Friday, July 3, 2009

Looking Toward God

A sacramental celebration is woven from signs & symbols. In keeping with the divine pedagogy of salvation, their meaning is rooted in the work of creation and in human culture, specified by events in the Old Covenant and fully revealed in the person and work of Christ. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1145
Signs of the human world. In human life, signs and symbols occupy an important place. As a being at once body and spirit, man expresses and perceives spiritual realities through physical signs and symbols. As a social being, man needs signs and symbols to communicate with others, through language gestures, and actions. This holds true for his relationship with God. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1146

Robert Moynihan writes Pope Benedict XVI has always been deeply concerned about the liturgy — the way the Church carries out her public worship.

He has written numerous books about the liturgy, spoken repeatedly about it, taken important decisions about it as Pope (for example, restoring the celebration of the Mass according to the old, pre-Vatican II rite).

Concern for the liturgy is a constant in his life. But why this interest? Is it because he is concerned about the external things of the liturgy, like vestments, incense, all the gestures of religious ritual? No. Or at least, not primarily.Then why? What is the primary interest? His primary interest in the liturgy stems from the fact that the liturgy is a type of doorway, or passageway, leading to the vision of God, that is, leading to eternal life. And since eternal life is the ultimate hope of man, the doorway or passageway that leads to that hope — the liturgy — is of the utmost importance. This does not mean that external things likes vestments, incense, and ritual gestures, are of no importance. No. But it does mean that they are of just relative importance.They adorn the doorway; they are not the doorway itself.The adornments of the doorway are not as important as the reality of the doorway itself.

"Man becomes glory for God, puts God, so to speak, into the light (and that is what worship is), when he lives by looking toward God," Joseph Ratzinger wrote in his great book on the liturgy (The Spirit of the Liturgy, Ignatius Press, 2000, p. 20)
The liturgy, Ratzinger writes, is "a kind of anticipation, a rehearsal, a prelude for the life to come, for eternal life, which St. Augustine describes, by contrast with life in this world, as a fabric woven, no longer of exigency and need, but of the freedom of generosity and gift." (The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 14)

The Mass is and should be for us Catholics and opportunity to meet the Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit. We can best accomplish this by fully participating in the liturgy. Perhaps read the readings prior to Mass, meditate on them, to come to Mass with an attitude of joy and celebration as we revisit Calvary (God's ultimate love for man) and partake in the Eucharist (God's ultimate gift to man)

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