All posts tagged: josephwagner

Dissecting Jesus

The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ . . . and the Mystical Body of Christ is the Church. I cannot remember the number of times I had to explain this to my ecclesiology classes: “The Church is . . . ?” (Without alacrity) “. . . the Mystical Body of Christ.” While this was our hymn in ecclesiology, I hoped that my students would find themselves saying this as they did their homework, prayed, or most especially, when they had the opportunity to evangelize. But an oft-repeated statement reared its proverbial ugly head every month or so: “I don’t need the Church to be close to Jesus.” (On one occasion I quipped, “You don’t need a parachute to jump out of an airplane, but it helps.”) In our globalized society, we are used to a brisk work or school environment, fast food, and virtually unbridled capitalism. In our free market of ideas, we have the option to pick and choose what appeals to us. Especially in a post-modern context, the unchangeable Truth which …

Welcoming the Guest as Christ

“Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ” – The Rule of Benedict, 53:1 Before I entered the novitiate at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, I took part in candidacy, a three-month-long period of introduction to the monastic life. To determine if I wanted to undertake the rigors of novitiate, my superiors granted me a week off from the monastery. Since home is quite a fluid concept for me, my friend Sara—more of a sister; I met her during our time at Quincy University—invited me out to her home in Colorado. Since I had never been to Colorado, I thought it would be great idea. My trip was fraught with flight delays and mechanical issues. I also do not enjoy flying, as I do not have control of the plane. There was an issue with my rental car, preventing me from picking it up after a long day of traveling; I opted to take a cab the rest of the way. My trip was far from a disaster, but it was stressful. When I arrived at …

Henri de Lubac and the Mystical Body of Christ

The Church on earth is the visible manifestation of Christ’s love that is enfleshed between each of her members. St. Jerome described this incarnation of love in his famous phrase Corpus Christi ecclesia est, quae vinculo stringitur Caritatis—the Body of Christ is the Church, held together by the bond of charity.[1] Henri de Lubac, the twentieth century French Jesuit theologian, had a profound grasp of this concept. In my last article I wrote about making deliberate connections between the liturgical action and social action. I argued that true Catholic social teaching cannot begin unless the members of the Mystical Body are divinized or transformed in the love of Christ at the celebration of the Mass. Once this happens, the members of the Church bring Christ’s love into the world and transfigure it into the image of Christ. While the neo-scholastic Dom Virgil Michel, O.S.B. used the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas to make his argument, de Lubac engrossed himself in the Ressourcement, the movement that returned the Church to her Patristic sources. De Lubac was …

Social and Liturgical Action in the 21st Century

Many of my fellow Catholic Millennials are concerned for moderate to drastic social change, especially in the United States. I would venture to guess, though, that many of these same Catholic Millennials do not realize there is a long history of Catholic social action deriving from the “source and summit” of the Catholic life, the liturgical action. How are these two seemingly different aspects of life connected? We cannot forget the words of our Lord for loving our neighbor and caring for the environment, but I would like to focus on making connections between the Liturgical Movement of the twentieth century and my generation’s affinity for social action. Virgil Michel, OSB was one of the foremost proponents of the connection between social action and liturgical action in the twentieth century. A monk of St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota, Michel is famous for his promotion of lay “active” or “actual” participation in the liturgical life of the Church. Founding the Liturgical Press in 1926, he used this venue to spread the latest news from the liturgical …