Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Fr. Blankenhorn on Spiritual Communion

The Exodus took Israel through a long period of profound physical penance and spiritual purification: the two seem to be inseparable in the spiritual life. The desert became the only way for Israel to reach the Promised Land, and by God’s saving will, the people could only traverse this barren place by turning to the Lord each day for manna and quail. Israel had to learn radical trust in God, to recognize her utter dependence on him for everything: the direction of travel, the way to order the community’s life, and, of course, the reception of sufficient food and water.


Updated (4/9):

An essay touching upon the same topic, but much shorter. Still, it refers to the same two sources, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

St. Augustine's Journey to Easter by C. C. Pecknold
Yet it is precisely in this exile that we must find our way to Calvary this year. We may be weary pilgrims, spiritually gaunt for so much sacramental fasting, but we are still pilgrims who must press our lips to the Cross. We cannot enter into the Paschal Triduum through Skype or Zoom. So what are we to do, we poor banished children of pandemic?

St. Thomas Aquinas gives us a hint: “the reality of the sacrament can be had through the very desire of receiving the sacrament.” He makes a distinction here between the signum and the res—the sacrament and the reality that the sacrament communicates. It is a distinction that goes back to St. Augustine.

There is at least one objection to this in the combox, concluding that if it is true, it renders going to Church superfluous. (Actually, it would render receiving the Sacraments superfluous.) I would think that desire is not enough -- one needs to ask God for the gift of life and trust in His goodness and mercy.

Αἰτεῖτε καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν. -- Matthew 7:7 (cf. Luke 11:9)

Reinhard Hütter: Development of Doctrine: What it is and Why it Matters

Palm Sunday in the Roman Rite


The Hymn of Kassiani


One Possible Happy Development At Least

A Latin View?

First Things: Embracing the Kind of Redeemer God Appointed by George Weigel

Animals feel pain, John Paul noted, but only men and women suffer. So suffering, even great physical suffering, has an inner or spiritual character; suffering touches our souls, not just our nervous systems. That is why the Bible is “a great book about suffering” (in John Paul’s striking phrase). And while the Scriptures contain many accounts of profound suffering, the Bible also teaches that “love . . . is the fullest source of the answer to the question of the meaning of suffering.” That was the truth to which Isaiah prophetically pointed in the “Suffering Servant” songs. To grasp that truth fully, however, humanity needed more than images or arguments; a demonstration was required.

That demonstration, Salvifici Doloris teaches, was what God ordained “in the cross of Jesus Christ.”
There the Son, giving himself without reservation to the Father’s plan of redemption, took the world’s evil upon himself and immolated it in perfect self-sacrifice to the divine will. On the cross, theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote, the Son freely bore “all that the Father finds loathsome,” and did so in order to “clear out all the refuse of the world’s sins by burning it in the fire of suffering love.” At Calvary, the divine wrath at the world’s wickedness coincides with the divine mercy, determined to heal all that evil has broken or disfigured. On Calvary, the purifying fire of divine love reaches into history and transforms everything in this world that seems to stand against love, including suffering and death. 

To embrace the cross is to embrace the logic of salvation as God has established that logic, not as we might design things. God’s “demonstration” does not end on Good Friday, however. It continues through Holy Saturday until the full meaning of “redemption” is revealed on Easter. 
There, in the Risen Lord who manifests what Benedict XVI called an “evolutionary leap”—a new and supercharged mode of human life—we encounter the supreme demonstration of the divine logic of redemption. There, in the “Lamb . . . [who] had been slain” (Revelation 5:6) but who is now gloriously, radiantly alive, we meet God’s triumph over death itself and over all that is death-dealing in the world. There, we meet the redeemer God ordained.
Jesus . . . has become a high priest forever. . . . For all eternity he lives and intercedes for us . . . there is no limit to his power to save all who come to God through him (First Responsory,  Office of Readings for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, from Hebrews 6:19–20, 7:24–25). 

What is the Greek for "intercedes" here? ἐντυγχάνειν

Who intercedes? Only Jesus as man? Or the Son of God, in the loving conversation with the Father? The Word of God, who creates anew?

What does God find "loathsome" or "hateful"? Not sin. But the consequences of sin, the ways in which His creation has been damaged or marred because of sin? God does not want suffering.

"There the Son, giving himself without reservation to the Father’s plan of redemption, took the world’s evil upon himself and immolated it in perfect self-sacrifice to the divine will." Here is something akin to the obedience which St. Augustine and Joseph Ratzinger would emphasize as being integral to the sacrifice of Christ. Does such a view find parallels in the East, whether Greek or Syriac? There is definitely scriptural warrant for this, for example St. Paul, Hebrews 5:8-10, Romans 5:19. And this is probably the primary way in which the satisfaction of Christ should be understood, as it is His obedience or "righteousness" which enables us to be obedient or "righteous."

My question is whether this obedience is the main or even the first part of how we should understand the sacrifice of Christ.

Time to Pick a New Theme

Though I'd like to keep it blue if possible. Unfortunately it doesn't look like there are many new pre-made templates on Blogger. How long will Google continue maintaining Blogger?

Jonathan Pageau on the Icons of Holy Week