A terrible tragedy for Christianity has been, and always will be, the separation between rite and symbol; or to be more precise, the tragedy is due to the fact that the believers have forgotten the meaning of the symbols that take place during the various rites. Yes, because the cause of the fraction does not happen by itself as an act of magic, it originates and grows as a fruit of our lacking formation. Someone could refute this argument saying he cannot waste his time with these type of questions which are the responsibility of theologians and priests, but this is a false excuse that does not exonerate. With due respect to the obvious differences with this analogy, it is as if someone practiced a sport he considered fundamental to his life, and of which he considers himself a “fanatic” and, nonetheless, affirmed that he is not interested in getting to know the rules, history, the renovations, and current problems of such sport. Who would believe him?


 


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Evidently, returning to the field of Christian faith, sooner or later,  the “doctrinal void” will have its consequences, and will generate a “spiritual void” in us. We always want to know more and more what we truly love (the people we love or the things we really like), even the smallest details. Disinterest, in essence, is the lack of sincere love; this criterion should lead us to a deep examination of conscience. In fact, returning to our matter, someone who does not want nor seeks to understand the deepest meaning of the symbols he celebrates, has to question himself to change this attitude. If not, that will not only make us lose all the cultural richness these symbols entail, but it will gradually sterilize our inner capacity to prepare ourselves spiritually to embrace the abundance of grace they effectively communicate to us.

The Christian rite always demands a certain degree of participation and cooperation. In the words of Saint Augustine: “God who created you without you, will not save you without you” (Sermon 169, 11.13).


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Chris Stefanick is partnering with Catholic-Link to bring you a FREE webinar on December 6th. During this live online conference, Chris will give great tips on sharing the Gospel and take time to answer YOUR questions. Get a group of friends and watch together! Click HERE to register!

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It is not a mere coincidence that someone who does not know the sacred signs, ends up living the rite as a cold mechanism, repetitive, and devoid of sense. It is not strange then that Mass seems “boring” to him. It is just that he does not understand what is happening there! It is not surprising either that many tend to deform the rites by trying to adapt them to garish symbologies that have little or nothing to do with the breath of the Holy Spirit. This is a very delicate matter to analyze in detail in this article. Nevertheless, what we can conclude in relation with today’s video, is that only through the experience and deep knowledge of faith, expressed in its millenary symbols, we will be able to renovate, in continuity, our liturgic celebrations, since only by knowing the “form” of the Church in her millenary Tradition we will be able to ‘re-form,’ and ‘in-form’ in ‘con-formity’ with the Spirit. Perhaps we will be surprised to discover, once we enter this dynamic of inner formation that, in reality, the actual problem at this moment is that we have not yet begun to understand and live the significance of the great spiritual renovations we have inherited (even recently), because in essence we do not know the beauty and profoundness of the ritual and its symbols.

Our first task as believers is simple: let us dedicate more time to our formation and renovation in the faith before criticizing or suggesting new ideas. Let us know, live, and go in depth better into what we celebrate daily, so we can give a forceful and convincing testimony that “…where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:21).


We leave you with a final thought about the meaning of the Cross in our daily lives:

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