Benedict XVI in Loreto on Thursday 50 years after John XXIII’s Visit there on the eve of the opening of Vatican II
Towards the Year of Faith and the Synod
And at the General Audience he recalls that the Christian liturgy is the worship of heaven open to all
The Pope is going to the Shrine of Loreto on 4 October to commend “to the Mother of God the principal ecclesial events for which we are preparing: the Year of Faith and the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization”. It was Benedict XVI himself who said this to the faithful who took part in the General Audience in St Peter’s Squareon the eve of his Visit to the Marian Shrine, where 50 years ago John XXIII went to entrust to Our Lady the work of the Second Vatican Council, a week before it opened. He expressed the hope “May the Blessed Virgin accompany the Church on her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the men and women of our time”.
Before saying this the Pope, continuing his Catechesis dedicated to prayer, had taken up the topic of the Christian liturgy through which, he recalled, “ we make our own the language of Mother Church, we learn to speak in her and for her”. In liturgical prayer, in fact, “we do not only speak as individuals but on the contrary enter into the “we” of the Church that prays. And we must transform our “I” entering into this “we”.
Thus the liturgy, “is not a sort of “self-manifestation” of a community; it means instead coming out of merely being ourselves”, in order to enter the universality of the Church. It “is the worship of heaven wide open”, because “there are no ‘strangers’ in the liturgical community: in every celebration “ In every liturgical celebration the whole Church takes part, heaven and earth, God and men”. It is therefore important that the Christian “feel and be truly integrated into this universal ‘we’ which provides the ‘I’ with the foundation and refuge in the Body of Christ which is the Church”.
Moreover the liturgy “ is not the memory of passed events, but is the living presence of the Paschal Mystery of Christ which transcends and unites times and places”. It is essentially “an action of God in us and with us”. For this reason “it is not the individual — priest or member of the faithful — or the group who celebrates the liturgy, but the liturgy is primarily God’s action through the Church which has her own history, her rich tradition and her creativity”. This is the reason why “it cannot be conceived of or modified by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church”
Thursday 04 October 2012
Live Broadcast from 10.15 a.m.
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Saint Peter’s Square
Wednesday, 3 October 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today, I would like to highlight the ecclesial nature of liturgical prayer. The liturgy is a “participation in Christ’s own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1073). The Church, as Christ’s Mystical Body and united with him, offers worship to the Father. By identifying ourselves with Christ in his prayer to the Father, we rediscover our deepest identity as Christians, as children of “Our Father who art in heaven”. The liturgy is also an encounter of the whole Christ, that is, with Christ and his body the Church. Thus, the liturgy is a sharing in the prayer of the living, universal community of believers in Christ. Prayer becomes the habitual realization of the presence of God, as we make the words of the Church our own, and learn to speak in her and through her. The Church is most truly itself in the liturgy, as it is the place where God comes to us and enters our lives. Let us remember that the liturgy is celebrated for God, not for us; it is his work; he is its subject. For our part, in the liturgy we must leave ourselves open to be guided by him and by his Body, the Church.
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