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June 26, 1998

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1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 up with giants of our past LAWRENCE E. MICK Catholic News Service shoulders of giants," "stand on of the Wright brothers, world to fly. ts "stand on the L, the monk efforts uncovered of the genetic code. we see things more clear- because we inherit the" labors. inherit the results generations of ear- inherit the liturgy as a ancestors in faith who our worship. our liturgy are not Most elements of so ancient that we have first introduced a or prayer. Another rea- liturgy develops over effort; bishops, and lay worshipers many different com- r many centuries. example, who first )eace into Christian We know it appears in of ancient liturgies r giants, those who wrote worshiped and red. One such doc- Though spute occurs over the author or the exact time and COmposition, this document offers a treasure of information about Christian worship in the third century. One section of the document describes the process adults fol- lowed to prepare for baptism through what is known as the "catechumenate." The descrip- tion found there helped those who prepared the texts for the restored catechumenate rein- troduced into Catholic life after Vatican Council II. Another part of the "Apos- tolic Tradition" contains an out- line of a Eucharistic Prayer that formed the basis of the Second Eucharistic Prayer in the cur- rent Roman Missal. The preaching of several fourth-century bishops also was helpful in restoring the cat- echumenate. The homilies St. Cyril of Jerusalem addressed to the newly baptized, known as F  ;, ii!Z "We don't know.., who first introduced the sign of peace into Christian worship, but we know it appears in many ancient liturgies," explains Father Lawrence E. his "Mystagogical Catecheses," give us rich insights into how the sacra- ments of initiation were celebrated and understood in his time in Jerusalem. Homilies by St. Ambrose in Milan, Theodore of Mopsuestia and St. John Chrysostom in Antioch give additional information, reflecting both what was common in different communities and some differences in how they celebrated initiation into the church. We owe all of these figures from our past a great debt of gratitude -- both those we can name and the anony.mous giants on whose shoulders we stand. Father Mick is a priest of tile Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a free-lance writer. Le Marketplace discussion point: lographies of figures from church history that you would recom- Saints Continued from page 8 great thinkers in our tradition. They so well synthesized Catholic theology with the questions of their time that they con- tinue to influence us toda): St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 430) is one such person. Augustine could be a man living in our time rather than in the last days of the Roman Empire. His faults are ours. He is well kamwn for his early lapse from the Catholic faith. Augustine's "Confessions" tell of his soul's long and difficult journey to God. His early life could be a modern roman- tic novel. And his mother, Monica, like man), contemporary parents, attained her sanctity in praying relentlessly for him during his decades of dissolution. After his conversion, Augustine became one of the most brilliant of the early theologians. His thought, whether on the just war or the relationship of the "City of God" to file earthly cit); is still influential. Augustine's reflections on the virtue of love continue to offer pro- found insights for us. Another of our predecessors, St. Jane de Chantal (d. 1641), was a wife, from readers: (Yale University Press, 1997) by Eamon Duffy, a history of the e a novel; and 'Lives of the Popes' (Harper-San Francisco, McBrien. A self-explanatory title; each pope is handled sep- Father James Hennesey, SJ, Syracuse, N.Y. and Dreadful Love,' by William Miller, a biography of American Convert to the church, social activist and founder of the Catholic s 'Seven Story Mountain,' the journey of a soul, a per- with the question of how to actualize the presence of Christ in Sister Dolores Liptak, RSM, Silver Spring, Md. Modem Pope' (Paulist Press, 1993), by Peter Hebblethwaite, with today arose during Pope O'Toole's 'Militant and Triumphant: William Henry O'Con- Church in Boston, 1859-1944/the story of a dominant figure Father Thomas Tifft, Wickliffe, Ohio Mick in his article which pays tribute to "our ancestors in faith who helped to shape our worship." CNS photo by Karen Gallaway Food mother, widow foundress, innovator and mystic. With St. Francis de Sales, she founded the order of the Visitation Sisters. The original intent was that the sisters not only visit the sick but also accept the physically handica Neither of these day but she set an example for changes we now take for granted. We stand on the shoulders of giants, Whether through saints, artists, friends, relatives or parents, the past becomes our present through others. A great spir- itual and cultural heritage comes to us through them. Who influenced our lives? The more we think about it, the more we see that the question is profound. A rich flow ofchurch history shapes our present. Our lives reflect the varied hues of this holy wisdom. Oblate Father Crossin is a visiting fellow of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. He is the author of "Friendship: The Key to Spiritual Growth " Paulist Press. Voice: Is there one New Testament book or passage that you What is the reason? to respond for possible publication, please write: Faith Alive! 3211 Fourth D.C. 20017-1100. There is more than one way to "hear" the StOry of a compelling figure in church history. The story might inspire us to be more "like" that person. Or it might moti- vate us to "become ourselves" by striving to advance in our own vocation in life. I think of the late Trappist Father Thomas Merton of Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky. I find his 20th-century life stOry compelling. Would I like, however, to be just like Father Merton? Well, not exactly. In his spiritual quest, he frequently longed to live as a hermit, for example  a lifestyle I cannot envision for myself. But his commitment to a spiritual quest that never ends: That I find inspir- ing. At the end of his life Father Merton journeyed to Asia to discover more about meditation in Eastern religions. But did he hope tO become a Buddhist, for example? I take it, rather, that he hoped Buddhists could offer Lqsights to inspire him as a contemplative monk in the church. That's Father Merton's role for me precisely: to inspire me by his "in.sight" that the spiritual quest for followers of Jus is a continuing journey andby: his commitment to it. David Gibson Editor, Faith Alive!