Monday, August 12, 2013

Improve your Catholic vocabulary - anamnesis

 Reredos showing Christ's Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, 
14th century,Norwich Cathedral
Survived Reformation as the underside of a plumber's worktable

I expect, as a reader of this blog, you are keen to improve your Catholic vocabulary, so I hasten to appease without, of course, quenching your thirst for greater knowledge of the Faith by starting off with a hard one: Anamnesis.

The Anamnesis is the efficacious commemoration on the altar of the mystery of Christ's Passion, Resurrection and Ascension.    In explaining the meaning of Anamnesis, the learned French Jesuit Fr. Jean Danielou has noted that this commemoration goes far beyond mere recollection, since "[t]he word also intends to state that the sacrifice is not a new sacrifice, but the one sacrifice of Christ rendered present."   Although the sacrifice of the Mass is offered daily in many places, it is offered as the anamnesis of Christ's sacrifice which is, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, "unique, not multiple."  St. John Chrysostom teaches further that the "anamnesis is the figure of His death.   It is the same sacrifice that we offer, not one today and another tomorrow.  One only Christ everywhere, entire everywhere, one only Body.  As everywhere there is one Body, everywhere there is one sacrifice.  . . .  This is the meaning of the anamnesis: we carry out the anamnesis of the sacrifice."

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