Liturgical reforms are “irreversible,” says Pope Francis at a recent address at the Italian National Liturgical Week at the Vatican. He also expressed that the “liturgy should not be such that the faithful are there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of that they are doing, with devotion and full of collaboration.” Please click here for complete story.
The pope’s comments reminded me of the story of Philip (Acts 8: 26-39) who heard the Eunuch reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading? He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Philip then proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ and eventually baptized the Eunuch.
Many people have, indeed, followed the example of Philip and the Eunuch in growing in their faith and spiritual life through Bible studies. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVII highly recommended the Lectio Divina, which has been a great help in knowing and understanding the Bible. Consequently, we can say that the Bible is no longer a hidden treasure in the Church, and believers and drawing nourishment from the study.
This is not necessarily the case with the liturgy, which is the source and summit of Christian life. It is, therefore, life-giving. If this is so, the liturgy should be bursting at the seams. Books such as Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell, however, have noted that the number of Catholics going to Mass has continued to decline. And those who attend the liturgy do not necessarily participate. As the pope said, they are “strangers or silent spectators only.” Is this because we have not understood fully the liturgy?
With this in mind, I would like to offer a regular short blog on the liturgy to help us understand it more fully. Please stay tuned.