DPPL 81: A Worshipping Community

STA altar at night smallSections 81 through 84 treat the topic of the Church as a worshipping community. We’ll begin our reading with the section that introduces this theme:

81. The Church, “gathered in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”(St. Cyprian, De oratione dominica, 23:CSEL 3/1, Vindobonae 1868, p. 285.), is a worshipping community. By command of her Lord and Founder, the Church effects many acts of worship whose object is the (glorification of) God and the sanctification of (people)(Cf. SC 5-7). In different ways and in different measure, these are all celebrations of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, and aimed at realizing the divine will to gather the scattered children [of the Father] into the unity of a single nation.

It is important to remember this basic principle described and emphasized by Vatican II, namely that liturgy’s purpose is twofold: the glorification of God and the sanctification of believers. Does this principle apply to popular piety and devotions? Is it right to ask of our traditions that they clearly and explicitly perform the former and facilitate God’s action in the latter?

The proclamation of the Gospel necessarily involves the core kerygma of Christian faith, what today is often termed the Paschal Mystery.

In her ritual actions, the Church proclaims the Gospel of salvation and announces the Death and Resurrection of Christ, and actualizes the work of his salvation in sacred signs. In the Eucharist she celebrates the memorial of his blessed Passion, his glorious Resurrection, and Ascension. In the celebration of the other sacraments she draws from the gifts of the Holy Spirit which flow from the Cross of our Savior. The Church glorifies the Father in psalms and hymns for the wonders that He has accomplished in the death and exaltation of Christ His Son, and supplicates that the saving mystery of Easter might reach all (humankind). With the sacramentals which have been instituted to assist the faithful at various times and in various situations, she prays that their activity might be directed and enlightened by the Spirit of Easter.

This paragraph seems a bit muddled to me. The sacraments also derive from the event of Easter. And many sacramentals involve the experience of Good Friday. Otherwise, this continued emphasis on the whole scope of the Paschal Mystery: the Last Supper, the Passion, the Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension–these events undergird the whole of a healthy and complete Christian spirituality. This is true of our sacramental life, especially the Mass. Also true of any authentic and fruitful devotional life.

The full document, the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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