Let’s complete the discussion on “Christ’s Presence in Sign and Symbol.”
§ 26 § Just as Christ invited those who heard him to share his personal union with the Father through material signs, so Christ leads the Church through these same signs in the liturgy from the visible to the invisible. (Cf. SC 59; CCC 1075) As a result, effective liturgical signs have a teaching function and encourage full, conscious, and active participation, express and strengthen faith, and lead people to God. Poorly utilized or minimal signs do not enliven the community’s faith and can even diminish active participation. (Cf. Music in Catholic Worship 6-7) It must likewise be kept in mind that the liturgy and its signs and symbols do not exercise merely a teaching function. They also touch and move a person to conversion of heart and not simply to enlightenment of mind.
Liturgical signs, then, are multivalent. They form people in the faith on many levels: evangelization, initial faith, deeper faith. They should be informative with being exclusively teaching moments.
I like the commentary on the place for participation, not as an end to itself, but as part of a continuum that leads to a definitive expression of faith, and ultimately, the deepest experience of and encounter with God.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.