Introductory Rites (Part 2)
Monday, January 16, 2023
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today:
Dear Readers: Since the Church is presently engaged in a Eucharistic Revival, we thought it would be helpful to post excerpts from his booklet called Experiencing the Mass, for the next few weeks. (This is not a sales pitch. However, the booklet is available for order on this website for $5 per copy if you would like have a copy.)
By “one Lord” we don’t just mean someone we all obey. The “one Lord’ is the awesome mystery proclaimed on Sinai:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
The “One Lord” is the God we cannot know or name except with the voice of the Holy Spirit sent into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” As we mean the word, “no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” When we make the Sign of the Cross we proclaim ourselves a people united in a common experience of knowing the One God as “God, almighty Father’ — knowing him as he can only be known by those who have received the gift of sharing in the life of the Son. This is “communion in the Holy Spirit.” It is the communal experience of knowing the awesome mystery of the God who revealed himself to Abraham, Moses and Elijah; and who “in these last days has spoken to us by a Son... the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.”
By “one faith” we don’t mean just a common adherence to the same body of doctrines. The true meaning — and mystery — of “faith” is “the gift of sharing in God’s own act of knowing.” Faith is a divine light by which we see divine things. Without it the most brilliant human intellects are blind.
No one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.
Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Those who have experienced the difference between “learning” their religion and “seeing” the truths of faith are in the “communion of the Holy Spirit.” When Paul asked for us to “be united in the same mind and the same purpose,” he was speaking of more than human agreement on doctrines and goals. He was inviting us to surrender to the mystery of enlightenment by the Holy Spirit: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” This is an agreement based not only on doctrine but on shared spiritual discernment. It was the common experience of the early Church.
As Christians, we identify ourselves as people who have received the “gift of the Spirit,” and who are united with each other in a common experience of that gift. This is the “communion (koinonia) of the Holy Spirit.”
These words return us to where we began and summarize all the rest. The real mystery of our unity is that by “becoming Christ” in Baptism, we have become one body, communally alive by sharing in the one divine Life of God. By our participation in his Life (grace) we can know the mystery of God as “Lord.” And we know it by sharing in God’s own knowledge of himself, which is “faith.”
All this is ours because in Baptism we were incorporated into the body of Christ on the cross, died with and in him, and rose with him, and he in us, to be his risen body on earth.
That is why the identifying sign we make as Christians is the sign of the cross. This is the mystery we celebrate and make present at Mass. If we pay attention to the words, will we find the Sign of the Cross exciting?
Questions for reflection and discussion:
Is there anything in this explanation you did not already know? Or were just not aware of?
Have you spent much time thinking about the meaning of the words in the Sign of the Cross?
Are these thoughts exciting? Is the Sign of the Cross exciting to think about?
Does this make the Mass more exciting?
Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15-16; 1Corinthians 12:3. For Abraham see Genesis 12:1, 15:12-18, 17:1-8. For Moses see Exodus 33:12 to 34:8. For Elijah see 1Kings 19:9-13. For Jesus see John 1:1-18. Hebrews 1:1-3. 1Corinthians 2:11-14. See Matthew 11:27. 1Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 2:5. See Acts 11:11-18, 13:4, 15:1-29, 16:6.  See John 7:39; Acts 2:38, 8:15, 10:45, 19:1-6; Galatians 3:2; Hebrews 5:4.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry