Eucharistic Catechesis and Celebration
At the beginning of Lent Pope Benedict meets with the clergy of Rome and enters into “dialogue” with them. I had been waiting for the Vatican website to provide an English translation, but, happily, John Allen has come through first (and before Lent ends!). Here is part of an exchange with a young associate pastor about liturgy:
[I]t’s always important that sacramental catechesis be an existential catechesis. Naturally, alongside accepting and learning ever more the mysterious aspect – where words and reasoning ends – it is also totally realistic, because it carries me to God and God to me. It also leads me to the other, because the other receives the same Christ like me. If there’s the same Christ in him and in me, then we two are no longer separate individuals. This is where the doctrine of the Body of Christ is born, because we are all incorporated into it if we receive well the Eucharist in the same Christ. Hence our neighbor is truly a neighbor: we are not two separate ‘I’s’, but we are united in the same ‘I’ of Christ. In other words, the Eucharistic and sacramental catechesis must really arrive at the life of our existence, it must be an education in opening myself to the voice of God, in allowing myself to be opened so that the original sin of egoism can be broken and my existence can be opened up in its depths, so that I can become truly a just person. In this sense, it seems to me that we must all learn the liturgy ever better, not as an exotic thing, but as the heart of our being Christian, which does not open itself easily to someone who is distant, but which, on the other hand, is also an opening to others and to the world. We must all work together to celebrate the Eucharist ever more deeply: not only as a rite, but as an existential process that touches me intimately, more than anything else, and that changes me, transforms me. In transforming me, it also initiates the transformation of the world that the Lord wants, and for which he wants to make us instruments.