which pointed beyond itself to an authentic acknowledgement of a transcendent God. When the relation between the rituals of worship and the social and ethical life of the community was obscured, the cult was alienated from its proper sources in the life of the people. This is what gave rise to the prophetic critique of the cult which we noted at the beginning of this article. The rupture between the cult and everyday life was never so complete in ancient Israel as to make the cult simply irrelevant. All the prophetic attacks presuppose a flourishing cult which was


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joyfully celebrated and was regarded as an important expression of religion. Isaiah speaks of the multitudes trampling the temple courts (1:12); Amos of the noise of songs and melody of harps (5:23) and notes ironically that the Israelites love to offer sacrifices (4:5). The problems lay elsewhere. On some occa~ions the worship of Yahweh was replaced by the worship of Baal or by outright idolatry (see especially the book of Hosea). Even ..within the cult of Yahweh, however, when the ritual practices we.re correctly observed, alienation could occur. Two factors were 'especially important. First, and most obvious, was the neglect of social justice. Isaiah's God "cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly" (1:13) and bids the people "cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for' the widow" (1: 17). Amos complains that the very Israelites who love to offer sacrifice "sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes ... and in the house of their Go'd they drink the wine of those who have been fined." (2:6-8). While such practices are carried on there is no warrant for celebration in the community and the rituals do not reflect a real acknowledgement of God. Wors~ than that, the cult may actually create ari obstacle to authentic worship. Precisely because the rituals are being observed the people are unaware of their deficiency and are convinced that they are fully discharging the duties of religion. The second factor is immediately related to this. The routinized cult is a source of complacency which blinds the people to any real self-understanding or knowledge of God. When Jeremiah warned the people of the impending destruction at the hands of the Babylonians he was met by those who said "This is the temple of the Lord, tlie temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!" and thought that no harm could befall the city while the temple was there. They expected the temple to function as a magical talisman irrespective of its relation to the lives of the people. Amos also thought that the traditions of the Exodus had become a source of complacency which dulled the sensitivity of the people. Accordingly he shocked the people by comparing the Exodus to the tribal movements of the Philistines and SY,.ians and t!ll-eate.ning to wipe the kingdom off the face of the earth (9:7-8). '

'

THE PROPHETIC CRITIQUE

The regular observance of rituals which were no longer grounded


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in social realities of the people only increased their power to alienate and make the people impervious to the prophetic preaching. Consequently the prophets never speak of a reform of the cult. They simply condemn it, and imply that it should be abolished entirely. Hosea advocates "loving-kingness and not sacrifice" (6:6). Amos asks "Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, 0 house of Israel?" (5:25 ). He is obviously implying the answer "no," and intends to show that sacrifices are not of the essence of religion. Accordingly, the sacrificial cult could be dispensed with entirely. The prophetic critique provides an important perspective on the cult and all religious institutions. They are essentially symbolic or sacramental in character. They serve their purpose only if they facilitate the expression of a genuine fullness and goodness of life, and point beyond themselves to the transcendent giver of life. There is no virtue in the observance of a cult which no longer serves this purpose. In fact, an alienated cult may have an adverse effect by creating an illusion of religion where the reality is missing. Such a cult would be better abolished. In the judgement of the prophets, the Israelite cult was such, on some occasions. It is doubtful, however, if any religion could completely dispense with all forms of ritual. The prophets, in fact, did not address such a general question, but only condemned the cult as they found it in their day. While Amos implied that there had been no sacrificial worship for the forty years in the wilderness. this is unlikely to be historically the case. The biblical narrative refers to ritual worship in all periods of Israel's history. It is true that no one form of cultic worship is indispensable. Judaism survived the destruction of the temple. Christianity dispensed with animal sacrifice. However, while the Christian ideal of worship in spirit and in truth made the location of the holy mountain irrelevant (John 4 ), it did not remove the need for special occasions and places of worship. The nature of worship is inevitably tied to the natural rhythm of work and celebration. There may be elements of worship in daily life but they can only be properly articulated and. focused by setting them apart on specific occasions. Further, if the community is to assemble and celebrate its common life, this must obviously be done on specific occasions. While the sacred must always aris~ out of everyday life, it must still be distinguished as a peak which illumines and gives orientation to the rest. Despite the "horizontal" character of Old


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Testament piety and its relative tendency to secularization, it would also "teach my people the difference between the sacred and the profane" (Ezekiel44:23). The historical failures of the Israelite cult do not obviate the necessity and importance of cultic worship, but they constitute sober reminders that no ritual or institution can ever be taken for granted, but must be always held in vital contact with everyday experience.


Adela Yarbro Collins

Sacramental Aspects of Paul's Thought Paul's discussion of baptism and the Lord's supper are the earliest Christian reflections on the experiences and ceremonies which the Church has come to call sacraments. Here the author explores Paul's understanding of the effect these rites have on human expenence. Since the Reformation, questions have heen raised repeatedly about the sort of reality the sacraments have. "High" sacramental traditions have taken the position that they are "real" and disagreed with the perceived opinion that they are "merely symbolic." Other traditions have held that the sacraments are "symbolic" words and actions rather than "magical" ones. This traditional debate is based on a false antithesis which arises out of a misunderstanding of the nature of symbols. This misunderstanding is revealed in expressions like "merely symbolic" or "only a symbol." Such expressions do not do justice to the fact that symbols have two levels of meaning and thus relate to reality on two levels. Recent studies of religious symbols have shown that they are images taken from ordinary experience which express a depth dimension of human experience by analogy (Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil [Boston: Beacon, 1967]). For example, on an everyday level we derive physical nourishment from bread. Bread has also heen used as a symbol of spiritual nourishment. In this symbolic use, the ordinary experience of the satiation of hunger points heyond itself to the satisfaction of another kind of hunger. The experience of 117


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spiritual nourishment is no less real because it is described solely with an image rooted in ordinary human experience. In fact, it is difficult to express spiritual experiences meaningfully without using such symbols. Therefore, rather than beginning with an abstract debate about transcendent processes, the question of the reality of the sacraments ought to be addressed by reflecting on the effect sacramental words and actions have on our common human experience. How does one express the significance of a sacramental experience? How does such an experience affect the way people live their lives? Paul's discussion of baptism and Lord's supper are the earliest Christian reflections on the experiences and ceremonies which the Church has come to call sacraments. Even so, he is already heir to the sacramental tradition and practice of Christians before him. We can look to Paul's explanation of that tradition to discover his understanding of the effect these rites have on human experience. BAPTISM

The early Christian rite of baptism was probably an adaptation of the ceremony performed by John the Baptist (on the life and ministry of John. see Charles H.H. Scobie, John the Baptist [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1964]; Scobie discusses the meaning of John's baptism on pp. 110-16). Current New Testament scholarship sees John the Baptist as an eschatological prophet proclaiming the imminent revelation of God's will, a revelation which would be like a destructive fire for the wicked, a refining fire for the righteous (Matt 3:11-12). John's message was a call to the last, definitive repentance of the people before this final cataclysm. This repentance was linked to the rite of baptism. As a "baptism of repentance" linked to the remission of sins (Luke 3:3), John's baptism was probably experienced as a washing~ a cleansing from sin. Washing and conversion had already been associated in the prophetic tradition (!sa 1:16-17, Ezek 36:25-28). Paul presupposed this interpretation of baptism. Much of 1 Corinthians 5-6 is devoted to ethical instruction and exhortation. In 6:11 baptism is described as a washing away of sins: "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (I Cor 6: I I).


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The "such" refers to a list of types of sinners given in vss. 9b-10. The passage is introduced with the comment, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" Implicit in this remark is the exhortation of the baptized to avoid the activities listed. In this passage Paul expressed an understanding of baptism quite similar to that of John the Baptist. Baptism is linked to repentance from sin and it is expected that the baptized person will remain in the new state of righteousness until the manifestation of the kingdom of God. New in Paul's understanding of the experience is that baptism occurs in Jesus' name and in the power of the Holy Spirit. For John the experience of the kingdom was totally future. For Paul, the kingdom is experienced proleptically in the presence of the Spirit (2 Cor 1:22, 5:5). Although John the Baptist gathered some disciples and his" followers continued to be a distinctive group after his death (Scobie, pp. 187-202), there is no firm evidence that he or his followers interpreted their baptism as a kind of initiation rite. At some point in the early Christian movement, baptism did come to be so considered. For Christians, baptism became the means whereby an individual was included in the new people of God. INITIATION RITE

Paul presupposed this understanding of baptism as well. In 1 Cor 12:12-13 and Gal 3:26-29 the practice of baptism as an initiation rite is clearly presupposed. Paul's interpretation of this practice is somewhat complex. In 1 Cor 12:12-31 he described the totality of Christians as the body of Christ. Incorporation is effected by the rite of baptism through the agency of the Spirit: "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit." (1 Cor I2:12-13).

The image of drinking as a symbol for the reception of some ¡spiritual quality is a traditional one. In Prov 9:5, drinking the wine offered by wisdom symbolizes accepting her gift of insight. In Isa 12:3 we find the striking metaphor of drawing "water from the wells of salvation.''


