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." .
"We 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"