All posts tagged: asceticism

Actualizing Baptism: The Font of Lay Authority

It seems the common experience of most lay people today in the United States Catholic Church that they are disengaged from the liturgical celebration unless made a part of an active ministry (Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Lector, Greeter, etc.). Yet, the documents of the Second Vatican Council point to the essential activity of the laity, whether part of an active ministry or not. The laity seem to have lost a rightful sense of authority when celebrating the liturgy. They see themselves as passive participants instead of active members of a Church communio. The decline in Mass attendance or engagement may be connected to this shallow self-understanding of lay identity that has seeped its way into the consciousness of so many Catholics. The rich rights and obligations of the laity articulated in the Code of Canon Law (CC 208ff.) spurred this essay, which seeks to flesh out a rightful authority of the baptized at liturgical celebration as baptismal priest and suggest a catechetical method for actualizing this authority. Baptismal Theology In Lumen Gentium, The Constitution …

Sacramentality of Time and Pastoral Asceticism of Presence

“Time is precious.” “My time is valuable.” “Time is money.” “Do you have any free time?” We have commodified time. We “spend time,” “save time,” “make time,” “waste time,” “kill time.” Time is the water we swim in, the air we breathe, and so we take it for granted. We forget that it is granted, that it is entrusted to us as a gift that we are to steward and return to our Giver. We have forgotten that the economy of time is woven tightly together with the economy of salvation, “as if,” in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “you could kill time without injuring eternity.”[1] Pastoral ministers of the Church, of all people, should know that we are made for eternity—that, though in time, we are not ruled by time. Yet we, too, live under what Charles Hummel calls “the tyranny of the urgent.”[2] Robert J. Wicks, author of Availability: The Challenge and the Gift of Being Present, writes: Some of us are ‘too available.’ Thus, true availability becomes watered down. We become …

Asceticism as Healing Art

Healing takes many different forms because it is a response to many different kinds of threats. A cut and a broken leg are each healed differently because the damage is different; nevertheless, the same end is sought in both cases. The root of the word “heal” in old English (haelan) means to cure, to save, to make whole, sound, and well. That must further explain why we can apply the word metaphorically to matters other than the physical body. We can say that both a heart attack and a broken heart must heal, although one is physical and the other spiritual. The sense that healing is required arises when we have the sensation that the whole is not sound, an integrity has been lost, a quality has been lessened by some damage. We are not wholesome. I am going to claim here that asceticism, as it is practiced in the Christian tradition, is a healing discipline. I am going to do so because asceticism also arises from the same sensation that something is not sound, …