lundi, mai 07, 2012

Haec Dies: The Liturgical Time

This is a translation in English of a little talk I gave on Radio Esperance during the Octave of Easter.

Haec dies quam fecit Dominus; exultemus et laetemur in ea! This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it!"
During the Octave of Easter, the Church unceasingly celebrates this Day and invites us to rejoice.  During this week of Easter, the liturgy stops time in order to keep us in the Day that the Lord has made.  Time is both linear and cyclic.  It is linear as it is a successive continuous duration that has something to do with movement in the philosophical meaning of the word, which is a change from potency to act, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas.  It is a succession of instants whose result is the fact that there is past, present and future. 
Time is also cyclical, related with the natural cycle of stars and planets: day, week, year...  The notion of time is important in order to understand well the liturgy. There is a liturgical time that is also linear and cyclic and that is articulated  around two great axles which are the Incarnation an the Redemption.  These are two historical events of the past that the Liturgy actuates every day of the year, focusing more or less on this or this side of the mysteries, depending on the day when they are celebrated. 
The Church, that is the infallible guardian of the mysteries reveled by her Founder, uses her authority in dogmatic, disciplinary and liturgical matter in order that the faithful may receive and appreciate these divine mysteries.  As a matter of fact, dogma, that is so decried nowadays, is nothing else that the verbalization in human language of the unutterable mysteries revealed by God; the discipline is a way to live in society and in accordance with our faith; finally, the liturgy is the proclamation of the mysteries and an extraordinary way to live them again in any time and any place. 
During the Octave of the Resurrection, the Church uses her authority in liturgical matter in order to “suspend the time” so that we can during this week rejoice in the Day that the Lord has made: Haec dies quam fecit Dominus!  The liturgy reminds us throughout the week that this Day has come now.  The holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well as the Divine Office make us celebrate it by putting us between the historical reality of the Resurrection and the realities promised to us, pilgrim on earth, of the good that are still to come.  
Time, Saint Augustine says, is also a distension of the soul.  When a Christian soul allows itself to be seized by the liturgy, it leaves in a certain way the profane world dilates in order to let the Divine grace grab it.  The liturgical time has the power to bring us in another dimension; a dimension that is wholly Divine and well real though invisible.  It gives us an opportunity to contemplate the invisible things that we profess in our Credo.  During the Octave of Easter, in this Day that the Lord has made, our soul stretches from the Day of the Resurrection - a past and historical day - to the glorious eternity in which the Son of Man lives and reigns now and forever.  
Let Easter Time be for us a way of dilating our soul and to bring us in the glory of eternity and of the Blessed, following the Risen One.  Haec dies quam fecit Dominus; exultemus et laetemur in ea!

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