Monday, November 5, 2012

QUAERITUR: Why He “rose again” in the Creed when we know Christ only rose once?

For some reason I have received questions similar to this one several times, so I will drill into the matter anew… again… um…
From a reader:
Why do we say “rose again” in the Creed when Christ only rose from death once.
In the Creed of the Mass we say resurrexit.  This is translated “rose again”.
Remember: LATIN is the official language of the Roman Rite.  Also, our Latin liturgical texts (e.g., the Creed) is founded on Greek texts/symbols.

That said, the “again” confusion is again understandable in this age when English is devolving.  If you “rise again” you must have already previously risen.  Right? But we know our Lord rose only once.  Right?  So the translation is heretical.  RIGHT?

In the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed we say or sing during Mass, Latin resurrexit is a compound of re- and surgo. The prefix re- conveys “again”.
In English “again” can mean more than mere repetition. Check a good dictionary of English and you will find “again” as “anew” without the concept of repetition.
In our Creed, “He rose again” means “He rose anew”.

So, resurrexit does not mean Jesus rose twice or more. He returned to life “anew”.

A reader once provided an example of a kid who falls while riding his bike.  He gets up again and rides off.  That “again” doesn’t mean that he repeatedly gets up before riding off.  That “again” means “anew”.

“Rose again” for resurrexit is acceptable.

However, in our Latin liturgical worship we also use simple surgo, surrexit for the Lord “rose”.  At Easter, and in the Octave, Holy Church sings “Surrexit Christus spes mea” in the sequence Victimae paschali laudes.
I hope that helps.



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