Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In Solemnitas Omnium Sanctorum

Exsultent Divina Mysteria!

Principles for the
Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
in the Third Christian Millennium

¨ The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of the Church.
¨ The Eucharist is “the very heart of life.” – Pope Benedict XVI
¨ The Sacred Liturgy, from the Greek leitourgia, is understood as the work of God on behalf of His people. It is God’s work, not our own. Jesus Christ is the true celebrant.
¨ The Sacred Liturgy is not a secondary element of Catholic life but is central to the life of the Church.
¨ The Sacred Liturgy is a celebration of the mysteries of our faith, a living expression of what we believe.
¨ By “Liturgy” we mean the whole public prayer of the Church: the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the rites of the other Sacraments, and the rites of the various sacramentals of the Church.
¨ The Mass is a celebration of the whole Church, Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant; a celebration in which “Heaven is wedded to earth.”
¨ The Eucharistic Prayer is a prayer directed to the Father, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit.
¨ The Mass is both a Sacrifice and a Banquet: the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary; and the Banquet of the Mystical Body of Christ, in which we celebrate our faith and are nourished by the broken Body and poured out Blood of Jesus Christ.
¨ The Eucharist is a great mystery: the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Eternal Salvation, the food by which our souls are nourished on the journey toward eternal life with God in Heaven.
¨ The focus of Liturgy is directed to the praise of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is not a celebration of ourselves but of the God who has made us in love, and who calls us to love Him and worship Him. It is not a spectacle for the amusement of others, nor one focused on the personality of the priest and congregation. Our words, actions, postures, gestures, music, and liturgical atmosphere ought to be entirely directed to the love and worship of God, and not turned in on ourselves.
¨ The celebration of the Liturgy, especially the Holy Mass, demands adequate spiritual preparation. One ought to approach the Mysteries of God with a heart full of love, a soul cleansed from sin in the frequent celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, and a body prepared by the observance of the Communion Fast.
¨ The celebration of the Liturgy is the source of our strength for Christian living.
¨ The Eucharist in itself is an ineffable mystery, given to us by the Lord to be consumed, and to be adored. The sacrifice of praise of the whole Church is in itself a gift beyond compare that we can offer to the Lord. Yet, the Eucharist also demands that we take Jesus, whom we receive, into our hearts, our homes, and our world, to that He may transform us and those we meet into His holy servants.
¨ The Tradition of the Church is continuous and develops organically. The Church, in her wisdom, has transmitted that Tradition from the time of the Apostles and down through the centuries. In our time, that Tradition has been handed on to us by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.
¨ The Council transmitted the continuous Tradition. It did not signal a break with the past, nor a rupture, nor the creation of something entirely new. (cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, Christmas 2005)
¨ Liturgy as well develops organically, in a continuous tradition, new forms flowing from the old, so that what Christ instituted is celebrated even unto our own day. Thus the Sacred Mysteries find new expression in a way that is suitable to the times, and yet rooted in the ancient tradition of the Church, and fitting for the worship of Almighty God.
¨ Liturgy is not fabricated, nor invented, nor is it simply the creative expression of individuals or groups. It is the celebration of the Mysteries of God and of the faith of the whole Church.
¨ Liturgical renewal cannot be fabricated. (cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Preface to La Reforme liturgique en question) It must grow, rather, from a complete understanding of the whole tradition and history of the Church, an appreciation for the pastoral needs of the faithful, and a humble approach to the Mysteries of God.
¨ Renewal of the Liturgy in our time does not mean “turning back the clock” to a past age, nor a rejection of the Second Vatican Council. Rather it is a continual movement forward, an embracing of the whole, rich tradition of the Liturgy of the Church, an embracing of the authentic meaning of the Council, and a renewed effort to celebrate the liturgy precisely, reverently, lovingly, according to a vision of what the Council Fathers desired.
¨ Liturgical renewal is pastoral. It respects the needs and concerns of all. It is not done in haste, nor for personal gain.
¨ Liturgical Ministers and lay participants are not performers, nor should they carry our their ministries and ritual functions for personal gain and attention. Rather, they ought to celebrate the Liturgy for the love of God.
¨ Liturgy is sacrificial. The whole Mystical Body of Christ is caught up in the offering of a great sacrifice of praise. The priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass. Beautiful liturgy demands the sacrifice of our lives, our time and our talents, so that it may truly be a celebration for the glory of God and the edification of the Church. Therefore, sacrificial language is most proper to the prayers of the Liturgy.
¨ Decorum, reverence, and respect are critical for all who celebrate or assist at the Liturgy.
¨ The faithful ought to feel “at home” in the Liturgy of their Church, wherever they celebrate it. Therefore, our ritual actions ought to be performed consistently and according to the rubrics of the Church.
