As with the married couple, so with the Church: love and forgiveness given and received

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Being really Catholic opens one's point of view to a great richness of the entire Church, East and West; being Catholic as John Paul II reminded us, is to breath with both lungs to invigorate the whole body. Most often Latin Catholics are too skeptical, too closed-minded to look beyond their parochial understanding of God and Church.

Each Sunday Jesuit Father Steve Bonian, a Maronite Catholic American priest reflects on the liturgical theology of his church. If you done a little reading in the liturgical history of the Church you will recall with joy that the Maronites have an incredibly rich liturgical tradition that ought to be appreciated more. For one thing the Maronite Liturgy is wonderfully Semitic in its pattern of prayer.

The Maronite Church, the majority of Catholics from Lebanon, celebrated yesterday the Sunday of the Consecration of the Church. The Roman Church does not have an equivalent liturgical observance, unless you make a connection with the Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of the Roman Church's year.  The Maronite liturgical theology for the Sunday of the Consecration of the Church you note that "the Bride-Church re-consecrates herself and her children, the faithful, to Christ."

Father Bonian writes,


The letter to the Hebrews reminds us that the Temple in Jerusalem and it's rituals was only a temporal preparation for the "new order" that would be established between Christ and his Church and her children.

From now on the Children of God would worship him in Spirit and Truth on earth as in the Heavenly Jerusalem. For it is not God's will to dwell among stones, but in the caring hearts of his faithful people, and among them to establish his Kingdom. Our Church Community is this New Temple!

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In Matthew's Gospel Jesus establishes Peter - who consecrates himself to Christ Jesus in faith - and his Church as the link between God's Kingdom on earth with it's fulfillment in Heaven. And just as God had sealed his Covenant of Promise with Abraham and his descendants in the past; so now Christ seals his New Covenant with Peter, the guardian of the Church, and his faithful descendants, the children of the Church.

In the Hoosoyo [one of the opening prayers of forgiveness in the Liturgy] we hear the Voice of Christ as it echoes deep within his Church in confirmation of his promise of unwavering love for her: "behold I am with you to the end of time!" The Church's self-consecration to Christ is therefore a result of his self consecration to her: "It was He who loved us first" (1John 4:19). Our Sunday's Communion itself - the bread of fire and the cup of the Spirit - becomes the expression of this mutual commitment and self consecration between Christ and his Church, and his peace with her children.

In his teachings, Saint Paul guides his married faithful to consecrate themselves to each other as Christ has done for the Church (Ephesians 5: 22-32). Like the Church who consecrates herself to Christ, this is now the appropriate time for married couples - along with their loved ones - to re-consecrate themselves and their families to each other, and to Christ. 

In our families that have experienced breakdowns this is the right season to forgive and ask for forgiveness from each other. This is also the right time to remember the saints and our faithful departed who have entered into eternal Communion with God, and await us to join them in glory.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on November 5, 2012 2:51 PM.

Religious life observes All Saints and All Souls Days was the previous entry in this blog.

Significant remarks from the Evangelization Synod: on interreligious dialogue is the next entry in this blog.

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