Time to Restore the Sense of the Sacred: To Love the Liturgy is to Love the Lord
believe"). It is sometimes written as, "lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi", further deepening the implications of this truth. How we worship reflects what we believe and determines how we will live. Worship is the heart of the Christian vocation. The highest form of Worship is the Divine Liturgy.
The Catholic Church has long understood that part of her role as mother and teacher is to watch over worship, for the sake of the faithful and in obedience to the God whom she serves. How we worship not only reveals and guards what we believe but guides us in how we live our Christian faith and fulfill our Christian mission in the world. Liturgical Worship is not an "add on" for a Catholic Christian. It is the foundation of Catholic identity; expressing our highest purpose. Worship reveals what we truly believe and how we view ourselves in relationship to God, one another and the world into which we are sent to carry forward the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ.
How the Church worships is a prophetic witness to the truth of what she professes. Good worship becomes a dynamic means of drawing the entire human community into the fullness of life in Jesus Christ. It attracts - through beauty to Beauty. Worship informs and transforms both the person and the faith community which participates in it. There is a reciprocity between worship and life.
I have spent decades in ecumenical work. Perhaps that explains why I find it odd that right when so many of our Christian friends in other confessions and communities are searching for a deeper encounter with the beauty of the Lord in formal liturgical worship, many Catholics so easily succumbed to novelties.Our fellow Christians everywhere are hungering for sign, symbol and mystery in worship. As many Children of the Protestant Reformation are considering the safe harbor of the Catholic Church in order to experience a connection with the ancient Church, too many Catholics have lost their sense of what it really means to be a Catholic Christian.
As many Christians in communities of the Protestant reformation are suffering from the sad loss of what CS Lewis called "Mere Christianity", too many Catholics have no idea of the treasure they have in the ancient but ever new faith. As our Christian brethren are experiencing the barrenness of their own worship, many in our Catholic Church are discarding the very treasures that make her formal liturgical worship so beautiful, full of mystery and so compelling and attractive to those seeking a deeper experience of worship and Christian life.
Sadly, what for some may have begun as a sincere effort to simplify the Liturgy in the Catholic Church too often devolved into a form of liturgical minimalism. The liturgical minimalism I speak of begins when you entered what was often called the worship space of some contemporary church buildings. There are few symbols of the ancient yet ever new Catholic faith anywhere. There are few icons or images reflecting heaven touching earth, drawing the worshipper into a transcendent encounter with the God who we receive in the Most Holy Eucharist and in whom we are invited to live and move and have our being.
I am not a traditionalist Catholic, although I understand and respect those who are. I am just a Christian who chooses to live my faith in its fullness, as a Catholic. I love the Tradition, with a capital T. I am a revert, I returned to the Church as a young man. I was drawn back to that fullness of Christianity that is dynamic, orthodox, faithful Catholic life and practice. I have respect for my brethren who are Protestants in each of their various confessions and communities. However, I am not one, by choice. I do not want a Protestant looking church building or a stripped down Catholicism whose worship seems more protestant than Catholic. I do not want barren liturgy and symbol-less Catholicism.
Over the last few decades, some who purported to be liturgical experts too often stripped away the richness and the depth that draws so many to the treasure that is Catholic worship and life. Their numbers and influence are dwindling. The Catholic seminaries that are full (and their number is increasing) are filled with candidates who want the vibrant, symbolic, faithful, richly liturgical, devout fullness of Catholic faith and life. The movement toward dynamic, symbolic and beautiful Liturgy is not about going backward but going forward and toward the eternal worship.
The ecclesial movements are flourishing in the Church, drawing men and women who also want the fullness of Catholic worship, faith and life in all of its rich beauty. The new Catholics, coming into full communion from other Christian communities, are flocking to the dynamically orthodox and faithful Catholic parishes. The symbols are coming back into our sanctuaries and new ones are emerging. It is all happening because of the young. The move ...
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Liturgy, Mass, Eucharist, Sacred liturgy, Divine Liturgy, Lex orandi, lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi, Pope Benedict XVI, Deacon Greg Kendra, Liturgical reform, Deacon Keith Fournier
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