SACRAMENTS A DIVINE ART

SACRAMENTS A DIVINE ART

Rev. Dr. Thomas Poovathanikunnel

God always manifested in and through language, signs, symbols and rituals and chosen people. Jesus Christ, the unique revelation and irrevocable Word of God, was a Jew, spoke the language of the Jews, performed miracles for them according to the circumstances. But Jesus Christ is the universal saviour and his salvific ministry is for all: ‘’God our Saviour, desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all’’ (1 Tim 2:3-4). Divine revelation and salvific mysteries are realized in time and space but it is not bound by time and space but is universal. The Gospel of God and the mysteries of salvation He gave are to be understood in the Sitz im Leben, preached to the generations, till the ends of the world and until he comes, in their cultural background, presented in their symbols and signs and explained in their language and art and celebrated in their ‘daily life’.

Therefore Eastern churches have a way of celebrating the sacraments and understanding them in close relation with the eastern culture and eastern way of thinking. For the eastern churches, liturgy is an expression and participation in the celestial liturgy – the only and real liturgy. Oriental liturgy is a celebration and not a performance of rites. It is an art. The space, time and mode of celebration are to be understood with this basic nature of oriental liturgies. Sacraments are the core of the liturgy.

Sacraments must be rediscovered as the reservoir of spiritual energy, capable of unifying culture and tradition, differences and communion. Sacraments should be reconstructed under the same Spirit who brooded over ‘the earth that was a formless void and darkness that covered the face of the deep’ (Gen 1:1). Lambert Leijssen, who takes a postmodern look at sacraments, writes: ‘’Liturgy speaks about the invisible. The invisible is revealed or disclosed to the inner eye of the heart. In this sense, liturgical language is related to poetic language: it calls forth, speaks to the imagination, and touches the inner life.’’[1]In the sacraments the invisible omnipresent and omnipotent God discloses to the inner personality of the faithful. In this sense sacraments are related to art and culture: they give invisible God and His paschal mysteries a conceivable realistic appeal in the diverse colours of life.

1. Sacraments: Art

We the Orientals could find that the sacraments are meaningful piece of real art which give the faithful a meaning and orientation in life and ‘communion’. However we have to remember that art just represents realities while the sacrament reallypresents real life. Different studies have presented Christian worship and sacraments at the level of art. Christos Yannaras writes:

Worship of the church is art; it is the work of a communal use of material reality, building and shaping the earth’s material so as to render it capable of serving life, that existential fullness of life which is communion and relationship. And the church’s art is worship; it is not merely decorative, but manifests and highlights the ‘’rational’’ potentialities of matter, the harmony of praise formed by the ‘’words’’ or inner principles of created things when they are serving Eucharistic event of communion.[2]

Sacrament is an art in which God draws His inner salvific realities on the inner personalities of human beings. Looking at symbols in art and sacraments, Van Roo wrote:

Like many art symbols, the sacraments are highly complex presentational symbols, employing a multitude of symbolic elements to express in a single concrete image the conception of a momentous divine-human action and of an extremely rich human experience. I should add immediately, anticipating what I shall have to say later, that the Christian sacrament is more than the expression of a conception. For the moment, however, one may recognize its similarity with the art symbol in this one function, and in the complicated non-discursive character which in different ways marks both symbols.[3]

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken several times on the role of art in Christian life. In his general audience at Castel Gandolfo on 31 August 2011, he reflects on art and prayer. In the context of his reflection on the need for every Christian to find time for God and for prayer, he says that the artistic expression, the way of beauty, is one of the channels that can lead to God and that can help in the encounter with him. The Pope describes that it is our experience that ‘’a sculpture, a picture, a few verses of a poem or a piece of music that you found deeply moving, that gave you a sense of joy, a clear perception, that is, that what you beheld was not only matter, a piece of marble or bronze, a painted canvas, a collection of letters or an accumulation of sounds, but something greater, something that “speaks”, that can touch the heart, communicate a message, uplift the mind.’’[4]

2. Doors to the Sacred[5]

The sacraments, the channels that present paschal mysteries of Christ[6] and his Grace, the encounter with God are beautiful works of art. They are verses of divine poem (psalms), music, piece of earthly realities, collection of words from the scripture, reflections on them, prayers and canons. Celebrations of the sacraments have the communitarian chant and sounds. They are celebrated on the canvass of the sacred places painted, decorated, beautified by art and architecture. They are, however greater than all these, they speak to us, they touch our innermost personality with the divine grace, they communicate the divine message that will manifest our own identity, lead us to a transcendent experience. ThePope says:

A work of art is a product of the creative capacity of the human being who in questioning visible reality, seeks to discover its deep meaning and to communicate it through the language of forms, colour and sound. Art is able to manifest and make visible the human need to surpass the visible, it expresses the thirst and the quest for the infinite.