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Underlying this passage is the idea that in baptism the believer is somehow identified with Christ (see Gal 2:20). Since each body has its own spirit, and since we are each given the spirit of Christ in baptism, after baptism we are all part of the same body-Christ's. On this interpretation of baptism Paul based his instruction on the identical origin of all spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:4-11) and hi• exhortation on the relative value of these gifts ( 12: 14-14:26). According to Paul, the highest ones are those oriented toward the well-being of others. In Gal 3:26-29, the interpretation of baptism as an initiation rite is clearly in the background of Paul's argument. The point at issue in Galatians 3-4 is salvation and the way it is mediated. Paul and the Galatians are agreed that the children of Abraham are the heirs of the promise of salvation. The disagreement is over how Gentiles can become children of Abraham. The Galatians have been swayed by the argument that circumcision is the only means by which a Gentile can be initiated into the covenant of Abraham and thus be saved. Paul argues that Christ is the offspring of Abraham par excellence and that the promise to Abraham is fulfilled in and through Christ. The means of sharing in this fulfillment are faith and baptism. In effect Paul substituted a new initiation rite, baptism, for the traditional Jewish one, circumcision. (The so-called "baptism" required of Jewish proselytes was really only the first of many immersions to achieve and maintain Levitical purity. 'It did eventually take on the character of an initiation rite, along with circumcision for men, but it is not clear that it was so thought of already in Paul's time. See Scobie, John the Baptist, pp. 95-99 for a discussion of the evidence.) Baptism for Paul then was, with faith, the means of entrance into a community whose members are sons of God, offspring of Abraham and heirs of salvation: " ... for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according

to promise." (Gal 3:26·29). In vs. 27 baptism is interpreted from the point of view of one part of the rite. In the early church, the person to be baptized would

·


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remove his or her clothing before immersion and would usually receive new clothing afterward (see Robin Scroggs and Kent I. Groff, "Baptism in Mark: Dying and Rising with Christ," Journal of Biblical Literature 92 [1973] pp. 537 and Jonathan Z. Smith, "The Garments of Shame," History of Religions 5 [ 1966] pp. 217-38). The new, usually white, clothing symbolized the new internal being of the believer. In Gal 3:27, Paul says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." The phrase "put on Christ" probably alludes to the new garments given the believer after immersion. With this phrase Paul interpreted the garments as a symbol of the believer's identification with Christ. This identification with Christ also means membership in a community of faith in which the distinctions mentioned in vs. 28 do not define or limit the individual's religious status. ANOTHEK P~:KSPECTIVE

In the letter to the Romans, we find yet another perspective on baptism. In the first eight chapters of that letter, Paul expounded his understanding of justification by faith to a community he had not yet visited. He wrote to them just before taking the monetary offering of the Gentile churches to the Christian community at Jerusalem. His letter was a means of self-introduction to the community at Rome, perhaps intended to win their support for his interpretation of the gospel and for his anticipated further missionary activity (see the discussion by Gunther Bornkamm, Paul [New York: Harper and Row, 1971] 90-91 ). In Romans 5-7 Paul discussed the problem of sin. In the course of this discussion, in chapter 6, he renected upon the role of baptism in the struggle against sin. In this passage Paul linked the rite of baptism very closely with the process whereby each believer dies and rises in some way with Christ (on this theme in Paul's thought, see Robert C. Tannehill, Dying and Rising with Christ [Berlin: Topelmann, 1967]). Paul introduced his remarks on baptism in Rom 6:3 with the words "Do you not know that .... "These words imply that here, as in the other passages in which he refers to baptism, Paul is dependent on tradition. His words imply that the Christians of Rome already understood baptism, in part at least, as a dying with Christ. Thus Paul is interpreting tradition here rather than creating a new understanding of the ceremony of baptism.


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Two other New Testament passages reflect a similar understanding of baptism. According to Mark 10, the sons of Zebedee once asked Jesus if they could sit at his right and left hands in his glory. The following answer of Jesus is recorded: "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink," or to b~ baptizeJ with the baptism with which¡ I am baptized?" And they said to him. "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it

has been prepared" (Mark 10::38-40).

¡

Drinking the cup and being baptized seem to be parallel expressions here, both referring to the passion of Jesus in a metapho"rical way. Secondarily, they refer to the deaths of John and James which they faced as followers of .Jesus. The fact that the word "baptism" is used for these deaths indicates that the evangelist made use of tradition shaped by Christians who associated the practice of baptism with the death of Jesus. Matthew uses only the image of drinking the cup in the parallel passage (Matt 20:22:23), whilethe gospel of Luke has no real parallel. The other passage is a saying attributed to Jesus which is recorded only in Luke: "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!" (Luke 12:50).

The baptism referred to in the saying is most likely Jesus' death.

CONNOTATIONS Of DEATH

It is perhaps significant that both these passages occur in gospels

written for Greek-speaking Gentile Christians. Christians familiar with Hebrew would have associated the Greek word translated "baptize" (baptizo) with the Hebrew word for "dip" (tbl). In the apocrypha and rabbinical writings baptizo and tbl became technical terms for ritual washing to cleanse from Levitical impurity. Christians whose mother tongue was Greek, however, would be familiar with the meaning "drown'' for the passive voice of baptizo. For them the word would naturally have connotations of death.


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Mark 10:39-40 and Luke 12:50 contain traditions that witness independently of Paul to the early Christian association of baptism with death, particularly with the death of Jesus Christ. We have no way of determining whether these traditions are older than Paul's letters. Paul's presupposition of the Romans' familiarity with such a tradition shows that an early date for them is likely. What do Paul's remarks on baptism in Romans 6 tell us about how he made sense of the tradition that baptism is a dying with Christ? What kind of reality did he ascribe to the rite of baptism? In an effort to do justice to the reality of the experiences to which Paul referred some interpreters argue that the death of Jesus Christ and the baptismal event, the "death" of the believer, are identical (Gunther Bornkamm, "Baptism and New Life in Paul," Early Christian Experience [New York: Harper and Row, 1969} p. 75 and Tannehill, Dying and Rising with Christ, p. 35 ). Bornkamm argues that the baptismal event and the Christ-event are not only related to each other in terrns of analogy but that in the baptismal event the Christ-event is present. The event of baptism is the incorporation of the person baptized into the death of Christ. According to Tannehill, baptism puts the baptized person in "direct union with Christ's death.'' One problem with this interpretation of Romans 6 is the difficulty of understanding what it means to say that the baptismal event and the Christ event are "identical" or to speak of a "direct union" with a past event. Another problem is that this interpretation does not do justice to the extent to which Paul distinguished these events. In Rom 6:5, he says that we are united, not with Christ's death, but with the likeness or form of his death. By this choice of words, Paul says in effect not that we are somehow put directly in union with the event of Christ's death in baptism, but that our actions in the rite of baptism imitate it. Christ's death is not repeated, but it is reenacted. Given the connotations of death which the word baptizo carried, the act of immersion presupposed by Paul had probably been interpreted as a symbolic death already by Christians prior to Paul. This point was discussed above. A literal analogy is not required for such a symbolic understanding of baptism. The general analogy of burial (being engulfed by a tomb) to immersion (being engulfed by ':Vater) is sufficient. As commonly known tradition, Paul did not need to comment explicitly on the symbolic meaning of immersion, but could simply refer in passing to baptism as symbolic burial (Rom 6:4 ).


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What meaning did this reenactment of the death of Christ have for early Christians, particularly for Paul? Mircea Eliade has argued that human beings have a fundamental need for a framework of meaning in which to place the discrete events of ordinary life. In most religious traditions, every-day objects and events have little meaning in themselves. Only those events are truly real and meaningful which somehow transcend themselves, which participate in a reality beyond themselves (The Myth of the Eternal Return [New York: Pantheon Books, 1954] pp. 3-4). Some of these significant events are rituals which have special meaning as the reenactment of crucial deeds of the past performed by the gods, heroes or ancestors. Such ritual imitation is found not only in archaic religions nor only in religions outside of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The Sabbath rest, for example, is interpreted as such an imitatio dei in Gen 2:2-3 for the Lord rested on the seventh day after his work of creation (Eliade, p. 23). In his com:ments on baptism in Romans 6, Paul showed that for him much of the significance of the rite lay in the fact that it is an imitation of the death of Christ. The symbolic imitation of Christ's death in baptism, however, was not for Paul .merely an isolated ritual act which automatically guaranteed that the believer would one day be raised from the dead as Christ was. The imitation of Christ's death did not occur once and for all in baptism, but is to occur repeatedly in the daily life of the Christian. The symbolic death of the Christian in baptism is an experience which inspires and empowers the individual to turn away from sin: "We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to

sin.'' (Rom 6:6). This turning away from sin is a matter of attitude and intention as well as of grace: "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions . ... For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." (Rom

6:11-12, 14).


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There is no clear indication that Paul interpreted baptism as a symbolic resurrection as well as a symbolic death. In Rom 6:5 he says that we have been united with the likeness of his death, but that we shall be (united with the likeness) of (his) resurrection. The resurrection of Christ is related by Paul to our walking "in newness of life" (vs. 4). This newness of life involves Jiving now "to God in Christ Jesus" (vs. 11). We imitate Christ's resurrection therefore, not in the rite of baptism, but in our renewed, post-baptismal lives characterized by righteousness. Like freedom from sin, slavery to righteousness involves both effort and grace: " ... but yield yourselves to God ... and your members to God as instruments of righteousness . ... For just as路 yon路 once路路yielded your members to impurity ... so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification . ... But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life." (Rom 6:13, 19, 22).

