By: Sr. Gloria
Perhaps it is time to return to statements about worship that we made many years ago, and then revisited some years later. We are encouraged. The National Association of Pastoral Musicians has devoted its latest issue to the resurrection of a primary statement that came out of Vatican II.
It’s a good time in which to review this, for we have grown, and continue to grow in our understanding of worship. How does the following statement from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (promulgated in 1963) resonate with you now? As a worshipper who continues to grow in faith?
“Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the Liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people’ is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. In the restoration and promotion of the Sacred Liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit….”
If you read the above again, you will find more meaning. You will find more of a personal call each time you pause to savor a phrase.
“Full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else….” The role of the assembly is critical. It’s a big switch from personal and private prayer, which is sacred and life-giving in other environments.
Our role as members of the assembly is so important. Our participation must be “internal, in the sense that by it the faithful join their mind to what they pronounce or hear, and cooperate with heavenly grace….by listening they may raise their minds to God.” Participation must also be “external, so that internal participation can be expressed and reinforced by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes, and by the acclamations, responses and singing.” “Participation in the Sacred Liturgy both expresses and strengthens the faith that is in us.”
The formal and ‘academic’ statements take on a deeper life when we see that WE are ALL members of the Body of Christ. We are Christ to one another. When we are at liturgy, we don’t just watch the action. We are part of the action itself….. united as one in the Body of Christ!