Sacraments are the product of the creative expression of the faith of the church from the commemoration, reflection and response of the apostolic church on the salvific paschal realities they have encountered in the person and words and deeds of Jesus Christ.[7] They are the result of celebration of the faith of the church to communicate it experientially in the colours of the daily life of the human being. They express the desire of the faith community to commune with their LORD and God, even after he ‘has been taken up from them into heaven until he will come in the same way as they saw him go into heaven’ (Acts 1: 1).ThePope continues ‘’indeed it resembles a door open on to the infinite, on to a beauty and a truth that goes beyond the daily routine. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and of the heart, impelling us upward.’’

Sacraments are ‘windows to God through which we get a glimpse of divine beauty’.[8]   Windows, of course, open us another world, but at the same time hide a lot. Through the windows we are also seen from the other side. They open a relationship; bring light and fresh air/life. In the present culture, sacraments are seemingly closed doors which do not give anything beyond; however, through them the glorified Christ would appear and address the faithful manifesting his wounds, the symbol of the paschal mysteries, establishing a communion (Jn 20:19, 26). ThePope says:

However some artistic expressions are real highways to God, the supreme Beauty; indeed, they help us to grow in our relationship with Him, in prayer. These are works that were born from faith and express faith… we are enraptured by the vertical lines that soar skywards and uplift our gaze and our spirit, while at the same time we feel small yet long for fullness….

Sacraments are doors to the Real and sacred. In order to be the doors to the sacred, sacraments should, first of all become an art of human life. The art manifests an invisible idea or concept to the viewers, expresses the idea of the artist. As the doors open closed spaces, help to relate with two realities/worlds, the sacramental celebration should seriously consider the mysteries of salvation of the universe in its transcendence, the mystical experience, the divine grace on the one side and the real human life on the other side.

3 Offbeat Colours

Sacraments include offbeat colours of real life, use offbeat signs, symbols and a variety of artistic elements. The church brings them to a creative combination on a canvas of ecclesial celebration in the sacraments. The paschal mysteries of Christ is the result of human offbeat lives, Jesus made those lives to manifest the transcendent love of God and his redemptive intervention in the universe. Sacraments manifest this mystery in the art of celebration on the background of human life. Sacraments have as their integral part the different human colours as well as differently coloured human beings: the young and old (baptism), the holy (Chrismation) and sinner (reconciliation), baptised and non-baptised, people in all nations and all conditions (Eucharistic prayers in all rites), men and woman (marriage), sick and afflicted (anointing), servants and presbyters (priesthood).

The sacraments being pictorial words (especially oriental liturgical language), signs and symbols, psalms and chants, we are invited and reminded by the deacons in the sacramental celebration to meditate and pray in heart.[9] What we hear, see or what is communicated to us in sacramental art is the truth, the truth of the supreme artist that impels us to thank God.[10] By the celebration one understands the beauty of the sacraments that irresistibly expresses the presence of God’s mystery, ‘the truth that can bring us to remember God, help us to pray or even to convert our heart’.[11]

As Benedict XVI wishes to the artists, we could wish to all the participants of the sacramental celebration ‘’may they become above all moments of grace, incentives to strengthen our bond and our dialogue with the Lord so that – in switching from simple external reality to the more profound reality it expresses – we may pause to contemplate the ray of beauty that strikes us to the quick, that almost “wounds” us, and that invites us to rise toward God.’’[12]

4. Beautiful and Spiritual

Spiritual people have the capacity to touch the unseen connection between beauty and spirituality’ in liturgy. They are mystics, like artists who see reality in different layers unlike the average person. John Paul II writes to the artists:

The theme of beauty is decisive for a discourse on art…. In perceiving that all he had created was good, God saw that it was beautiful as well. The link between good and beautiful stirs fruitful reflection. In a certain sense, beauty is the visible form of the good, just as the good is the metaphysical condition of beauty.[13]