We have seen that baptism was meaningful for Paul in three important ways. First, it was a rite linked to the remission of sins and was experienced as a purificatory washing. This was not a repeatable rite like the Levitical immersions but signified a unique and final conversion to the will of God. Second, it was an initiation rite into the new people of God. Membership in this new people brings responsibilities as well as privileges. The gifts of the Spirit are to be exercised in ways that benefit other individuals and the community as a whole. Third, it was a rite through which the story of Jesus Christ became the model for each Christian's life. His death is symbolized in the ritual immersion and we imitate it every time we exercise our freedom from sin. His resurrection becomes the image for the believer's new life in holiness. THE LORD'S SUPPER

The ongm of the early Christian sacramental meal has been hotly debated. Some New Testament exegetes still accept his historicity of a certain core of the Synoptic .Last Supper accounts (e.g. Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words' of Jesus [New York: Scribner's, 1966]). Others understand the Last Supper accounts as creations of the early church and look elsewhere for the answer to the question of historical origins (e.g., Willi Marxsen, The


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Lord's Supper as a Christological Problem [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970]). The Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper are complex and already contain several theological interpretati.ons o{the meal (se~ the discussion ofthese accounts by Eduard Schweizer, The Lord's Supper according to the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1967) pp. 10-32). Paul discusses the Lord's supper only in 1 Cor 10:14-22 and ll: 17-34. These are the oldest written discussions of the Christian sacramental meal. In 1 Cor 11:23-25 Paul explicitly cites tradition containing the words of institution spoken by "the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed." This pre-Pauline tradition disagrees in details with the Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper, just as those accounts disagree among themselves. In comparison with the pre-Pauline tradition, the Markan account already shows signs of elaboration and harmonization. The Pauline account lacks "and gave it to them" and "Take" (Mark 14:22; compare also Mark 14:23 with 1 Cor 11:25). These phrases in Mark's account can be explained as additions made to accommodate the tradition better to liturgical practice. In the Markan account there is greater parallelism in the words of institution: "this is my body" (Mark 14:22) and "this is my blood of the covenant ... " (vs. 24 ); compare the Pauline account: "This is my body ... " (1 Cor 11:24) and "This cup is the new covenant in my blood" (vs. 25). It is more likely that the words in institution were harmonized (that is, made more closely parallel) in the course of transmission than that an original close parallelism was broken down. The pre-Pauline tradition quoted in 1 Cor 11:23-25 therefore represents very early Christian tradition about the Lord's supper. In this pre-Pauline tradition, a particular interpretation of the meaningfulness of the early Christian sacramental meal is expressed. This interpretation links the meal clearly though indirectly with the death of Jesus Christ. The identification of his body with bread which is broken, the statement that his body is "for you,'' and the separate mention of "body" and "blood" all point to his death. The reference to "the new covenant in my blood" indicates that the death of Jesus is understood here as a sacrifice which belongs to the process of establishing a covenant relationship (see Exod 24:8 and Zech 9: ll; on this point see W.O. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism [New York: Harper and Row, 1948) p. 253). . , On a superficial level, the pre-Pauline tradition implies that the


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Christian sacramel)tal meal is a reenactment of the last meal which Jesus had with his disciples. This is clear from the repeated command "Do this in remembrance of me" (vss. 24, 25). We have just noted, however, that the words of institution bring the death of ·Jesus to mind. Paul makes that fact explicit in his interpretive remark which follows the cited tradition: ··For as often as you 'eat-this bre8.d and drink the cup, you proclaim

the Lord's death until he comes." (Cor 11 :26). '

.

So, on a deeper level, the death of Jesus is the event of the past which is recalled to give meaning to the early Christian ritual meal. In the pre-Pauline tradition, the death of Jesus is interpreted as the event which constitutes t.he Christian community as the people of God's new covenant. The· ritual meal then, by· association, becomes an event which expresses the community's self-understanding, reaffirms and consolidates it. · • This then is the tradition presupposed by PauL What do his comments on the Lord's supper tell us aoo.~t his own understanding of the significance of the meal? PAUL'S UNDERSTANDING OF TRADITION

Paul's first reference t~ the Lord's supper (1 Cor 10: 14-22) occurs in an extended discussion on whether Christians may eat meat sacrificed to the Graeco-Roman gods (1 Corinthians 8-10). In 1 Cor 10:1-22 Paul is making the point that such eating is not justifiable when it .can be construed as worship of those gods (whom he calls demons; see vss. 19-20). In vss. 14-22, he compares the Christian Lord's supper,. the Israelite sacrificial meals and the GraecoRoman cultic meals. The point of the comparison is that each of these meals establishes a fellowship between the human and the super-human participants. Thus, the primary meaning of the fellowship of the blood and of the body of Christ mentioned in vs. 16 must be a fellowship between Christians on the one hand and Christ on the other. This interpretation is implied by the statement "I do not want you to be partners with demons'' in vs. 20. For Paul then, the meal not only calls the death of Christ to mind, but it also establishes fellowship between the members of the community and their Lord.


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The fellowship Paul speaks of in I Corinthians 10 is not based primarily on the individual's eating the elements of bread and wine in which Christ is present in a special way. The emphasis is not on individual eating and drinking, but on communal blessing of the cup and breaking of the bread (vs. 16). The focus is not on the elements but on the actions of the people as a group. The fellowship is created not primarily by the food, but by the whole meal context, what is said and done, as well as what is eaten. In I Cor 10:14-22 the fellowship between the Christians and Christ is emphasized. The fellowship among Christians is also mentioned (vs. 17). It is at this point that the element of bread is emphasized: because there is one loaf, those who share it are one body. Paul's second reference to the Lord's Supper (I Cor 11:17-34) occurs in a portion of 1 Corinthians devoted to instructions on the proper conduct -QLthe .community's worship (11:2-14:40). After treating the problem of appropriate dress for worship (11 :2-16), Paul turned to the sacramental meal. He was indignant over what he had heard about how the Corinthians were holding this meal: "But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse . ... When you meet together it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in

this? No, I will not." (I Cor 11: 17, 20-22 ).

It is very clear in this passage that for Paul the Lord's supper is essentially communal worship. The sacred character of the meal is completely nullified if the participants neglect its communal dimension. Paul obje~ted to several aspects of the celebration at Corinth. Some did not wait until ~ll were present to begin the meal, but satisfied their hunger right away (vs. 21). Some indulged in wine to the extent of drunkenness (vs. 21). Finally,.the food was not shared equally among all, but those who were well off feasted, while the poor did not have enough (vss. 21-22). These expressions of selfindulgence, factionalism and lack of concern for the congregation as a whole were so much in tension with Paul's understanding of the meaning of the Lord's supper that he could say "it is not the Lord's supper that you eat."

(


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THE DEATH OF THE LORD problem (l Cor 11:17 -22), Paul

After this initial sLatement of the went on to instruct and exhort the Corinthians on the proper attitude toward the Lord's supper. He began by quoting the tradition on the meal which he had received and which he had already taught the congregation at Corinth (vss. 23-25). This tradition, which was discussed above, is a very early version of the so-called words of institution. We have already noted that these "words of institution" call the death of Jesus Christ to inind and that Paul made this fact explicit by commenting: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim

the Lord's death until he comes."

(I

Cor 11:26).

In effect then, Paul pointed out to the Corinthians that the primary significance of the sacramental meal lay in the fact that it re-presented (in action and word) the death of the Lord. What this meant for Paul is indicated in. what follows: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood

of the Lord." (1 Cor 11:27). Traditionally, this verse has been understood as a prohibition of sacrilege against the sacred elements. Paul's language, especially the word translated "in an unworthy manner," does reflect the widespread discussion in the ancient world of the criteria for a legitimate approach to the sacred (on this topic see W.C. van Unnik, "'Worthy is the Lamb.' The Background of Apoc 5," in Melanges bibliques en hommage au R.P. Beda Rigaux, ed. A. Descamps and A. de Halleux [Gembloux: Duculot, 1970]). In vs. 28 Paul urged each person.to examine himself or herself before eating and drinking to test her or his worthiness to do so. The context shows, however, that the primary criteria for this self-examination are communal ethics. Paul criticized improper, unworthy behavior in vss.

17 -22; his criticisms were mainly about communal relations. That such criteria stand behind vss. 27-28 is shown by the fact that Paul returns to that topic explicitly at the end of the discussion: "So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one

another-if any one is hungry, let him eat at home-lest you come together to be condemned .... " (I Cor II :33-34 ).


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· Eating and'drinking in an unworthy manner thus means participating in the Lord's supper without due attention to the meal as an act of the entire-congregation. Paul grounds this understanding of . · "unworthiness': in his interpretation of the meal as a re-presen,ta- · tion of Christ's death. To be guilty of ari offense against the body and blood of Christ means to make a mockery out of the death of Christ by acting in a way contrary to the purpose of his death. If the ·death of the Lord is understood as the event which constitutes the community as the 'new covenant people, actions which make a ·mockery of community are an offense against that death. Paul's argument here is analogous to that in 1 Cor 8:7-13. In that passage he argues that leading a fellow Christian into sin is a sin against Christ because Christ died to free that person from sin. Here he argues that to partake of the meal in a way that breaks down its communal aspect is a .sin against the body and blood of Christ l:iecause he gave his body and, blood (his life) to establish the c~m­ munity. DISCERNING THE BODY

After his·comments on unworthy eating and drinking and on selfexamination, Paul went on to say: "For any one' who eats and dririks.without discerning the body eats

and drinks. judgment upon himself." . ·, .

(I

Cor

11:29) .

Interpreters h~ve debated whether "discerning the body" refers to the "real presence" of Christ in the bread or to the congregation as the' body' of c'mist. ·Iri the dis~ussion of 1 Cor 10:14-22 ab~ve, we noted that' the fellowship between the believers and Christ, accord. i~g Paul, isbrought about by the action of the entire congregation 'in breaking the bread, not ·by each individual's eating the bread in which Christ)s sq~ehow present. In that passage, when Paul discussed the bread itSelf,' he commented that the one loaf synibolized the com:munlty as one body (1 Cor 10:17). In 1 Cor 11:17-34, the emphasis is on the proper conduct of the Lord's supper as an a'ct of communal worship. The abuses condemned are primarily offenses against the communal character of the meal. Given the parallel of 1 Cor 10:17 and the overall context of 11:17-34, "discerning the body" must refer· to the community as the body of Christ. This

to


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theme is touched on already in 1 Cor 10:17 and is then fully elaborated and explained in 1 Corinthians 12. In 1 Cor 11:30-32 Paul marshalled a final argument in his exhortation of the Corinthian congregation on the subject of the Lord's supper. There he says that the weakness, illness and even death of some members of the community were punishments for their abuse

of the Lord's supper. Elsewhere in the letter Paul adminishes those who consider themselves "strong" to respect the rights of the "weak" (1 Cor 8:7-13; compare 10:22); Furthermore, he used the word "weak" in a positive way at times in 1 Corinthians (1:25, 27; 4:10). In 1 Cor 4:10 he ironically contrasted the"weak" apostles with the "strong" Corinthians. In 1 Cor 10:1-13 Paul combatted the idea, apparently held. by some members of the community, that the "spiritual food" of the Lord's supper guaranteed salvation. His argument in¡1 Cor 11:30-32 makes best sense as a continuation of the argument of 10: 1c13. In 1 Corinthians 10 he argued that some of the fathers died in the wilderness as a punishment for sin, in spite of the fact ¡that they had eaten and drunk spiritual substances. This line of argument seems to be directed against the point of view that the bread and .wine are spiritual substances in themselves, that they lead automatically to eternal life as some sort of "medicine of immortality" (the term is used by Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to . the Ephesians 20.2; on 1 Corinthians 10 and the ideas Paul is refutHans von Soden, "Sacrament and Ethics in Paul," The. ing, see . Writings of St. Paul [ed. Wayne Meeks; New York: Norton, 1972) pp. 260-62). In 1 Cor 11:30-32, Paul seems to continue this argument by pointing out that members of the community who consider themselves spiritually-"strong:: were suffering physical-weakness in spite of the fact that they had participated in the sacramental meal. Paul's point is that the life-giving character of the sacred meal is not only nullified when the meal is wrongly celebrated, but that it takes on the opposite character. What they thought to be their medicine of immortality has become their poison. Paul interprets this reversal as divine _chastening-a reminder to maintain the essentially communal character of the Lord's supper. In Paul's expressions of the meaningfulness of the Lord's supper, it is clear that he viewed the-meal as a re-presentation of the death of Jesus Christ. He affirmed the tradition that the.early Christian sacramental meal re-presents his death as the event which constitutes the people of the new covenant. A necessary consequence of


