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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Words, Words, Words -- Steppingstones to the Word Made Flesh!

My mother loved words. She used to read the dictionary. Really! It amused us children, but as an adult I appreciate her fascination with words.

I was thinking about that this morning at adoration. I'm reading The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict XVI. As I read the section on Sacred Time I thought, "I want to look up the derivation of some of these words: liturgy, reality, epiphany, cosmology."

 It isn't that I don't understand what I'm reading and need word definitions. But I think understanding can be enriched by plumbing the depth of word meanings. Where did they come from? How has the word changed? Why does the author use this particular word instead of another? I guess that's my inner English major coming out.

The chapter on Sacred Time sent my mind off to C.S. Lewis' space trilogy. I think it was because the cardinal was discussing the relation of the liturgical year to the cosmos: the sun as a metaphor for the Son, the Communion of saints like constellations the Moon having no light of its own, but reflecting light -- as Mary reflects her Son. Lewis was fascinated by the universe, particularly the Medieval Cosmos. That's not what Ratzinger is discussing, but that's where my mind went. And one particular section about the Magi stopped me short with its depth and beauty:
The narrative of the adoration of the Magi became important for Christian thought, because it shows the inner connection between the wisdom of the nations and the Word of promise in Scripture; because it shows how the language of the cosmos and the truth-seeking thought of man lead to Christ. The mysterious star could become the symbol for these connections and once again emphasize that the language of the cosmos and the language of the human heart trace their descent from the Word of the Father, who in Bethlehem came forth from the silence of God and assembled the fragments of our human knowledge into a complete whole.
I have always loved nature in all its manifestations: the night sky, the power of thunderstorm, the rhythm of waves like the heartbeat of the earth, the fascinating life of a honeybee hive. All of them seem to me to bear the fingerprint of God. Which is why I can never understand atheism; God is so clearly the Master of the universe. Since reading Cardinal Ratzinger's book I will, from now on, think of all these things as the "language of the cosmos and the truth-seeking thought of man" that "lead to Christ." Nature and faith -- they go together like the stem and the flower.


TLM said...

I just read this morning on 'Veritas Vincit' blog site about a very 'secret' commission formed by our illustrious 'Pope' that is studying to put into practice a 'Mass' that includes Lutherans and Anglicans and how we can include them in our 'Mass'. It is reported by Marcos Tosatti one of the journalists in Rome that says at this point it's a 'rumor' but his sources are solid. The main change in this 'new Mass' would be in the Eucharistic Consecration. This is the part of course they are having the most problems with because the Protestants don't believe in Transubstantiation. So.......what they are kicking around is to have each 'Presider' be completely silent at this part of the so called 'Mass' and say the words of their 'Consecration' in their heads. The next 'breaking of this silence' would be when the entire congregation will recite the Our Father together. They also are working on how to form lines to receive.
Supposedly, this is a Commission that is sworn to complete secrecy. Although I don't like the idea of reporting 'rumors', we have heard reports about 'changes' in the Mass before about a year ago. I hate when these frightening kinds of rumors surface because it has always seemed to me 'where there's smoke, there's fire'. Pray God this is a 'nothing burger' as they say, because if this were to become reality, our Mass would no longer be. What comes to mind is the 'Abomination of Desolation.' And literally, into the catacombs we go.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

This is not so far fetched. In the Richmond diocese under Walter Sullivan, there was a parish that had a joint Mass with Protestants. The group stayed together for the Liturgy of the word, then went to opposite sides of the hall for the Eucharistic prayer. I wrote to Sullivan at the time and he claimed it was approved by Rome. I never believed him, but maybe he was just ahead of his time.

I pray this is inaccurate, but it is certainly not beyond belief.