Words of Wisdom about Liturgy - 27th September 2015

The liturgy of the Church gives explicit and dramatic expression to the liturgy of the world, to the hidden holiness of what seems “ordinary”; it completes, purifies, celebrates and intensifies it.

The real world must ever be at the centre of our liturgical celebrations. Without honouring the authentic lives and experiences of people, the raw reality of their emotions, our Sunday liturgy will betray the radical revelation of the Incarnation.

We gather for Sunday worship not because our secular lives are empty of divinity, but because we need to honour all the grace-filled moments already trembling in those same human lives, often dark and hidden in our hurting hearts, sometimes shining like hope in our eyes.

Church liturgy has the same hopes and goals and dreams for each human heart as Jesus had when he walked among us. The experience of true, life-giving liturgy will bring home to wavering Mass-goers the tangible implications of Incarnation – that the presence of God is in their efforts to stay in love, in the families they struggle to hold together, in the terrible anxiety about money and mortgages, in the fears for their health, in their depressions and temptations, in their despair before a world in pain, in their loss of faith, in all their experiences of death and hope, in their desire to worship God.

-          Fr Daniel O’Leary, priest of the Diocese of Leeds, author and teacher

The performance of sacramental worship or liturgy, therefore, far from being an end in itself, is for the purpose of revealing our entire lives as an ongoing act of worship, of glorifying God by sharing in God’s creative and redemptive action in our world.

Celebrations of sacramental liturgies are powerful experiences revealing through tangible symbols the strong and loving presence of the Christ so often hidden and intangible in the ambiguities of our lives and world.

Assembling on Sunday to share the word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ is the fundamental symbolic ritual whereby Christians interpret the meaning, values and purpose of their lives according to the memory and active presence of the crucified and risen Jesus.

- Fr Bruce Morrill SJ, Professor of Catholic Studies at Vanderbilt University

We need to bring what is going on in our lives and in the world to liturgy to enlarge our vision and challenge our understanding and often set ways. Liturgical celebration can help us to discern the real challenges and the way forward. Regular liturgical prayer and discernment about what is going on around us enables us to become prayerfully attentive.

Liturgical celebrations empower us to go out into the world as emboldened missionary disciples. The entire movement of the Eucharist culminates in the sending forth of the community at the end to bring peace to the world. Educated by the Word of God, reconciled with the community, sustained by remembering Jesus’s death and resurrection and by communion with God and one another we become ourselves God’s Word and Christ’s presence “in the midst of the world, for the life of the world.” The Church lives from the centre with its eye on the borders and its involvement in the borders drives it back to the centre for nourishment, inspiration, strength and vision.

- Fr Noel Connolly SSC Director of Mission Studies at the Columban Mission Institute, Sydney

 

Elizabeth Harrington