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For Pastors Only - Anamnesis

The church's "tradition" is anamnesis, that is to say the celebration of the kerygma of the gospel of salvation by Eucharistic remembrance.

What Christians call "the" liturgy is the blessed "format" which is, if you like, the delivery system. But it is not only that. To use another picture, think of soup served inside of a bread bowl. Both the "dish" and meal are edible. That is what "the" liturgy is like. All edible.

What do we do in "the" liturgy?

We liturgize God.

What does that mean?

It means to empty ourselves of our selves, and give ourselves altogether over to God.

This is done wholly in union with Christ the original and only true liturgist there ever was. He doesn't only "do" liturgy to God, but "is" liturgy by the giving of himself for us into death, and resurrection. But he never liturgizes the Father apart from his Bride, the church. But only and always with her. This is why the Groom can say to the Bride: "The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." (John 16:27) How else would a Father receive the chosen Bride of his own Son.

Going back to the first paragraph every segment of Scripture is, in effect, a liturgy of its own. This coming Sunday, e.g., (Matthew 14:13-21) we have what I would call: the liturgy of the feeding of the 5,000.

It is not enough just to hear it, and say: isn't that nice and interesting and good. Jesus is powerful. Jesus has compassion on people. Jesus can do anything. All true, of course. But we must not only hear the account to glean a few religious thoughts from it.

No, instead we must repeat it in ever generation by anamnesis. Not simply psychological recall, but by participating in it today, even as the 5,000 (plus) did then.

Remember that the "account" we have in writing / Scripture, is not the original event (that is over with), but rather the telling of it to the church; to be "remembered" which in Christian lingo means "to participate in". Not simply to mark it and salute it, as we do the 4th of July.

Also this coming Sunday's Psalm (136) is a case of anamnesis; Israel, in liturgy, remembers and recounts aloud Yahweh's mighty acts of creation and salvation, which are kerygma followed by praise, confession and thanksgiving. "For he is good and his steadfast love endures forever."

And so again "anamnesis," Eucharist, is the church's tradition. Everything in the gospels that comes before, from the Lord's birth, his teachings, miracles, etc. are all forerunners (like John the Baptist was) of the cross and resurrection, and the closing chapters of the gospels which take the church into the future, until the end of the age. They are, as it were, long introductions to the central event of all time and place.

And they are to be "remembered" / "participated in" until all things reach their God given conclusion. Till they terminate at "the throne of the Lamb who is their light."