Skip to comments."While We're At It": What can we do to show that the Eucharist is a communal activity?
Posted on 10/29/2004 2:41:11 AM PDT by AncientAirs
What can we do to show that the Eucharist is a communal activity? Greeting people at the door is a start. It alerts us to the fact that we are going to do something with others. . . . I have found some Catholics who think this whole welcoming business is destroying our traditional sense of reverence and replacing it with some folksy, feel-good experience. This is a false conclusion. If you wish to invite a guest into your home, you must have space. To invite others into our hearts and our worship, we must make room for them. The enemy of reverence is not hospitality but arrogance. Despite my being intimidated by the flat assertion, This is a false conclusion, I dare to wonder if the author, a professor of theology writing in America, might tolerate a modest dissent. Note the language: we are going to do something; our traditional sense of reverence; your home; our worship. Is there not something to be said for reverence for what God is doing in His house through the liturgy of the Church, the saints in heaven and pilgrims on earth? There are many conversion stories in which the narrator describes quietly entering a Catholic church, maybe even sneaking in, and being struck by the statues and candles, and, most of all, by the people kneeling in rapt devotion as the priest at the altar lifts the consecrated host and declares, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. There may be one, but I have never read a conversion story in which a person was drawn to the Catholic Church by the kind of chumminess that one might encounter at a birthday party or around the water cooler at the office. This is a false conclusion, rumbles our liturgist. Im sorry, sir, but since Ive had the temerity to go so far, Ill go a step further and, at the risk of your wrath, suggest that it is really not so important to show that the Eucharist is a communal activity. Thats not the point. The point is what God has done, and is doing in the Mass, reconciling the world to Himself through the sacrifice of Christ. The eucharistic community is created precisely by our turning away from ourselves and toward Christ. The wonderful friendliness of our wonderful selves is really quite beside the point. And to think otherwise is, well, arrogance.
Was intended for posting in "Religion" forum. Later found it here.
"The wonderful friendliness of our wonderful selves is really quite beside the point."
Well said, Fr. Neuhaus. I'm not even sure it's supposed to be "communal."
To me it feels very, very private.
But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss.141 There is then brought to the president of the brethren142 bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to ge/noito [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.
Chapter LXVI.-Of the Eucharist.
And this food is called among us Eu0xaristi/a143 [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.144 For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me,145 this is My body; "and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood; "and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.
Chapter LXVII.-Weekly Worship of the Christians.
And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday,146 all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability,147 and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given,148 and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.
* St. Justin Martyr's "First Apology" describes something rather 'chummy,' what with all the kissing and sharing and stuff...but, what did he know, he even referred to a president, communion in the hand, folks all chummy kissing one another, bringing new converts along with them to the Eucharist and stuff. Just another bad fruit of Vatican II I guess."
I think it odd to object to someone greeting you as you arrive at Church
The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church.
Absolutely, without question, TRUE! Bringing the Eucharist down a level is stupid, if I might be so bold. Taking kneelers out of the Church (part of the same philosophy, no doubt) is stupid, if I might be so bold.
"Every head will bow, every knee will bend." Little by little they have destroyed the Reverence that must be present when you Receive The Holy Eucharist.
I don't know if this destruction of Reverence is done for a reason or not, but it should be stopped, if it can be stopped at this point.
Another thing, whose bright idea was it to institute singing as one is Receiving the Holy Eucharist? How about a little quiet, so people can have a conversation with their Lord?
"I think it odd to object to someone greeting you as you arrive at Church"
I'm there to get closer to God, not men.
A nod would be okay, but I don't want somebody insisting on pumping my fin and making small talk.
"The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church."
Priests are supposed to celebrate mass every day, even if nobody's there.
"How about a little quiet, so people can have a conversation with their Lord?"
I'm with you.
Fr. Neuhaus is right to an extent. The worship ceremony should not be distracted by the mundane jibba jabba.
However, churches are also extremely bad about welcoming newcomers into their communities. There are way too many cliques and arrogant, unfriendly types it seems.
One would have to be a dedicated, serious seeker to put up with such people, and frankly many lost souls that seek are not prepared for such an ordeal.
I don't know if this destruction of Reverence is done for a reason or not, but it should be stopped, if it can be stopped at this point
1st Council of Nicea. Canon 20
Since there are some who kneel on Sunday and during the season of Pentecost, this holy synod decrees that, so that the same observances may be maintained in every diocese, one should offer one's prayers to the Lord standing.
Objecting to a friendly greeting in the narthex brings you closer to God?
Is there anything to prevent you from remaining after Mass to silently comunicate with God?
How about a little quiet, so people can have a conversation with their Lord?
The Apocalypse of Saint John the Apostle
Of the Lamb and of the virgins that follow him. Of the judgments that shall fall upon the wicked.
1 And I beheld: and lo a Lamb stood upon mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousand, having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the noise of many waters and as the voice of great thunder. And the voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers, harping on their harps.
*sounds to me that God might enjoy the singing ...
I'll heed Scipture's 'Every head must bow, and every knee must bend' while the Councils continue to deliberate which is right and which is wrong. Which is proper and which is not.
Mother Angelica thinks taking the kneelers out is stupid too, and she advises all to kneel no matter that they are gone. Scripture first, Councils second.
Can. 906 A priest may not celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so
God might also enjoy the quiet. He also might enjoy The Communion with him to not have to wait, and perhaps lose a bit of saliency by waiting until after the Mass is completed. You don't know God's mind, and I don't either, so my guess is as bound to be correct as yours. And in light of that, I will seek the quiet.
If an Ecumenical Council decides something you dislike or oppose, do you think yourself free to disobey?
Mother Angelica thinks taking the kneelers out is stupid too...
Well, that settles it :)
The Christian Church ain't a quaker meeting
And as far as the hymn singing, do you think they were singing at the last supper as Christ said "Take this and eat of it, for This is my Body which will be given up for you?" Or maybe, do you suppose, that there was a certain quietude which was more condusive to Conversation with the Lord? The singing I was referring to had to do with it taking place as the Holy Eucharist is administered.
: www.newadvent.com click on "kneeling"
Well that settles it then. :)