17 Jul

Catholic ceremonies and liturgy

“The unique source from which all acts of [Catholic Christian] worship derive their merit and efficacy is the Paschal Mystery of our Lord, Jesus Christ . All other acts of [Catholic Christian] worship radiate from it as from their centre; all hymns of praise revolve around it. The Paschal Mystery embraces the death, resurrection and ascension into glory of our Saviour . These are three inseparable aspects of the one and same mystery whereby Christ has redeemed us and reconciled us to His Father, restoring all things in Himself.His passion and death would have no significance if He did not rise to life. He could rise only if He had first died.

‘Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ (Luke 24:46).

His resurrection gives meaning to His death: His victory over death and sin. The cross represents the triumph of our Saviour over the power of evil; His resurrection is the testimony of His Father’s acceptance of His sacrifice as an adequate expiation for man’s sin and of our restoration to our heritage as children of God; His ascension is a pledge that we shall rise with Him and ascend with Him to share His glory. Our reconciliation with the Father is in and through ‘Jesus who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us,’ (Rom. 4:25).

To complete this work of reconciliation Christ sent the Holy Spirit into the Church, into the hearts of men. The sending of this divine Gift is necessarily and directly related to the Paschal Mystery. Indeed, all the events of our Lord’s life on earth from His conception in the womb of His virgin mother; the whole history of God’s revelation and manifestations to man from the creation of the world; the fruits of redemption to be communicated to man until the end of time; all praise, all thanksgiving – all are directed to or derive from this mystery.

In brief, this mystery embraces the passing of our Redeemer from death to risen life and glory through the cross, resurrection and ascension and all in sacred history that led up to this consummation and which will result from it. This in all its fulness is what we understand by the Paschal Mystery.”

“Prayer, and more especially prayer of praise and thanksgiving , is an act of worship to God. Liturgical prayer is the public homage of praise and thanksgiving given by the Church and its member to God, our Creator, in and through our Lord Jesus Christ . More precisely, it is the worship which our Saviour, through the ministry of His Church, gives to His Father in the name and on behalf of the Church and each of its members. It is, then, the praise and thanksgiving given to God by the Body of Christ, Head and members , ‘through, with and in’ Jesus Christ.

This liturgical worship comprises the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the sacraments and sacramentals, and the divine office. We participate in this worship of our Father by assisting at these rites.”

– From: Saint Columba Breviary, 1970 (the text in inverted commas)


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