Sunday, April 01, 2007

Passion and Passage

Here at the Abbey I happened to spy on the bookshelf in my room a copy of a scholarly monograph by the papal preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Easter in the Early Church. I was able to continue my meditation on the meaning of Easter as I read about the several strains of thought concerning the date and significance of Easter.
Cantalamessa distills the issues into two distinct camps. Oversimplified, those who focus on the Pascha consider Passion of our Lord and those who focus on the Pascha as Passage think of the transition of the world to freedom. As is almost always the case in Christianity, both are correct. And the best way is the middle way.

So I've decided to approach this Holy Week from both the personal viewpoint (Christ's suffering and my redemption) and also the more cosmic effects (the redemption of creation).

Here is a little snippet from Melito of Sardis's On the Pascha. I use it to focus my meditation time:

Understand therefore, beloved,
how it is new and old,
eternal and temporary,
perishable and imperishable,
mortal and immortal,
this mystery of the Pascha:

old as regards the Law,
but new as regards the Word,
temporary as regards the model,
eternal because of the grace;
perishable because of the slaughter of the sheep,
imperishable because of the life of the Lord;
mortal because of the burial in the earth,
immortal because of the rising from the dead.

Old is the Law,
but new the Word;
temporary the model,
but eternal the grace;
perishable the sheep,
imperishable the Lord,
not broken as the lamb,
but resurrected as God.
For he is all things;
inasmuch as he judges, Law;
inasmuch as he teaches, Word;
inasmuch as he saves, Grace;
inasmuch as he begets, Father;
inasmuch as he is begotten, Son;
inasmuch as he suffers, Sheep;
inasmuch as he is buried, Man;
inasmuch as he is raised, God;
This is Jesus the Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever,

No comments: