Or another way I could look at it is: I actually have 37 "weeks" if by that we mean Mon-Fri periods where "most" of the days are teaching days, although some of them have as few as three days in them.
How I divide the course material, of course, depends on what the course material actually is. An initial look at my resource reveals the following:
- The course textbook.
- The Catechism + footnotes to source material; the Documents of Vatican II; Denzinger's Sources of Catholic Dogma;
- Seminary handouts from Sacraments courses.
- Seminary bibliographies
- The Internet
- The ASU library
Sacraments: Course Objectives
7-13. The Seven Sacraments
*. “Conclusion: the sacrament you”
How do I organize this jumble? I've been thinking about this for a while. What the course objectives are asking me to do is to survey a heaping ton of material in a short time. But perhaps I'm moving too quickly. What are my hopes for this class? How do I plan to inspire my students to care about this "object of study", these "sacraments"?
- I hope that my students develop their sense of the sacred; the fact that the liturgy is God's tearing open the veil that separates this world from the spiritual world; that in the Mass and all the other sacraments, Jesus Christ--made present by the Holy Spirit--is the Father's perfect victory over, and transformation of the world. He is revealed and made known, and we are gratuitously permitted to take part in his, the everlasting worship of the Father, together with the Holy Mother of God, the saints, and angels.
- I hope that my students gain a proper understanding of the visible elements of rite and symbol; how the sacraments are indeed the historically-conditioned and culturally saturated outer manifestations of the sacred Mysteries. Yet their form and appearance are not, therefore, our plaything, as if history belonged to us more than it does God. Precisely in their historicity they are the God's sanctification and purification of history and culture (Just as Christ's humanity sanctifies and purifies our humanity). Thus the first determinant of rite and rubric is neither a sarcophagus filled with other men's prayers (whether ancient or medieval), nor the passing fancies of historically ambivalent modernity, but rather something else entirely (will get into later). Thus I want to communicate that many sacramental forms are subject to development in continuity. Newman to the rescue!
- I hope my students learn not only that the sacraments are sacred but how; I would like to reveal to them the drama which is made visible for them who have eyes for it. I would like them to not only see, but experience how Catholic worship is not amorphous "praise" or disorganized, ephemeral affections; but it is patterned, structured, complex, dramatic; the re-incorporating of the present into the singular drama of eternity. We are not just telling God how much we like him; we are presenting ourselves as bodily participants in the Crucifixion that saved fallen humanity and reversed the progress of sin and death that even now threatens to push us individually over the threshold of delusional despair. (Huge breath).