Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Liturgy is an Entire Worldview


“It should also be noted that liturgy is more than a dry statement of dogma. It is not sufficient that the doctrines stated in the texts of the prayers not contain theological error. Liturgy involves our entire being and our entire worldview. There is an ancient liturgical axiom that says: lex orandi, lex est credendi (‘the rule of prayer is the rule of faith’); there is a natural correspondence between how we worship and what we believe. Even if the doctrinal statements are in any given prayer are orthodox, how we worship will colour how we receive and process those doctrines and live them out. There is a phrase in the Anglican Canon that reads: ‘Who made there by His one oblation of Himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world.’ As the commision requested by St Tikhon observed, these words need to be considered in their historical context. They were intended to be a refutation of the theology of the Eucharist as sacrifice. On the other hand, young people who grow up in WR parishes, in which there will be a proper context for understanding this phrase, will receive it in an Orthodox manner, understanding that Golgotha cannot be historically repeated. Christ’s Sacrifice of Himself on the Cross was a one-time deal; but we, through our offering of bread and wine, ‘do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts which now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed Passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto Thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto by the same.’ This can be easily compared to the Byzantine corresponding Byzantine text and seen to be substantially identical. But then, the following paragraph in the Book of Common Prayer, the Invocation, was seen as categorically needing to be augmented to express a clear invocation of the Holy Spirit to make the Holy Gifts the Body and Blood of Christ.” – Mark Harrison 7-9-2006

One might add that, in Orthodox thinking, heaven and earth are joined, time isn’t the same (which is why an orthodox piety is to not carry watches into the eternity of the mystery), and the sacrifice is present at each communion – Christ is not re-sacrificed (that would be heresy), but he as the sacrifice is re-present with us in fullness, apart from the concerns of time.

To his point, the flippancy with which the rites can be viewed in much discussion of “going East” or “going West” seems to detract from the reverence proper to either.

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December 18, 2007 - Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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