But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
While I am an ardent devotee and follower of the ongoing reorientation of the liturgy towards a more holistic appreciation of tradition and in fact, I frequently assist in the celebration of the EF Form, I am, for lack of a better term, "turned off" by the seeming disconnect of this movement and many of its supporters with the task of the Church today in social transformation and the promotion of social justice. While it is true that the Church must be primarily engaged in sacramental activities and must promote participation in these sacramental activities as the ultimate end and of course beginning of any social transformation effort, and that the Eucharist itself is the highest form of our experience of social justice, I seem and correct me if I'm wrong, to find many liturgical enthusiasts existing as if in a socio-political vacuum where the material structures of poverty and oppression are assumed to be capable of being automatically sanctified by our efforts towards sacrifice or by the grace of the Eucharist. In a context such as the Philippines, where priests have both material and symbolic power to begin projects and engagements that may (or may not) challenge existing patterns of injustice and where the Church (and religion at that in general) has a historical role in provoking movements that call attention to these structural forces, I believe that priests are called and should be challenged not just to render Eucharistic celebrations more faithful to the rubrics of the Church or to fulfill their breviary duties but also to make it nearer to the masses and the poor whose faith experiences are challenged and pulled from all sides of their daily lives. Discussions about dogma and tradition are yes, extremely important in today's multicultural, tolerant and hedonistic world which no longer recognizes authority. But to abscond from the challenge and task of social/political transformation and to silence efforts that do so or treat them as secondary or less important appear to me to be too myopic an interpretation of the Eucharistic challenge to break our bodies in the same way that Christ has done for his disciples and for all of us. The seeming silence of the liturgical movement on the post-Vatican II efforts to make the Church truly sensitive to the needs of its flock makes me a little uncomfortable. I think that the challenge for post-colonial devotees of traditional Catholic liturgy and practices is to situate and locate these practices as a form of critique of the ongoing neoliberal onslaught that too often neglects forms of community building that are not hinged upon concepts of liberal solidarity and individualism. I find something so radical in the "silencing" involved in the EF form of the Mass because it critiques the demand even among leftist and identity politics intellectuals today to privilege the proliferation of political voices as if their very presence in the stream of public affairs automatically endorses a politics of social justice. I guess, what I'm really trying to point out here is that liturgical enthusiasts must find a way to bridge this movement with efforts of the Church for social action and developing new forms of solidarity. Rather than insist on arguments that foreclose the possibility of opening this experience to a wider majority and insisting on exclusivist notions of community-building (we are EF attendees, you are NO attendees, let's not converse or love the pre-Vatican II mass, you love the post-Vatican II mass, let's celebrate our masses in our way), I guess and I suggest that liturgical enthusiasts in the EF form or in the hermeneutics of continuity must also transform the way in which such tradition is imparted to our people in accordance with the challenges and demands of both spiritual and material emancipation from poverty.
Concretely, I think what I'm looking for is how this Eucharistic encounter is sustained within the movement via extending it to real, personal extra ecclesial encounters with the poor and the oppressed? What kind of spirituality can this reform of the reform offer to those who'd like a marriage of both traditional Catholic practices and the practical, even pragmatic demands of engaging in emancipatory social projects that attempt to mitigate effects of social injustices? What support mechanisms aside from apologetic circles and Bible discussion groups can this reform of the reform engender so as to correct misguided efforts of social action even among Catholic actors? Apologies for the rather unwieldy argument and the inchoate articulation.
I noticed and I heard there are many hypocrites in the traditional circles (priests and lay)...
There are hypocrites everywhere. It's human nature. St. Peter himself was a hypocrite denying Jesus three times.I think that priests like all of us definitely need to work more on their spiritual life and as laymen we can play a role by supporting them in their spiritual life as they support us in ours.However we should not limit the spiritual life to just those mentioned. Intellectually study and the study of the Word can be equally benefiting to some. We each are made uniquely and have unique and changing spiritual needs and attractions. We need a wide diverse of spiritual practices to address the needs of all Christian priests and lay.
