Recently we shared with you the Liturgy Committee’s vision for the celebration of liturgy in the parish. We continue to explore the implications of this vision statement. We believe that good liturgical celebrations foster and nourish faith. This faith will grow best when the worshipping assembly is fully, consciously and actively participating in the liturgical celebration.
“The Church earnestly desires that all the faithful be led to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations called for by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Pt 2:9; see 2:4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. “In the reform and promotion of the liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else…” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, article 14)
This section of Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is considered to be one of its most important and crucial. Quite simply, liturgy is not a spectator sport. In the words of the psalmists, all our being must bless God’s holy name (Psalm 103). Everyone participates. A few years ago now, we looked at all the things we do at Mass. Just a few of them included praying in silence and aloud, singing, standing, sitting and kneeling, listening, responding, eating and drinking, sharing peace. Good liturgy demands the use of our senses so we may live and breathe what we celebrate and thus, what we believe.
The first paragraph of our liturgical vision statement can be summed up in a single latin phrase: “Lex orandi statuat lex credendi”, or “The rule of prayer determines the rule of belief.” Our liturgy is our faith expressed and given shape and form. So when we consider liturgical participation, is our belief (and thus our liturgy) full of life and love, or is it something flat that we let others take care of for us?