Catholic Church: January 2004 Archives

An Excerpts from A Key. . .

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from A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist
Abbot Vonier

The urgent problem is, how am I to be llinked up effectively with that great mystery of Christ's death? When shall I know that Christ is not only the Redeemer, but also my Redeemer? Mere membership with the human race does not link me up with Christ, though it be true that Christ died for the whole race. This membership is indeed a condition, sine qua non , of my becoming one day a member of Christ; but a member of Christ I shall not become unless some new realities be brought into play. These new realities which are the link between me and Christ are faith and the sacraments. (p. 2)

One more passage to give a flavor of the power of the exposition and of the ideation--

Saint Thomas divides the life of mankind into four seasons--the state of innocence before the fall, the state of sin before Christ, the state of sin after Christ, and the state of bliss in heaven. No sacraments are necessary in the first and in the last state; sacraments are necessary to man in the two middle states. But it is in the "state of sin after Christ" that sacraments reach their perfection; the seven sacraments of the Christian dispensation are sacraments in the highest sense, because, besides signifying the grace which is the inheritance of faith, they also contain that grace and cause it.* (p. 10)

*Nostra autem sacramenta gratiam continent, et causant." Summa III q. 61, a. 4, ad 2.

It is this sparkling clarity of thought and strongly rhythmic and orotund prose that is one of the chief delights of reading this book. Once again, I strongly urge everyone who is interested in this subject to consider supporting Zaccheus by purchasing the book.

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While I attempt to conform to all reasonable requests of the GIRM, there are some aspects that I find just plain annoying. Todd mentions one of these. Below is my response to him (See January 6, 2004: Checking in on IGRM changes):

I find the head nodding rather distracting and insufficiently respectful--typical of a society that has forgotten common and uncommon courtesy. You are in the presence of Him to Whom you owe all that you are, all that you have, all that you will ever be, and so you nod your head and give the big thumbs up and a "Cool, Dude!"

I prefer the Byzantine and Eastern rite profound bow (however, I do not do this in Roman Rite Churches because it is out of place and contra received instruction). Mindfulness, to my perception is mindfulness also of the relative stature of the two participants in this communion. As one protestant is quoted to have commented, "If I believed as you did regarding the Eucharist, I would have to prostrate myself upon the floor in its presence."

A head bobbing to the King of the Universe is somehow lacking.

All of that said, do I do the little head-bobbing thing? Yes. Why? Because that is what obedience is about--not my preferences, not what I find to my taste, not what I think is the right way to go about things. I have lived long enough and have had sufficient experience to realize that I am wrong at least as often as I am right. Moreover, St. Teresa of Avila advises us on the subject of obedience to do all that your spiritual advisor tells you to do and to pray about it. If it is in God's plan for you to do something else, then God will move your advisor to change his command. Until then, it is binding. And so, as a faithful son of my mother the Church, I obey--but I don't particularly like it.

Later: I suppose one of the things I find distasteful regarding this discipline is that it seems once again to detract from a sense of reverent awe and respect. One more time we are making casual what should never be other that awesome and awe-inspiring. Regardless of the time that it takes, if we were doing this properly, it seems, we would all be kneeling at an altar rail. (And this from someone who is not particularly "traditionalist" in any of his views.) I just can't think of any other way to appear before the King of All.

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"Beloved, we are God's children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed. " 1 John 2:32(?)

And why does it matter?

Think about how much you love your own children. Think about how your heart melts when they ask forgiveness. And now turn that to the true majesty who is Lord and Creator of All. We are dim reflections of His glory. So what is true for us is more true of Him.

Remembering who we are is a wonderful way to embark on a new year. Let us recall and place ourselves under His headship. He is Lord, Creator, Master of all, and Father whose heart breaks with love.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Catholic Church category from January 2004.

Catholic Church: December 2003 is the previous archive.

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