Thursday, October 6, 2005

Source and Summit

"Taking part in the eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It." (paragraph 11)

Lumen Gentium

So, the oft-used phrase "source and summit" or "font and apex" - what is this we refer to, the Eucharist (i.e. the consecrated host)? No, rather, the eucharistic sacrifice. The sacrifice of thanksgiving, the Mass. The ritual action, not the noun. The ritual action that gathers, breaks open (Christ present in Gospel, and bread/wine become body/blood) shares, and sends. The celebration that calls us to "Participation, Community, and Mission."

Just an observation.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with this entirely. It is this Source and Summit that is primary and we are lead, as Instrumentum Laboris reminds us, from celebration to adoration.
    I think that those of us in the Western Church often forget to slow down and contemplate mystery. Just look at how fast people run out the Church door after Communion! Their Sunday Obligation seems to be fulfilled only in the reception of bread and wine as a snack before Sunday brunch.
    I guess my concern is that too much emphasis can be placed on Eucharistic Adoration taking it out of its mission-oriented context, as well as not enough emphasis placed on it.
    As a missionary I am often reminded of the contemplative mission. St. Eugene de Mazenod wrote in the Oblate rule that Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament was essential. I think that his reasons are on target: "Sometimes when I find myself in the presence of Jesus Christ it happens that I experience a kind of illusion. It seems to me that you are adoring Him and praying at the same time as I, and He, being as present to you as to me, we feel it as if we were close to one another, although unable to see each other."
    Fr. kelly Nemeck, OMI writes: "Moreover, Eugene's intuition told him that verbally or by letter he could communicate with his Oblates but, more important, he could commune with each of them in Jesus' love, no matter where in far-off lands their missionary vocation had taken them. He effected such communion in and through the Blessed Sacrament."
    When we gather to celebrate the Eucharist we gather together in Communion with all our sisters and brothers celebrating the same Sacrament. When we gather in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, we communicate with and through Jesus with all those who do the same and stand in awe before the mystery of God. Being in a congregation that is so large that I could not possibly meet all my brothers in community, I often feel that connection/communion with all my brothers in the missions and I hope they feel that same connection with me in the mission to which I belong.