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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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Fr;day, Aucj. 24, 1962 THE PROGRESS7 Meaning of the Muss Visually Presented sing a vocal choir and narrator, a device be- ga n by the great Greek playwrights, in combination with a visual demonstra- tion, Rev. Joseph Nolan, pastor of St. Patrick C h u r c h, Galena, Kansas, Tuesday evening e m p h a- sized several of the por- tions of the Holy Sacrifice. The narrator and choir began with an exposition of the fore Mass. As a priest in vest- merits approached the altar the dialogue of narrator and choir developed the theme of the hu- mility of God's people as they gather to offer the sacrifice of themselves and Christ to God the Father. Rev. Joseph Nolan LITURGICAL CONFERENCE DIRECTOR Galena, Kansas After this narration, both by direct explanation and symbolic presentationl the speaker read the Gospel in English. The Gospel was then sung in English, as may some day be the practice in this country. The same Gospel was then paraphrased as a letter, a special delivery letter from God, delivered by the prophets and by Christ to the individual. Father Nolan emphasized that this is what the Gospel mast mean to the congregation. It is not enough to sit and listen passively to the same gospels read year after year. We change every year, for the bet- ter it is hoped, and therefore these directives from our Fath- er should have new meaning every year, This forceful reminder of how we should listen to the Gospel was followed by a profound treatment of the Offertory, pro- found but readily understandable. The narration and choir made clear that we, God's royal peo- ple, must offer ourselves along with Christ at the Offertory. This meaning was expanded to include the offering, not only of our mon- etary wealth but of our daily work. All Work Offered In this meaning the Mass ex- pands from a Sunday hour to a daily offertory and our work bench, desk, ironing board and farm field becomes the altar. This truth was visibly presented by a procession of worker, doc- tor, nun, housewife and family, offering of their daily work to the Father. The Consecration of the Mass consecrates us, and we take this Consecration into the daily world. Father Nolan referred to this in the beginning of the eve- ning when he noted that while this was Liturgical Week, every Week should be a liturgical week. in Us. With Us The presentation concluded with the end of the Canon of the Mass. Through the well- eonceived spoken word and the crucifix it was made abundant- ly clear how Christ is in us and with us, through the Mass and into our daily existenee. And because of this great Truth the entire demonstration was held together in a clear and beautiful exposition of some of the great- ness and treasure that is the Mass. While all of the Mass was not, and could not be presented, the areas that Father Nolan chose, were done with taste, in- telligence, and with a subdued elegance. 'Redemptive Dimensions of the Resurrection' j (Continued from Pae 5) brethren the "Spirit of holiness" who makes as adop- probably no greater heretical threatconfronting the  " a dying to the Law and its observances, finally led Paul, in Galatians especially, but also in Colossiaus and Ephesians to place the salvifie death of Christ more urgently into the foreground -- never, however, to the exclusion of the Resurrection. Rather, even in his writings, against the judaizers, he stressed the positive effects of Christ's death: Jesus' dying was an act of love, so creatively powerful that it had to lead to union with the One loved, it had to eventuate in resurrection, in the possession of the divine life of glory. In all his subsequent writings, therefore, whatever the provocations to one-sided exposition, Paul remained faithful to his statement in Romans 4:25: "Jesus our Lord (i.e., the risen Son of God) was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification." Or, more tersely, in 2 Cor. 5:15: "He who died rose again for them." Through Christ's death and resurrection, there- fore, have we been delivered from sin and granted life. Both together inseparably constitute the one great mystery of redemption: the new Exodus, the new Pasch or Pass-Over from the world to the Fath- er (John 13: I), from death to glory -- a glory now hidden with Christ in God, but to be revealed at the resurrection of the bodies, at the fired coming of Christ. Nor, to be exact, is it death and resurrection in parallel fashion, but death climaxing in resurrec- 'don. As He Himself told the disciples on the way to Emmaus: "Did you not know that Christ had to suf- fer these things, in order thus to enter into his glory" (Luke 24-26). It is Life that gives meaning and pur- pose to Death. So we too, because we have put on the risen Christ in our baptism, by God's gift, must daily put on the likeness of the suffering and dying Christ, in order that we too may live more fully with the life of His resurrection. Christ "Was Ra|sed" For it is only thus that we, with Christ, become true sons of the Father. It is through His resurrec- tion that Christ, in the bold phrase of St. Paul (Rein. 1:4) was constituted SOn of God. Surely, in His own person, he was such from all eternity. But He became son of God for us, for our sharing, through the resurrection. Fatherhood and Resurrection are- inseparably associated in Paul's mind. Only once, does he say outright, "Christ rose" (1 Thess. 4:14), and then he was quoting an established eredal formula. Otherwise he always says (as Ft. Stanley points out), Christ "was raised" (i.e., by the Father); the Father is above all He who raised His Son Jesus from the dead, in order thereby to extend that son.ship to us. It surely is of the utmost significance that the con- cepts of first-frults, firbt-born among many brethren, head and body, second Adam--all these most powerful and most famous soteriological motifs in Paul--make their first appearance in the context of Resurrection; even the motif of Christ the bridegroom and the Church the Bride makes its second earliest appear- once in Paul's writings in a resurrection context (cf.I COt. 15:20; Col. 1:18; Rom. 8:28-29; 1 COr. 6:13-15; 1 Cot. 15:14ff.; Rom. 7:4),--that resurrection by which the Father gives us fellowship in Christ's sonship. We are sons of the Father, because co-risen with Christ. Thus it is, f'mally, by His resurrection too that Christ becomes the "life-giving Spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45), the "Son of God in power" who is able to give to His tire sons of God. With almost confusing brevity, Paul could even say, "The Lrd (i.e., the risen