SEVERAL IMPORTANT REASONS AS TO WHY THE LITURGY IS ESSENTIAL AND AN INTEGRAL PART OF LOVING AND SERVING CHRIST
(And before anybody even asks – yes, it says it in the Bible too, ‘Do this in memory of Me’, etc. 🙂
To accomplish the dispensation or communication of His work of salvation, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations (cf. CCC 1088). So, it is in the liturgy – especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that ‘the work of redemption is accomplished’ (cf. CCC 1068).
The liturgy enables the faithful to take part in the “work of God” (cf. Jn 17:4). It is also seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. Through the liturgy Christ continues the work of our redemption in, with and through His Church. The liturgy is also a participation in Christ’s own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit (cf. CCC 1069; 1073).
In the liturgy of the Church, God the Father is blessed and adored as the source of all blessings of creation and salvation (cf. CCC 1110). It is principally his own Paschal Mystery (Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection) that Christ signifies and makes present in the liturgy. Christ now acts through the sacraments He instituted to communicate His grace (cf. CCC 1085, 1084). The Holy Spirit prepares the assembly to receive Christ, and makes the work of Christ present and active (cf. CCC 1112).
It is the whole community (the Church), the Body of Christ united with its Head that celebrates the liturgy (cf. CCC 1140). The liturgy is celebrated with words and actions in a dialogue between God’s children with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit. Song and music sanctify the faithful and glorify God. Signs and symbols of creation and holy images help us to awaken and nourish our faith (cf. CCC 1153; 1157; 1192). The liturgy or worship is celebrated in any one place. But the church where the community comes together to glorify the Trinity, hear the Word of God, sing His praise and offer the sacrifice of Christ has more significance (cf. CCC 1199; 1179; 1181-1186).
The liturgy, ‘the saving work of Christ’, is commemorated and celebrated throughout the year. Once a week, on Sunday, the Church keeps the memory of the Lord’s Resurrection. Once a year she celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus most solemnly at Easter. By keeping the memorials of the saints, she gives glory to Christ for having accomplished His salvation in them.
Daily, the Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole people of God (cf. CCC 1163; 1175). The Liturgy of the Hours is a ‘public prayer of the Church’, in which the faithful (clergy, religious and lay people) exercise the royal priesthood of the baptised. In it Christ Himself continues His priestly work through His Church. The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole people of God. Priests are obliged and the laity are encouraged to recite the Divine Office (cf. CCC 1174, 1175).