Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Heart of the School: Christian Humanism and the Liturgy

Christian humanism is liturgical. Its end is theosis, the deification of man. The Catholic school ought to have at its heart the worship of God in the liturgy, not only in the Mass but in the Divine Office. The liturgy ought not to be extraneous or a grudging concession, but the living, beating heart of the school. 

It ought to be frequently and solemnly celebrated.

Meditation and prayer should be taught; not the forms of prayer only but the mental and spiritual faculties necessary for true conversation with God.

Periodic silence should be honored; the form and meaning of ritual gestures should be demonstrated and explained with exactitude.

The liturgical year should figure largely in the classroom and in the school's general schedule; Advent and Lent should assume a sober, restrained character.

Easter- and Christmastide should be joyful with many opportunities for celebration, merry-making, and fellowship.

The liturgy is the school of Christian contemplation. 

The liturgy must throw off its dreary suburbanism, its reek of American middle-class philistinism, its fetish with the apparatus. There is ample scope for true diversity in worship, without the self-absorbed, amplified braying of a few "engaged" Catholics who punish a hapless congregation sitting mute in a naked auditorium. 

Christian humanism is liturgical, because Christian humanism is cosmic; it is a vision of the whole, and the liturgy is the sanctification of the beautiful whole, the cosmos. The liberal arts order things according to their place in the hierarchy of being. But the hierarchy of being is first and finally to be discovered in the sacred liturgy.

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