Beauty is theophanic.[14] In the liturgy we perceive the parallels, the incongruities, the synchronicities, the ironies of life. In the liturgy we can evoke admiration or at least recognition of a new insight into the celestial liturgy which most people ignore or do not see otherwise. Ronald D. Witherup observes that ‘the beatific vision’ – the vision of the beauty of God’s presence – is only until we arrive at our creator. The liturgy especially the sacraments help us through objects, images and symbol the aspect of God’s goodness and beauty.[15]The sacraments help us see and experience God’s goodness in his salvific paschal mysteries that is eternally presented to us in Jesus Christ.  They manifest before us the mysterious presence of God; local and universal, personal and in the community; undoubtedly through the artistic tools of signs, symbols, music, costumes (vestments), settings and actors.[16] Sacraments open to us the beauty and importance of earthly materials (water, oil, bread and wine), human beings, signs and symbols, language, space and time that we do not see otherwise.

As culture changed, modern art, drama and street plays came in and that influenced the sacramental celebrations and took away the vestments, church and altar, priests and deacons, different forms and often it was presented without any ‘make up’ and had multi roles for thesame person.[17] Sacraments should be beautifully celebrated for beauty itself is spiritual reality and celebration is inwardly experiential.

5. Authentic Liturgy

Sacramental art evokes questions that may be hard to pose otherwise. They challenge the participants. The parables Jesus Christ used are from daily life situations that the people around him did not see. They provoked the Jews; put their faith and spirituality in question. Jesus could draw beautiful verbal pictures of thegood shepherd, vine and branches; he had short stories of theprodigal son and the Good Samaritan; relief works on nature – flying birds, lilies in the field; portraits on bread and wine. All these led the people beyond appearances. The miracles he performed were not wonderworks but signs that posted questions among the Scribes and Pharisees. They touch more profound truths just as art helps people to touch the depths of the human heart.[18] The sacraments are these penetrating words and deeds of Christ in the ecclesial signs and symbols that evoke questions in human life.

The influence of a work of art may be measured by its authenticity. A copy, an imitation may be used in necessity as a substitute, but will ever be a ‘substitute’. Authenticity comes from the originality, commitment, truthfulness, credibility etc of the artist. However, even the qualities of the artist will be jeopardised by the canvas on which he works, the tools he has, the colours he uses, the climatic changes it may undergo. These elements are necessaries for which he has to inevitably depend on others. The sacraments of the church face a crisis out of credibility, authenticity, and effectiveness not from the author but from the suppliers of the goods, the participants and the church, the deputed artist. The sacraments are the ongoing artistic work of Jesus through his church. They are nothing but attractively presented, solemnly given authentic salvific works of the Lord, the ransom for the universe.

6. Presence of Absent Reality

God is both revealed and yet also remains hidden in this world and any particular revelation of God in this world can never be totally complete or completely full. The sacramental world is the primary language of sacrament but all sacramentality both reveals and hides the complete reality of God who we can experience fully in the life to come. Sacramentality emphasizes how God is discoverable here and now; it also leads us to yearn for the fullness of our experience of God in eternity.[19]

God never reveals or communicates to humanity as a static omnipotent reality but as one who intervenes in the life of the human person or in the history of a community. This is explicit when Joris Geldhof, discussing on the origins of the word ‘revelation’ and the concepts associated with it writes,

The semantic field attached to ‘revelation’ in the bible is related to the idea of God who makes himself and his holy plan known to the people by various means: in creation and several fascinating natural phenomena, by the earthly experience of exodus and the covenant, in individual vision and stories of vocation, via prophetic words, in and through the Mosaic law.[20]

In the sacraments God’s presence is not a static presence.[21] The signs in the sacraments are not statues of different faces of God. God is present as a ’gift’;[22] His presence is active and proactive provoking to be reactive.[23] Here God intervenes in the life of a particular individual in his decisive life moments. Sacraments as signs are not to be considered as things or rituals that would bring the presence of God as someone with whom we can have personal encounter as to a human being next to us in a particular time and space. It is not a localized presence of the universal presence of God. Sacramental presence of God is an active presence of God in the spatial, temporal dimension of the humanity, which otherwise the human being cannot experience because he is entangled by these historical specifications.[24] A Sinai event was needed in the life of Moses to experience the omnipresent YHWH.

The sacramental communion of God and man is not an interpersonal communion; sacraments lead us to Christ event, paschal mysteries, through which we are in true and active communion with Christ our saviour. This is a communion that Jesus Christ intended in his prayer in John 17.[25] While Joseph Ratzinger explains the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, he goes through different commentaries on St. John chapter 6, and on the concept of real presence in Paul’s writings and concludes that ‘’it is not something at rest but is a power that catches us up and works to draw us within itself.’’ It is important that Ratzinger points to First Corinthians 6:17, to understand the Eucharistic presence of Jesus.[26] He writes,

In the normal process of eating, the human is the stronger being. He takes things in and they are assimilated into him, so that they become part of his own substance. They are transformed within him and go to build up his bodily life. But in the mutual relation with Christ it is the other way around; he is the heart, the truly existent being. When we truly communicate, this means that we are taken out of ourselves, that we are assimilated into him, that we become one with him and through him, with the fellowship of our brethren.[27]

‘’The true God is a free God who remains other, who remains mystery and eludes possession. The present God always remains an absent God, an ‘other’ God, who nonetheless leaves traces of having been here and promise of return. God is never known in his ousia (essence) but only in his energe (manifestation or trace).’’[28] George Worgul puts it positively, ’’God, Father, Son and Spirit interrupt our concrete lives by coming to us in love and drawing us more and more into the future of his kingdom and through these sacramental icons.’’ [29] This is not just a momentary miracle but a life experience.

Sacramental symbols reveal the paschal mystery of Christ, through which humanity is saved. However, Worgul indicates, as the continuation of the above quote, that the symbolic nature of the sacraments is a risk sometimes that the symbol supplants or hides rather than reveals the symbolized. It is because of the nature of the relationship of the signified and the symbol. They are realsymbols, but it could be confused with who or what they symbolize. Eucharistic bread taken without the recognition of communion of glorified Christ with humanity leads people to take it as a matter to be adorned. In such misled spirituality, consecrated bread is sufficient, not the Eucharistic celebration which is the celebration of universal salvific mysteries without which no one would be saved.[30]

Eastern sacramental theology and iconology present sacraments as icons and icons as sacramental. Icons are doors to the sacred mysteries. They do not possess the mystery; rather they open up the mystery. Icons mostly point to the eschatological realities. They are loaded with meaning. They are also qualified as a window through which God gazes upon us and comes to us. That is to say, from our part, we can have the vision of God, and reach out to God through the same opening. This is a free initiative of God gratuitously given to us. If we fail to see the One who comes through the icons and addresses us, it can become an idol. Idolaters will possess the icon to possess, control and manipulate gods. ‘’Idols are created precisely when we strip symbols of the symbolized or reduce the symbolized to ‘thingness’ by absolutely identifying it with the symbol through which is presents itself.’’[31]

7. Sacramental Realism

The sacraments and the sacramental life of the church open up to the members a hopeful life, liberate them from inner bondages and empower them to liberate the universe from all kinds of captivity. Sacraments proclaim the word of God manifested in the Holy Scriptures and in created cosmos (by using cosmic elements). They above all preach the gospel of human life by celebrating the daily life of the members – a real celebration of life. Sacraments as we have explained above find offbeat colours of life, things and symbols in the universe as inevitable part of meaningful, beautiful and reallygraceful experience.

Joseph Ratzinger in his The Spirit of the Liturgy, while explaining worship observes that there is a common view that ‘’sacrifice has something to do with destruction. It means handing over to God a reality that is in some way precious to man. This handing over presupposes that it is withdrawn from use by man, and that can only happen through its destruction, its definitive removal from the hands of man.’’[32] This common view about worship and sacrifice might be the reason that the postmodernists who hold freedom, individuality and pleasure above all other realities are somewhat afraid and keep away from ecclesial ritualistic worship. The same view on worship might be the hindrance for the church to accommodate the people of this culture in sacramental worship. Ratzinger continues with a question:[33]

What pleasure is God supposed to take in destruction? Is anything really surrendered to God through destruction? One answer is that the destruction always conceals within itself the act of acknowledging God’s sovereignty over all things. But can such a mechanical act really serve God’s glory? Obviously not. True surrender to God looks very different. It consists – according to the Fathers, in fidelity to biblical thought – in the union on man and creation with God. Belonging to God has nothing to do with destruction or non-being: it is rather a way of being. It means emerging from the state of separation, of apparent autonomy, of existing only for oneself and in oneself. It means losing oneself as the only possible way of finding oneself (Cf. Mk 8:35; Mt 10: 39).

