Saturday, September 29, 2012

Who is truly at work


Forgive me for cribbing, but I was reading the address of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, from his Wednesday audience this week.  I found it really spoke to me, and hope it will speak to you:
Like the Apostles, we too have repeated and we still repeat to Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk 11:1).
In addition, in order to live our personal relationship with God more intensely, we have learned to invoke the Holy Spirit, the first gift of the Risen Christ to believers, because it is he who "comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought," (Romans 8:26).
At this point we can ask: how can I allow myself to be formed by the Holy Spirit?  What is the school in which he teaches me to pray and helps me in my difficulties to turn to God in the right way?  The first school of prayer, which we have covered in the last few weeks, is the Word of God, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Scripture in permanent dialogue between God and man, an ongoing dialogue in which God reveals Himself ever closer to us.  We can better familiarize ourselves with his face, his voice, his being and the man learns to accept and to know God, to talk to God.  So in recent weeks, reading Sacred Scripture, we looked for this ongoing dialogue in Scripture to learn how we can enter into contact with God. 
There is another precious "space", another valuable "source" to grow in prayer, a source of living water in close relation with the previous one.  I refer to the liturgy, which is a privileged area in which God speaks to each of us, here and now, and awaits our response. 
What is the liturgy? If we open the Catechism of the Catholic Church – an always valuable and indispensable aid especially in the Year of Faith, which is about to begin - we read that originally the word "liturgy" means " service in the name of/on behalf of the people" (No. 1069).  If Christian theology took this word from the Greek world, it did so obviously thinking of the new People of God, born from Christ, who opened his arms on the Cross to unite people in the peace of the one God.  "Service on behalf of the people," a people that does not exist by itself, but that has been formed through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ.  In fact, the People of God does not exist through ties of blood, territory or nation, but is always born from the work of the Son of God and communion with the Father that He obtains for us.
The Catechism also states that "in Christian tradition (the word "liturgy") means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God." Because the people of God as such exists only through the action of God.
You can read the rest of his address at the Vatican website, along with all his addresses.  We are nearing the fiftieth anniversary of the October 11, 1962 opening of the Second Vatican Council, on which we will enter the Year of Faith.  It is worth noting that these are the reflections the Holy Father is giving us to lead us to grow in that faith.
Monsignor Smith

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