Liturgy as catechesis

” If one modifies the liturgy, however, instead of making the liturgy “more meaningful” one runs the risk of changing the meaning altogether and of despoiling the wealth already contained within the sacred liturgy.”
So I am quoting myself. Pathetic I know. But a quote from one of my recent essays, for the Liturgy and Life unit.
And why am I quoting myself? Not because I am fabulous (satirical laugh) but because the quote came to mind. Because it’s June.
There are quite a few solemnities this June. Including the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi.
I have seen a tendency in some parishes to add activities to the sacred liturgy in an attempt to make the feast or solemnity and thus the liturgy more meaningful .
Dancing girls. Liturgical dance and movement. For example.
Now, I am not going to write a diatribe against these activities. A look at the General Instructions to the Roman Missal lets one know what is allowed and when and how.
At these times, however, I do ponder the meaning of sacred liturgy.
The beauty, the splendor, the rubrics of the liturgy clearly describe each feast or solemnity. Be it by the colour of vestments et al, denoting the feast or by the prayers of the Collect, for example.
The liturgy itself, with rubrics carefully followed, with care paid to music and to liturgical arts, is catechesis. No need to add to the liturgy to give it extra meaning. Better to follow the prayers, the rite, with reverence and due consideration and thus raise the faithful’s hearts and minds towards the deep meaning of the solemnity, to an understanding of the feast, to an understanding of the Church’s teaching and so to a closer relationship with Our Lord.
This is catechesis in action. I know. From experience.
As a new Catholic in the 1990s, I attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form and over the course of time learned about the saints, about the solemnities and their significance, about the Eucharist… and so I was drawn closer and closer to Christ and to a deeper understanding of my faith, heart, mind, body and soul.
And this catechesis is not restricted to Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Of course not!
As the CCC says : 1074 “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows.”It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. “Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men.”
It is in the sacraments that Jesus Christ works in fullness. To transform the faithful. Not in activities that change the focus , in small or large ways, from Christ, from prayer, from the solemnity, in the name of so-called education or community.

2 thoughts on “Liturgy as catechesis”

  1. Hi Leonie,Sabine and I just finished A Biblical Walk Through Mass by Edward Sri. It was a great 5 week long study, inc. a workbook and video – we loved it! I think if more people did a Mass study, we'd have a lot less liturgical abuses.

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