Saturday, August 02, 2008

Active Participation

What I wrote yesterday must be balanced with the call of Pope St Pius X and Vatican II for the active participation of the faithful in the Church's work of praise. Is it perhaps the case that 'full and active participation' is controversial because it is understood in a modernist, subjectivist context? In other words, we don't feel like we are participating unless we are 'getting something out of it?'

In contending that the effects of the sacrifice of the Mass should not be judged by our subjective response, I am not therefore advocating a return to mandatory attendance without comprehension (and certainly not routine abstention from communion). Rather, the gravity of the Mass calls for a deeper penetration of the liturgical action by our minds and hearts than a mere participation in something that makes me feel better.

Part of my strong response to our present circumstance, as I indicated yesterday, is the overwhelming fact of injustice, cruelty and despair in the world. The Precious Blood shed on the Cross is offered 'for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven'. Christ's death is the answer to horrible mystery of sin and suffering. Our conscious consent to bind ourselves to the New Covenant in His Blood means that we, too, become an offering 'so that sins may be forgiven'. We partake, therefore, in the Church's liturgical celebration in praise of God not merely to get a nugget of insight each day (though we should welcome this when it happens), but to 're-present' the saving Sacrifice and 're-enlist' in the struggle against evil and death. On a mystical level, this is of supreme consequence for those who suffer now, but whose lives we cannot directly affect by corporal works of mercy (it also implies our obligation to help those whom we can). Rather, we implore God to remember His mercy by placing ourselves at the foot of the Cross 'in memory of' our dear Savior Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

healthily sanguine said...

Great post, thank you. It is good to be reminded!


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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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