Monday, December 29, 2008

Poll-Release Monday #63

Here is your new poll question, the last poll of 2008:
  • True or false?: Since Confirmation gives the Holy Spirit to strengthen the believer in his witness to the world, the denial of one's faith requires a re-Confirmation to restore the Spirit of Witness.
What do you think? Vote in the poll in the sidebar.

As for the previous poll, here are the results:
  • True or false?: The liturgy is the work of Mary and all the saints, as well as that of Jesus.
    • True: 18 (64%)
    • False: 10 (36%)
The correct answer is:
  • TRUE, cf. CCC no. 1187: The liturgy is the work of the whole Christ, head and body. Our high priest celebrates it unceasingly in the heavenly liturgy, with the holy Mother of God, the apostles, all the saints, and the multitude of those who have already entered the kingdom.

    1139: It is in this eternal liturgy that the Spirit and the Church enable us to participate whenever we celebrate the mystery of salvation in the sacraments.
I think the part that confused a lot of people was the notion of liturgy being "the work of" the people. What does that mean? If you take it to mean that the liturgy is created by man or that it is an essentially (or solely) a human work, then that would be incorrect. The liturgy is God working with us to achieve our sanctification.

If by "the work of the people" you mean that the entire Body of Christ celebrates the liturgy and participates in it, then you would be correct, and I think that this is the sense that the Catechism is employing. Note that no. 1187 is from the "In Brief" section at the end of the article "Celebrating the Church's Liturgy." It is attempting to summarize nos. 1136-1144, which appear at the beginning and provide the necessary context for understanding no. 1187. They read as follows:
  • I. WHO CELEBRATES?

    1136 Liturgy is an "action" of the whole Christ (Christus totus). Those who even now celebrate it without signs are already in the heavenly liturgy, where celebration is wholly communion and feast

    The celebrants of the heavenly liturgy

    1137 The book of Revelation of St. John, read in the Church's liturgy, first reveals to us, "A throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne": "the Lord God." It then shows the Lamb, "standing, as though it had been slain": Christ crucified and risen, the one high priest of the true sanctuary, the same one "who offers and is offered, who gives and is given." Finally it presents "the river of the water of life . . . flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb," one of most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit.

    1138 "Recapitulated in Christ," these are the ones who take part in the service of the praise of God and the fulfillment of his plan: the heavenly powers, all creation (the four living beings), the servants of the Old and New Covenants (the twenty-four elders), the new People of God (the one hundred and forty-four thousand), especially the martyrs "slain for the word of God," and the all-holy Mother of God (the Woman), the Bride of the Lamb, and finally "a great multitude which no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues."

    1139 It is in this eternal liturgy that the Spirit and the Church enable us to participate whenever we celebrate the mystery of salvation in the sacraments.

    The celebrants of the sacramental liturgy

    1140 It is the whole community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates. "Liturgical services are not private functions but are celebrations of the Church which is 'the sacrament of unity,' namely, the holy people united and organized under the authority of the bishops. Therefore, liturgical services pertain to the whole Body of the Church. They manifest it, and have effects upon it. But they touch individual members of the Church in different ways, depending on their orders, their role in the liturgical services, and their actual participation in them." For this reason, "rites which are meant to be celebrated in common, with the faithful present and actively participating, should as far as possible be celebrated in that way rather than by an individual and quasi-privately."

    1141 The celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized who, "by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that through all the works of Christian men they may offer spiritual sacrifices." This "common priesthood" is that of Christ the sole priest, in which all his members participate:

    • Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people," have a right and an obligation by reason of their Baptism.

    1142 But "the members do not all have the same function." Certain members are called by God, in and through the Church, to a special service of the community. These servants are chosen and consecrated by the sacrament of Holy Orders, by which the Holy Spirit enables them to act in the person of Christ the head, for the service of all the members of the Church. The ordained minister is, as it were, an "icon" of Christ the priest. Since it is in the Eucharist that the sacrament of the Church is made fully visible, it is in his presiding at the Eucharist that the bishop's ministry is most evident, as well as, in communion with him, the ministry of priests and deacons.

    1143 For the purpose of assisting the work of the common priesthood of the faithful, other particular ministries also exist, not consecrated by the sacrament of Holy Orders; their functions are determined by the bishops, in accord with liturgical traditions and pastoral needs. "Servers, readers, commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function."

    1144 In the celebration of the sacraments it is thus the whole assembly that is leitourgos, each according to his function, but in the "unity of the Spirit" who acts in all. "In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should carry out all and only those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the norms of the liturgy."
I hope that helps to explain things better. What are your thoughts on this particular aspect of the liturgy? Leave a comment and let me know.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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