Dies Domini 37: A Pilgrim People

The principle of the pilgrimage is a powerful one. In the modern experience, we are aware of the blending of space and time in a closely related awareness. To speak of a pilgrimage of time is within the modern grasp.

Each Sunday is a stop in a progression to a final Sabbath in which the Lord’s believers will be united with him in eternity:

37. As the Church journeys through time, the reference to Christ’s Resurrection and the weekly recurrence of this solemn memorial help to remind us of the pilgrim and eschatological character of the People of God. Sunday after Sunday the Church moves towards the final “Lord’s Day”, that Sunday which knows no end. The expectation of Christ’s coming is inscribed in the very mystery of the Church(Lumen Gentium 48-51) and is evidenced in every Eucharistic celebration. But, with its specific remembrance of the glory of the Risen Christ, the Lord’s Day recalls with greater intensity the future glory of his “return”. This makes Sunday the day on which the Church, showing forth more clearly her identity as “Bride”, anticipates in some sense the eschatological reality of the heavenly Jerusalem. Gathering her children into the Eucharistic assembly and teaching them to wait for the “divine Bridegroom”, she engages in a kind of “exercise of desire”,(“Haec est vita nostra, ut desiderando exerceamur”: Saint Augustine, In Prima Ioan. Tract.4, 6: SC 75, 232) receiving a foretaste of the joy of the new heavens and new earth, when the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will come down from God, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2).

Christians have a direction, a vector, if you will. The direction is to a future union with Christ even greater, more profound than we experience in our deepest present moments. What does this mean? A few important things for our orientation, and perhaps the embrace or rejection of certain ideologies.

Let’s remember that we are a people looking to make progress toward Christ in cooperation with his grace. Christ impels us forward, and we do not live in a kind of stasis in which our sins hold us back. That is the heresy and narcissism of a pessimistic faith.

The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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