Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Papal Message: Liturgical Celebration Nourishes Hope

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 23, 2006 ( In a message relayed by the Vatican secretary of state, Benedict XVI assures the faithful that the liturgical celebration enables one to experience God's goodness, thus reinforcing Christian hope.

The message, signed by Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano and published today by the Vatican press office, is addressed to participants in the 57th Italian National Liturgical Week, being held in Varese through Friday.

The message, echoing No. 17 of the encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," states: "In the liturgy of the Church, in her prayer, in the living community of believers, we experience the love of God, we perceive his presence and, in this way, also learn to recognize it in our daily life."

The text adds that "the experience of the goodness of God in the liturgy becomes a renewal of the gift of hope."

"On freeing man's heart from daily anxieties," it continues, "the celebration of the liturgy gives new confidence; the moment of celebration communicates the joy of hoping for a better world, of living in the Church, of being loved by God and of being able to love again, of being forgiven and saved."

"For this reason, the believer must be helped to understand that to guard, revive and communicate hope he must again celebrate, contemplate Jesus, the Risen One," the message states. "Then prayer opens our life to God's plan, it leads us to be docile instruments in his hands to transform our way of living and, consequently, the history of our environment.

"Thus, the liturgical celebration embraces several aspects of existence: the world of emotions and relationships, shared frailty and weaknesses, the experience of work and rest, always proclaiming the primacy of the love of God."

Copyright 2006

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