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that understanding of the meal for Paul was that such a re-presentation can occur only when the meal is celebrated by the Christian congregation as a self-consciously communal act of worship. When this re-presentation does occur, fellowship is established between the worshippers and Christ as well as among the.worshippers. '

·'·

.- CONCLUSION

l'~'

· In most of the passage; in which Paul' discusses the sacramental rites of the early church, we find 'implicit reflection on the symbolic character of the rite and an· interpretation of the way in which the .. experience of that symbolic rite.shapes the lives of Christians . . ·The symbolic character of baptism is brought out in various ways by Paul. In 1 Cor 6:11 it is referred to as an outer. washing· with a ... cleansing effect on the inner person. In 1 Cor 12:13 the baptismalwater is associated with the Spirit which the baptized person "drinks.'· The spiritual correlative of this "drinking" is incorporation into the body of Christ. In Gal 3:27 the robing of the newly baptized person is interpreted as ii:lentification with Christ. In Romans 6, the act of immersion is understood· as symbolic burial in imitation of the death of Christ. The spiritual correlative is "dying" to stn. In 1 Corinthians 6 and Romans 6, Paul makes clear that the experience of baptism is associated with certain expectations for individual ethical behavior. In the other two passages, he elaborates consequences of the experience of baptism for communal ethics. In Gal 3: 26-29 Paul indicates that the relationships between certain social groups are changed by the event of baptism which makes them all members of a new, more significant group. He makes the same point in 1 Cor 12:13. In the rest of chapter 12, Paul emphasizes the interdependence and mutual responsibility of the· members of this group, symbolized by their interrelatedness as parts of Christ's body. The symbolic character of the Lord's supper is brought out in two ways. In 1 Cor 10:14-22, the intimacy and fellowship brought about by the meal is emphasized. The participants experience fellowship with their Lord as guests at his table, as well as fellowship with one another as ·partakers of the same loaf. In I Cor 11:17-34 the symbolism is quite complex. The bread and wine call to mind the death of Jesus. The death of Jesus Christ is interpreted

.,


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133

as a covenant sacrifice, the founding event of the Christian community. Thus the meal, when properly celebrated, re-presents. the founding event of the community and reconstitutes the participants as a covenant comtnunity. For Paul, the interpretation of the Lord's supper as a sacrificial meal of the new covenant had certain definite implications. Like ' baptism, the Lord'ssupper is not merely an individual privilege but carries important social responsibilities. The "Do this in remembrance of me" means not only that we should remember what has been done for us. It also means that Christians are called to imitate the Christ who acted not for himself but for others. Yet baptism and Lord's supper are not only or even primarily images used by Paul for ethical instruction. The symbolic language in which these rites are described shows that they are experiences which transcend ordinary, perceptible experience. They point beyond the senses to the depth dimension of experience. It is this dimension which has power to transform the quality of our lives and to enable us to live ethically. ¡


Dennis W. Krouse

The Historical Experience: A Review of the Great Amen¡ in Christian Tradition The Great Amen is the symbol of community involvement in Christian life and worship. The author follows the expression from its Judaic origins to the present momentthe experience of a wors.hipping people. The rubric under which.this article appears is that of the "historical experience" of liturgy. History covers a wide gamut, 2000 years in terms of Christian history. Experience is that which touches each of us personally in a lasting way. Such a presentation could hardly be contained in the confines of this article. Rather,'what we propose is a specific consideration of one dimension of the liturgical experi¡ ence of the Christian through the ages. In this way we will have a means of sampling the strata ';,f the ages and be able to "experience" in some way ourselves the liturgical life of our forefathers in the faith. (There are a number of cor;,cise; well do he surveys of the history of our worship; see especially T ..Klauser, A Short History of the Western Liturgy, J. Halliburton, trans. [London, !969], and M, Hatchett, Sanctifying Life, Time and Space [New York, 1976].) Liturgy calls the Christian to engage his entire person as he enters the commercium divinum, as he celebrates the Christian life in sacrament and symbol, in word and gesture. A consistent tradi135


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tiona! means of entering this exchange has been through the genre of acclamation. An acclamation is a vocal, that is, sung or recited, approval by a crowd, legally constituted group or congregation. It is a sign of veneration, .of praise, of well-wishing, of consent, of peti. lion or of exhortation. As an historical and sociological phenomenon, the acclamation has saluted emperors, elected popes and bishops, accompanied the crowning of kings and the advent of princes; it has defeated legal decrees and spurred armies as well as football teams onto victory. Acclamation is heard in Buddhist temple and Hindu shrine, in Mosque and in Synagogue. In the Christian context acclamation has been a principal means for engaging both individual and community in the thanksgiving, petition and invocation of the Triune God from the time of Jesus himself. From a subjective viewpoint, liturgical acclamation addresses the basic human need for affirmation. This need asserts itself in both the individual and the community. The individual must have assurance of his own authenticity-a confirmation which is ultimately derived from the social environment of that individual. The community, in contrast, is affirmed both from within, by its constituents, and from without, by other communities and individuals. However, the need is perennially the same: the nod of approval, the realization of personal validity, the "yes" to one's being and one's doing. Man as liturgist, individually and communally, shares the same need of affirmation-both in what he is and in what he does. In the Judaeo-Christian liturgical tradition this affirmation has been ritualized verbally in a particularly forceful way by the word Amen. Our purpose in this article will be to review the history of the acclamation, Amen, especially as it concludes the Christian eucharist-¡ ic prayer, or at least inasmuch as other usages lend insight into this one climactic expression in Christian worship. First we will glance at the Jewish origins of the Amen, both in the Old Testament and in rabbinic literature. We will then see the meaning of the word in the New Testament and in early Christian usage. We will survey the thoughts and comments of the Patristic authors. Next we will see the Western eucharistic practice of the Amen, but particularly as it concludes the eucharistic prayer in the Roman rite, i.e. 'the Great Amen. Some attention will be given to the medival mass commentators who have preserved for us much of the popular understanding of the Great Amen. Finally we will observe the influence of the


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current liturgical renewal on the praxis of the Great Amen with a view to understanding its function and purpose in contemporary eucharistic worship. Our method is historical-an unveiling of the past in order that the present might be more fully understood. In this way we can see our past as going beyond the category of mere prologue for the present. It is a question of discovering authentic tradition which on the one hand will assist in the avoidance of novelty for the sake of novelty, and on the other will assist us in heeding the sage warning of Pius XII to avoid antiquarianism,-the old for the sake of the old. We need to tap the root of liturgical experience so that we can shape the future direction of that experience to meet continually the challenge of worshiping the Father in spirit and in truth. HEBREW FOUNDATIONS

Amen is a Hebrew word which found its way into the Hellenistic and later Western idioms via the Septuagint. The word itself is derived from a past tense which means "he was firm" and eventually became an adverbial expression of affirmation or confirmation, meaning "so it is," "so shaH it be," or "so be it." It is generally agreed that these latter expressions are too weak as translations. In order to understand the Amen we must probe to some extent its philological background in. Hebrew. The root form from which it derives is 'mn which in turn has a variety of derivatives. Of particular importance is the derivative 'emeth, a word associated with the covenant and frequently commented upon in conjunction with hesed (cf. Hos. 2:16-20; Gen. 24:49; !sa. 16:5; 38:18-19, Ps. 85:12; I Kgs. 17:24 ). Since the classic work of Mendenhall dealing with the force of covenant fidelity in Israelite tradition and the various forms the covenant took within that tradition, ,covenant theology has had an especially great influence in Christian thought. (see E. Mendenhall, Law and Covenant in Israel and in the Ancient Near East [Pittsburgh, 1955), pp. 24-26.) The two qualities (hesed we 'emeth) used to describe the covenant relationship have consequently played an important role in that influence. What is important for our study here is the force of the covenant relationship which proffers itself as background-in fact, almost the Sitz im Leben-of our own word Amen. The Hebrew speaker could not divorce himself from the richness of the whole Israelite tradition regarding covenant when he spoke Amen. It is from a


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covenantal context that we proceed here with our own hermeneutic of Amen. ' The Hebrew word Amen is used in the Old Testament both by individuals and the commul)ity as a confirmatory response to something someone else has stated. In the first place it is used to confirm the acceptance of a task allotted by men in which performance the will of God is needed, e.g. I Kings 1:36. Secondly, it is used to confirm the pers'.'nal application of a divine threat or curse, e.g. Num. ¡5_:22, Deut. 27:15 ff., Jer. 11:5, Neh. 5:13. Thirdly, it is used to affirm the praise of God as a response to a doxology. This last use especially expresses the solidarity between the cantor or president and the community, e.g. I Chron. 16:36, Neh. 8:6, and the end of the doxologies of the first four book of psalms: Pss. 41:13, 72:19, 89:53, 106:48. In each of these instances the Amen is seen as the acknowledgment of a word which is sure and valid (H. Schlier, "Amen," TD NT, I. 335-336 ). . . The surety and validity signified by Amen must necessarily be viewed in the context of the concrete according to the Semitic mind. The image of finality evoked by the word goes in two directions: 1) the idea of truth, and 2) the idea of fidelity. In this distinction truth is not a matter of an abstract relation between things and our intelligence; it is rather the concrete experience of a human relationship which excludes the fear of being fleceived. Fidelity is the experience of a faithful friend on whom one can rely for personal support. It is this concrete apprehension of Amen as truth and fidelity in terms of rersonal¡ r~lationship which must underlie any accurate understanding of the significance of this Hebrew response. Amen thus implies a concrete conviction verbally expressed in speech regarding an event, a statement or a transaction-all of which are seen as trustworthy and true in what th~y state or represent or signify. The one uttering the Amen opens himself to a relationship of fidelity and truth to the speaker. He states his faith in the speaker, accepts him inasmi..ch as he has accepted his verbal contribution. He bears witness to the inherent integrity of the one to whom he is responding, as well as to the relevancy of what has been said or done. The respondent thus lends his personal attestation to the _positive truth of the event, statement or transaction. THE AMEN IN HEBREW LIFE

It is precisely the concrete significance of the Amen which so ap-


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139

pealed to the Hebrew mind. In Jewish practice the Amen became widespread and firmly established. Great value came to be attached to its utterance. However, it seemingly was largely excluded from the temple liturgy itself, where a longer affirmative response was more appropriate and was usually employed in its stead. But outside temple worship, that is, in private life and in synagogue worship, the Amen response was an integral part of everyday vocabulary. The Amen naturally came to have a public and communitarian dimension in Israel due to its culturally strong sense of community, a sense almost identified with its national religious experience. The Amen came to be a public profession of submission to prescribed forms of social and legal procedure. We note; for example, the Amen required of a suspected adulteress to the curse laid upon her if she were found guilty (Num. 5:19-23). The Amen becomes means of crying personal accord and coriftrmation to the truth of one's defense in the face of the prescribed testing. Similarly, we find acceptance and self-involvement when Moses leads the community in twelve curses which are to befall those who fail to live according to the Law (Deut. 27:15-26). To each of the conditional curses the people respond "Amen." These laws become community obligations, but even more so they become deeply personal responsibilities as well. The Israelite joins in the affirmation made by the whole community, explicitly risking all· to make the validity of the covenant his own. There is total vulnerability, for if the covenant, whether with God· or man, fails, all is lost. Life and destiny rely on the fidelity Of this utterance. We begin, theri, to see the true context of the curse in the Old Testament. Mutatis mutandis one can say the same regarding the other uses of Amen. The confession of the praise of God is laid upon the community who affirms by its answer. The blessing of God pronounced to the community is made operative by the community's Amen. The response to any prayer or praise uttered by another is an Amen sig· nifying a committed concurrence. However,· whe~ Amen is used as a conclusion to one's own prayers by oneself, e.g. Tob. 8:7 f., there is a shift in meaning from a response to a confirmation of what is. In this case, the Amen signifies hope for that desired. This useage is considered to be a custom· possibly derived from the Amen of another speaker. At any rate, it is of later origin.

a

a


140

CHICAGO STUDIES SYNAGOGUE AND TALMUD

The use of the Amen was particularly ritualized in the synagogue liturgy. Its importance as a community response to the Shemoneh Esreh was significant enough to require a flagged signal. for the saying of the Amen in the huge Alexandrian synagogue. Seemingly the great distance between the speaker and the outer perimeter of the congregation required such an extreme measure to assure punctual response. We begin to realize more completely the primacy of the Amen response in the Jewish religious experience upon perusal of the Babylonian Talmudic tradition. Some pertinent examples are helpful. Homiletically the Amen is seen as an acronym, derived from the Hebrew phrase 'el melek ne'eman: "What is the meaning of Amen? R. Hanina said: God faithful; King" (Sanhedrin III A). The utterance of· Amen was understood to prolong life itself: "Our Rabbis taught: The Amen uttered in response should be neither hurried nor curtailed nor orphaned, nor should one hurl the blessing, as it were, out of his mouth. Ben 'Azzai says: If a man says an 'orphaned' Amen in response, his sons will be orphans; if a hurried Amen, his days will be snatched away; if a curtailed Amen, his days will be curtailed. But if one draws out the Amen his days and years will be prolonged:' (Berekoth 47 A). The force of the response is seen to be as great as the oath to which it is made: "Samuel said: He who responds Amen after an oath-it is as if he uttered the oath with his own mouth" (Shebu 'oth 29 B). The response given came to be seen as greater than the petition or blessing: "Does this mean it is better to say the blessing (than to make the responses)? Has it not been taught: R. jose says that he who· responds Amen is greater than he who says the _blessing, and R. Nehorai said to him: I swear this is so" (Nazir 66 B). The power of the word also degenerated the level of superstition in the use of amulets ( Yoma 84 A). Nevertheless, what does come through is a reverence and awe for .the power of the response. . These accumulated meanings of Amen seen in the context of Israel's prayer and social life give us greater'insight into the force .and implication of the word itself. The Amen response must be more than a mere reply. Not merely confirmation is suggested, but action as well. The matter of a real· commitment is at •take. The covenant implications are forceful. Nobody could join in an a·ction of such social magnitude and not act differently, i.e. not act in ac-


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HISTORY

cordance with the terms of the agreement. The Old Testament richness of the Amen response is not .some, thing that was lost in the New Testament or among early Christians. We turn now to see the impact of the word in Christian experience.

.

NEW TESTAMENT USAGE

The New Testament generally employs the Amen response of the Old Testament with the same significance and force as the preChristian and concomitant Jewish eras. For example, the doxologies in the apostolic epistles and in Revelation are conclud.ed by Amen. We· find that in this use of Amen the word is usually transliterated, but also sometimes translated into the Greek. Yet there are two absolutely new ways in which the New Testament authors use Amen. The first is the way it is used by Christ; the second is its use to designate Jesus himself in Rev. 3:14. The innovation of Jesus in employing Amen to introduce his sayings, which Jeremias indicates is evidenc~ of the ipsissima vox Jesu, has been the cause of long and scholarly discussion as a particularly unique contribution of the Gospels (J. Jeremias; The Prayers of Jesus [London, 1967], 112-113). For our purpose here, this discussion presents us with further insight into the meaning of Amen as an affirmation of the veracity of a statement. Jesus precedes his sayings with Amen to emphasize their truth and reliability: his word is faithful. It could not be otherwise. His word will never pass away ·(Matt. 24:35). His word is authoritative, since his word is not his own but the Father's (John 7:16). In that sense his word can be called an echo, his Amen a total response to the will of the Father. Jesus can even go so far as to place his Amen ·at the beginning of his word, since his entire person is the Amen (Rev. 3:14; II Cor. 1:20). It is the identification of Jesus as the Amen, reminiscent of !sa. 65:16, which reflects the very nature of his life as truth. His life is a paschal doxology to the Father. It is a doxology to which the only response can be Jesus himself, the Amen, i.e. the divine Yes, with which he acknowledges and obediently responds as the faithful and true witness of the Father. The meaning of this use of Amen is a kind of summary of the whole script~ral understanding of Amen. In Christ this meeting of the mutual self-giving between God and man, the commercium divinum, is found and perfected. It is the meeting point which must


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be the image and paragon of all Christian response. We have early evidence of the importance of this response as Amen in the worship of early Christianity (cf. especially I Cor. 14:16). No doubt the personal Jewish prayer style of Jesus himself and his initial followers had much influence upon this practice. As Dugmore comments, " ... we are forced to conclude that the Synagogue worship was the norm of Christian worship in the days of the Apostles, even to the response Amen by the people at the close of every thanksgiving" (C. Dugmore, The Influence of the Synagogue upon the Divine Office [Westminster, 1944], p. 8). It is also important to note than an intelligent utterance of the Amen was insisted upon by Paul (I Cor. 14:16; II Cor. 1:20). He who said Amen meant that he associated himself with what had been said by another. The element of mutual association reaches an eschatological dimension in the Amen of the heavenly liturgy. The blessed sing the praise of God in joy, expressing the fullness of their happiness (Rev. 5:13-14, 19:4 ). There is a certain jubilant triumphalism, in the best possible sense, which rings throughout the apocalyptic vision, but which expresses itself with special force in the doxologies with their response of Amen. It remains for us now to see how this same Amen rings through subsequent centuries of Christian worship. PATRISTIC INSIGHTS

. The extra-scriptural appreciation of the Amen response is a ¡ forceful example of the perdurance of a Jewish element within the Christian experience. While it is not our purpose here to trace the Amen through early liturgical texts and through the Fathers in any exhaustively integral way, it is nevertheless important to see the continuity of the usage. We intend only to highlight the more important insights and practices regarding the Amen response paying particular attenti~n to its use as a conclusion to the doxology of the anaphora, viz. as the Great Amen. One of the first instances of a liturgical Amen in the extracanonical writings of early Christianity is that of the Didache 10. Here we find the final Amen (of the blessing prayer) coupled with mara¡ natha in reflection of Rev. 22:20. The question of the morphological interpretation of this Amen is very much conditioned by the precise nature of the prayer which it concludes. The exact nature of the


