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Catholic Northwest Progress
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August 24, 1962     Catholic Northwest Progress
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August 24, 1962
 

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4--THE PROSS r,aay, u 9. 24, First Born Rev. Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B. ST. JOHN'S ABBEY, COLLEGEVILLE, MINN. t was in February 1951 that Pope P/ms XII gave to the Catholic world the great and precious gift of the restored Easter Vigil, Le., the revitalized Easter Feast itself. Shortly aft- er, in a private audience to Father Herman Schmidt, which received wide publicity, the Holy Father stated: "The Easter Vigil is a thing of my heart .... I am sure that it will be the foundation of a spiritual revival in the Church." To many at the time, the Pope's words somided ]ike a  and even extravagant exaggeration. But with the years, it is coming to be recognized as a quite sober statement of logical fact which, if not yet realized, must be the goal to be striven _/or by us all. The speaker last night spoke of our era as one of integration of the great spiritual movemes el the Church. Vital currents which had quite indepen- dent origins are now converging, are being acknowl- edged as contributing and related parts of the 0e great stream of doctrinal and spiritual renewal. Ours, thank God is an age of perhaps unparalleled syn- thesis. Put Differences Aside Since I am among friends, may I cite two in- stances of a more personal nature which to me ap- pear symptomatic. Who, thirty years ago, could have deemed it possible that German and French theologians and liturgists would work together en- thusiastically shoulder to shoulder? Or, perha/ even more remarkable, that Jesuits and Dominicans could bury the odium theologieum of four centuries, and disregard the Molinistic and Thomistic struggle cen- tering on actual grace as one of minor momer by comparison with the higher synthesis to be achieved. Perhaps a third inst/mce should on this occasion be gratefully noted: the collabaration, halting but hopeful, of non-Catholic and Catholic scholars, par- ticularly scriptural and liturgical, at the great com- mon task. And so we humbly bid our separated broth- ers in Christ, here present, a most hearty welcome. Now i/ it is true, as Pope Pius XI assured us, that the liturgical celebration of feasts is more d- fecfive ia imparting the truths of the Faith and mak- ing them a living experbentm than are even the mo solemn provamncements of Church authority, thea lim XII's words abeut the restored Easter Vigil should no appear extravagant. Histmy will t record that the 1951 restoration of tim F.aer r-east was in fact the keystone of the renovation in mod- ern times of the structure of the living Chmch,,. which is always abuilding. For Easter Celebrates and re-activates the glorious Resurrection of Christ, the keystone (Scripture says: the cornerstone) of the living Temple d God, the Mystical Body. It is the very heart of the Christian Mystery -- and experience. The risen CbrisL the light of the world, is communi- cated to the multitude d small lighted candles, to Christ's members. Spiritual darkness is transformed into the brightness of Gt's own radiance. And, as the triumphant Exuhet song assures us: "This fire, though divided into parts, suffers no loss from the communication of its light." , 00.rm00smh on From The Dead l \\; Six points, six aspects d pcogressive synthesis: more than enough for a boom Obviously, I can only hope to develop one or the other controlling idea. So I decided to limit myself largely to the fix,at and basic toe, and only touch the others briefly, by way of suggestion el further pessa'ble expansion. And lest this twove an all too unsatisfactory lmacedure, may I presume to memion those hooks on  sub..t which I personally tound most heha6d, so those of you who so 'wish may lmrsue the subject more thoroughly at your leisure. 1. F. X. ell's "The Resurrection." somewhat ponderous, but eminently worth pondering. 2. David Michael Stanlefs "Christ's Resurrection in Pauline Soeriotogy." This I found a significant advance over Durrwell's book, because it traces fihe development of Paul's thought, and thus clarifies it in almost startling fashion. Both o these books are oa the scholady level but net in a manner to dis- 1. Robert Gleason's "The World to Come', and 2. Charles Davis' "Liturgy and Doctrine." After this lengthy mise-en-scene, to my first point: All the mys- teries of Christ's life are salvifie; but all the mys- teries of His life climax and are subsumed in  sav- ing Death and Resurrection, which together constitute the one: great Mystery of Redemption. The statement will, I suspect, s e e m unusual, strange, to most Catholics of abe West, who have iden- tiffed Christ's objective work of redemption almost exclusively with His passion and death. It has be- come as it were axiomatic that Christ redeemed us by His Cross. I am saying, however, first of all, tha all the mysteries of Christ's life contributed really to the redemption, and secondly, that all of them cul- minate and are contained in His Death and Resurrec- tion, which latter (Death and Resurrection) may there/ore be equated with the objective redemttion wrought by Christ. Recalls Nicene Creed The f i r s t half of my