Pope:in the liturgy we emerge from individual prayer to “we” of universal Church
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The sacred liturgy transforms our "I" in "we", it "is not our doing, it is primarily God's action through the Church, its history, its tradition, its creativity". "Nobody is a foreigner", in the Christian liturgy, "it is inherently Catholic, comes from everything and leads to everything, in unity with the Pope and the bishops in union with all mankind, of all time ": this, Benedict XVI teaches is "one of the reasons why it can not be changed by the community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church."
Continuing to devote the general audience catechesis to the "school of prayer" , the Pope went on to illustrate the "preferred source" of prayer today to 20 thousand people in St Peter's Square, which, he said is the liturgy, "participation in Christ's own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal. "
The Pope's reflection started from the principle that " Therefore, the life of prayer lies in habitually being in the presence of God and being conscious of it, in living our relationship with God just as we live the usual relationships of our lives, those with close family members, and with real friends; indeed our relationship with the Lord gives light to all of our other relationships." Through baptism through Baptism we have been inserted into Christ, we have begun to be one with Him, only in Christ we can talk to God the Father as children, otherwise it is not possible, but in communion with the Son, we too can say, as he said "Abba", because only in communion with Christ, can we know God as our true Father". For this reason" Christian prayer lies in constantly looking, in an ever new way, at Christ, talking with Him, being in silence with Him, listening to Him, acting and suffering with Him. "
But, given "the unbreakable bond between Christ and the Church," "we know Christ as a living Person in the Church, which is his Body." Thus, through the liturgy " I have to progressively immerge myself in the words of the Church, with my prayer, my life, my suffering, my joy, my thoughts. It is a journey that transforms us. Thus I think that these reflections enable us to answer the question that we posed at the beginning: how do I learn to pray, how can I grow in my prayer? Looking at the model that Jesus taught us, the Pater Noster [Our Father], we see that the first word is "Father" and the second is "our." The answer, then, is clear: I learn to pray, I nourish my prayer, addressing God as Father and praying-with-others, praying with the Church, accepting the gift of his words, which gradually become familiar and rich in meaning. The dialogue that God establishes with each of us, and we with Him, in prayer always includes a "with", you can not pray to God in an individualistic manner. In liturgical prayer, especially the Eucharist, and - formats of the liturgy - in every prayer, we do not speak as single individuals, rather we enter into the "we" of the Church that prays. And we need to transform our "I" entering into this "we"."
The liturgy is not "a kind of "self-manifestation" of a community, but it is emerging from the simple "being-oneself", being closed in on ourselves, and accessing the great banquet, entering the great living community in which God nourishes us. The liturgy implies universality and our awareness of this universal character must always be renewed. The Christian liturgy is the worship of the universal temple which is the Risen Christ, whose arms are stretched out on the cross to draw us all into the embrace that is the eternal love of God. It is the cult of the open skies. It is never only the event of a single community, in a given time and space. It is important that every Christian feels and really is part of this universal "we", which provides the foundation and refuge to the "I" in the Body of Christ which is the Church.".
"The Church - he concluded - is made visible in many ways: in its charitable work, in mission projects, in the personal apostolate that every Christian must realize in his or her own environment. But the place where it is fully experienced as a Church is in the liturgy: it is the act in which we believe that God enters into our reality and we can meet Him, we can touch Him. It is the act in which we come into contact with God, He comes to us, and we are enlightened by Him. So when in the reflections on the liturgy we concentrate all our attention on how to make it attractive, interesting and beautiful, we risk forgetting the essential: the liturgy is celebrated for God and not for ourselves, it is His work, He is the subject, and we must open ourselves to Him and be guided by Him and His Body which is the Church".
Finally In his greeting in Italian, Benedict XVI recalled his visit tomorrow to Loreto and asked the faithful to pray for the success of the upcoming Synod on the new evangelization and for the Year of Faith.