Magic or Encounter? Print
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 23 July 2012 10:13

An important excerpt from Pope Benedict’s address to the Dublin Eucharistic Congress:

“How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery. Yet evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit. The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Congress has a similar aim. Here we wish to encounter the Risen Lord. We ask him to touch us deeply.”

The Church teaches that believing that the sacraments or the liturgy produced the intended spiritual fruit without our disposition and cooperation is "superstition". As a prominent theologian wrote in the 20's, "In this life, the faithful obtain the fruit of the liturgy through a personal quest."

A personal quest is absolutely necessary - as necessary as the sacraments themselves. We have to spend as much time fostering that personal quest in every baptized person and in those considering baptism as in debating the exact working and gestures of the liturgy.

But in reality, we spend 99% of our time and energy on the debates about rubrics, dogma, and validity and almost nothing on the non-negotiable personal response without which the grace given through the most beautiful liturgy in the world will never bear fruit in a real human being's transformation and salvation. And the salvation of human beings is the end for which the whole sacramental economy exists.

Our choices would seem to indicate that we do, in fact, believe that the liturgy is magic.  Heaven knows we've seen the fruit of that approach in spades.