Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sacramental Imagination

Don't you just love the sound of that? Sacramental Imagination... As though I'm standing at the doorway between this world and the spiritual world, and the door opens, beckoning me to a wonder that is beyond my wildest dreams and most fervent hope.

This is not too far from the description given by George Weigel, author of the book The Truth of Catholicism: Inside the Essential Teachings and Controversies of the Church Today. . It's one of the many books I'm trying to read all at once. I really like this book by George Weigel, especially since he mentions the Priest-Poet Gerald Manley Hopkins. Anytime someone talks about creativity, my heart sits up and takes notice. If anyone talks about the sacred within creativity, I start purring like a cat who just had a quart of pure cream.

From Weigel's book:
In the Catholic imagination, the extraordinary lies just at the far side of the ordinary. Through the ordinary things of this world - "outward sings," an old catechism called them - God makes himself and his grace available to us in what Catholics call "sacraments." As Guy Crouchback [a character from the Evelyn Waugh novel, Men at Arms Weigel references] knew even in his cups, the "Catholic imagination," the Catholic way of looking at things, is a sacramental imagination. Inside that distinctive way of looking at things, what the world often thinks of as ordinary and mundane becomes an experience of the extraordinary and divine.

That sacramental imagination is the only context in which debates about the shape of the Church's worship and the character of the Church's priesthood make sense. [pp 55-56]

Weigel talked about how most influential Catholic thinkers would agree that what we call the supernatural is in fact the most "real of real things." [p 55]

This was so good to read and just chew on for bit. After I read the sentence about context, I just stopped and said to the heavens, "That is good. That is really good."

For Weigel was making a point about all these debates that rage around us regarding Church, the liturgy, and the various issues that surround them such as ordaining women into the priesthood. It is so easy to get caught up with those debates but if one looks deeper, one can truly see that our focus should be on transcending this world and its pattern of power and entering into the Sacramental Imagination with it's holy pattern aimed in only one direction - toward God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

I'll end with what Weigel said at the end of his previous chapter:
Doctrine is not excess baggage weighing Catholics down on the journey of faith. Doctrine is the vehicle that enables the journey to take place.

1 comment:

Angela M. said...

Heh....I might just have to use that last quote about baggage when I hand in my resignation at RCIA.