Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Anti-climatic and Procrastinated Ending to Leisure

There have been many post since the last one about Pieper's Leisure.  I wish now to finish by just quoting the last three paragraphs of the essay.  The speak for themselves.
Worship is either something 'given,' divine worship is fore-ordained - or its does not exist at all.  There can be no question of founding a religion or instituting a religious cultus.  And for the Christian there is, of course, no doubt in the matter: post Christum there is only one, true and final form of celebrating divine worship, the sacramental sacrifice of the Christian Church.  And moreover I think that anyone inquiring into the facts of the case from a historical point of view (whether he is a Christian or not) would be unable to find any other worship whatsoever in the Europeanized world. 
The Christian cultus, unlike any other, is at once a sacrifice and a sacrament.  In so far as the Christian cultus is a sacrifice held in the midst of the creation which is affirmed by this sacrifice of the God-man - everyday is a feast day; and in face the liturgy knows only feast days, even working days being feria.  In so far as the cultus is a sacrament it is celebrated in visible signs.  And the full power of worship will only be felts if its sacramental character is realized in undiminished form, that is, if the sign is fully visible.  In leisure, as was said, man oversteps the frontiers of the everyday workaday world, not in external effort and strain, but as though lifted about it in ecstasy.  that is the sense of the visibility of the sacrament: that man is 'carried away' by it, thrown into 'ecstasy.'  Let no one imagine for a moment that that is private and romantic interpretation.  The Church has pointed to the meaning of the incarnation of the Logos in the self-same words: ut dum visibiliter Deum cognosciums, per hunc in invisibilum amorem rapiamor, that we may be rapt into love of the invisible reality through the visibility of that first and ultimate sacrament: the Incarnation.
We therefore hope that this true sense of sacramental visibility may become so manifest in the celebration of the Christian cultus itself that in the performance of it man, 'who is born to work.' may truly be 'transported' out of the weariness of daily labor into an unending holiday, carried way out of the straitness of the workaday world into the heart of the universe.
A reflection on Chapter V of Leisure: The Basis of Culture

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