Friday, August 01, 2008
Oxford #2 Liturgy and Memory
This was perhaps one of the most enjoyable weeks in my 24 years of priesthood.
I am afraid that I do not normally enjoy clerical gatherings but this was quite different, I was expecting a few dreadful old reactionaries but actually I found none.
Dr Lawrence Hemming gave a dazzling introductory lecture in which he spoke about the post war period as being a time when society lost its memory. He spoke of Church doing the same, and identified the Liturgy as the expression of the Church's memory. It was interesting to relate this to Cardinal Ivan Dias' remarks on Alzheimer's to the Lambeth Conference.
He spoke of us belonging to the Liturgy not the Liturgy to us. Of us being formed by the Liturgy, not the Liturgy being formed by us.
What impressed me was that the clergy at the conference were there in search of this memory and wanted to be formed by the Liturgy, and to be sanctified by it. In this it was much more of a retreat than anything else.
Dr Hemming, has become another of my heroes, in so far as he gives intellectial substance to what I feel in my guts. Do read some of his books and articles, I am sure they will give you as much pleasure as his all too short lecture gave me.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake