Towards the Year of Faith and the Synod

2012-10-03 L’Osservatore Romano

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 Square on 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 Catecheses 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”