It is assuredly a moment of grace that the first academic chair to be inaugurated under the auspices of the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Center be dedicated to the study of the Second Vatican Council. Time and again in his fourteen years as Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Bernardin reasserted that the implementation of the directives of the Second Vatican Council stood at the center of his ministry. As a young bishop he had attended the closing sessions of the Council. The two bishops who were his special mentors, Paul Hallinan of Atlanta and John Dearden of Detroit, had both been profoundly transformed by their experience of participation in the Council. Cardinal Bernardin’s own work as a bishop remains for many of us the quintessential example of what it means to lead the Church in the style intended by the Council.
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Spirituality and Theology
One of the social realities which globalization has heightened has been the increasing presence of many cultures together. Cultures have, of course, always rubbed up against one another throughout history. But what we see today is that more people than ever are affected by what has come to be known as multiculturalism, that is, the situation in which people must learn to live with more multiple cultures simultaneously.
This international symposium is dedicated to looking at the charism of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in light of two of the most significant social factors shaping our world today: globalization and multiculturalism. What does a spirituality of the Blood of Christ have to say to each of these realities? In what way would they lead us in discipleship to Jesus Christ?
A New Commandment: Eucharist as Loving, Eating and Drinking, and Serving Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment..." (Jn. 13, 34). Most of us tend to interpret this in its Scriptural context as referring to love one another, and rightly so. Additionally, Jesus gave us (at least) two other startlingly new commandments: "Do this in remembrance of me" (Lk. 22, 19b) and "...you also ought to wash one another's feet (Jn. 13,14)." These latter two references, of course, have a Lord's Supper context. The new Christian commandment, really, is threefold: love, eat and drink, and serve.
The inspiration bestowed on Francis Albertini evolved historically and ecclesially from its initial expression in a lay form; this led eventually to other concretizations in a priestly form and several religious forms. The gift bestowed on Albertini in prayer could thus be called the "original charism" which later manifested itself in the lives and mission of other key figures who in turn possessed unique charisms of their own. Admittedly, the later forms can trace their descendance from the original more or less directly.
The people sprinkled (with the blood) is the people of the New and Eternal Covenant; it is the Church: called to give testimony to the newness of life.
Two great themes dominate Ephesians -- the unity of all things in Christ and the Church as the symbol and agent of that unity. In fact the word one occurs some eight times in the Epistle, four of which are to be found in chapter 2 immediately after the mentioning of the blood of Christ in verse 13. In fact all of chapter 2 is divided as follows: 2:1-10 concerns the call of Israel which has been called to completion of faith in Christ Jesus. The author joins himself to the Jews who were called to firm belief in Jesus Christ.
Although many titles and descriptions for Jesus are rich, true, and lend themselves to meaning, within the context of that table and our Eucharist, none more breaks open a new covenant like the Christological title, Blasphemer. The blasphemy becomes undeniably stark and painfully difficult to avoid when that cup is offered and our bodies and blood mingle with and become quite indistinguishable from the body and blood of God. No other perception or title jars, surprises, offends and awakens us as does this title, Blasphemer.