Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adjutorium - first, a disclaimer

Mchiha aka ; ʽAminjjate aka. (Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! in Aramaic.)

The only person who has any real business writing about continual prayer is the person who prays continually. I am not that person. With less absoluteness, I also say that the only person with any real business writing about ancient Celtic Christian practices is the scholar of the subject. I am not that person. So I confess to having no business writing about the ancient Celtic Christian practice of continual prayer. But I have not read anything about it elsewhere. I may be the only person available to write about it. You, the reader, undoubtedly deserve better than me. The subject deserves better. But if I am the best there is, then I will undertake the job with trepidation and prayer. Please pray for me.

I have a little intellectual knowledge of both subjects to bring to the task, and some (though far less) experience. However, I believe that I have something exciting and heretofore unheard of to say. I hope it profits you.

In Christ the risen Lord,
Fr. Sean

Monday, April 13, 2009

Christ is risen! Crist aras! Al'Masiah qam! Christus resurrectus est!

He is truly risen! And if you want to be a real Easter geek, you can go to Pascha Polyglotta and learn how to say it in 250 different languages! There are even sound recordings for many of the versions! Even Vulcan!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eucharistic theories

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Four years ago, poor-blogger left a comment on this blog asking what I think about various theories used to explain the miracle of the Holy Eucharist (e.g. transubstantiation). Maybe it's about time to answer that question.

As a Celtic Catholic and as me, I simply can not elevate a theory to the level of doctrine. All I can say for sure is all I can know for sure: God performs a mighty miracle with the bread and wine, with me, with the congregation. A mighty miracle he does, a mighty miracle I receive. I know that Jesus is right when he says, "This is my Body, my Blood." I just don't know how it works. He never said. The Holy Spirit never inspired the undivided Church with an explanation. It is tempting (and, maybe, humanly necessary) to create tantalizing and plausible-sounding theories to explain the mechanics of the miracle. But they must always be acknowledged to be mere human theories. My long thinking on the subject leads me to say that they are in fact analogies. They are not Truth; they are attempts to picture and explain the Truth. The Truth itself is simply that God performs a mighty miracle.

Concerning the theory or analogy of transubstantiation itself, it worries me in one way. It says that in transforming the bread and wine, God changes their substance, their real nature, to the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ. The substance of earthly food is removed. Eek! This means that to transform the species of bread and wine, God must destroy them. I believe that all theology must hang together, and must relate to salvation. Is it true, then, that to save me, to transform me, to heal me, God must destroy me? Must he remove my human nature, my Sean nature? If the Holy Eucharist has salvific meaning to me, it must be, among other things, a picture of how God creates in me the image of his Son. If he needs to destroy and replace, I don't see that it helps me much. If I'm destroyed, I'm gone. Frankly, I want God to work with my haman-ness, my Sean-ness. I want him to transform me, not replace me. I want him to transform the bread and wine, not destroy it. And glory be, he does! He does in a way I can never imagine or articulate.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Hello to you, whoever you be.

I've been practically dancing with joy since the vigil. Christ is risen! I have missed saying "Alleluia!" Great Lent was not a chore for me this year, it was not dismal, but it was a definite change. The joy was put into a closet for a while, and I had not realized how much I missed it until the Vigil. I am appreciating the wisdom of traditional Christian practices more and more each year. One can never forget the Resurrection, of course, not even during Holy Week. But to put it in abeyance, to wait for it, to focus on other things for a time, makes the joy all the greater. Christ is risen! Yee-hah! The Lord is risen indeed! Yippee skippee!

All day Holy Saturday, as I was practicing the chants for the vigil, I kept encountering "the A word." Normally, when it crops up in practicing I substitute "ah-ah-ah-ah" for it. (We take the not saying of Alleluia during Lent very seriously.) But yesterday I could hardly contain myself. I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve with the tree surrounded by presents. For-me presents! I wanted to shout out that word so loudly. At the vigil, I did. I shouted.

We had two baptisms, boys seven and nine years old. The seven year old was asleep for almost the entire service. He practically had to be propped up to be baptized. And he didn't get his first communion, since he was un-wakable. I suppose I could have pried his mouth open and shoved the Sacred Body of our Lord down his throat, and we could have poured the Life-giving Blood down his gullet via a funnel, but that seemed to lack a certain something. Oh well, next Sunday he will receive communion and the bells will ring as he does so and it will be a little touch of glory all over again. (When the newly baptized receive communion for the first time, the sanctus bells trill just as they do during the Epiclesis. The Holy Spirit is entering the person in a particular way for the first time.)

That's it for now.


Christ is risen!

-- Fr. Sean