quod pro nobis traditum est

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Full of Grace - God's Doing

The KJV omits "full of grace" in the Annunciation account of Luke 1, at least in an online version I use. It really should not be surprising due to the origins of the translation. However, it is somewhat surprising because it is a traditional standard and, being "traditional," I thought it would retain the wording. Origen draws attention to this wording noting that he does not remember seeing this wording elsewhere in Scripture. His recognition of these words underlines the fact that this wording has early origins. A look at the Greek translation confirms this wording with "kecharitoméne" (we are familiar with the "gratia plena" of the Vulgate).

The above are basic exegetical findings. Couple this with the following. At a General Audience on May 8, 1996, Pope John Paul II discussed the meaning of the title "full of grace," saying, "Everything in Mary derives from a sovereign grace. All that is granted to her is not due to any claim of merit, but only to God's free and gratuitous choice." (EWTN)

A traditional Bible omits some of the text. A Pope speaks of non-meritorious grace. Maybe, it is not always a good thing for the Bible to be alone.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On this day . . .

Judica me, Deus, et discérne causam meam de gente non sancta ("Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy.") (Ps. 43) Today is Judica or Passion Sunday in the western tradition, the beginning of Passiontide. The Epistle draws attention to Christ being the mediator of the new Testament as both High Priest and sacrifice. The Gospel relates growing conflict as Jesus reveals His identity as the Son of God (the "I AM" who was before Abraham) and is rejected and threatened with death. Changes in the church building and in the liturgy at this time reflect a more solemn emphasis and encourage deeper reflection on Jesus' Passion and pending death on the cross.

The Western Church commemorates St. Benedict, Abbot, who died on this date A.D. 543 His "Rule" (influenced by the writings of John Cassian and the Rule of the Master) for monks influenced many religious communities and became influential throughout the Middle Ages, becoming known as the "Rule of Benedict." Benedict is often considered the founder of monasticism in the West. The influence of the Rule of Benedict continues until this day. In 1964 Benedict was declared the patron saint of Europe.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Beer and the Liturgy

In an opinion piece the author uses the following illustration to support the argument of his column:

"Schlitz was once a top national brew. But, in search of short-term gains, it began gradually reducing its quality in tiny increments to save money, substituting cheaper malt, fewer hops and "accelerated" brewing for its traditional approach.

Each incremental decline was imperceptible to consumers, but after a few years, people suddenly noticed that the beer was no good anymore. Sales collapsed, and a "Taste My Schlitz" campaign designed to lure beer drinkers back failed when the "improved" brew turned out not to be any better. A brand image that had been accumulated over decades was lost in a few years, and it has never recovered."

The columnist notes how seeking "short-term gains" hurt the quality of the beer in the long run and eventually led to its decline. Similar effects on the liturgy are seen when the liturgy is understood as a vehicle that seeks to communicate some message to consumers rather than as the divine means for bringing people into communion with God. Incremental decline in the liturgy is not always noticeable but then we wake up and find that we are no longer participating in worship but rather are being entertained in the house of prayer. In these cases, the liturgy is "no good" anymore". It is no liturgy. Unfortunately, a decline in the liturgy is a decline in the Church.

Neither the holy liturgy nor holy Church need a new brand. Use of the liturgy, without seeking short-term gains, retains its primary and timeless goal of leading people to communion with the Lord in the Eucharist, which is the God-chosen foretaste of the feast to come for His people.