Dies Domini 43: A Movement With Christ

Is there a sense of reaching toward God, of ascension, of a connection with the Resurrection? I’d say the average person is looking for leisure, and possibly meaning in the overly-busy pace of modern life.

43. This “ascending” movement is inherent in every Eucharistic celebration and makes it a joyous event, overflowing with gratitude and hope. But it emerges particularly at Sunday Mass because of its special link with the commemoration of the Resurrection. By contrast, this “Eucharistic” rejoicing which “lifts up our hearts” is the fruit of God’s “descending” movement towards us, which remains for ever etched in the essential sacrificial element of the Eucharist, the supreme expression and celebration of the mystery of the kenosis, the descent by which Christ “humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross” (Phil 2:8).

The ascending and descending is a kind of holy dance, a movement in which believers are drawn to God, and the Son, who has come among us not only long ago, but today, in the sacramental celebrations in which so many find so much meaning.

Some traditional language describing …

The Mass in fact truly makes present the sacrifice of the Cross. Under the species of bread and wine, upon which has been invoked the outpouring of the Spirit who works with absolutely unique power in the words of consecration, Christ offers himself to the Father in the same act of sacrifice by which he offered himself on the Cross. “In this divine sacrifice which is accomplished in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once and for all in a bloody manner on the altar of the Cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner”.(Ecumenical Council of Trent, Session XXII, Doctrine and Canons on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, II: DS 1743; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1366) To his sacrifice Christ unites the sacrifice of the Church: “In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value”.(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1368) The truth that the whole community shares in Christ’s sacrifice is especially evident in the Sunday gathering, which makes it possible to bring to the altar the week that has passed, with all its human burdens.

Nothing new or striking here in the way traditional teaching is referenced here. This makes it all the more incumbent on preachers, musicians, and involved community members to show forth this character of the liturgy by our actions. The words alone don’t do it full justice.

The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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