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prayer is still a disputed point. The factor especially germane to our• purpose is the early witness within· Christianity of an Amen which concludes the doxological ending of a blessing prayer. At least in a broad sense the prayer is eucharistic, even if one were to assert that it is not a consecrating eucharistic anaphora in the usual modern sense. If the shadow of doubt hangs over the strictly eucharistic

possibility of the Amen of the Didache, there is no doubt whatsoever regarding the splendid example left us by Justin Martyr (c. 100---<:. 165) in his First Apology (65:3-5). Justin's witness is extremely important first because of its early date and secondly because of the importance he attaches to the people's place in responding to the eucharistic prayer of the presiding minister. He also equates the Hebrew word Amen with the Greekgenoito, "so be it." What his translation lacks (no doubt relying on the Septuagint tradition) in force and depth, is counterbalanced by his obvious concern that his heathen audience understand the meaning of the popular response. Justin is obviously proud of his rightful place as a layman-one of the holy assembly-to give his assent to the solemn thanksgiving to the Father. It is a thanksgiving and an assent which he tells us are made through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Another eady witness to the Amen as a conclusion to the anaphora is that of Hippolytus of Rome. His prayer has a well-developed doxology with what appears to be the popular response of Amen (Apostolic Tradition, 16). It will be a prototype for ensuing centuries of development in anaphoral structures. We find an interesting reference to the Great Amen in the Eccl~siastical History (VII, 9, 4) of Eusebius (260-340) when he quotes a letter of Dionysius of Alexandria to Pope Sixtus II (260-261 ). A Christian who was worried by possible heresy wanted to assure himself of his real adherence to the Catholic Church. Dionysius ·quiets his conscience by pointing out that he has frequently shared in the sacred mysteries and responded Amen to the eucharistic prayer. This Amen became an act of faith in the sense that the faithful response·indicated total adherence to the mystery of salvation, including ecclesial communion, as recounted in the narrative of the thanksgiving. Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373) gives a strong witness to the importance of the Amen as laudatory and as joined to the prayer of


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Christ and the communion of saints (Epistola Heortastica, IV, 5). He also seems to imply a universal Great Amen when he speaks of the universality of the eucharistic sacrifice (XI,11 ). Cyril ..of j.J~u~alem makes several references to the Amen and its importance in the liturgical life of his neophytes as he instructs them at Easffirtide, initiating them more fully into an understanding of the sacred mysteries they have celebrated. He gives reference to the, communion response Amen when he tells them that their response applauds the presence of their king as they make a throne for him when they cross their hands to receive the consecrated bread. But Cyril gives us a more interesting and pertinent example of the Amen. He tells his new ·Christians that Amen signifies genoito; it becomes their seal placed on the divine prayer. However, here we find the Amen not mentioned at what we would consider the terminus of the anaphora, but rather at the end of the dominical oration (V, 18). He possibly sees the Our Father as included in a broad sense in the scope of the thanksgiving; it would be more logical to posit the existence of another preceding doxology with its Amen, not mentioned by Cyril and appropriate to the anaphora itself. The use of the Amen in the liturgy of book eight of the Apostolic Constitutions (latter 4th cent.) is obviously institutionalized by this period. The formula for communion includes a rubric for the people's reception of both species separately with the response of Amen. But most forceful is the explicit mention of the •people's response to the anaphoral doxology: "For to thee, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is all glory, worship, thanksgiving, honor and adoration, now and always to endless ages with end. Let all the people reply: Amen" (VIII, 12). Here we have the clearest primitive rubrical indication within a liturgical text itself of ~he importance of the Great Amen as a popular response to the anaphora. THE PRACfiCE IN THE WEST

In the West, Ambrose of Milan (c. 339-97)·translated Amen as verum est. He gives us" an example of its usage as what inay either be a post-consecratory acclamation or a concluding anaphoral response: "The Lord Jesus himself cries out: This is my body. Before the blessing of the heavenly words appearances bespeak other things; after the consecration the body is signified. The Lord


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himself talks of his blood. Before the consecration one thing [wine] is spoken of; after the consecration it is proclaimed only as blood. And you speak forth: Amen, that ·is, it is true [verum].··What the mouth speaks, the interior mind should co!'fess; what is sounded in speech should be felt as a conviction" (De Mysteriis, 54). We cite the above texts to indicate the emphasis he gives to an intelligent Amen. It is a response that has become a full act of faith expressing the inner experience of the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. .A few years later Jerome (c. 342-420) would write his now famous description of the Amen as a liturgical response when commenting on the faith found in the city of Rome "where the Amen resounds so that it crashes like heavenly thunder and rattles the temples empty of their gods" (Commentarium in epistola ad Galatas, II, Praefatio ). One must be compelled to ask the same question today, not only of the Roman faith, but of that of the entire Christian world, albeit one beset with a measurably different set of idols. ·Augustine of Hippo (354-430) is the doctor who gives us the most ample references to the Amen. He seems to take delight in emphasizing it as a, means of participation and. ratification of prayer on the part of the assembly. It is a theme to which he again and again refers. Yet while his theological acumen penetrates and discovers the fuller sense of the reponse, his etymology is somewhat limited. Speaking of the eucharistic prayer, Augustine says: "To it [eucharistic prayer] you say Amen. To say Amen is to give your signature .. In Latin Amen means true. After this the Lord's prayer is prayed.': (Sermo, VI 3). The. homiletic description ofthe Amen as a signature is resumed again, but more poetically, in his sermo-n against Pelagius: .·;,· My brothers, Your Amen is your signature; Your Amen i~ your assent; Your Amen is your affirmation (Sermo Contra Pelagium, 3 ). He applies the same significance to ·the Amen at the reception of communion when commenting. on I Cor. 12:27: "Therefore, if you are the body of Christ and its members, the mystery of what you are is-placed on the table of the ·Lord:· the mystery of what you are is what you receive: You respond Amen to that which· are are and by responding you imprint your. signature upon it. For you hear the words Body· of Christ, and you reply Amen: Be a member of the body of Christ so that your· Amen be truthful!" (Sermo 72).


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Augustine here.gives us an example of the relationship between the Amen response and the practical reality it must be within the Christian life. He expresses the eminent social value of the Amen. He underlines the solidarity of the faithful with the communal mystery they celebrate. In another sermon the Amen is taken a step further and is actualized in that he terms it a pignus or pledge (Sermo 334 ). The importance of this response is seen first by Augustine's insistence that it cannot be translated. (There are several references; see, e.g. Tractatus in Johannem, XLI: 3.) Secondly Augustine demands that the celebrant pray in a clear voice, loud enough for the assembly to hear in order that they may know to what they are responding Amen. Augustine actually takes to task those ministers and bishops who are slovenly in their invocations to God; clarity is essential (De catechizandis rudibus, IX, 13 ). We have given these several examples of Augustine's thought on the Amen since he, more than any other patristic writer, sums up the understanding and use of the Amen in the patristic period. The parallel with the rabbinic and scriptural positions is obviously striking. In addition, Augustine provides a model for our own appreciation of the :word Amen as a communal response in a contemporary liturgy which demands a full, active and conscious participation. . F.urther study o( the Amen in the patristic period would be abstrusely tendentious at best, especially regarding the primitive doxological Amen of the anaphora, and the manner of its popular participation. Much is hypothetical due to the scarcity of texts. However, we can say that throughout the patristic period we consistently find a doxological conclusion to the anaphora with an Amen specifically addended or at least implied. MEDIEVAL PRACTICE

Here, we intend to highlight aspects and problems of the liturgical¡use of the Amen in the medieval period. Much of this work has already been accomplished. (For examples and further bibliography, see J. Jungmann, Missarum Sollemnia, [5th ed.; Vienna, 1962) II, 339-340, n. 79. See also the classic article by F. Cabrol, "Amen," DACL' 1924), I, Pt. 1, 1558-1559.) Liturgical practice calls for three major uses of the Amen: 1) that within ¡and concluding the anaphora, 2) that of the communion response and 3) that conclud-


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ing non-eucharistic doxologies and other prayers. Our concern here will be primarily with the Amen of the anaphora. The Church has used liturgical celebration as a basic form for pastoral care for centuries. Language and ritual actions must be in an intelligible form if the 'Christian life is to be effective in such a system. Participation in the Amen of the eucharistic doxology concluding the anaphora has been one outstanding witness of this participation. This has been especially true in attesting the communal dimension of the liturgy. The Amen of the people is the ratification of the solemn prayer as proclaimed by the celebrant who prays in the name of all. As we have seen, the Amen is the primary response to both Jewish and Christian prayer. Its use has been especially amplified in the structure of Christian prayer and eventually came not only to conclude, but to punctuate phrases within a prayer, especially when the sense of the integrity of the prayer diminished. In the case of the eucharistic prayer, this is also true in both the East and the West. In the East this penetration of the Amen into the body of the anaphora is especially exemplified in the acclamatory Amen after the consecration of each species. This is generally seen to be a late development. Jungmann describes this usage as the Eastern way of manifesting the general medieval preoccupation about the exact moment in which the consecration takes place (Public Worship, Notre Dame, 1959, p. 133). In the East we also find other forms of participation by means of diverse popular responses interjected throughout the anaphora. In the West there are forms other than an Amen response to highlight the concern for the moment of consecration, e.g., elevation of the species, bells, genuflexions, desire to see, hymns intoned in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. Thus we never find a consecratory Amen in the Roman Canon. Nevertheless, we do find four interpolated Amens at other points in the Roman Canon, viz. after the Communicantes, Hanc igitur, Supplices, and Memento etiam. Only until recent reform have these Amens become optional. (The exact date of the intrusion of these A mens is disputed. See G. Ellard, "Interpolated Amen's in the Canon of the Mass," Theological Studies, VI [1945], 380-382. Hereafter cited as Ellard, "Interpolated Amen's.") As Pierre Salmon points out, these Amens have little to do with the question of the Great Amen and popular participation. Frequently the Amen, while included in the text, was left unsaid,


