Navigating the Faith: Liturgy

by Dianne Rachal

The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fount from which all her power flows.” Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 10
December 4, 2018 marked the 55th anniversary of the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This was the first of the 16 documents to be ratified by the bishops of the Second Vatican Council, illustrating the importance of liturgy to the Council and to the Church. The Church experiences and shows forth its true identity in the liturgy, strengthening the faithful to go forth and carry out the mission and message of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit into the world.

When we attend Mass each Sunday, do we just go through the motions and mindlessly say the words—getting our Sunday obligation out of the way so we can get back to the really important busy-ness of our lives?

• Do we enter the mystery of Divine Encounter and relationship with the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

• Do we join the daily struggles and joys of our lives to the Paschal Mystery: the dying and rising of our Lord, Jesus Christ?

• Do we understand that liturgy is communal, and that the very meaning of liturgy, leitourgia, is “the work of the people”?

• In the liturgy do we comprehend that we are the Church, that we comprise the Body of Christ?

• Do we experience, encounter Jesus Christ in His Word, in the priest, in the assembly, and especially in the Real Presence of the Eucharistic elements of his Body and Blood?

• Do we fully appreciate the great gift it is to be nourished by Christ’s Body and Blood?

• Do we join our voices with our brothers and sisters, with the Communion of saints, and with the angels to offer praise and thanksgiving to God the Father?

• Do we know that past, present, and future all coalesce in the liturgy—the “already” and the “not yet”: salvation history, God acting now in our lives, and anticipation of the heavenly kingdom?

• Do we genuinely profess our faith in the Creed, letting the words of the liturgy be the words of our belief?

• Do we allow God’s grace to permeate and strengthen us to become ambassadors and evangelists to others?

• Do we acknowledge that our participation in the liturgy sanctifies not only us, but all creation as well?

A covenant people called by God, and gathered together in faith, we offer to God an act of thanksgiving for the great things he has done. We are a pilgrim people on a journey, showing our solidarity with one another in grace, in our need for forgiveness, in our belief. In the richness of our diversity we try to be united ‘with one heart, and with one soul.’
According to Pope Francis, “The Mass is the very ‘heart’ of the Church and the source of her life… At every celebration of Mass, our lives, offered in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, become, in him, an offering of praise and thanksgiving pleasing to the Father, for the salvation of the world.” (—Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana) •

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