Thursday, November 30, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation November 30

Liturgy  November 30

To sustain our religious life, a monthly recollection day should be organized in each community. . . . Each confrere will make an annual retreat (Congolese Regional Statutes, 1.6; 1.7).

The monthly recollection and the annual retreat, done personally or in community, are very important moments for the confreres.  The Order, confronted by the activist spirit of our times, as well as by today’s great pastoral needs, is tempted to plunge itself into work to the prejudice of the balance of our life as Canons Regular.  The prescriptions of the Congolese Regional Statutes want to protect the idea of a “time apart,” something that Jesus practiced with regularity in his urgent mission.  The days of recollection and retreat allow us to renew ourselves by solitude, silence, prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, theological study and fraternal sharing of the faith.  In effect, they are “sabbatical days,” necessary for a balanced religious life.  To listen to God during an extended period of time sharpens the capacity to hear God in the comings and goings of our daily lives.  The days of recollection and retreat give us the opportunity to deepen intimacy with God and self-knowledge.  They promote occasions of rest and the healing of the disheartening effects of our commitments.  “Jesus said to them: ‘Come away . . . a while” (Mk 6:31).

Instead of being where you eat, it's better to be where you plant.  (Congo)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation November 29

Liturgy  November 29

. . . holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity . . . (Vatican Council II, SC 4).

            Praise to you, the Christ of the West, who pray in Roman simplicity through the voices of peoples from every tribe, language and nation!
            Praise to you, the Byzantine Christ, Icon of the Father, who offer your prayer enveloped in incense ascending from the great families of the Slavs and Greeks!
            Praise to you, the Alexandrian Christ, who intercede as Copt close to the tombs of the Pharaohs, thanks to the inspiration of St. Mark!
            Praise to you, the Syriac Christ, who pray from the New Testament community of Antioch, inspired by St. James, and for your Malankar prayer in India!
            Praise to you, the Armenian Christ, who chant the liturgy in mystical Turkish tones!
            Praise to you, the Maronite Christ, who make intercession in Arabic, surrounded by the cedars of Lebanon!
            Praise to you, the Chaldean Christ, who pray in strong Assyrian chants in Iran and Iraq and for your Malabar prayer in India, promoted by St. Thomas!

Those who quarrel with the others end up emigrating.  (Shi)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation November 28

Liturgy  November 28

Situating ourselves in the tradition of Canons Regular, we have a special concern for the liturgy, adapted especially to our culture (Congolese Regional Statutes, Intro. 1.2).

The document, Ecclesia in Africa, of the African Synod of 1994 strongly calls for the inculturation of Christian life in Africa at every level and certainly that of the liturgy.  It considers the work of inculturation as “one of the major issues of the Church on the continent” (p. 65) and it invites all the pastors of the Church “to exploit to the maximum the numerous permissions that the current discipline of the Church grants regarding this subject” (pp. 68-69).  The Relict of the Crosier General Chapter of 1997, as well as the Directives for Formation dealt with at the same Chapter, asked that formation cultivate an inculturating vision in the confreres.  The Congolese Regional Statutes (1.28-30; 8.1-3) are clear and rather demanding about the task of inculturation.  And why not?  In every epoch of Church history (except for a hiatus of 500 years after the Protestant Reformation), Christians have looked for a way to pray in various rites that accord with their own times and cultures.  Happily, the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar papal declarations have renewed the concern for inculturation.  If the Church had been born in Kinshasa in the Congo instead of in Jerusalem, what would have been the evolution of its liturgy?

The tree that doesn´t dare sink roots is unproductive.  (Bakongo)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation November 27

Liturgy  November 27

. . . common prayer, life, and work, must again and again be critically examined in the light of our special sources of inspiration . . . (Const. 8.2).

The list of in the Constitutions of our sources of inspiration include the following:  the Gospel, the Rule of St. Augustine, our traditions, the values of our world and the needs of the Church and society.  We are obliged to take account of this list regularly in evaluating our way of praying the liturgy and our other community prayers.  Evidently our prayer should accord completely with the Gospel:  we pray to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.  The hymns, prayers, sharing, symbols, gestures and homilies, even if they use sources other than Christian, must be faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel.  The celebration of the liturgy should reflect the ideal of the Rule that asks us to make room for our differences, while maintaining our fraternal union.  With regard to our traditions, during certain epochs the Order has known her own liturgical adaptations, particularly in the Liturgy of the Hours.  This spirit of freedom is encouraged by our current Constitutions  and other documents of the Order.  We are to make creative adaptations to our proper situations as local communities and provinces.  The course and the content of our community prayer should be marked also by the values of our world that accord with the Gospel and by the needs of the Church and society.  Our liturgy should be contemporary.

The one who doesn’t want fruit, rejects the tree.  (Luba)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation November 26

Liturgy  November 26

. . . Lauds as morning prayer and Vespers as evening prayer are the two hinges on which the daily office turns; hence they are to be considered as the chief hours and are to be celebrated as such (Vatican Council II, SC 89a).

The rises, the sun sets.  Human life is organized by these two poles of light.  Sunrise makes productive human activity possible; sunset signals the end of the day and the beginning of rest.  In Christian tradition, Christ is the rising Sun that never sets.  Through his Resurrection, Christ causes the eternal day of human fulfillment to rise, during which humanity can work in total confidence of its salvation.  Because in Christ there is no darkness, his light never goes out, enkindled continuously by his community, the Church.  Light plays a dominant role in the daily prayer of the Christian community.  Prayer begins in the morning with the recognition of the rising sun, symbolizing the Savior.  This prayer begins another joy in the life of the Kingdom of light.  The evening, when night falls, Christian prayer lights the fire that symbolizes the eternal flame of the Death and Resurrection of Christ.  The Church lives its beginnings and ends in the brilliance of its Sun.

If one takes on the praise of God, the person will do it during the day and during the night.  (Shi)