How to accomplish the objective of Christian faith? The GDC give a largely Gospel-flavored presentation:
84. The object of catechesis is realized by diverse, interrelated tasks.* To carry them out, catechesis is certainly inspired by the manner in which Jesus formed his disciples. He made known to them the different dimensions of the Kingdom of God: “to you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 13,11). (Cf. Mk 4:10-12) He taught them to pray (“When you pray, say Father… Lk 11,2). (Cf. Mt 6: 5-6) He impressed upon them evangelic attitudes (“learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart” Mt 11,29) He prepared them for mission (“He sent them on ahead of him two by two…” Lk 10,1) (Cf. Mt 10:5-15)
*The General Catechetical Directory (1971) 21-29 also distinguishes between the end (finis) and the means (munera) of catechesis. These are the specific objectives in which the end is concretized.
From here, the GDC presents why Christian faith is not a private matter. Faith is a communal matter, shared with the people you know and the people you don’t. Especially the latter category:
The duties of catechesis correspond to education of the different dimensions of faith, for catechesis is integral Christian formation, “open to all the other factors of Christian life”. (Catechesi Tradendae 21b) In virtue of its own internal dynamic, the faith demands to be known, celebrated, lived and translated into prayer. Catechesis must cultivate each of these dimensions. The faith, however, is lived out by the Christian community and proclaimed in mission: it is a shared and proclaimed faith. These dimensions must also be encouraged by catechesis. The Second Vatican Council expresses these duties as follows: “…catechetical instruction, which illumines and strengthens the faith develops a life in harmony with the Spirit of Christ, stimulates a conscious and fervent participation in the liturgical mystery and encourages men to take an active part in the apostolate”. (Gravissimum Educationis 4; cf. RCIA 19, canon law 788,2)
GIRM 73-76 covers the Preparation of the Gifts. We’ll cover this rite today and in a post tomorrow.
73. At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist the gifts which will become Christ’s Body and Blood are brought to the altar.
First of all, the altar or Lord’s table, which is the center of the whole Liturgy of the Eucharist,[Inter Oecumenici 91; Eucharisticum Mysterium 24] is made ready when on it are placed the corporal, purificator, Missal, and chalice (unless this last is prepared at the credence table).
The offerings are then brought forward. It is a praiseworthy practice for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful. They are then accepted at an appropriate place by the Priest or the Deacon to be carried to the altar. Even though the faithful no longer bring from their own possessions the bread and wine intended for the liturgy as was once the case, nevertheless the rite of carrying up the offerings still keeps its spiritual efficacy and significance.
Even money or other gifts for the poor or for the Church, brought by the faithful or collected in the church, are acceptable; given their purpose, they are to be put in a suitable place away from the Eucharistic table.
The main gifts are the bread and wine. Gifts for the poor or the Church are “acceptable.” Many places bring monetary gifts to the altar. The Latin refers to the “mensam eucharisticam,” the actual table top. I’m inclined to think that placing gifts of money or for the poor on the altar is a no-no. And perhaps there are better places for the collection than directly under or near the altar itself. What’s the practice in your parish?
Patrick O’Malley’s comment on this thread struck me this morning, a prime example of caricature, and of the human desire to make ourselves into gods:
If God were smart, and Kevin were wrong, what if God made Kevin one of those victims for his entire afterlife? That would make God pretty smart and pretty just.
This notion of punishment and vengeance is pretty much at odds with the way God works. Our Christian tradition tells us that God made himself the victim on behalf of the whole of humanity.
After college and many years before I met my wife, I was blessed by a very special relationship–the first woman I knew that I ever imagined marrying. While the relationship lasted only months, it did teach me a lot about the nature of love and of self-sacrifice. It showed me what it was going to be like to marry someone.
My friend shared with me her experience of being sexually abused. It was not only the first time a person had ever shared such personal and intimate knowledge with me, but it gave me a window into the intense suffering of an abuse victim. We cried over it. We prayed about it. Years later, at her wedding, she confided in me that my openness was able to help her to form healthy relationships with men, and indeed, she met her future husband just a few months after we broke up. I have long since lost touch with her, but I still remember the precious gift I received: her confidence in me.
This is more in keeping with God’s quality of intelligence and justice than scattershot attacks on those who don’t align with the anger and bitterness. I do think there’s a time to be angry. But I’m also concerned that those who soak themselves in anger do little good for those they propose to help. It seems to be more about punishment and personal gratification. And let’s keep in mind that on the thread linked above, Kevin is not a child abuser. He’s only calling into question one victim’s account. In this one instance, he’s a skeptic. And perhaps there’s something to his skepticism, as the victims of the incident are divided in their recollection of what happened.
The Christian response, which I think nearly all of our bishops have fumbled, is to imitate Christ. The Christian response is to walk with victims and survivors, not to go to war with the objectors. The Christian response is to take upon ourselves the suffering and anguish of the abused, not to wish suffering on the sinners, let alone the skeptics.
Saint Paul had the measure of it:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Christ’s justice is to take upon himself the sufferings of victims and perpetrators alike. The intelligence here involves the hope that the cycle of evil will be broken and that grace can somehow break through. In my experience, nothing was to be solved by hunting down my friend’s offender and instigating a fight. But much was accomplished by praying, holding hands, and being a trusted friend. In doing so, a victim became that much more a survivor. And God’s invitation to grace was accepted.