In pondering the title of this column – LIVING LITURGY – it led me to reflect on:
The Liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time, it is the font from which all her power flows. The Celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy is the formal structure for us to worship, give praise and thanks, ask forgiveness, pledge fidelity and render service. Aaah – render service - this is where the remaining 167 hours comes in to play!
On Holy Thursday, we saw an example of Christ's service to others with great love; have we extended a helping hand in love to someone in need since then? On Easter Sunday, we renewed our Baptismal vows; have we been a Christ-like example of love and joy in our home or workplace? Last week on Divine Mercy Sunday, we were reminded of the eternal font of love and mercy the Lord offers us; have we been equally as merciful toward someone who testsour patience?
Looking at the beginning and end of the liturgy itself we can see the transition and bridge from this hour of worship to our daily life. The introductory Rites (Entrance Hymn, the Greeting, the Penitential Act, the Gloria), all have the character of a beginning/an introduction. Notice we are standing: something important is about to happen! The beginning of Mass gets us over the threshold from our outside daily life, moving our focus into the presence of a caring, listening God. We gather as a community to unite ourselves with Christ; Jesus himself said he would be present wherever two or three are gathered in His name (Mt 18:20). Singing a hymn unites those gathered, even strangers, to feel part of a group – connected in God's embrace. We become more aware of God's presence, breaking thru from our ordinary state of mind to a consciousness of the divine.
And as mass comes to a close, again we are singing and standing – unified as God's people, about to "Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord", or, the priest may say: "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life." Father has given us our marching orders, this is the bridge to our carrying the liturgy into our daily living. We render service, doing good works, praising and blessing God, serving others. How will I announce the Good News this week? How might my life glorify God?
May Christ Be our Light,
Dir. Of Sacred Music and Liturgy