Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies
COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL - SUNDAY, APRIL 8th, 2018 A.D.: LOW SUNDAY
For today's meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the principal Collect for the Mass of "Low Sunday", the Octave Day of Easter in the MR'62. Below is my own translation from the Latin original:
"Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that we, who have celebrated the paschal feasts may hold these [same feasts] by [our] actions and life, with You being bountiful. Through our Lord, etc. Amen."
Traditionally, this Sunday was the day on which the Neophytes (the newly baptized) would take off their white baptismal garments after eight days of joyous celebration in Church. This Collect acknowledges the conclusion of this Easter Octave ("we have celebrated the paschal feasts"). The Easter season still continues, of course, but the Church now dials back the intensity of her Easter celebration just a notch, and seeks to show us how we may continue celebrating the graces of Easter in daily life.
The Neophytes may have taken off their white garments, but the interior reality of the purity of their souls is no less real or vibrant. The Risen Christ is now their interior Source of charity in action. So, too, with all of us who seek to live out the graces of our Baptism. The joy and reality of union with Christ through sanctifying grace is the substance of the Easter message and consequently, a daily reality. We don't pack it away until next Easter. The Collect teaches us to continue holding or keeping Easter by cherishing our union with Christ in the concrete "moribus", that is, the habits, customs, and actions of daily life.
The living out of baptismal grace in this way is eminently practical: if we believe Christ is risen, then the teaching authority and sacramental discipline of his Church is indisputably important for forming our consciences and moral acts. Today, many people attempt to draw an artificial dividing line between Christ and His Church, especially regarding moral teachings. In so doing, they fail to understand the direct link between the Resurrection, on the one hand, and the teaching authority of the Church regarding the moral norms of the Christian life, on the other [a baffling claim, frankly, since it contradicts what we find plainly set forth throughout the New Testament, and especially in the Pauline Epistles].
The organic unity between Christ and his Church, especially as regards the transmission of sacred doctrine, is set forth for us beautifully in Catechism no. 651: "The Resurrecion above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ's works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification of Christ by His Resurrectio, and have given the definitive proof of His divine authority, which He had promised." Since Jesus has shown Himself to be God, then everything He taught, commanded, and handed onto His Church for our salvation, is good, true, and beautiful, and completely worthy of our obedience. In other words, every aspect of the deposit of faith, including the moral teachings and social doctrine, bears the personal authority of the Risen Lord Himself (cf. Kreeft, Catholic Christianity, pp. 156-8, 162, 242).
Finally, the Collect leads us to make an act of confidence in God's grace with the phrase, "by your bounty," or even more literally, "with you being bountiful." The whole petition hinges upon this small motive clause. We cannot observe Christ's new commandment of charity apart from union with Him and cooperation with His grace (cf. Jn. 13:34-35, 15:5). Since the Eucharist is the height of our union with Christ, it is the principal way of keeping the Easter feasts in our lives all year round (cf. Jn 6:35-59, Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1074, 1391-2).(David Allen)
|Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.