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quod pro nobis traditum est

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whatever happened to integrated faith?

or the wholeness of the Catholic faith?

In supporting the historic liturgy in Lutheranism over the years I have come across a number of unexpected surprises. In an academic sense we can see that liturgics, dogmatics, exegetical, historical, practical, etc., approaches are different areas of study. In the parish all of these areas are put to use in one way or another in service of the one holy faith. All of these areas serve to teach and uphold the faith.

The liturgy is quite useful in integrating the faith. Invocation, Introit, Prayer, Scripture readings, Creed, Homily, Eucharist, Benediction are just some parts of the liturgy that teach and pass on the faith. In all of the parts there is a wholeness about the liturgy as there is about the holy faith.

One unexpected surprise in supporting the liturgy is overcoming false notions that the liturgy is against the confessions of the Church or the Scripture itself. In other words, it is surprising that the liturgy might even be seen in this light by those who focus on either the Confessions or the Scripture. The liturgy does not place itself against either the Scripture or the Church's confession even if it does not teach the faith in the exact same way. It is not necessary to adapt the liturgy to overcome such notions or perceived weaknesses. The rest of the week provides plenty of room for catechesis. Neither ought prayer and learning the faith be seen as enemies.

Even if one does not understand or appreciate fully the liturgy of the Church it is not hard to hear that the same faith is expressed in the liturgy as is taught in the catechism and revealed in holy Scripture. There is a unity in the Church's faith that remains whether it is learned academically or it is prayed.

When growing up it is the child's surprise to realize that the God on Sunday morning is the same God who created the trees and mountains. The child comes to integrate a whole knowledge of God that does not pit the God of creation against the God of salvation. So too the liturgy is not only an aid in prayer and teaching and passing on the faith. It is union with God in Christ, as in the blessed Eucharist, and thanksgiving to the Father through the Son in the Spirit.

One wonders why there might be seen a conflict between what is prayed and what is believed. There is none. If the Scripture reveals the faith and the confessions speak what the Church believes how cannot the liturgy chime in the same true faith?

Rogate 2011