Tuesday, February 26, 2013

First Things First: The First Day

I would say that there were several [principles guiding the renewal of the liturgy]: above all, the Paschal Mystery as the centre of what it is to be Christian – and therefore of the Christian life, the Christian year, the Christian seasons, expressed in Eastertide and on Sunday which is always the day of the Resurrection. Again and again we begin our time with the Resurrection, our encounter with the Risen one, and from that encounter with the Risen one we go out into the world. In this sense, it is a pity that these days Sunday has been transformed into the weekend, although it is actually the first day, it is the beginning; we must remind ourselves of this: it is the beginning, the beginning of Creation and the beginning of re-Creation in the Church, it is an encounter with the Creator and with the Risen Christ. This dual content of Sunday is important: it is the first day, that is, the feast of Creation, we are standing on the foundation of Creation, we believe in God the Creator; and it is an encounter with the Risen One who renews Creation; his true purpose is to create a world that is a response to the love of God.
Reflection – You know, my intent had been to just do bits and pieces of this talk of the Pope’s, and then move on to my new blog format and content. But the more I dig into it, the less I am able to condense or excerpt it. It is so very fine.

For example this little bit on the Paschal Mystery and Sunday. Sunday is not simply a day to rest, recharge or (as is more likely these days) run around like a lunatic getting everything done that can’t be done during the week.

Sunday is Resurrection Day. In Russian, that is the actual name of the day—Voskrisenie, I believe. Every Sunday we should know, in some fashion, that the whole universe is beginning again from and with the Risen Christ. Every Sunday we should taste this newness, this freshness, this joyful springing hope. In MH we do this in the time-honored ways human beings have always expressed joy and hope: by dressing up a bit, having foods that we don’t normally have during the week, making the liturgy a bit fancier, trotting out the more lovely or elaborate hymns. The library puts up a display highlighting some theme or other of the Sunday readings. Unnecessary work is avoided. Little things, but they create a special Sunday atmosphere, a signal to our senses and from our senses to our whole self that this day is different, this day is new, this day something happened, and is continuing to happen.

Well, that’s MH. Your life is different from ours, but the call is there nonetheless. The Paschal Mystery is at the heart, not just of the Church’s liturgy, but of all our lives. As we pray, so we believe, and as we believe, so we live. Lex credendi, lex orendi.

And the whole thing the Pope says of Sunday – the day of creation, and that creation is bound up in the whole love of the Son and the Father, which becomes our love and our life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So our whole way of loving the world and carrying God’s love into the world is deeply bound up with the liturgy and its centrality in our lives.

I was just out walking in Robin Hood’s Bay, which is laced with footpaths that extend for miles in all directions. It is truly one of God’s most beautiful creations, this little corner of England… and I must say that man’s creation here isn’t too shabby either. The village is lovely and blends perfectly with the rugged stone terrain. It is this joy and love for creation that such a place elicits in us almost automatically that is elevated and completed by our faith and the Paschal Mystery. God looked on all he had made and said it was very good—so good that He leapt down from heaven to die for its salvation, and rose again raising all creation up with Him into its fulfilment. And this is what every Sunday is about, and what we should strive in our human little ways to reflect.

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