In 1907, a tune from one of the most loved symphonies in classical music inspires Henry Van Dyke to write a poem. The author’s own commentary on it:
These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time—hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope.
Your other choice is another Latin text with a multitude of settings–traditional chant, Taizé, Paul Benoit (WLP), and many classical composers through the ages. If you feel this is ganging up on Beethoven and a Presbyterian minister, vote for the higher seed, though likely underdog.
The hymn Ubi Caritas has long resided on Holy Thursday, but the Vatican II reforms nudged it from footwashing to the preparation of the altar and gifts.
The Latin text of verse one:
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
Which is translated as:
Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.
This text is very, very old. Some scholars think it dates to the earliest centuries of Christianity. The theme goes back to the teachings of Christ, especially the example of the Paschal Mystery. But it also is eminently suitable for any observance of vocation, love, and service: marriage, ordination, or some other serious commitment.
Just a reminder to those following this document: the paragraphs are not numbered in the text on the EWTN site. The document is not long, however. I hope you’re able to follow along.
In yesterday’s post, the threat of jansenism is described. But jansenism did not have the only word in the debate:
Some, however, went over to the opposite view. They held that daily Communion was prescribed by divine law and that no day should pass without communicating, and besides other practices not in accord with the approved usage of the Church, they determined that the Eucharist must be received even on Good Friday and in fact so administered it.
And this view regarding Good Friday is with us today.
Toward these conditions, the Holy See did not fail in its duty. A Decree of this Sacred Congregation which begins with the words Cum ad aures, issued on February 12, 1679, with the approbation of Pope Innocent XI, condemned these errors, and put a stop to such abuses; at the same time it declared that all the faithful of whatsoever class, merchants or married persons not at all excepted, could be admitted to frequent Communion according to the devotion of each one and the judgment of his confessor. Then on December 7, 1690, by the Decree of Pope Alexander VIII, Sanctissimus Dominus noster, the proposition of Baius was condemned, requiring a most pure love of God, without any admixture of defect, on the part of those who wished to approach the Holy Table.
The poison of Jansenism, however, which, under the pretext of showing due honor and reverence to the Eucharist, had infected the minds even of good men, was by no means a thing of the past. The question as to the dispositions for the proper and licit reception of Holy Communion survived the declarations of the Holy See, and it was a fact that certain theologians of good repute were of the opinion that daily Communion could be permitted to the faithful only rarely and subject to many conditions.
This is a careful and prudent assessment. It serves the present-day Church little good to ferret out the whiff of heresy or lesser errors at the cost of a historical reputation. In the same way, infrequent Communion cannot and should not be defended by protesting, “Saint so-and-so advocated it.” Best to recognize the promotion of infrequent Communion as a spiritual error and focus on the needs of the present age, allowing for bishops, pastors, spiritual directors, and parents to promote the reception of the sacraments as best as they/we are able.
CHAPTER I of Part Five covers sections 217-232, under the title “The ministry of catechesis in the particular Churches and its agents.”
In considering today “The particular Church” of GDC 217-218, the footnote reminds us of the following definition: In Part Five as in the rest of the document the term particular Church refers to dioceses and there equiparates (CIC Canon 368). The term local Church refers to a group of particular Churches delineated in terms of Region or Nation or group of Nations united by special links. Cf. Part I, chap. III and Part II, chap. I. “The ecclesial nature of the Gospel message.” Let’s read this heavily footnoted section:
217. The proclamation, transmission and lived experience of the Gospel are realized in the particular Church (As mentioned in Lumen Gentium 26a the term Churches in the NT is used to denote lawful groups of the faithful; see the biblical texts with which this part opens) or Diocese. (Cf. Christus Dominus 11) The particular Church is constituted by the community of Christ’s disciples, (The particular Church is described before all else as Populi Dei portio or “a portion of the people of God”) who live incarnated in a definite socio-cultural space. Every particular Church “makes present the universal Church together with all of its essential elements”. (CDF, Lettera Communionis Noito, 7 (AAS 85 -1993), 842) In reality the universal Church, made fruitful by the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, “brings forth the particular Churches as children and is expressed in them”. (Communionis Notio, 9b) The universal Church, as the Body of Christ, is thus made manifest as “a Body of Churches”. (Lumen Gentium 23b refers to St Hilary of Poitiers In Ps 14:3 (Patrologiae Cursus completus, Seiries Latina 9, 206) and St Gregory the Great Moralia: IV, 7, 12 (Patrologiae Cursus completus, Seiries Latina 75, 643 C))
218. The proclamation of the Gospel and the Eucharist are the two pillars on which is built and around which gathers the particular Church. Like the universal Church she also “exists for evangelization”. (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14) Catechesis is a basic evangelizing activity of every particular Church. By means of it the Diocese gives to all its members, and to all who come with a desire to give themselves to Jesus Christ, a formative process which permits knowledge, celebration, living and proclamation within a particular cultural horizon. In this way the confession of faith—the goal of catechesis—can be proclaimed by the disciples of Christ “in their own tongues”. (Cf. Acts 2:11) As at Pentecost, so also today, the Church of Christ, “present and operative” (Communionis Notio 7) in the particular Churches, “speaks all languages”, (Communionis Notio 9b: l.c., p. 843; cf. Ad Gentes 4) since like a growing tree she extends her roots into all cultures.
The two pillars? In other words, the Mass. And note the quote from Pope Paul VI? Particular Churches, that is, the diocese or some other grouping of the people of God: none of us exist for ourselves, but for the benefit of others, particularly their being netted into the Reign of God. We’ve seen the centrality of evangelization stressed at other places in the GDC. We get it again here.
about Todd Flowerday
A Roman Catholic lay person, married (since 1996), with one adopted child (since 2001). I serve in worship and spiritual life in a midwestern university parish.
Neil has been a blogging collaborator for the past several years on Catholic Sensibility. He brings his unique experiences from theology, spirituality, and the ecumenical sphere. Pay special attention to each one of his posts.