Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Benedict XVI and the Eucharistic Liturgy

Scott Hahn on the New Pope's Potential Revival This article was partially displayed on titusonenine so a hat tip to Dr. Harmon. The article comes from Zenit.

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, JUNE 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's pontificate is not about restoration of the liturgy so much as re-appropriation -- of the mystery of the Eucharist.

So says Scott Hahn, professor of theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and author of "The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth" (Doubleday).

He shared with ZENIT how he thinks Benedict XVI's teachings will enhance the faithful's understanding and experience of Eucharist.

Q: What was distinctive about then Cardinal Ratzinger's approach to the Eucharist?

Hahn: I don't think any theologian since Matthias Scheeben in the 19th century has shown us the profound interrelation of all the mysteries of Christianity. The doctrine of the Eucharist, for Cardinal Ratzinger, cannot be properly studied or expressed apart from the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the incarnation, and the doctrine of the Church.

The Eucharist itself is a Trinitarian mystery; we cannot receive the Son without receiving the Father who sent him in the flesh and the Spirit through which he comes. The Trinity comes to us in the Eucharist. And as the Trinity comes to us, we are raised up into the very presence of the divine glory.

This mystery is connected to the Incarnation because it's not just a historical event in the past, but an ongoing reality -- a supernatural mystery -- in our very midst. It all hangs together.

Cardinal Ratzinger's ecclesiology -- his theology of the Church -- is Eucharistic, incarnational and Trinitarian. At the same time, his Eucharistic theology is ecclesiological, incarnational and Trinitarian.

Q: Cardinal Ratzinger often described the Eucharist as the "heart of life." What does he mean by that?

Hahn: The Eucharist is our encounter and our communion with the Blessed Trinity. That is the heart of life. It's the source of life. It's the summit of life. Communion with the Blessed Trinity is the very definition of heaven, so it doesn't get any better than that. The amazing thing is that we have heaven in every Mass.

This is a theme Cardinal Ratzinger returned to repeatedly in many of his books. The coming of Jesus Christ -- what the Greek New Testament calls his "parousia" -- is not simply some far-off event. It is his presence in the Eucharist.

Fundamentalists reduce the meaning of "parousia" to Christ's coming at the end of time; but for first-century Greek-speakers the word meant "presence." Catholic theology holds on to that original meaning.

In his book "Eschatology," Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "The parousia is the highest intensification and fulfillment of the liturgy. And the liturgy is parousia. … Every Eucharist is parousia, the Lord's coming, and yet the Eucharist is even more truly the tensed yearning that He would reveal His hidden Glory."

Read it all.


Blogger Bobby J. Kennedy said...

I bought six of the Pope's books over the weekend in Little Rock. I already had one and I love what he has to say. He is a real hero of the faith as far as I am concerned. You may be interested in his book on the Eucharist.

I bought a book from the U. K. that arrived in the mail yesterday called "The Lord's Supper: A Clerical Symposium". Rev. M. F. Sadler is one of the 12 priest that interact on the "Design and benefit that it (the Eucharist) confers to the individual and the Church". If you can find a copy you may want that as well.

If you want my sources e-mail me and I'll let you know. I don't want to broadcast all of my book sources here because I would like to keep the market cornered, as it were. ;)

9:42 pm  

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