Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Schillebeeckx: The threefold historical orientation of the sacraments

From all this we see that the sacraments, as "mediation" between Christ and ourselves, must be situated not immediately between the historical sacrifice of the Cross and our twentieth-century situation, but rather between the Christ who is living now and our earthly world. More precisely, what takes place in the sacraments is the immediate encounter in mutual availability between the living Kyrios and ourselves. The sacraments are this encounter. And it is this immediate encounter with Christ that explains the threefold historical orientation of the sacraments. For they are first of all an anamnesis or a commemoration of the past sacrifice of the Cross, because of the relation of the eternally actual redemptive act, present in the sacrament, to the historical moment in which Christ shed his blood. Secondly, they are a visible affirmation and bestowal of the actual gift of grace inasmuch as the recipient becomes concerned in the enduring redemptive act by which the Kyrios is reaching out to him here and now. In the third place, they are a pledge of eschatalogical salvation and a herald of the parousia, because the sacraments are the sacramental present of Christ the Eschaton, either because of a real transubstantiation (in the case of the Eucharist), or because of the sacramentalizing of his eternally actual redemptive act (in the case of the remaining six sacraments). Hence a visible intervention in our time of the Eschaton himself takes place in the sacraments. Sacramental encounter with the living Christ in the Church is therefore, in virtue of the historical mysteries of Christ's life, the actual beginning of eschatalogical salvation on earth.
E. Schillebeeckx, Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter with God, pp 62-63. Reading Dominican theologians certainly makes you feel your neglect of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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About Me

I'm Rachel's husband and Darcy's daddy. I'm a Hoosier, an accountant, and an Episcopalian. Politically, I'm a progressive who believes in the preferential option for the poor. I use the blog as a sort of journal - to interact with my reading and sketch out ideas.