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left "to the angels to say." (See "Les 'Amen' du canon de Ia messe,". Ephemerides liturgicae, XLII [1928], 496-501. Hereafter cited as Salmon, "Amen du canon." The question of the loud recitation of the canon is really not per~inent; see ibid., pp. 502-505.) By the time the interpolated Amens were firmly entrenched, the Roman Canon was recited silently. The first instance of the interpolated Amens is a solitary Mass-book of the second half of the ninth century; then again c. 985 another instance, also of the same monastery, St. Thierry, Rheims; and then not again until c. 1075. Only in the second half of the twelfth century did these Amens become commonplace. (See Ellard, "Interpolated Amen's," pp. 382-384.) Even with these jugglings of history, the Great Amen was preserved in the West. This is true even in spite of the at first subdued and later silent recitation of the Canon. RUBRICS AND THE ANAPHORA

The antiquity of the doxology and Amen of the Roman Canon is well known. However, the primitive simplicity of an integral, unbroken proclamation. of the anaphora has undergone numerous changes throughout history. · Until the Instructio of 1964 the rubrics of the Missal of Pius V (1570) were in general use: He uncovers the chalice, genuflects, takes the host between the thumb and index finger of his right hand and holding the chalice with his left hand, he makes the sign of the cross-with the host three times over the chalice, saying: Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso; with the host he makes the sign of the cross twice in the distance between himself.lind the chalice, saying: est tibi Deo Patri + omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus + Sancti, slightly [parum] elevating the chalice with the host, he says: omnis honor et gloria. He replaces the host and covers the chalice with the pall, genuflects, rises and· says in an audible voice or sings: Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.'~ · Only with the concluding part of the·doxology did the voice of the celebrant become audible. No mention is made -of the Amen as a popular response .. ·Salmon points-out that it was only in the twelfth century tliat the Per omnia was rubrically separated from the omnis honor et gloria. Stephen of-Bauge, Bishop of Autun ( + 1136), is the first witness to the saying•of the:Per omnia after· replacing the host on the altar. The reason's for the change are obscure; yet it Is certain that it was


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by no means immediately universal. During the fourteenth and part of the fifteenth centuries we find, missals faithful to the ancient practice which was apparently still maintained to that 'J)eriod in Rome. Only with the Missal of Pius V is the new usage completely sanctioned. Seemingly this separation of Per omnia with its Amen was introduced into the Roman liturgy by John Burkhard, the papal master of ceremonies under Innocent VIII. (J. Legg, ed., Tracts on the Mass, Henry Bradshaw Society, Vol. 27 [London;路 1904], 159-160.) ' During the Gallican revival in France the Canori was recited for a while alta voce, which would have unified the full doxology with its Amen response. However, in 1698 an episcopal prohibition was weighed against it. Again in a new printing of the Missal of Meaux in 1709 a reprinted "R" before the final Amen was inserted into the Canon, as well as before the interpolated 'A mens. The priest was expected to say the Canon aloud for popular participation in the Amen responses. -This also soon disappeared. Matters rubrical rested thusuntil the Instructio of September; 1964.

.

MEDIEVAL MASS COMMENTARIES

In an effort to appreciate fully the dynamic of the history of liturgy in relation to the Great Amen some attention should be given to the medieval mass commentary, or the expositiones miBsae as they were called in the路 West. These liturgical explanations emerged as a distinct genre路 of literature which became highly influential in terms ofthe clerical and popular understanding of the liturgy. The expositiones missae followed upon and in a certain sense paralleled the patristic mystogogic catecheses. Nevertheless, the medieval commentary took a distinct route of development. Both the patristic and medieval commentaries had a decidedly pastoral intent. However; the patristic works were primarily for the illuminati; the medieval works were for the instruction of the clergy who in turn were to pass on the teachings to the faithful. The patristic writings were homiletic in nature; the medievalists wrote in an alm'ost textbook style, even to the point of expansion into full theological systems. The Fathers tell tis of certain liturgical details, but generally confine themselves to the路anaphora and the Lord's prayer. The expositiones tend to belabor the details, expanding their allegorical interpretation beyond any recognizable historical form, at the


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same time covering nearly all of the prayers of the mass "ordinary.''

I

The importance of the expositiones has been largely underestimated if not unrecognized. As a genre of literature they have been the educational tool for the liturgy for well over a thousand years in the Christian West. Their influence has perdured to the present century in popular liturgical literature, explanations in hand missals and even in seminary training. They will give us insight into the popular understanding of the Great Amen up to the time of II Vatican Council. A particular problem arises with regard to the actual conclusion of the Roman Canon as treated in the expositiones. In the classic patristic period, and certainly in our own modern age, there is no doubt as to the fact that the eucharistic prayer is concluded by the final doxology and its Amen. Nevertheless, there has been a fluctuation which appears through many of the intervening centuries. As late as 750 in Ordo romanus I (93) we find clear indication that the Canon ends with this doxology and the Great Amen. However, as Jungmann points out, since by at least the ninth century there has been considerable variation depending on the prevailing theory of sacrifice and consecratory prayer or depending on when in the Mass the passion of Christ is fully represented. (Jungmann, Missarum Sollemnia, II, 133-134) Variously the Canon was regarded as ending after the Pater, after the embolism, at the Agnus Dei, or after communion. Even in the Missal of Pius V, although rubrically it seemed fairly clear that the Canon ended at the doxology, the title of canon actionis was extended to the Last Gospel. For this reason, then, we have a variety of emphases in the expositiones regarding the Great Amen. Some clearly stress it as the obvious and unrivaled conclusion of the Canon. When this is not the case, the Amen of the Our Father, or even of the embolism, is strongly emphasized. Apparently. the first instance of the Amen after the Sed Iibera nos a malo is in Alcuin's recension of the sacramentary. Only by degrees does its use become general. It seemingly derives from the Vulgate; it is not found in the Greek New Testament. The question of who recites this Amen also has varied. The thirteenth century Lay-Folks Massbook (T. Simmons, ed., Early English Text Society, Vol. 71 [London, 1879], p. 46.) states clearly that both choir and people respond with the Sed Iibera and the Amen. The twelfth century John Beleth (Explicatio, 47, PL, 202,


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54) likewise combines tbe two. It seems that the practice of the priest saying 'the Amen silently after the communal Sed ¡Iibera began toward the end of the eleventh century. THE IMPOVERISHMENT OF ACCLAMATION

In general it must be said that the expositiones missae do not express the same richness and theological depth that we found in the biblical and patristic meaning of the word Amen. Consequently the Great Amen in medieval commentaries, by comparison, is considerably impoverished. Some expositors do not even mention it, e.g. Peter Damian, John Beleth, Honorius of Autun. As we indicated the actual climactic conclusion of the Canon is freq.uently placed at the Amen of the Our Father, or especially at the Amen of the embolism. In these instances the actual doxological Amen is treated in the expositiones only slightly. We usually find definitions of one sort or another ascribed to the Amen in the commentaries. Yet never do the explanations attain the full depth of the biblical significance. Florus of Lyon (+c. 860) actually comes closest to capturing the ideal as presented in the patristic writers. He underlines both a strong ecclesial dimension as well as popular participation in the Great Amen. His treatment of the Amen of the Pater is also particularly rich, both as regards definition (signaculum, vere, fide/iter, attestatio veritatis), as well as by his incorporation of I Cor. 14:16, a text which so aptly expresses the importance of the Amen response. Nevertheless, Florus' minimal treatment of the Great Amen as such indicates that he does not place as much importance on it as we would insist today in virtue of modern liturgical, biblical and patristic scholarship. (De expositiones missae, 74, 83, PL, 19, ¡64-65, 68.) Generally from the time of Florus we see a decline, almost a degeneration, in the commentaries on the Great Amen. Everything surrounding the conclusion of the canon is given lavish attention, except the Amen itself. Amalar of Metz (c. 780--<:. 850), particularly fails in this regard. Am alar's lengthy commentaries give no attention to the Amen of the eucharistic prayer. Rather he is occupied with his fanciful allegory as it leads him from one gesture to the next in totally random relatedness to scriptural events. Amalar does give attention to the Amen of the embolism, incorporating some of the biblical elements which, however, seem proper to the


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Great Amen itself. His commentary here rightly stresses an ecclesial dimension and popular participation (cf. Liber offici.alis, III, 26, J. Hanssens, ed., Amalarii episcopi opera liturgica omnia, Studi e Testi, Vols. 138-140 [Vatican, 1948-1950]. II, 347-350). THE ALLEGORICAL EMPHASIS

An important fact that we must emphasize is that the notion of the Amimas the vox fidelium never seems to be entirely lost in the exposition tradition. In fact, it must be underlines that in some instances it is quite forcefully expressed, e:g. in the ninth century in Primum in ordinem (PL, 138, 1184). Yet within four hundred years, Albert the Great-(1200-1280) would be caught in a tension between not extending the eucharistic prayer to the '' canibus illiteratis" and at the same time the need to have the consensus of the-same people by their Amen, at least at the embolism (De sacrificio missae, III, 18, 21; A. Borgnet, ed., Opera liturgica omnia [Paris, 1899], 140-142, 157). However, most commentators, such as Sicard of Cremona (1160-1215), Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) and William Durandus (1230-96), do not stress.the question of participation; they¡ are much more concerned with the allegorical spin-off afforded,. rather than with literal liturgical¡ significance. (Sicard, Mitrale, 7, PL, 213, 134; Innocent, De sacrb altaris mysterio, V, 7, PL, 218, 894; Durandus, Rationale divinorum officiorum, IV, 46). Even those who do offer a commentary of substance seem niggardly remiss in the extent of their commentary in comparison to the great volumes written on other, truly insignificant points. This is no.less true of Gabriel Biel (1420-95). Biel!ectures the most extensively of any. commentator on the Amen. His consideration of the Great Amen is no more than. a grammatical explanation and definition, and an acknowledgment of the people's role, with an allegorical note added at the end. However, he does develop an-extensive exposition on the Amen of the Pater. But here his commentary is an obtuse grammatical excursus which- seems to beg the real question of the actual force of the Amen. Likewise-is his briefer treatment of the Amen of the embolism. Nevertheless, BieFs efforts must be recognized as a real-attempt to probe the meaning of the Amen, even if in view of current scholarship his work seems somewhat outside the lines of what today is considered an authentic. interpretation (Canonis misse.ex-


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jiositio, H. ·oberriian and W. Courtenay, eds. 4 vols. [Wiesbaden, 1963-1967], II, 456-462). . The allegory employed with regard to the Great Amen serves as an excellent key to the question of the dependence of exp<;>sitors ori the wo'rk of previous· authors. One basic allegorical theme is that initiated by Amalar for the concluding per omnia saecula saeculorum said' aloud in a silent Canon. Amalar relates this to the·weeping of the women at the tomb of Christ. Subsequently, Sicard, Innocent, Durandus and Biel all make use of the same allegory, but as applied to the people responding Amen to the doxology. We also find dependence indicated in the definitions of the Great Amen offered by Florus, Remigius of Auxerre and Primum in ordinem, all seemingly rooted ·in that' of the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville· (c. 560-636). The tendency generally found in the exposition toward dependence and:even "plagiorism" is clearly evident here (Remigius, De divinis officiis, 506,PL,l01; 1265; Isidore, Etymologiarum sive originum, W. Lindsay,-ed. 2 vols., Scriptorum classicorum bibliothece Oxoniensis [London, 1911], VI, 19; 20). JUIXi!NG THEMEDIEVAL PERIOD

We rriust underscore two important aspects of the entire tradition of the Amen in the'expositiones missae. The first is, that while inany definitions are given to the Great Amen, the notions of affir, mation and truth are never entirely lost. Secondly, while a greater or lesser depth in understanding the Great Amen is demonstrated in the thousand year expanse of the expositiones, and while from the scholarly vantage point of today criticism can thus be rendered against that history, the essence of the Amen as a popular affirmation to prayer is never entirely obfuscated. In fact, it clearly·is a constant throughout'liturgical tradition. More frequently tha·n not the rule of the people affirming and consenting to the eucharistia or actio canonis is emphasized. Thus while we might consider the· overall contribution of the expositiones missae minimal with regard to the Great Amen, we must be prepared to assert that they. did preserve the essentials of meaning and popular participation through a ·period in history which could have undoubtedly seen their demise. Yet it is a period which witnessed a wide variety. of emphases as to how and when the finale of the eucharistic prayer is to be executed. Within this tradition, then, it is conceivable that more


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solemnization of the Our Father or the concluding acclamatio~ of the embolism could serve even today to highlight a climactic conclusion ... Nevertheless, with the understanding of the Amen maintained in the Scripture and the Fathers, the Great Amen must always have first place as the signature and affirmation of the people, which characteristically spells out their eucharistic commitment. The suggestions of the contemporary liturgical movement have been able to be built on what is preserved in this tradition of the Great Amen in the "expositiones missae," viz., the vox fidelium faithfully attesting to the truth of the eucharistic proclamation. From this view of the medieval commentaries, fortified with the biblical and patristic insights we have seen, we are prepared to con, sider the significance of the Great Amen in the worship of today .. MODERN LITURGICAL PRACTICE AND DEVELOPMENT

The magTUI charta of the liturgical movement, Mediator Dei, encourages popular participation in the Eucharist, Pius XII especially singled out the Great Amen as a principal vehicle for this engagement of the worshiping community. He quotes the doxology of the Roman Canon and then states that the people are to answer Amen. This is done in the context of discussing the dignity of the Christian because of baptism which calls him to be "conwletely and most intimately united with the _great High Priest and with his earthly minister''. in the offering of the sacrifice. At the same time Christians should "not forget to. offer themselves and their. cares. their sorrows and worries, their miseries and their. needs at the same time together with their crucified Divine Head". (AAS, 39, [1947], 560). Certainly the words of the pontiff came as something of a fulfillment for a long hoped for .dream of the liturgical movement. Yet much-needs to be accomplished ,for the full implementation of Mediator Dei, and the "full, active and conscious participation demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, •• as envisioned by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 14, in its reform of December 4, 1963. The pastoral ideal is clearly linked to a popular understanding of the Amen response which appreciates its. primal importance. It is an u.:.derstanding which will lift the Great Amen from being a lame; feeble and conditioned reflex response to a brJght and 'fresh cry of assent rising from the interior of a committed heart ..In this way the Amen to the eucharistic prayer• becomes the seal· on the new cove-


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nant which is celebrated and authenticated in each newly gathered and therefore unique community. Obviously as much depends on sound liturgical catechesis as on eagerness of spirit. The Missal¡ of Paul VI restores the unity of gesture and text to the concluding portion of the eucharistic prayer: "He takes the chalice and the paten with the host and, lifting them up [elevans], sings or says: Per ipsum . . . saeculorum." This rubric is a step beyond the Instructio of 1964 which indicated that only the host was to be elevated with the chalice, and then only parum, slightly elevated. The present sacramentary restores a full elevation of the species at the end of the eucharistic prayer. Moreover, it is envisioned that the doxology and the Amen are normally to be sung. In general the acclamations of the eucharistic prayer are always to be sung if any text of the celebration is to be sUJig. In liturgy music underscores the importance and solemnity of a particular moment or text of the service. How strange it is that we so often solemnize by singing those parts of the mass which are least important: arriving and leaving, and the preparation of the gifts (setting the table)' Frequently we tax the musical ability of the community by imposing one of the more difficult forms of liturgical music, the hymn, to the neglect of that which is more simply achieved in terms of participation and effectively rendered in terms of musical artistry. The texts of the mass are what are primary in participation. The acclamations are the texts which need to be sung before all else. There is nothing more doleful than the dynamic proclamation of the eucharistic prayer, climaxed by its concluding doxology with its demand for full participation by the whole community, only to be followed by a whimpering, almost inaudible "Amen" scattered from throughout the community or squeaked solitarily from a distant choir loft. An anemic muttering at best! The Great. Amen with the other acclamations of the eucharistic prayer is a shout of approval and commitment to be offered by God's people. The Amen should be sung out, full throated and vibrant. It is a confession of faith and an approval of all that is proclaimed before the people to the Father by their prayer leader. If an authentic and interior sense of participation is ever to be achieved we must first give serious attention to this most serious moment of our worship. God deserves no less! Our plea is one shared by others. The Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy of the NCCB encourages such involvement, with a helpful


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recommendation. "The Great Amen at the eqd of the eucharistic prayer r~quires care. It is difficult 'to make enthusiastic acclamation of the single two-syllable word. Composers shoufd feel free to repeat it several times or to explicate its many meanings when setting it to music." .("The Place of Music in Eucharistic Celebrations," Crux: Special (February 16, 1968), IV, B, I, b.) The same BCL in conjunction with the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, further enforces this position: "The worshippers assent to the ellcharistic prayer and make it their own in the Great Amen. To be most effective, the Amen may be repeated or augmented. Choirs may harmonize and expand' upon the people's acclamation". (Music in Catholic Worship, 58 [Washington, D.C., 1972], p. 14; see also nos. 53-57). Much effort has been extended in the Church in North America to give due emphasis to the Great Amen as a sung acclamation by the people. Nearly all approved aids for participation in the Mass contain provision for a sung Amen. Frequently, if not in the majority of instances, the Amen is in fact doubled or even tripled. Often it is coupled with Alleluia or other appropriate phrases. Much of course will depend on the particular congregation, their liturgical background and previous formation. Most importantly, the success of the Great Amen or any acclamation will depend on how the practice of popular participation is presented to the individua 1 assembly by those charged with the responsibility of leadership. CONCLUSION

Our purpose has been to review the biblical, patristic, medieval and modern understanding of the Amen response as it relates to the conclusion of the eucharistic prayer. Our method has been historical, in order to illustrate the highs and lows of liturgical experience through the ages. The only true conclusion to what we have discussed cannot be relegated to the terminus of an article such as this. Our history is a living history. Our worship is a living worship. The .only reasonable co~clusion is that which is effected in. the pastoral practices of our churches. Our conclusion is the challenge articulated so well by¡ Jerome to thunder our affirmation. This challenge will be met when the echo of our Amen rings not only through the halls of our temples, but when it rings deeply within the hearts of God's people who once again bind themselves in covenant to the Father of all blessing.


AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE Louis John Cameli is an assistant professor in Ascetical Theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois; he ¡ received his S.T.D., with a specialization in spirituality, from the Gregorian University's Institute of Spirituality in 1974. Adela Yarbro Collins is Assistant Professor of New Testament at McCormick Theological Seminary. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She is author ¡of The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation (1976). Her articles and reviews have been published in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Journal of Biblical Literature and Harvard Theological Review. John J. Collins is Associate Professor of Scripture at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and has previously taught at University College, Dublin. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is author of Sibylline Oracles of Egyptian Judaism (1974) and The Apocalyptic Vision of the Book of Daniel (1977). His articles and reviews have been published in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vetus Testamentum, Irish Theological Quarterly and other journals. Peter Coughlan, Vice Rector of the English College, Rome, was a staff member of the post-conciliar Liturgy Consilium and Congregation for Divine Worship. Pope Paul VI appointed him consultor to Secretariate for Christian Unity in 1973 and consultor to the Congregation for Sacraments and Worship in 1975. James L. Empereur, S.J., Ph.D., is the founder ann coorninator of the Institute for Spirituality ann Worship at. the .Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, California. John Gallen, S.J., S.T.D., is Director of the Murphy Center for Liturgical Research (Notre Dame) and the Associate Professor of Liturgy at Notre Dame University. He is on the executive Board of the North American Academy of Liturgy. 157


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Dennis W. Krouse, S.T.D., is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of San Diego, member of the faculty o(St. Francis Seminary, Director of San Diego Diocese Center for Liturgy and Prayedind¡ AdVisor to:Hishops' Committee on Liturgy. Raimundo Panikkar (ordained in 1946) 'was a member of the first Liturgical Commission for Vatican II and of the Roman Synod during the Pontificate of John XXIII. On the subject of .ritual he has written several articles and two books. Since 1955 he has been engaged in theory and practice of an Indian Liturgy in the Holy City of Varanasi. He is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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