Sacraments are not destructive, but rather a way of being Christian. Here the faithful find themselves. Sacraments are celebrations of human life in union with others and creation in the openness to the transcendent God. Thus sacraments divinize the whole creation together with the participants. Ratzinger writes:

St. Augustine could say that the true ‘’sacrifice’’ is the civitas Dei, that is, love-transformed mankind, the divinization of creation and the surrender of all things to God: God all in all (I Cor 15:28). That is the purpose of the world. That is the essence of sacrifice and worship…And so we can now say that the goal of worship and the goal of creation as a whole are one and the same – divinization, a world of freedom and love.[34]

Jesus ‘came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (Jn 10:10). He wants to continue the same ministry in and through the church, his mystical body. ’Sacraments are the proclamation and celebration of this gospel to each individual in his/her particular life situation. Each one will experience it according to the response expressed by the participation in the sacrament. Sacraments are manifestations, the visible form of the salvation, the liberation from the profane-ness of humanity and the world.[35] As Jesus addressed those unaddressed at that time, ’those who suffer and are in distress, the poor and oppressed, the sick and the afflicted, those who have departed from their midst by death and social execution and also those who awaited him with great hope’,[36] the Church continues the ministry of Christ especially in the celebration of sacraments which is the official salvific act of the church. Here daily life with all its cares and concerns, with its joys and expectations, becomes concretely and genuinely a reflective manifestation of God’s salvific activity. Daily life is celebrated in this liturgical event. This is not erection of Christ’s salvific cross anew, but rather his hidden, continuing presence in the world is proclaimed anew.[37] As we find that pseudorealistic art presents the inner self of the artist in the union of offbeat colours, sacraments are constructive art. They express the divine salvific presence in people’s daily life and empower their life in all dimensions.

Conclusion

The sacraments may be seen as art that exchanges an abstract or transcendent reality experience by using human sings and symbols borrowed from the context of everyday life. Sacraments, as we explained, have the characteristics of art which this culture can find attractive. But regarding sacraments it transports the participants into the salvific mysteries of Christ, the world of grace. This demands a break from the existing life styles by which the participant will enjoy the real freedom of creating a new world.

In the sacramental celebration we participate in the experience of our salvation through an active anamnesis. It involves a creative process of transforming matter and the participants to create a space for communion – universe. Such understanding of the significance of sacraments is lost in the postmodern culture when secular religiosity and sacramentality began to predominate in the ecclesial life. During postmodernism, secular and human values gained greater importance; religious spirituality and rituals were secularized in content and style. The culture that developed under these conditions alienated religiosity from religion and its rituals, faith from daily life and sin from morality. In this culture Christianity lost its ‘’splendour’’ to illuminate the human life.

Sacraments are a kind of art that makes human life a celebration. They are a community’s experience of self-realization. Here the participants remember and relive their primordial salvific experience – the paschal mysteries of Christ. Sacraments actualize the original experience at a particular space and time, which will be fully realized in the eschaton. The sacramental commemoration is not a mere mental or psychological activity. This is active, proactive and leading to a reactive life.

Sacraments divinize the whole universe, human beings in all colours and all colours of their life. The faithful have to be introduced into a sacramental life, a celebration of their own life. Sacraments are reality already accomplished in the plan of God and the means to realize it in the individual life. They are never finished products but dynamic actions of the church that is ever fruitful in human life. Sacraments are to be celebrated and lived. They are actions of salvific mysteries of Christ in the real life of the faithful. Sacraments remind us about the content of our faith – what God has done for the universe in Jesus Christ – and our role in this graceful universe. As sacraments, they are the means to realize it.

                                                                                         

[1] Lambert Leijssen, With the Silent Glimmer of God’s Spirit: A Postmodern Look at the Sacraments, New York, Paulist, 2006, p. 31.

[2] Christos Yannaras, The Freedom of Morality, New York, Vladimir Seminary Press, 1996, p.232.

[3] William A. Van Roo, ‘’Symbol in Art and Sacrament’’, Studia Anselmiana, 64 (1974) 151-171, p.162

[4] Benedict XVI, General Audience, Castel Gandolfo, Wednesday, 31 August 2011, The document inhttp://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110831_ en.html. There is no numbers in this document and therefore we quote without further reference.