For instance, I don't find devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, at the current moment, particularly moving. I am moved by studying the Bible and the teaching of the Church. I've been enjoying lectio divina. And I've always loved Morning and Evening Prayer particularly as celebrated by Anglican Use Catholics. Some priests could benefit from more prayer. Others by more intellectual/logical pursuits.
Hi Bruce, i missed to include "praying the Breviary." Your comment allowed me to recall it. I think the Holy Father wishes our priests to look at the spirituality of St. Jean Marie Vianney as something very very essential in our days. The cure of Ars was known to be not an intellectual but he compensated it by spending hours praying to the Blessed Sacrament and it transformed the community of Ars. After all, the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian lives. It is necessary for priests to regain back their special intimate relationship with Christ.
The Cur of Ars is indeed a wonderful role model for us and especially for our priests, but he is not the only one. Thomas Aquinas is another role model, a different type. Each one of us is different. We were individually created by God. We have different personalities and needs, different paths and different callings. Just as no two people's friendship or marriage is exactly the same as another couple's, no two relationships with God is exactly the same. For many the Holy Eucharist is the be all and end all. They need little else to have a full relationship with Christ. For others, the Holy Eucharist is just one part of their relationship. The same with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. For me, Adoration has never moved me. It's doesn't fit my personality or my relationship with Christ. Bible study has moved me, regularly. Whenever I pick up the Bible, read the different translations, and have deep meaningful, prayerful, intellectual conversations about it, I feel my relationship with God deepen. It is for this reason that I miss the Adult Sunday School and other classes that my parish in the US had. To me, life without intellectual pursuits is empty. Many of my relationships, including my relationship with God, has strong intellectual components. Reason is one of God's great gift. My relationship is also deepened by participating in the Daily Office (especially the Anglican Use version), reading at mass, and serving the poor. Mother Teresa and her order have been a great inspiration to me. But this is me. Not everyone is like me nor do I expect everyone to have an identical relationship with God. One of the great gifts of the Church is it amazing diversity -- the numerous liturgies, Uses and Rites; all the saints and mystics; the different denominations and religious orders, etc. She contains the Cur of Ars, Thomas Aquinas and John Henry Newman. She contains the Tridentine Mass, Anglican Use, and all the numerous others. Some of her great teaching has been lost in recent years and I think that Benedict is calling on us to rediscover the Tridentine Mass, the Cur of Ars, Gregorian Chant, and others, not to replace but to be alongside. Often in recent decades, traditional practices have been replaced, such as the Tridentine Mass. That should not have happened.The formulation that the Eucharist is "the source and summit" of our Christian lives is not a formulation I would have used. To me, Christ is the source and summit. The Eucharist is certainly important for the liturgical life of the Church and has been sorely neglected. Too often it is just an afterthought, its beauty unrecognized. Too often attention is not paid to it and to doing it properly. But is it THE source? Is it THE most important and highest in every Christian's life? For some, yes, clearly. But for all?
I can't believe what I am reading. Isn't the Eucharist Christ himself? How could there be a dichotomy between Christ and the Eucharist? Sacrosanctum Concilium says that the Eucharist is the culmen et fons of Christian life because the Eucharist is Christ. The homily of the Holy Father at Solemn Vespers of Peter and Paul this year is worth our meditation in order to shed light on this matter.
Bruce, the Holy Father has a reason for choosing St. Jean Marie Vianney as a role model particularly for our priests on the year of priests. I believe that he wants all the priest to grow spiritually this year to restore the sense of the sacred and at the same time transform us too through the example of our priests.
Anon 12:08 very well said. That is why the Holy Father looks at the Cure of Ars as the model for priests to restore their spirituality through daily prayer and focus on the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament Who is Christ Himself.
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