Catholic of the Eastern Rite
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When your superior invites you to go into mission territory in an Eastern rite community, he’s also asking you to be willing to learn a new language and, above all, a new rite.
When you arrive in your new community, your brothers tell you that in order to learn the rite and the language in which it is celebrated, it will take you at least two years.
Finally, once the two years are up, when you have
begun to master the language enough to celebrate the « Divine
Liturgy » of your Eastern brothers, you realize that to be an
Assumptionist of the Eastern rite is not simply a question of rite,
but a choice much more profound and engaging.
The unifocal logic is an exclusive logic ---either one or the other; the bifocal logic is inclusive --- both and.
teaches us to read reality in a symbolic fashion, that is to say,
with two centers: God and Man closely united in the same destiny. If
you exclude one, at the same time you exclude the other. « Symbolic
» comes from συν- βαλλο (bring together).
This understanding of the
East is based on the divine-human reality of Christ, on
the deification of Man, on the participation of man in the
Trinitarian communion. God and Man are two realties united.
The Eastern Tradition, as St. Gregory Palamas explained well by mean of the development of the theology of divine energies, places the accent on the communion between God and Man. Man will take part in the divine nature; he will become, in an analogical sense (that is to say, partial), like God.
The man who enters into contact with God cannot remain
as he was before; he is changed by this encounter,
If one does not have the courage to do so, the contribution to the ecumenical dialogue of Uniate communities is reduced to very little. Unity and communion are lived; they make up a part of one’s concrete experience.
It is urgent that we relaunch a serious reflection on the role of Uniate communities within the Eastern Mission and throughout the Congregation.
It is evident that this role is not always well
understood and that it is reduced to a small, particular reality. To
the contrary, it would be advisable that the entire Assumption
Family be able to carry the concern of Uniatism and not only a
restricted number of misunderstood brothers and sisters.
Nevertheless, not one formator has ever thought of undertaking some steady form of collaboration with his brothers and sisters who are living ecumenism on the ground.
This important apostolic work is still considered as something intellectual. It must be shouted from the rooftops that ecumenism is a spiritual experience to which one can only give personal witness. In the Eastern Tradition, knowledge is never simply a question lof intellectual work.
The starting point is the heart enlightened by prayer. Without
the enlightenment of the heart, the intellect is blind and words are
are a privileged entry point into the world of the Eastern
Tradition, a world much loved in word, but one with which it still
has difficulty being able to engage so as to experience a truly