The application of three major characteristics of liturgy as seen in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults to Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying
Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying
Essay 2008 5 Pages
The application of at least three major characteristics of liturgy as seen in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults to Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying.
Jesus after the resurrection commanded his disciples. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:19-20)
The gaining and training of disciples has always been the central work of the evangelising Church. Conversion is always an ongoing process, a deepening of our understanding of ourselves and of our relationship with God. This means that the conversion process does not cease with the giving of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. This encounter is ongoing encounter with God; it is a growth journey running into eternity. “We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” This encounter continues throughout one’s life and does not stop when we are sick or dying. Principles of the liturgy used in the Rite of Initiation, can of course be applied to Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying because liturgy celebrates the Paschal Mystery and as a central core of faith is relevant at all stages of the life process. I will demonstrate how this can be accomplished.
Rite of Christian Initiation:
The Christian initiation procedure prepares the candidate for a threshold or liminal experience. The liminal period can be a period of change and immense personal growth.
Entering a liminal period involves a stripping of one’s defences and an abandonment of the roles by which we usually define ourselves. This can be profoundly unsettling, and the resulting sense of dislocation may actually leave the candidate open to a new way of experiencing life and reality, or to experiencing reality on a new level. This openness is often the key ingredient that is missing in our lives, and its lack may prevent us from profoundly experiencing God’s presence on a more regular level.
All cultures have their rites of initiation, whether it is a Bar Mitzvah or a Dream Quest. In the Christian faith there is the Rite of Christian Initiation; in this rite the person is born again into Christian family. It is a throwing off of the old self and the donning of a new persona, a new life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. In certain ways the Rite mirrors and is analogous to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. “We receive the Spirit of filial adoption and are part of the entire people of God in the celebration of the memorial of the Lord’s death and resurrection.” The candidate dies to the old self and raises with a new self, a self that partakes in the mystery of God. The individual does not rise as an isolated unit but as a member of a living community of faith.
 Benedict xvi. Encyclical Letter: Deus Caritas Est. (1) (Vatican Library, 2005) http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html
 Mick Lawrence E. RCIA: Renewing the Church as an Initiating Assembly. (US: The Liturgical Press, 1989) p.37.
 Congregation for Divine Worship. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (Irel. Veritas Publications, 1987) p. xii.