Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why I Love the Liturgy

Here are some quotes which sum up the reasons why I love the liturgy…as well as telling us what the liturgy should be (all emphases added).

From The Spirit of the Liturgy by Romano Guardini:

P. 66: “The liturgy wishes to teach, but not by means of an artificial system of aim-conscious educational influences; it simply creates an entire spiritual world in which the soul can live according to the requirements of its nature. The difference resembles that which exists between a gymnasium, in which every detail of apparatus and every exercise aims at a calculated effect, and the open woods and fields. In the first everything is consciously directed towards discipline and development, in the second life is lived with Nature, and internal growth takes placed in her. The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there.”

p. 67 [commenting on Proverbs 8:30-31]  It is the delight of the Eternal Father that Wisdom (the Son, the perfect Fullness of Truth) should pour out Its eternal essence before Him in all Its ineffable splendor, without any ‘purpose’ – for what purpose should It have? – but full of decisive meaning, in pure and vocal happiness; the Son ‘plays’ before the Father.
     “Such is the life of the highest beings, the angels, who, without a purpose and as the Spirit stirs them, move before God, and are a mystic diversion and a living song before Him.”

From The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI):

p. 18: “Ultimately, it is the very life of man, man himself as living righteously, that is the true worship of God, but life only becomes real life when it receives its form from looking toward God. Cult exists in order to communicate this vision and to give life in such a way that glory is given to God.”

p. 21: “Worship, that is, the right kind of cult, of relationship with God, is essential for the right kind of human existence in the world. It is so precisely because it reaches beyond everyday life. Worship gives us a share in heaven’s mode of existence, in the world of God, and allows light to fall from that divine world into ours…”

p. 22: “But real liturgy implies that God responds and reveals how we can worship him. In any form, liturgy includes some kind of ‘institution’. It cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity – then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self-affirmation. Liturgy implies a real relationship with Another, who reveals himself to us and gives our existence a new direction.”

p. 22: [He comments on the story of the golden calf to make the point that] “…the liturgy is not a matter of ‘what you please’.” [When “creativity” happens, people are worshiping an image.] “The people cannot cope with the invisible, remote, and mysterious God. They want to bring him down into their own world, into what they can see and understand. Worship is no longer going up to God, but drawing God down into one’s own world…Worship becomes a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking, and making merry. The dance around the golden calf is an image of this self-seeking worship.”

p. 60: “Past, present, and future interpenetrate and touch upon eternity.”

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