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For Catholics today the Eucharist is still the sacrament of sacraments — ‘the source and summit of all Christian life.’ Its worship is directed towards God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
“If our Eucharistic worship is authentic, it must make us grow in awareness of the dignity of each person. The awareness of that dignity becomes the deepest motive of our relationship with our neighbor.
We must also become particularly sensitive to all human suffering and misery, to all injustice and wrong, and seek the way to redress them effectively. Let us learn to discover with respect the truth about the inner self that becomes the dwelling place of God present in the Eucharist.” John Paul II, The Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist (1980)
The Eucharist is a ‘continuous invitation,’ by the son of man, to participate in divine life, but sadly many excuse themselves from accepting the invitation for various reasons.
On Easter Sunday a World War I monument in Queens, New York was festooned with Easter rabbits and eggs. Many American Christians have the view that the U.S. military is the guarantor of the nation’s security, freedom and way of life. Many Jews have the same view in Israel. And now the government of North Korea shares that view, saying that their nuclear weapons are their ‘treasure” and “the life of the nation.”
Jesus Christ came into the world offering the way of peace and fullness of life. Sadly, many of his own people rejected the invitation — opting for nukes over the Spirit, the Man of Steel over the Son of Man, and death over life.
In conjunctions with Armory Arts Week in NYC, the Spring/Break Art Show is being held in the former St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School — a Catholic elementary school in existence for 188 years, and now closed. The show’s theme is “New Mysticism.”
The light and life of the Spirit are trying to get in. But many in the U.S., including Catholic leaders, are blocking it — which will have eternal consequences.
Photographs: Stephen Wise
“Perhaps a Jew can never genuinely close the door on transcendence, as the Christian radicals are trying to do.” William Hamilton
Yes, it (“God”) is the most heavy-laden of all human words. None has become so soiled, so mutilated. Just for this reason I may not abandon it. Generations of men have laid the burden of their anxious lives upon this word and weighed it to the ground; it lies in the dust and bears their whole burden…We cannot cleanse the word “God” and we cannot make it whole; but defiled and mutilated as it is, we can raise it from the ground and set it over an hour of great care. Martin Buber, Eclipse of God
Photograph: Jim Kempner Fine Art
The Catholic Center at New York University held a symposium, 2/4, exploring the thinking of John Henry Newman and the question — What positive contribution can religion make to the ongoing life of the contemporary university?
“Newman reminds us today, that as unlikely and outlandish as it might seem, theology and the speculative contemplation of which it gives rise to is about the only thing that can save the university from its total functionalization and commodification. For theology reminds all the other disciplines that the greatest freedom comes with the contemplation and communication of the transcendent truth of God.” Reinhard Huetter, Duke Divinity School
“For you, also, we have a message, and it is this: Continue to search, tirelessly, never despairing of the truth! Recall the words of one of your great friends, St. Augustine: ‘We seek with a desire to find, and we find with a desire to seek further.’ Happy are those who, possessing truth, seek it, in order to renew it, to deepen it, and give it to others. Happy are those who, not having found it, go toward it sincere in heart; may they seek tomorrow’s light in today’s, till they come to the fullness of light.”Pope Paul VI
“You will not admit that you murdered God…We did the same thing, to be sure, but we have admitted it and since then we have been absolved.” Freud describing Christian critique of Jews
God is the source of all truth and we are called to live in the truth. Rebelling against truth is not freedom. ”Real living faith is a permanent battle with our “I,” which has shifted from the position of “god” at the moment of our conversion, but nevertheless constantly endeavors to regain that position.” Tomas Halik, Night of the Confessor (Image, 2012)
Photograph: Stephen Wise
Tomas Halik (right), author of Patience With God, spoke this evening at the Czech Center in Manhattan. Fr. Halik worked as a psychotherapist during the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and at the same time was secretly ordained as a Catholic priest and active in the underground church. In his book Night Of The Confessor (Image Books 2012), Fr. Halik writes: “I would like to share how the present period — this world and its extrinsic and intrinsic aspects — is viewed by someone who is accustomed to listening to others as they acknowledge their faults and shortcomings, as they confide their conflicts, weaknesses and doubts, but also their longing for forgiveness, reconciliation, and inner healing — for a fresh start.”
Photograph: Stephen Wise
“Judaism aims to establish a relationship of devotion between man and God; but, in addition, it also seeks, and that with even greater emphasis, to establish a just and humane relationship between man and his neighbor.”
The ethics of Judaism, as we have seen, enjoin love and sympathy for our fellow-men, indeed for all our fellow creatures. One who is guided by this code places himself in perfect harmony with mankind. He regards his fellow-man not as a hinderance to his own well-being, but as a brother, as one who too is entitled to comfort and happiness, to opportunity for the expression of his personality. The application of its rules must render the individual who practices them righteous and loving and considerate; it moulds him more and more according to the pattern and attributes that are conceived as resident in God.”
The preservation of Judaism and the preservation of the Jew are interlinked problems. Judaism without the Jew can only be an abstraction; the Jew without Judaism must gradually dissolve as a people.” Judaism, Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein, 1934
Photograph: Stephen Wise