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11 Members of any religion must believe the sacred narrative of that religion for if they do not, they fail to belong. In traditional societies the members will perform ceremonies to express their belief physically ,in public or in private.4 Sacred story and ritual, belief and holy ceremony, are consequently normally closely tied. The sacred narrative elicits ritual, and ritual proclaims and even reenacts the holy story. Indeed, most ceremonial texts are largely drawn from the verbal account. The text of the Passover rite, for example, is taken directly from Exodus 12, as well as Leviticus 23, Numbers 9 and 28, and Deuteronomy 16; the text of Christian Baptism is taken from the end of the gospel of Matthew; and the text of the consecration during Mass comes from 1 Corinthians 11 and the three synoptic accounts of the Last Supper. Without ceasing to believe in their received truths and without creating new ones, members of a religious tradition can focus on topics that have been relatively neglected. Such new emphases will change both the community’s spirituality ,especially its ceremonies,and to some extent its manner of prayer (though traditional people will candidly deny that change has occurred). When Western European Christianity deemphasized the changeless risen Christ and focused instead upon the changeable Christ of birth and infancy, suffering and death, there arose a new manner of prayer and a new (or at least altered) set of rites. Beginning in the eleventh century, Western European prayer stressed a tender, compassionate relationship to the tiny, weak Child and the helpless, suffering Victim, and the new ceremonies acted out and expressed the believers’confidence in a salvation won more by the passive humanity of Christ in his passion than by the almighty power of his divinity. In the late eleventh and early twelfth century, as mentioned above, the Benedictine monk Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, both made the new spirituality of Christ’s humanity by writing Cur Deus Homo—Why God Became Man and helped his contemporaries learn and practice it by writing devotional works such as his Liber Meditationumet and Orationes. We will begin by looking at Meditation 11“On the Humanity of Christ”(PL 158:748–61).This isAnselm’s treatment of the first third of Jesus’ public life, from his baptism to the loss of many of his followers. And first of all, indeed, in everything you [Christ] should resemble [your] brothers and sisters, baptizing sinners unto repentance as a sinner in their presence; you asked to be baptized, innocent Lamb of God, whom no drop of sin ever stained. You are baptized—not you in the waters but sanctifying the waters of yourself so that through them you might sanctify us. From the baptism, you set out into the desert in the Spirit of strength so that the example of the solitary life should not be lacking in you. You survived the solitude and fasting for Living the New Spirituality 4. A still-incomplete study comparing Medieval alchemists and New Mexico treasure seekers led me to this conjecture. 04 Alabados 11-17 5/20/05 12:17 PM Page 11 12 THE ALABADOS forty days and the harshness of hunger, and you calmly endured the tests of the evil spirit’s appearances. Then for the first time you came to the perishing sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 10:6). Lifting up publicly the light of divine word for the enlightenment of the whole round world, announcing the Kingdom of God to all, you became the source of eternal salvation to all who comply (Heb. 5:9). You confirmed your teaching with appropriate signs, you manifested the power of divinity to all who were sick, showing without cost to all men and women all the things that pertained to their salvation, so that you might bestow wealth upon them. But “Their senseless heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21), o Lord, and “They cast your words behind them” (Ps. 49/50:17). Omitting the latter two-thirds of Christ’s public life, the Last Supper, and his betrayal and captivity , we resume with the trials in Jerusalem before Annas, Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod (PL 158:754–56). You are presented before the council of the evil ones, [who are set] against you [though you] are the High Priest, and after stating the truth,you are condemned to death,adjudged guilty of blasphemy. Most beloved Jesus, how much insult you suffered in that place from your own people...


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