Monday, October 18, 2010


Evangelism and Liturgy

Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput on liturgy in today's world:
In practice, almost nothing of what we believe as Catholics is affirmed by our culture. Even the meaning of the words “human” and “person” are subject to debate. And other tenets of the Catholic worldview are aggressively repudiated or ignored.

The question becomes: What implications does all this have for our worship -- in which we profess to be in contact body and soul with spiritual realities, singing with the angels and saints in heaven, receiving the true Body and Blood of our once dead and now risen Lord on the altar?

Here’s another datum: We’re surrounded in our daily lives by monuments to our power over nature and necessity. The trophies of our autonomy and self-sufficiency are everywhere -- buildings, machines, medicines, inventions. Everything seems to point to our capacity to provide for our every need through our own know-how and technology.

Again the question becomes: What does this do to the central premise of our worship -- that we are creatures dependent upon our Creator, and that we owe thanksgiving to God for every good gift, beginning with the gift of life?
Some of his answers are most intriguing:
Barron puts the issue this way: “The project is not shaping the liturgy according to the suppositions of the age, but allowing the liturgy to question and shape the suppositions of any age. Is the modern man incapable of the liturgical act? Probably. But this is no ground for despair. Our goal is not to accommodate the liturgy to the world, but to let the liturgy be itself -- a transformative icon of the ordo of God.”


The next great task of the liturgical renewal is to build an authentic Eucharistic culture, to instill a new sacramental and liturgical sensibility that enables Catholics to face the idols and suppositions of our culture with the confidence of believers who draw life from the sacred mysteries, in which we have communion with the living God.


The first is this: We need to recover the intrinsic and inseparable connection between liturgy and evangelization.
Roman Catholic in expression and framework indeed, the underlying ideas are powerful and vitally important. The major thrust of the comments are that liturgy is intrinsic to binding us as a community of faith - the absence of liturgy is individualistic. The essence of the transformation Christ creates in us is the subjugation of self to one another - therefore liturgy is not only not optional, it is a necessary part of the gospel.

Most evangelicals I know need to chew on that a while.

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