How God calls us to participate at Mass?

05-01-2016Liturgy CornerCheryl Manfredonia

Father Tim had such words of wisdom last week in his homily, which has been resonating with me all week: "Much of what we do is habit – we go through motions on automatic pilot, without much thought. Therefore, it is nice to have a reminder of the importance of what we do." Just as we heard last week the importance of receiving the Eucharist, so might we need a review of how and why we participate in the liturgy.

Yes, there are the various service ministries which fall within the Sacred Liturgy Commission the Altar Servers, Cantors, Musicians, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Greeters, Lectors, Ushers…. BUT EVERYONE has a role to play: As the Congregation, we engage in a prayerful dialogue with the priest and deacon, forming one big hymn of praise! We are unified and form one body as we all participate in the prayers, hymns, gestures, postures, responses.

The importance of the role of the gathered faithful, is reiterated in the Second Vatican Council documents: "The full and active participation by all the people is the aim, for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit." It was impressed upon the Church the need for a renewed commitment to "full, conscious, and active" participation. We are not silent spectators. We are not called to utter the responses in a low, subdued manner. We are called into the presence of our Lord; presenting ourselves in a manner pleasing to God! How easy it is to just rattle off a prayer or not open our hymnal; let's not fall into the trap of 'empty ritualism'.

Our full participation in the Liturgy can get preoccupied with the cares of the world. Our minds & voices may not correspond with the convictions of our hearts. But Christ gives us the grace to rise above our own preoccupations, allowing us to give our entire selves to the hymn of His Paschal Sacrifice. We are all in this together to expresses and strengthen the faith that is in us and to praise God.

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