Sunday, August 11, 2013

The poor we will always have with us...

Katrina Fernandez has an insightful observation on the papal style of Pope Francis vs. his predecessor as depicted in the social media:

See… the ravings of someone spiritually starving. All this focus on eschewing expensive finery for the sake of the poor. The poor. You know what, as a member of the poor, I can earnestly say that financially poverty is less detrimental than spiritual poverty. Financial poverty won’t kill me like spiritual poverty will. And to be perfectly honest, I find it all rather condescending. Poor people being offended by beautiful chalices and awe inspiring church architecture. Pfffft.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy teaches that “the Liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows,” and necessary for catechizing the faithful that Christ Jesus may fully work in them in transforming them. If this is so, and it is, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger got it right when he noted that “the disintegration of the liturgy” is behind the crisis of faith that confronts the Church at present, for when man falls from worshipping God in the way that He wants to be worshipped “in favor of the powers and values of this world,” he loses his freedom, and returns to captivity through loss of the moral law which governs true humanity.
The Cardinal wrote that worship, i.e., the right kind of relationship with God, is the indispensable ingredient for truly human existence in the world, as it “allows light to fall from that divine world into ours.” He spoke too of a danger in worship concerned only with the interests of the community — a horizontal phenomenon — and not the primacy of celebrating the paschal mystery of Christ properly understood. Authentic liturgy is about God responding to man and revealing how man can worship him, a vertical phenomenon. The speculation of the liturgists in “the Spirit of Vatican II” notwithstanding, this in turn means true liturgy does not depend solely on human participation, imagination or creativity, but requires, in Cardinal Ratzinger’s words, “a real relationship with Another, who reveals himself to us” and transforms our lives. Sacrosanctum Concilium makes this point best:

Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.

 So, then, Katrina, you may be poor, but you are indeed rich in spiritual insight!