Yet another topic for discussion — a topic rarely discussed in spiritual formation books and yet one that is central: feasting as memory. This is the subject of the 14th chp of Darryl Tippens, Pilgrim Heart. I begin with a quotation that struck me — and one that serves as a warning for anyone who chooses to be isolated from the great traditions of the Church, as so many low-church Christians are:
Those who choose to cut themselves off from the past “cannot recall what — or even that — they have forgotten” (170). Because such Christians have erased centuries of memories, “they have forgotten that they have forgotten.” Does it matter?
Indeed: “Memory creates identity.” That is, “memory is the great vehicle of spiritual identity and formation, an important supply for moral reflection, and a source for constructing the future” (168).
Modernity opposes memory. Will postmodernity revive memory?
Now my big question for the day: What can you and I do to keep the Church’s memory in tact? More locally, what can we do to keep the local memory in tact?
Let me suggest what Tippens suggests: Use festal means as communal times of memory. Is not the Passover all about memory? Is not the Lord’s Supper about memory? Is not Thanksgiving about memory? Do we have local church “festal memory meals” or do we have meals together that lead us to “remember those who have gone before us”? Those of us in low-church traditions don’t very often celebrate the saints before us — we worry about having All Saints Days. I asked in my recent book on Mary to have a remember Mary day.
What are you doing to keep the Church’s memory alive?