On Liturgical Asceticism

On Liturgical Asceticism

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    On Liturgical Asceticism
    Book Description:

    Drawing on the Eastern Orthodox tradition of asceticism and integrating it with recent Western thought on liturgy, David W. Fagerberg examines the interaction between the two and presents a powerful argument that asceticism is necessary for understanding liturgy as the foundation of theology

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2118-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xxii)
    (pp. 1-26)

    It is a fair question to ask what reason there is to slap the adjective “liturgical” in front of the noun “asceticism” and try to open up a new field of discussion. Why not let liturgy slumber peacefully in the world of ritual and rubric, and let asceticism snuggle comfortably in the world of spirituality and monasticism? Why liturgical asceticism? The answer to this question will require us to think about liturgy in more profound terms than being just one more elective activity a Christian might choose, and instead see liturgy as foundational to Christian identity. “To swim” is a...

  5. 2 THE MALADY: Pathe
    (pp. 27-64)

    At the opening of the anaphora in the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom, the deacon bids the Church, “Let us stand aright; let us stand with fear; let us attend, that we may offer the Holy Oblation in peace.” This is an effective expression of the definition we are trying to establish for liturgical asceticism: the goal of the process is for us to again stand aright, through ascetical conformation to Christ accomplished in the Holy Spirit, in order to fulfill our liturgical vocation of standing in union with Christ before the Father and as Christ’s body in the world....

  6. 3 THE CURE: Askesis
    (pp. 65-101)

    We have been at pains to distinguish liturgical asceticism from dualism, and this will become all the more important in this chapter as we seek to understand the purpose of the ascetical exercises. Some of the more muscular and heroic exploits of the early monastics could easily be misunderstood as a loathing of the material body by the modern secularist who is all too eager to indulge the body and is all too unacquainted with asceticism in general and liturgical asceticism in particular. Stoicism, or Manichaeism, or other philosophical systems can produce a behavior similar in appearance to liturgical asceticism,...

  7. 4 THE JOY: Apatheia
    (pp. 102-131)

    If it has been made adequately clear that in the ascetical tradition the word pathos (“passion”) usually means a disordered desire, then it should be equally clear that we cannot translate its opposite, apatheia, by the English word apathy. “Apathy” has come to mean inertness or indifference deriving from a general lack of interest, and the liturgical ascetic is certainly not apathetic about the redemption of creation and mankind and himself. This is as true for the secular ascetic who remains in the world as for the desert ascetic who leaves it. In the ascetical tradition, the passions are whatever...

    (pp. 132-160)

    We have been presenting asceticism as something that is an obligation upon all baptized Christians as an exercise of their vocation to holiness, and whereas the fulfillment of that vocation depends upon sacramental participation in the mystical body of Christ, and is celebrated in the corporate liturgical life of that body, we are inclined to call it liturgical asceticism. Kavanagh compares the monks to trailblazers of a path that others will also walk. “While the demands of the discipline are so staggering that only full-time ascetics can truly master its requirements (this due to the fallenness of human nature and...

    (pp. 161-191)

    The teleological end of liturgical asceticism is to be further conformed to Christ, riding upward on baptism’s artesian fountain. Gregory of Sinai understands this to come about by applying each moment in the life of Jesus to our spiritual journey.

    Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ’s own life, for in baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression. To Christ’s conception corresponds the foretaste of the gift of the Holy Spirit, to His nativity the actual experience of joyousness,...

    (pp. 192-194)

    It is not wrong to define liturgy as the public and official ceremonies of the Church, because that is one of the meanings the word has, but it is an inadequate and sometimes distracting definition because it directs our attention to only that part of the leitourgia that we see ritualized. The cultic activity of the Church is only the tip of an economy by God that has massive proportions, and breaks the surface in cult and sacrament. Liturgical theology wants to know to what is this cult connected? A successful liturgical theology would discover bonds between cult and cosmos,...

    (pp. 195-228)
    (pp. 229-238)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 239-246)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-247)