Christ) is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:17). The risen Christ is so pen- etrated by the Spirit of holiness, that He cannot communicate Him to all His members who place no hindrance. Easter necessarily culminates in a troop- orate and personal Pentecost. In fact, occasionally the Spirit's indwelling in the Christian is simply equated with "Christ in you" (Rom. 8:9-10). We Are "In Christ' In sum, it is in the Spirit of the risen Lord, that we share the life of the risen Lord, which gives us access to the Father as His sons. Or, even more succinctly, we are "in Christ". "In Christ"--this phrase which is repeated times without number by Paul and acknowledged as the epitome of his teaching, and which we so casually append, e. g., to our cor- respondence: "Sincerely yours in Christ"--"in Christ" means, according tO Durrwell, "a community of being and life with the glorified Christ." So St. Paul's "in Christ" became the identifica- tion mark of the early Christians (el. epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch). It was their Easter alleluia, their proclamation of themselves as supermen, as sons of God. Those early Christians must have seemed to their contemporaries, by all normal standards of reasonable behavior, an irritating nuisance, anarchic enthusiasts. What reasonable mart would calmly claim, as did the author of the first Christian apology, the Epistle to Diognetus: " What the soul is to the body, that we Christians are to the world." And yet how could sons of the resurrection, filled with God's own life, claim anything less? The risen Christ had brought springtime to the tired world. We are apt to think of the Church as growing stead- ily older with the centuries. Not so the second century author of the Shepherd of Hermas: for him the Church was becoming progressively younger, more radiantly beautiful. She carries in herself the world's foantain of ernal youth. Ad Deum qui laetiflcat juventutem meam. Springtime Of The Church That youthful old man who Providence has placed on the see of Peter, and whom we call our beloved Holy Father John XXIII, has not hesitated to call our age too the springtime of the Church. It is such, not least of all, because the vivifying power of the Resur- rection is again being acknowledged and consciously experiehced; because, in other words, the restored Easter feast, the re-activated resurrection of Christ, is becoming in fact, however haltingly, "the founda- tion of a spiritual revival in the Church." Exigencies of time make it quite impossible to draw further corollaries at present from the Resurrection of Christ as objectively redemptive. It may be permit- ted, however, to call attention again to the progressive synthesis inherent in those corollaries: Christ's death and resurrectiou are for the salvation not merely of the soul, but of the whole man, of body animated by soul; not merely the salvation of the whole man, but of the solidarity of redeemed humanity; not merely of the solidarity of redeemed humanity, but of the universe; not merely the salvation and transformation of mankind and the universe, but the fulfilment and perfection of their original purpose, the greater glory of God. Christian Western world today than Bultmann's denial of the Resurrection as historical fact, and demythelogi- zing it into a mere symbol of early Christian faith ia the Savior. A confrere of mine, now studying Protest- ant theology in Germany, in a recent letter estimated on the basis of his encounters and inquiries, that as many as 70 percent of Protestant theological studenta at German universities are followers of Bultmann in his view of the Resurrection. Please God, the percent- age is as yet substantially smaller in the U. S. But whatever it may be, if Christ be not risen, vain is our faith. Our strong and long-overdue emphasis on Christ's resurrection in all its dimensions, historical and redemptive, may possibly be a providential counterforce, that will also serve to support those of our non-Catholic brethren who are facing up to the threat. And as for our Orthodox brothers, for whom the resurrection has always been the determining factor of their Christian outlook and devotion, our own re. embracing of resurrection theology, liturgy and spirit- uality cannot but become a precious and strong new bond of spiritual affinity. Even the atheist Russian Communist must despite himself give witness to the risen Lord, for the word for Sunday, in Russian, "Yeskresyenie" means "resurrection." For many' years now, our Russian brethren have bee walking in the likness of Christ in agony. Perhaps, indeed they have vicariously been making up for what we have failed to supply of what is lacking im the sufferings of Christ. 'He Is Truly Risen" But it has without doubt been their unshakable traditional faith in the power of the resurrection that has given uncounted thousands the strength to carry the cross. Who that has ever witnessed it can ever again forget the experiential, devotional impact of the Russian liturgical celebration of the Resurrection! "christ is risen." "He is truly risen." This is their mutual Easter greeting, their vocal kiss of peace. The Russian writer Nicholas Arseniew tells the story of Comrade Lunatseharsky, the Communist Com- missar of Popular Education, lecturing in Moscow's largest assembly hall some years after the Bolshevist Revolution, on religion aa the opium of the people. All the Christian myths, he explained, are but supe.r- stitions, now supplanted by the light of science. Marxist science is the light that more than sub- stitutes for the legendary mysteries of Christ. He spoke at length, and was so pleased with his own eloquence that at the eouclasien of his talk he ex- pansiveiy asked whether anyone in the audience wished to ask a question, or say anything. A young priest come forward, and first of all apologized for his ignorance and awkwardness The Commissar look- ed at him scornfully. "Remember;" he said, "not more than five .minutes." "Yes, certainly, I shan't take long," the priest replied. Then he mounted the platform, turned to the audience, and in a loud voice declared: "Christ is risen!" As one man, the vast audience roared in response: "He is truly risen." (Nicholas Arseniew, Mysticism and the Eastern Church, p. 43). May that response, in the fullness of its redemptive connotations, continue to echo in many Russian hearts, Faced With Heretical Threat ,, :: . and Bulgarian, and :Czech and Roumanian---and in A few final words in regard, to the p0stscript: tile our hearts too--and thus make us more truly brothers ecumenical significance ......... of the resurrectton." ..... There m' .... ' .... --m Christ.: t ........ ' ....