Friday, 27 February 2009

Never to be equated with any other ordinary activity of the day

Thanks to NLM for publicising the address of Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith (Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship) to the Gateway Conference at Saint Louis USA last November. This quotation stood out for me:
The true ars celebrandi thus requires from all, first and foremost, a sense of profound faith and veneration toward the nobility and celestial dignity of all liturgical acts that are to be celebrated. A sense of awe at what is being done requires one to be cultivated in the way the surroundings of the celebration are handled in its preparation, its celebration, and even in the atmosphere that follows from this. These are never to be equated with any other ordinary activity of the day. These inner spiritual dispositions, as well as the co-natural physical postures, gestures and actions, should be fostered even before any such celebration begins. A silent and prayerful atmosphere should be cultivated in the Church as a preparatory posture; the celebrants should be seen by the faithful at personal prayer at the altar before such celebrations even begin; this would stimulate the faithful, to, in turn, be recollected and prayerful. The noble and prayerful way of vesting in the sacristy, too, becomes important; those vesting prayers should return to the sacristy.

There should be a strong sense of liturgical correctness and dignity in the way the celebrations are carried forward — the piety and intense sense of communion with the Lord and the entire Church which the priest displays in his concentration on what he does at the altar. The moments of silent prayer, and the intense spiritual atmosphere, the feeling of gratitude for the eternal gifts received, in recollected thanksgiving after the celebration, are all part of the powerful language of the presence and action of God in these celebrations.
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