¨ The Liturgy belongs to the Church, not to individuals or groups. While the Liturgy appropriately finds expression in the life of each parish, it springs from the faith of the Church and the example of Christ, not from the imagination and creativity of individuals.
¨ Liturgical celebration and renewal require a stance of great humility before the awesome mystery of God and the great tradition of the Church.
¨ Liturgical celebration and renewal require devotion and prayer, interiority, and the effort to deepen one’s relationship with God. Liturgy is not merely external but ought to be the expression of a deep faith and love.
¨ The full, conscious, and actual participation (cf. Sacrosanctum concillium, no. 14) of all the faithful in the Liturgy is important. This principle must be properly understood.
¨ “Full Participation” means that every member has a part in the Liturgy. It does not mean that everyone does everything. Liturgy is hierarchical and polyphonic. (cf. Pope John Paul II, Ad Limina Address, 9 October 1998)
¨ The distinction between the proper roles of clergy and of laity in the Liturgy, and the proper roles of each minister, exist for particular reasons and ought not be confused.
¨ “Conscious Participation” does not mean continual verbose and informal explanation of every part of the Liturgy. It means that every community should experience proper liturgical catechesis, and should be properly instructed in the mysteries of the Liturgy. (cf. Pope John Paul II, Ad Limina Address, 9 October 1998)
¨ “Active Participation” means that everyone takes a real part in the liturgy. This does not mean that everyone is always performing some action. It includes active listening and silence, by which one enters more deeply into the mysteries. (cf. Pope John Paul II, Ad Limina Address, 9 October 1998)
¨ Liturgy is not utilitarian. The vessels, fabrics, language, etc. that are used should not be common and everyday. All that we utilize, say, and do in the liturgy ought to reflect the unique and sacred character of the Liturgy, and of the mysteries we celebrate.
¨ The authority to regulate the Liturgy rests with the Holy See, and in some cases with the diocesan ordinary. Directives ought not be introduced in the Liturgy which are contrary to law by those without proper authority.
¨ Liturgy ought to be beautiful, for God is Beauty. It ought to be celebrated with love, for God is Love. It ought to be true to the faith and to the tradition, for God is Truth.
¨ The Latin language remains the official language of the Church and the sacred language of the roman Rite. Latin ought to remain a part of the Church’s Liturgy. (cf. Sacrosanctum concillium, No. 36) There ought to be a proper balance between Latin and vernacular in the Liturgy, with the Liturgy of the Word remaining in the language of the people. (cf. Sacrosanctum concillium, No. 36 in re: “Readings”)
¨ Vernacular translations ought to be faithful to the Latin originals. The vernacular used ought to be sacred language, not everyday speech. (cf. Michael P. Foley, Professor of Patristics, Baylor University)
¨ Gregorian Chant is the music proper to the Roman Rite and ought to hold pride of place in liturgical celebrations. (cf Sacrosanctum concillium, No. 116)
¨ Other sacred music ought to conform to a strict standard, namely, that it is directed solely to the glory of God and the celebration the mysteries of the faith.
¨ Serious attention must be given to the meaning of worship ad orientem (cf. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, and U. M. Lang, Turning Towards the Lord), that is the common direction of priest and people toward the Lord and His Altar. This is not to be understood as “the priest turning his back to the people” but, rather, as the priest, in the person of Christ the Head, leading the Mystical Body forward to the altar, where heaven is united to earth and all look forward to the eternal Liturgy of Heaven, the Banquet of the Lamb. The priest “leads the charge” in the journey of the Church Millitant toward the Risen Christ. Together, priest and people “turn toward the Lord” in praise. (“conversi ad Dominum” – Saint Augustine)
¨ The authentic meaning of common posture for priest and people in the Eucharistic Sacrifice needs to be regained. It can be symbolized by the placement of the Crucifix on the center of the mensa of the Altar, toward which priest and people both gaze. (cf. Ratzinger, Feast of Faith)
¨ The Tabernacle, the place of reservation of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the living presence of Christ in our midst, ought to be noble, beautiful, easily visible, and centrally located in every church. If Christ is to be the center of our lives, He must first be at the center of our churches.
¨ Our churches ought to be true places of worship, whose decoration and furniture all expresses our love for God and the uniqueness of the liturgy. They ought to inspire praise, and not simply be useful spaces.
¨ The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole Church, and ought to be celebrated by parishes and promoted among the faithful. (cf. GILH)
¨ Efforts should be made to once again promote a truly Catholic culture among the faithful, so that the liturgical year, with all its rich celebrations of faith, become a part of every Catholic’s life.
¨ “Before we may consume Him, we must first adore Him.” –Saint Augustine. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament ought to be significant part of the life of every parish.
¨ Devotions, such as the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, ought to be promoted among the faithful, and explained as flowing from and leading to the Liturgy.
¨ Liturgical renewal and ecclesial revitalization is the task of every Catholic person. It must be undertaken reflectively, humbly, with true devotion to Christ, and with concern for the good of all.
¨ “…we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council.” --Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Milestones)
In omnibus glorificetur Deus! In all things may God be glorified!

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