[5] Joseph Martos’s work which critically and historically exposes the sacraments of the Church has the title, Doors to the Sacred: a Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Christian Church, London, SCM, 1981. Icon is a door says Stephen the Younger (+764); the book on icons by John Baggley is Doors of Perception: Icons and Their Spiritual Significance, New York, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 1987; Sebastian Elavanthingal, ‘’Icons – Visual Theology’’, in Paulachan Kochappilly et al. (eds), The Way of Life, Festschrift in Honour of Prof. Dr. Varghese Pathikulangara, Kottayam, Denha Services, 2011, 103-119, pp.116-117.

[6] ‘’Every liturgical celebration is a memorial of the mystery of Christ in his salvific action for all humanity and is meant to promote the personal participation of the faithful in the paschal mystery re-expressed and made present in the gestures and words of the rite.’’ Pope John Paul II, General Audience, Wednesday, 10 September 1997, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/1997/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_10091997 en.html.

[7] Lieven Boeve, ‘’Thinking Sacramental Presence in a Postmodern Context: A Playground for Theological Renewal’’, Lieven Boeve and Lambert Leijssen (eds), Sacramental Presence in a Postmodern Context, 3-23, p.23; Servaas, Marianne, ‘’Focusing our Eyes on the Sacraments. An Interaction with David Power’’, Questions Liturgiques / Studies in Liturgy, 88/2 (2007) 157-162.

[8]Servaas, Marianne, ‘’Focusing our Eyes on the Sacraments’’, p.167.

[9] There are several proclamations by the deacon in the Eucharistic celebration of the Syro-Malabar Church of St. Thomas Christians. General instructions and profiles about any art are necessary to appreciate it better than it would spontaneously arise in our heart. The beautiful artistic representations in the Hindu temples in Khajuraho in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh will appear to be pure pornography unless we are led to the mysterious divine intervention in the universe, in creation, procreation, protection and salvation according to the Hindu religious faith hidden in the art that fascinates us. However postmodern culture holds, meaning of any word or art is that which the reader or viewer understands by himself. Ronald P. Byars, The Sacraments in Biblical Perspective, Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press, 2011, p.16.

[10] Third G’hantha prayer in Order of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana, (English Text, Mount St. Thomas, 2005) p. 54.

[11]Benedict XVI, General Audience, Castel Gandolfo, Wednesday, 31 August 2011.

[12] Benedict XVI, General Audience, Castel Gandolfo, Wednesday, 31 August 2011. Cf. Matthias Neuman, ‘’Religious Identity and the Theologians Work’’, The Catholic Theological Society of America, Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Convention, Vol. 28, New York, 1973, 271-277.

[13]Letter Of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, To Artists, April, 4, 1999, no, 3.

[14] Kallistos of Diokleia, ‘’Beauty Will Save the World’’, Sobornost, 30/1 (2008) 7-21.

[15] Ronald D. Witherup, ‘’Catholicism, Art and the Priesthood: a natural trio’’, The Pastoral Review, 8/1 (2012) 8-13, p.12.

[16] Thomas Poovathanikunnel, The Sacraments: The Mystery Revealed, Kottayam, OIRSI, 1998.

[17] E.g. The Mass for India and Bharthiya Pooja, a secularised form of a ritual or a magic. Present mode of sacramental celebrations by many without any mode of celebration (however adding more elements in the secular merrymaking) and role for human feelings is another example.

[18] Ronald D. Witherup, ‘’Catholicism, Art and the Priesthood’’, p.13.

[19] Kevin W. Irwin, ‘’A Sacramental World– Sacramentality as the Primary language for Sacraments’’, Worship, 76/3 (2002) 197-211, 203.

[20] Joris Geldhof, Revelation, Reason and Reality: Theological Encounters with Jaspers, Schelling and Baader, Leuven, Peeters, 2007, p.4.

[21] John C. Ries, ‘’The ‘’Place’’ of Sacraments in a Post-Modern Context’’, Questions Liturgiques/Studies in Liturgy, 81/3-4 (2000) 165-169, p.167.

[22] David N. Power, Sacrament: the Language of God’s Giving, New York, Herder & Herder, 1999, pp.276-281.

[23] John Wall, ‘’The Economy of the Gift: Paul Ricoeur’s Significance for Theological Ethics’’, Journal of Theological Ethics, 29/2 (2001)235-260, pp.238-239. Cf. Kevin Donovan, ‘’Liturgy and Communication’’, The Way, 50/2 (2011) 15-24. This is a reproduction from The Way 12/2 (April 1972).

[24] Kevin Irwin, ‘’Liturgical Actio: Sacramentality, Eschatology and Ecology’’, Questions Litugiques/Studies in Liturgy, 81/3-4 (2000) 171-183, p.176. Teresa White writes, ‘’There is a human need to articulate the Divine in a tangible form; for God, though beyond all names and words and symbols, is not for that reason abstract. We are visual people, and we want to picture what God looks like, to ‘see’ God with our own eyes, to relate to God as persons do. We know that it is not simply a question of physical seeing, but of inner perceptiveness or ‘insight’, but we know too that we gain insight into God through imagery and metaphor. Images can be sacramental, they can put us in touch with that inward element which the outward aspect hints at and suggests. They can help us to view the invisible, touch the untouchable, know the knowable, clutch what is inapprehensible.’’ ‘’Translate the Divine’’, The Way, 50/2 (2011) 9-14, p.10.

[25]Jesus prayed to protect the disciples in the name of the Father, so that they may be one, as God is one. There was a time when Jesus was with them in flesh, but now He enters the glory with the Father. Jesus did not want to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the evil one and to sanctify them in the truth. Christ wished that they may all be one and above all He prayed ‘’as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us…so that they may be one, as we are one,I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one’’ (John 14:14-23). Glorified Christ wanted to be united with the disciples. The oneness and difference in the communion of God and humanity is clearly presented by the evangelist.

[26] Joseph Ratzinger, God is Near Us, the Eucharist the Heart of Life, Stephan Otto Horn and Vinzenz Pfnür (eds), Henry Taylor (trans) San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2003, p.77. We have to evaluate the present Eucharistic piety, especially a growing passion to get a piece of consecrated bread to present in a comfortable atmosphere to express the emotional, sometimes violet, piety, worship before Christ. A localized, personified, presence driven under human existential limitations is projected in these movements to attract and even exploit the vulnerable simple faithful. Cf. Mervyn Duffy, How language, Ritual and Sacraments Work according to John Austin, Jürgen Habermas and Louis-Marie Chauvet, Roma, Pontificia università Gregoriana, 2005, p197, Louis-Marie Chauvet, Symbol and Sacrament: A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence, P. Madigan-M Beaumont (trans), Collegeville MN, 2001, p.404. Rahner observes that ‘presence’ can have different forms or properties: 1) ‘presence’ is not co-existence of two physical bodies which modifies one another at a physical level. Presence is an anthropological concept that belongs to those factors which determine the condition of man as a whole. 2) Presence in the fullest and deepest sense is that which affects and causes that which we call presence from all aspects of being and removes the state of ‘absence’ (as though the other entity did not exist) in which one existed. Karl Rahner, ‘’The presence of the Lord in Christian Community at Worship’’, Theological Investigations, Vol. 10, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1973,71-83, p.72.

[27] Joseph Ratzinger, God is Near Us, the Eucharist the Heart of Life, p.78.

[28] George S. Worgul, ‘’Sacraments: Iconic Interruptions of the Loving God’’, Questions Liturgiques/Studies in Liturgy, 89/2-3 (2008) 108-119, pp.117-118.

[29] George S. Worgul, ‘’Sacraments: Iconic Interruptions of the Loving God’’, p.118.

[30]Servaas, Marianne, ‘’Focusing our Eyes on the Sacraments’’, pp.167-168.

[31] George S. Worgul, ‘’Sacraments: Iconic Interruptions of the Loving God’’, p.117.

[32] Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p.26.

[33] Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, pp.26-27.

[34] Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p.27.

[35] Thomas Poovathanikunnel, Sacramentology: Methods, Models and Terminology, Kunnoth, Good Shepherd Books, 2006, p.112.

[36]Order of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana, p.55.

[37] Karl Rahner, ‘’Consideration on the Active Role of the Person in the Sacramental Event’’, Theological Investigations, Vol. 14, Baltimore, Helicon Press, 1979, 161-194, p.171.

Pin It

Comments are closed.