Redemptionis Sacramentum 39

More on participation, which every serious liturgist acknowledges as multivalent. Starting off, we get the classic definition of active participation as the council bishops gave it:

[39.] For promoting and elucidating active participation, the recent renewal of the liturgical books according to the mind of the Council fostered acclamations of the people, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and canticles, as well as actions or movements and gestures, and called for sacred silence to be maintained at the proper times, while providing rubrics for the parts of the faithful as well. (Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 30-31) In addition, ample flexibility is given for appropriate creativity aimed at allowing each celebration to be adapted to the needs of the participants, to their comprehension, their interior preparation and their gifts, according to the established liturgical norms. In the songs, the melodies, the choice of prayers and readings, the giving of the homily, the preparation of the prayer of the faithful, the occasional explanatory remarks, and the decoration of the Church building according to the various seasons, there is ample possibility for introducing into each celebration a certain variety by which the riches of the liturgical tradition will also be more clearly evident, and so, in keeping with pastoral requirements, the celebration will be carefully imbued with those particular features that will foster the recollection of the participants. Still, it should be remembered that the power of the liturgical celebrations does not consist in frequently altering the rites, but in probing more deeply the word of God and the mystery being celebrated.(Cf. Liturgicae instaurationes 1)

What do my musical brothers and sisters make of the place for “appropriate creativity” in the “songs and melodies” of the people?

The key point in this section for me is the cultivation of what will “foster the recollection” of believers. What can we offer in liturgy that people can take with them in their lives until they celebrate the next Mass?

I also like the final statement on the importance of delving deep into the Scriptures and the sacraments. This is what I would strive to ask myself in any preparation of liturgy. How can people go deeper? How will they be guided?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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