statement, however im- portan, t in itself, is only subsidiary to the purpose of my paper. Hence I shall merely recall, in evidence, the wording of the Nicene Creed: "Who for us, and for our salvation, became incarnete, . . and was made man . . . suffered undex Pontius Pilate . . . " eLc. That is, the entire life of the C.nMan, not only Death and Resurrection, is summarily included under the identical heading of "'salvific," or redemptive. St. Thomas too. contrary to the accepted views of his time, quotes John Damascene as representative of the East, and simply states: "All acts of Christ, which He perfbrmed in His humanity . . . are saving acts for our beneFR" (Summa TbenL lll,.,l, ad; ef.Ili,4 $). Pope Pins XII, finally, in "Mediator Dei," h'ke- wise transcending contemporary theological opinion, in treating of the Liturgical Year brought all the mys- teries of Christ's life into the one higher synthesis: "In the liturgical year Christ continues that journey o[ immense mercy which He lovingly began in Hi mortal life . . . that men might somehow by means of them live... These mysteries are ever present... each mystery brings its own special grace". Christ was, after all, high priest from the first moment of His Incarnation: "Behold, in the head of the book it is written of me:. I come to do Thy will" (Heh. 10:17). His birth, His baptism, His preaching and healing were not merely preliminary actions, or didactic -- a setting of the stage for the real redemp- tive drama to come. They were essentially and of their very nature manifestations of that redeeming will, of that love of Christ which found its IuHest ex- pression in Death and Resurrection. Every page el the Cmspels, not merely the final chapters, the news of our redemption. ... And Rose Again" The eomplemenlary part of my tlrst poi not be better stated titan, in the famom sememae of St. Paul: "Jesus ear Lord . . . was delivered up (died) for our sins, and rose again for am" justifi tion" (Rom. 4:25). We owe a great debt to the  se_.hola non-Catholic and Catholie, aad to a lesser degree. also to the liturgists, who have in recent years in- tegrated this and parallel passages into oer reqmd- standing of the traditional doctrine of redemption, and specifically, the role of Remu-rectioo in it. In fad,, some of the Scripture men, like Lyounet, Vawtea', Durrwell, ere_, have gone beymut their ha'blieal field of specialization and have sketched the history el theological neglect of theR in the West, precisely in order to nudge us theologians into ae- tien. (So far, I might add, with only spotty effect.) The men have dmmmsla"ated that m the F.ast, Origen to the : of at least the tmmit emtaqg a professional theologian myself, I must embarrassed- ly admit that it is the Scripture scholars, rather than the theologians, who have pioneered in re-discovering for the West the redemptive dimensions of the Resur- rectian. But as a liturgist, I rejoice that the sure instiraj gained from the prayed-doctrine which .is the liturgy antedated the work of the Scripture scholars: for there had already been concentration for several decades on Easter am] the Resurrection -- resulting in the, accomplished fact of the restored Easter Vigil of Pope Plus XII in 1951, just about the time when the earliest important scriptural studies on the Resur- rection began to make their appearance. In any event, theological synthesis, with the Risen Christ at center, is at present still only in its initial stages, and it is the Scripture men (and to a lesser degree, the liturgists) who are furnishing the inspiration and impetus. Study Was Exhilarating My paper today is to treat of the theology of the Resm-rection of Christ, and its spiritual significam for His members. I frankly admit that the research required in preparing the paper was one of the most exhilarating, and rewarding, voyages of discov- ery of my life. Paxticularly the scriptural monographs that I read, and, with the help of their insights, the re-reading of John, Acts, and St. Paul's Epistles. Things previously only sensed through the liturgy re- ceived de/inite shape and articulation and, above all, were drawn together in meaningful synthesis. And it is this synthesis, centering on the Risen Chr;,st, ,hich necessarily determines the framework of my tail In the time allotted, I can do no more than sketch an outline. It is as follows: I, All the mysteries of Christ's life are salvific; but all the mysteries of ITm life climax and are sub- sumed in His saving Death and Resurrection, which toger constitute the one Mystery of Redemptia. 2. Christ's Death and Resurrection are for the sal- vati not merely of the soul, but d the whole man, of body animated by souL 3. Not merely the salvation of the whole man, but of, the solidarity of redeemed humanity. 4. Not merely of the solidarity of redeemed hu- manity, but of the universe: a new heaven and a new earth. So Not merely the salvation and transformation of mankind and the universe, but the fulfilment and parfctien of their original purpose: the greater glory of GtL 6. And by way of a postscript: the ecumenical sig- nificance of the Resurrection. comemporary scholarly w o r k of theological and on a more popular level, which have excellent and spiritual synthesis, the Resurrection of Christ is fast substantial chapters on the subject: becoming the chief catalyzing concept. Moreover, as