Mediator Dei 172-175

Part IV of Mediator Dei begins with some “practical applications.”

172. In order that the errors and inaccuracies, mentioned above, may be more easily removed from the Church, and that the faithful following safer norms may be able to use more fruitfully the liturgical apostolate, We have deemed it opportune, Venerable Brethren, to add some practical applications of the doctrine which We have explained.

173. When dealing with genuine and solid piety We stated that there could be no real opposition between the sacred liturgy and other religious practices, provided they be kept within legitimate bounds and performed for a legitimate purpose. In fact, there are certain exercises of piety which the Church recommends very much to clergy and religious.

Not just those in vowed religious life or in holy orders, but lay people are to be encouraged in various religious practices:

174. It is Our wish also that the faithful, as well, should take part in these practices. The chief of these are: meditation on spiritual things, diligent examination of conscience, enclosed retreats, visits to the blessed sacrament, and those special prayers in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary among which the rosary, as all know, has pride of place.[Cf. Code of Canon Law, Can. 125]

Old canon law, of course.

A four-pronged purpose, something we see today in modern practices of engaging the Scriptures and a more participatory liturgy:

175. From these multiple forms of piety, the inspiration and action of the Holy Spirit cannot be absent. Their purpose is, in various ways,

  • to attract and direct our souls to God,
  • purifying them from their sins,
  • encouraging them to practice virtue and, finally,
  • stimulating them to advance along the path of sincere piety by accustoming them to meditate on the eternal truths and disposing them better to contemplate the mysteries of the human and divine natures of Christ.
  • Besides, since they develop a deeper spiritual life of the faithful, they prepare them to take part in sacred public functions with greater fruit, and they lessen the danger of liturgical prayers becoming an empty ritualism.

A concern that liturgy might be an empty experience for people: this is good. Pope Pius XII is certainly correct that the Holy Spirit was active among Catholic believers in this post-Reformation age.

Comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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