Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Creating Culture Deliberately - Benedict and Talia-Maria Sheehan

The Mystical Body of Christ

First Things: A Wafer-Thin Practice by Hans Boersma

De Lubac was troubled by a Eucharistic individualism that he believed had shaped the mindset of many of his Catholic contemporaries. Convinced as they were that the body of Christ in the Eucharist was the true body (corpus verum), all that seemed to matter was to partake. Once the miraculous medicine of immortality had been ingested, one might as well turn back down the aisle and walk out of church, for the one and only reason for going to Mass had now been performed. De Lubac was agitated, rightly I think, with the individualism—yes, the selfish consumerism and greed—in this Eucharistic spirituality.

I don't know if "the selfish consumerism and greed" is de Lubac's own judgment or Boersma's. It seems to go too far -- I think there were poorly catechized Roman Catholics who were taught to be concerned with subjective certitude regarding their salvation and limited salvation to receiving the sacraments, rather than a fuller participation in the Mystery of Christ.
De Lubac countered the gnostic demon at work. He asked his readers to think about what it means to eat the body (the Eucharist) as a body (the church), pointing out the close link between embodiment and community. Turning to 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 (“The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread”), de Lubac pointed out that for Saint Paul, participation (koinōnia, communion) of the body of Christ (the Eucharist) turns us into the body of Christ (the church).

All this talk of the “body of Christ” is no mere metaphor. Saint Augustine, in his famous Sermon 227, writes about the Eucharist: “If you have received worthily, you are what you have received, for the Apostle says: ‘The bread is one; we though many, are one body.’” The African bishop seems to suggest that believers, by partaking of communion, are transubstantiated (well, changed) into the body of Christ. When we eat Christ, we become Christ.
Hence the allusion in the title of this post to de Lubac's Corpus Mysticum.

The Christian tradition has typically treated body and body (Eucharist and church) as mutually dependent. On the one hand, the Eucharist makes the church. This seems to be the Pauline logic of 1 Corinthians 10 and of Augustine in Sermon 227. On the other hand, the church makes the Eucharist: We offer up our gifts—our entire lives—in Christ on the altar. Body and body depend on each other. Neither can go it alone. The reason is simple: The two are one flesh (Eph. 5:31).
The ministers of the church, presbyters and episkopoi, do have an instrumental role in making Christ sacramentally present. But I have doubts as to whether we participate in the sacrifice in that manner, by offering ourselves in union with Christ. But this seems to be the typical Latin view of sacrifice and our participation in the Eucharist.

This essay is written by Boersma in connection with televised Masses during COVID-19 lockdowns. I am reminded of the question I posed in this post, whether it is possible to have a Eucharistic liturgy with pre-sanctified Gifts only. (Not the same as Boersma's thought experiment of having a virtual consecration done by a presbyter through long-distance communication.) If it is possible, would such a Eucharistic service that is done by teleconferencing be contrary to piety or to true liturgical participation? (People would receive the Divine Gifts at home and then have a internet teleconference in which a presbyter would lead them to some sort of communion service, one featuring an act of Thanksgiving.) I would think that it isn't true liturgical participation.

As for the original question I raised - if we take the Act of Thanksgiving in the abstract, it might seem that it is possible to have a Eucharistic liturgy of pre-sanctified Gifts only. But when the Act of Thanksgiving is tied to the Anamnesis of God's saving acts, including the salvation who is Christ, maybe it is not possible to separate the Thanksgiving from the Consecration of the Gifts at the same time.

Or maybe it is. I will have to think about it some more. I don't think that such a "Eucharistic" communion service has any historical precedent.

A Eucharistic Church by Avery Dulles
Eucharistic Ecclesiology of Henri de Lubac  by Fr. Manuel-Alfredo Razo-Canales

Pinkoski on American Socialism

Law&Liberty: The Strange Rise of Bourgeois Bolshevism by Nathan Pinkoski

Fr. Bogdan Bucur on Emmaus


Firings as a Form of (In)Justice?

Sandro Magister: Francis, the Good Boss “Who Doesn't Want To Fire Anyone.” But the Facts Say the Opposite

Interview with Dr. Timothy Patitsas

St. Nicholas Press

Dean of Hellenic College Timothy Patitsas Publishes Book on the Ethics of Beauty

Hope in Source 11: City as Liturgy

The Ethics of Beauty - Christian Rights and Freedom Institute