Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Old in New Vesture

This is a reflection on faith. Thus, the world "Old" in the title connotes not chronological age as much as "traditional." In the Catholic sense of things, "traditional" means what is handed on to others. In the Catholic sense, dead tradition (a phrase which is in use) is a contradiction. Because tradition is a handing on to others by others (parents to children, siblings to siblings; teachers to students, peers to peers), tradition is very much alive!

As people grow and change, so do their horizons of understanding and appreciation. If the language, which clothes faith's tradition, does not grow and change, it will fall by the wayside. This is partly why Blessed John XXIII decided to move on his illumination to call the Second Vatican Council. As he said: "The Gospel has yet to be discovered."

Pope Benedict offered priests of Rome some advice to help others discover the gospel and to plumb its truths:
I would like to say that it is important, on one hand, to make the great word of the faith concrete with our personal experience of faith, in our meeting with our parishioners, but also to not lose its simplicity. Naturally, great words of the tradition -- such as sacrifice of expiation, redemption of Christ's sacrifice, original sin -- are incomprehensible as such today. We cannot simply work with great formulas, [although] truths, without putting them in the context of today's world.
Adults are used to simplifying in authentic ways for the children in our care. We don't violate meaning when we do this; rather we dress it manners which will aid its understanding and appreciation at the time. This simplifying does not dilute the meaning.

So, too, with faith. Keeping alive faith's tradition and handing on to others belongs to all the baptized. The pope's words to priests in Rome benefit all Christians.
Wiki-image of one Spring is in the public domain.

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