The Spirit of the Liturgy

Got hooked on this book. “The Spirit of the Liturgy.”

So many salient quotes with regard to liturgy, to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Because when we go to Mass, we ( hopefully) remember that it is more than a liturgical gathering. It is Holy Mass. It is not praise and worship alone. The central act , the central focus of the Mass, is not that of the priest as such or that of the laity. The central action/focus is Christ our Lord, truly present on the altar.

Mass is not about the people or a committee deciding what to add, what to infuse or inject. It is not like organising a parish barbecue ( I speak from experience here..experience of organising parish barbecues!).

(Mass) … never just an event in the life of a community that finds itself in a particular place. No, to celebrate the Eucharist means to enter into the openness of a glorification of God that embraces both heaven and earth, and openness effected by the Cross and Resurrection. Christian liturgy is never just an event organized by a particular group or set of people or even by a particular local Church. The Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger)

We don’t need creativity in the Mass. We don’t need ethnic groups represented. We don’t need spontaneity. These things can be done most effectively outside the mass, in our friendly parishes and events and groups.

Unspontaneity is of their essence. In these rites I discover that something is approaching me here that I did not produce myself, that I am entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation. This is why the Christian East calls the liturgy the “Divine Liturgy”, expressing thereby the liturgy’s independence from human control…… . The greatness of the liturgy depends – we shall have to repeat this frequently – on its unspontaneity . Ibid.

My life is full of flexibility, of little traditions ( think Christmas traditions) and rituals ( tea making); time with friends; laughter, music, singing; hanging out; sharing meals with others; ordinary every day actions and words. Oh, and work!

Mass, worship, should be something set apart. Something sacred. Something inspiring awe. Reminding us of eternal, sacred things, of things out of the ordinariness of life. Filling our souls and our sense of , our urge, for beauty.

Helping us to face God, as it were, in our worship and in our lives. Not facing the gods of money, fame, awards, perfect houses…and so on.

From the book above, again,..

A common turning to the East during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of accidentals, but of essentials. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off towards the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle, but the common movement forward expressed in a common direction for prayer….In this way we obey the ancient call to prayer: Conversi ad Dominum, “Turn to the Lord!” In this way we look together at the One whose Death tore the veil of the Temple — the One who stands before the Father for us and encloses us in His arms in order to make us the new and living Temple.

Something to think of, during this weekend as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.

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