The Cosmic Liturgy 12 October, 2006

Have you ever felt that your Sunday service in church leaves something to be desired?

Would you like to deepen your awareness of the world-shattering Event that is taking place on the altar and in our lives?

On Thursday, 31 August 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave some beautiful words of advice to priests who had come to him at Castel Gandolfo:
“I have no claim to be, as it were, an ‘oracle’ that could respond adequately to every question … Day after day, the Pope too must know and recognize ‘infirmitatem suam,’ his shortcomings. He must recognize that only in collaboration with everyone, in dialogue, in common cooperation, in faith as ‘cooperatores veritatis” – of the Truth that is a Person, Jesus – can we carry out our service together, each one doing his share…

“… Today, we heard in the Gospel the parable of the faithful servant (Matthew 24:42-51). This servant, the Lord tells us, gives food to the others at the proper time. He does not do everything at once but is a wise and prudent servant who knows what needs to be done in a specific situation. He does so humbly, and is also sure of his master’s trust.

“So it is that we must likewise do our utmost to be wise and prudent and to trust in the goodness of our ‘Master,’ the Lord, for in the end it is he himself who must take the helm of his Church. We fit into her with our small gift and do the best we can, especially those things that are always necessary: celebrating the sacraments, preaching the Word, giving signs of our charity and our love.

“… I would say further that the Church gives us, imposes upon us – but always like a good Mother – the obligation to make free time for God with the two practices that constitute a part of our duties: the celebration of holy Mass and the recitation of the breviary … These two realities – holy Mass truly celebrated in conversation with God and the Liturgy of the Hours – are areas of freedom, of inner life, an enrichment which the Church bestows upon us. In them … we do not only find the Church of all the ages but also the Lord himself, who speaks to us and awaits our answer. We thus learn to pray by immersing ourselves in the prayer of all times, and we also encounter the people…

“… We seek to drink from this source so that it may become a source within us. And we can respond better to the thirst of people today if we have within us the ‘living water,’ the divine reality, the reality of the Lord Jesus made flesh. Thus, we can respond better to the needs of our people.

“… The liturgy developed in the course of two millennia and even after the Reformation was not something worked out by simply a few liturgists. It has always remained a continuation of this ongoing growth of worship and proclamation.

“Thus, to be well in tune, it is very important to understand this structure that developed over time and to enter with our ‘mens’ into the ‘vox’ of the Church. To the extent that we have interiorized this structure, comprehended this structure, assimilated the words of the liturgy, we can enter into this inner consonance and thus not only speak to God as individuals, but enter into the ‘we’ of the Church, which is praying. And we thus transform our ‘I’ in this way, by entering into the ‘we’ of the Church, enriching and enlarging this ‘I,’ praying with the Church, with the words of the Church, truly being in conversation with God.

“In other words, the ‘ars celebrandi‘ is not intended as an invitation to some sort of theatre or show, but to an interiority that makes itself felt and becomes acceptable and evident to the people taking part. Only if they see that this is not an exterior or spectacular ‘ars‘ – we are not actors! – but the expression of the journey of our heart that attracts their hearts too, will the liturgy become beautiful, will it become the communion with the Lord of all who are present.”