Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Liturgy "Created or Modified"

"New Translation Thursday" felicitations to all.

At yesterday's general audience, Pope Benedict had this to say about the liturgy, as reported by Catholic News Service:

"The conviction must grow in us every day that the liturgy is not 'our' or 'my' doing, but is God's acting in us and with us." "If in the celebration (of Mass) the centrality of Christ does not emerge, we won't have Christian liturgy, totally dependent on the Lord," who supports it with his presence. It's not the action of the individual--whether the priest or one of the faithful--or the group gathered in the pews "that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily the action of God through the church, which has its own history, rich tradition and creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the whole liturgy, is one of the reasons it cannot be created or modified by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal church," he said. The faithful fully experience the church in the liturgy, which is "the act in which we believe God enters into our reality and we can meet him and can touch him. ... He comes to us and we are enlightened by him," the pope said.

I must say that I have been inspired by the pope's words. I think, for instance, of the liturgical life of my own parish. My pastor has, on occasion, reminded us that the liturgy is not ours, per se. He reminded a group gathered just this week that we are not the "Saint James Community Church on Wabash Avenue in Chicago. We are a Roman Catholic Church that is connected to a universal Church." I think this is a value sometimes forgotten or overlooked by some in my parish. We can certainly sometimes get a bit myopic in our own ecclesiology (I sometimes fall into this trap, to be honest with you). I have been grateful for my pastor's steering us in a good direction.

What puzzles me about the pope's remarks, though, is the section when he speaks about the liturgy, saying, "it cannot be created or modified by the individual community or by experts." I must admit that it has been a long, long time since I have had an experience of a liturgy (Mass) that has been "created" or "modified" in such a way that it breaks with the Roman rite. Am I alone?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

"Experts?" That word certainly does not describe Vox Clara. Guess that's why they were allowed to make their blundering improvements!

Jeff Rexhausen said...

When Jesus says, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," isn't he saying that this is a PARTICULAR community gathered together - him and these people?

Jeff Rexhausen said...

Respectfully, if you are accurately representing your pastor's comments, he didn't get it quite right. Those gathered ARE the St. James Community, yet NOT ONLY this BUT ALSO something much more.

When we gather as a particular community, we are joined to the larger Church because we are joined to Christ.

When Paul wrote, "all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God," isn't this the connection he was referring to?