Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pope Benedict speaks to youth about liturgical prayer

I am probably not the first person to note this, but this past weekend, as Pope Benedict XVI delivered a jam-packed discourse to the youth assembled at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, he discussed, among other things, the importance of liturgical prayer. There are some interesting, if fundamental, points to note about this address. First of all, Pope Ratzinger brings out the fact that the liturgy is primarily God's work, not ours. Secondly--and this point flows from the first--the pope was clearly intent upon emphasizing the necessity to be formed by the liturgy. Two interesting quotes:

"In the liturgy we find the whole Church at prayer. The word liturgy means the participation of God’s people in “the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). What is that work? First of all it refers to Christ’s Passion, his Death and Resurrection, and his Ascension – what we call the Paschal Mystery. It also refers to the celebration of the liturgy itself. The two meanings are in fact inseparably linked because this “work of Jesus” is the real content of the liturgy. Through the liturgy, the “work of Jesus” is continually brought into contact with history; with our lives in order to shape them. Here we catch another glimpse of the grandeur of our Christian faith. Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to himself, into his sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all. We see then that the Church’s liturgy is a ministry of hope for humanity. Your faithful participation, is an active hope which helps to keep the world – saints and sinners alike – open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone (cf. Spe Salvi, 34)."

....and later, when talking about vocations:

"It is from within the Church that you too will find the courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. Nourished by personal prayer, prompted in silence, shaped by the Church’s liturgy you will discover the particular vocation God has for you."

A tip of my straw fedora (People are not wearing enough hats!) to Rocco. Be sure to read the whole address. It may have been given in front of youth, but I have a feeling that the pope meant for all of us to take it to heart.