‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ In Christ, the Son of God takes on everything human, except sin, and transforms it. And in the Liturgy this mystery of the Incarnation – the Word becoming flesh – lives on among us. Everything speaks of it. When we gather to worship we come together in a building – not usually in any building, though, but in a church, a building dedicated for worship. The ministers who lead our prayer don’t wear just ordinary clothes, but vestments. We stand, sit or kneel, but each of these postures now has a special meaning. We come together to listen to readings – not any readings though, but words inspired by the Holy Spirit, words that are now the word of God. We gather round a table – but not any table, rather a holy table, an altar. We eat and drink – but not any food or drink, rather bread and wine which have become that holiest of things, the Body and Blood of the Lord, his very Self. In the Liturgy, ordinary things are taken up by Christ and the Church and become vehicles of something greater than themselves. And so it is too with the words, the language, we use in prayer. Christianity has always, to some extent, created its own language. It took the words of ancient Israel or the Greco-Roman world and filled them with a new meaning. And so, in the Liturgy, we use words that carry the resonances of a long tradition, words that express our faith, and are rich with many centuries of experience of the God who has spoken to us in Christ. The new translation of the Missal is very aware of this and tries to be loyal to it. And, once again, when these words are sung, they can lift our hearts even more.The emphasis on not just any building, clothes, postures, readings, table, food is a welcome antidote to the idea that the Liturgy should be reduced to the mundane in a futile attempt to make it relevant. His Lordship also invites his people to welcome the new translation with what St Benedict calls a ‘good spirit.’ That is a gentle and pastoral way of putting it. I am sure that many of us hope that the whinging spirit expressed with tedious persistence in some quarters (the Tablet springs to mind) might begin to fizzle out soon.
Monday, 5 September 2011
"Words that express our faith"
whole letter. I would like to highlight this paragraph: