15 September 2008

Eucharistic Devotion - Compositio Loci

Fr. Groeschel wrote an excellent book on the history, theology, and psychology of Eucharistic devotion titled In The Presence Of Our Lord. It is an in depth study of the topic rather than a book of devotions and prayers but a worthy read. Hopefully as we gain a deeper understanding of the Eucharist it will lead us to a greate love of Jesus in the Sacrament. There are many important passages but one in particular I wanted to post on.

My point is that the common human technique (compositio loci) used to help an individual to relate to what is not physically palpable must be put into use at any religious ceremony that goes beyond the level of a pious pep rally. The ceremonies of the Church and her liturgy should go far beyond group sessions, public-relations events, and luncheon meetings. However well intentioned these attempts may have been, the liturgy and the ceremonies directly related to it (including solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Eucharistic Presence) should call upon all of human potentials, not just intelligence and voice, especially when these two are being used with such meager results.

The whole tradition of the Church in East and West bears witness to an age-old integrated psychological response of all the powers of the individual. The experience of sacred compositio loci (as distinct from a purely dramatic presentation) is of utmost importance, since it brings the totality of human potentials into play. Not only reason but imagination, not only dedication but desire, not only thought but will, not only head but heart and body are to be used. The Psalms used as liturgical prayers only make sense in this way. What could be duller and more formalistic than a purely intellectual reading of the Psalms? What could be more inappropriate than an abstract acknowledgement that the Eucharist is the real Body of Christ with no response of reverence and awe?

1 comment:

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

He's a wonderful writer and thinker!


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