Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis & the Eschatological Banquet

Pope Benedict's new Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis ("The Sacrament of Love"), is now up on the Vatican website. I've been reading through it--all I can say is "wow"!

In one paragraph, which relates to the restoration hopes of Israel we've been discussing here, the Pope describes the Eucharist as the eschatological banquet, which the prophets and other extra-biblical literature link with the ingathering of Israel.
Reflecting on this mystery, we can say that Jesus' coming responded to an expectation present in the people of Israel, in the whole of humanity and ultimately in creation itself. By his self-gift, he objectively inaugurated the eschatological age. Christ came to gather together the scattered People of God (cf. Jn 11:52) and clearly manifested his intention to gather together the community of the covenant, in order to bring to fulfilment the promises made by God to the fathers of old (cf. Jer 23:3; Lk 1:55, 70). In the calling of the Twelve, which is to be understood in relation to the twelve tribes of Israel, and in the command he gave them at the Last Supper, before his redemptive passion, to celebrate his memorial, Jesus showed that he wished to transfer to the entire community which he had founded the task of being, within history, the sign and instrument of the eschatological gathering that had its origin in him. Consequently, every eucharistic celebration sacramentally accomplishes the eschatological gathering of the People of God. For us, the eucharistic banquet is a real foretaste of the final banquet foretold by the prophets (cf. Is 25:6-9) and described in the New Testament as "the marriage-feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19:7-9), to be celebrated in the joy of the communion of saints (100).
Here's an overview of the letter--of course, I'll have a lot more on this later...

Introduction [1]
The food of truth [2]The development of the eucharistic rite [3]The Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist [4]The purpose of the present Exhortation [5]
The Church's eucharistic faith [6]
The blessed Trinity and the Eucharist
The bread come down from heaven [7] A free gift of the Blessed Trinity [8]
The Eucharist: Jesus the true Sacrificial Lamb
The new and eternal covenant in the blood of the Lamb [9] The institution of the Eucharist [10] Figura transit in veritatem [11]
The Holy Spirit and the Eucharist
Jesus and the Holy Spirit [12] The Holy Spirit and the eucharistic celebration [13]
The Eucharist and the Church
The Eucharist, causal principle of the Church [14] The Eucharist and ecclesial communion [15]
The Eucharist and the Sacraments
The sacramentality of the Church [16]
I. The Eucharist and Christian initiation The Eucharist, the fullness of Christian initiation [17]The order of the sacraments of initiation [18] Initiation, the ecclesial community and the family [19]
II. The Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation Their intrinsic connection [20] Some pastoral concerns [21]
III. The Eucharist and the anointing of the sick [22]
IV. The Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders In persona Christi capitis [23] The Eucharist and priestly celibacy [24]The clergy shortage and the pastoral care of vocations [25] Gratitude and hope [26]
V. The Eucharist and matrimony The Eucharist, a nuptial sacrament [27] The Eucharist and the unicity of marriage [28]The Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage [29]
The Eucharist and Eschatology
The Eucharist: a gift to men and women on their journey [30]The eschatological banquet [31]Prayer for the dead [32]
The Eucharist and the Virgin Mary [33]
Lex orandi and lex credendi [34]Beauty and the liturgy [35]
The Eucharistic celebration, the work of “Christus Totus”
Christus totus in capite et in corpore [36]The Eucharist and the risen Christ [37]
Ars celebrandi [38]
The Bishop, celebrant par excellence [39] Respect for the liturgical books and the richness of signs [40] Art at the service of the liturgy [41]Liturgical song [42]
The Structure of the Eucharistic Celebration [43]
The intrinsic unity of the liturgical action [44] The liturgy of the word [45]The homily [46] The presentation of the gifts [47]The Eucharistic Prayer [48]The sign of peace [49]The distribution and reception of the Eucharist [50] The dismissal: “Ite, missa est” [51]
Actuosa participatio [52]
Authentic participation [53]Participation and the priestly ministry [53]The eucharistic celebration and inculturation [54] Personal conditions for an “active participation” [55]Participation by Christians who are not Catholic [56]Participation through the communications media [57]Active participation by the sick [58] Care for prisoners [59] Migrants and participation in the Eucharist [60] Large-scale celebrations [61] The Latin language [62]Eucharistic celebrations in small groups [63]
Interior participation in the celebration
Mystagogical catechesis [64]Reverence for the Eucharist [65]
Adoration and Eucharistic devotion
The intrinsic relationship between celebration and adoration [66] The practice of eucharistic adoration [67]Forms of eucharistic devotion [68] The location of the tabernacle [69]
The Eucharistic form of the Christian life
Spiritual worship – logiké latreía (Rom 12:1) [70] The all-encompassing effect of eucharistic worship [71] Iuxta dominicam viventes – living in accordance with the Lord's Day [72] Living the Sunday obligation [73]The meaning of rest and of work [74] Sunday assemblies in the absence of a priest [75] A eucharistic form of Christian life, membership in the Church [76]Spirituality and eucharistic culture [77]The Eucharistic and the evangelization of cultures [78]The Eucharist and the lay faithful [79] The Eucharist and priestly spirituality [80]The Eucharist and the consecrated life [81]The Eucharist and moral transformation [82]Eucharistic consistency [83]
The Eucharist, a mystery to be proclaimed
The Eucharist and mission [84] The Eucharist and witness [85] Christ Jesus, the one Saviour [86]Freedom of worship [87]
The Eucharist, a mystery to be offered to the world
The Eucharist, bread broken for the life of the world [88] The social implications of the eucharistic mystery [89] The food of truth and human need [90] The Church's social teaching [91]The sanctification of the world and the protection of creation [92]The usefulness of a Eucharistic Compendium [93]
Conclusion [94]

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