Friday, May 05, 2006

Romano Guardini (1964) and Dom Armand Veilleux (2005)

I’ve probably quoted these before, but I want to put the two links together.

As I see it, typical nineteenth-century man was no longer able to perform this [liturgical] act; in fact he was unaware of its existence. Religious conduct was to him an individual inward matter which in the “liturgy” took on the character of an official, public ceremonial. But the sense of the liturgical action was thereby lost. The faithful did not perform a proper liturgical act at all, it was simply a private and inward act, surrounded by ceremonial and not infrequently accompanied by a feeling that the ceremonial was really a disturbing factor. From that point of view the efforts of those who concerned themselves with the liturgy must have appeared as peculiarities of aesthetes who lacked Christian sincerity.
— Romano Guardini, A Letter on the Essence of the Liturgical Act (1964)

As a matter of fact, very few of the traditional Christian symbols, including the liturgical ones, are perceived as symbols by most men and women of today, including the good Christian. In most cases, those rites and gestures have lost their symbolic value. My personal conviction is that we should not try to invent new symbols with the hope that they will speak to today’s men and women. We should rather try to recognize the symbolic value of everything we do in our daily life and of everything around us. And this is linked with something still much deeper, culturally as well as theologically. I mean the place of the “religious” dimension in human life. This is probably the most important cultural change of our time, touching not only Christianity but all the great religious traditions of the world; and that change is, to my mind, a fruit of the Gospel, at the end of a long evolution of humankind.
— Dom Armand Veilleux, Exploring the Essential (2005)



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