Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Spirit Of The Liturgy: Chapter 9 (Part Three, Chapter 1)

The main focus of this chapter is on how the Incarnation alters the Judeo-Christian reluctance to display God. (In fairness, it is an abhorrence to the Jewish mind, whose Scriptures from the earliest draw a sharp distinction between the Creator and the created.) But Ratzinger says that synagogue art took a softer line than might be supposed, owing to the theological inclination to make past events present through art.

And a large difference going forward lies in what the Incarnation means: it represents God's will to reveal Himself. In Christ, something of the mystery of God is made visible. An icon or image of Christ has three essential elements or reference points: His suffering, death, and resurrection. Any one image may emphasize one element over the others, but none may be denied.

The chapter seems to be a return to the earlier insight that everything comes from God and is returning to God. (Exitus-reditus) Paradoxically, we use our senses to transcend them, to be folded into the story of God redeeming mankind. History and eternity meet in the icons of the gospel of the Incarnate Word. For this reason, Ratzinger says that iconoclasm is inconsistent with Christianity.

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