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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

303

The liturgical year

1168

Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light,

the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with

its brilliance. Gradually, on either side of this source, the year is

transfigured by the liturgy. It really is a “year of the Lord’s favor.”

42

The economy of salvation is at work within the framework of time,

but since its fulfillment in the Passover of Jesus and the outpouring

of the Holy Spirit, the culmination of history is anticipated “as a

foretaste,” and the kingdom of God enters into our time.

1169

Therefore

Easter

is not simply one feast among others, but

the “Feast of feasts,” the “Solemnity of solemnities,” just as the

Eucharist is the “Sacrament of sacraments” (the Great Sacrament).

St. Athanasius calls Easter “the Great Sunday”

43

and the Eastern

Churches call Holy Week “the Great Week.” The mystery of the

Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its

powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.

1170

At the Council of Nicaea in 325, all the Churches agreed that

Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday follow-

ing the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox. Because of

different methods of calculating the 14th day of the month of Nisan, the

date of Easter in the Western and Eastern Churches is not always the same.

For this reason, the Churches are currently seeking an agreement in order

once again to celebrate the day of the Lord’s Resurrection on a common

date.

1171

In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one Paschal

mystery unfold. This is also the casewith the cycle of feasts surround-

ing the mystery of the incarnation (Annunciation, Christmas, Epiph-

any). They commemorate the beginning of our salvation and

communicate to us the first fruits of the Paschal mystery.

The sanctoral in the liturgical year

1172

“In celebrating this annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ,

Holy Church honors the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, with a

special love. She is inseparably linked with the saving work of her

Son. In her the Church admires and exalts the most excellent fruit

of redemption and joyfully contemplates, as in a faultless image,

that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be.”

44

42

Lk

4:19.

43 St. Athanasius (

ad

329)

ep. fest.

1: PG 24, 1366.

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