Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Liturgy is "precious space" for
the "ongoing dialogue" between God and man, in which "God speaks
to each of us and awaits our response." Continuing
in his catechesis on the "Christian school of prayer", Benedict XVI's
general audience today before more than 20 thousand people in St Peter's
Square, was dedicated to the special space for that: The liturgy.
If the first "environment" in which "we can allow ourselves be
formed by the Holy Spirit and thus able to turn toward God in the right way is Sacred
Scripture, the liturgy is "another source closely tied" to it.
Liturgy, says the Catechism, is a word that comes from the Greek that means
"service on behalf of the people " a people
that does not exist by itself, but that has been formed through the Paschal
Mystery of Jesus Christ. In fact, the People of God does not exist through ties
of blood, territory or nation, but is always born from the work of the Son of
God and communion with the Father that He obtains for us."
But: what is
this work of God that we are called to participate in? The answer offered us by
Conciliar Constitution on the sacred liturgy is apparently double. At number 5
it tells us, in fact, that the works of God are His historical actions that
bring us salvation, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ;
but in number 7, the Constitution defines the celebration of the liturgy as
"the work of Christ. " In reality, the two meanings are inseparably
linked. The answer is the action of Christ through the Church, in the liturgy."
John Paul II stated that " In order to re-enact his Paschal Mystery, Christ is ever present in
his Church, especially in liturgical celebrations"
" Therefore, the first
requirement for a good liturgical celebration is that both prayer and
conversation with God, first listening and then answering." Usually
it does not happen this way, first one has to think and then what we have
thought, is converted into speech. Here, however in the liturgy it is the
inverse, the words come first. God gave us the Word and the Sacred Liturgy
gives us the words, and we must enter into their meaning, welcome them within
us, be in harmony with them."
" The correlation between what we say with our
lips and what we carry in our hearts is essential, fundamental, to our dialogue
with God in the liturgy.."
One of the
moments that, during the liturgy calls us and helps us to find such a
correlation, this conforming ourselves to what we hear, say and do in the
liturgy. I refer to the invitation the Celebrant formulates before the
Eucharistic Prayer: "Sursum corda," we lift up our hearts outside the
tangle of our concerns, our desires, our anxieties, our distraction. Our heart,
our intimate selves, must open obediently to the Word of God, and gather in the
prayer of the Church, to receive its orientation towards God from the words
that it hears and says. The heart's gaze must go out to the Lord, who is among
us: it is a fundamental requirement". " When we experience the liturgy with this basic
attitude, it is as if our heart is freed from the force of gravity, which drags
it down, and from within rises upwards, towards truth and love, towards God." .
pray to the Lord - concluded the Pope - to be ever more
aware of the fact that the liturgy is the action of God and man; prayer that
rises from the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in
union with the Son of God made man"