Desiderio Desideravi 25: Astonishment

The Holy Father suggests we cast our gaze more widely than just the sensate experience of liturgy. It goes more deeply into our brains when we can muster awe not in worship itself, but in God’s action of grace on our behalf. What is more amazing, gilded decor, heavenly music, noble architecture, moments of silence? Or the very fact that God has saved us in Christ?

25. When I speak of astonishment at the paschal mystery, I do not at all intend to refer to what at times seems to me to be meant by the vague expression “sense of mystery.” Sometimes this is among the presumed chief accusations against the liturgical reform. It is said that the sense of mystery has been removed from the celebration. The astonishment or wonder of which I speak is not some sort of being overcome in the face of an obscure reality or a mysterious rite. It is, on the contrary, marveling at the fact that the salvific plan of God has been revealed in the paschal deed of Jesus (cf. Ephesians 1:3-14), and the power of this paschal deed continues to reach us in the celebration of the “mysteries,” of the sacraments.

The sacraments were founded, as we are taught, to impart grace. Grace is in operation at God’s initiative. Ours, not really.

It is still true that the fullness of revelation has, in respect to our human finitude, an abundance that transcends us and will find its fulfilment at the end of time when the Lord will return. But if the astonishment is of the right kind, then there is no risk that the otherness of God’s presence will not be perceived, even within the closeness that the Incarnation intends.

Pope Francis turns one talking point on its head:

If the reform has eliminated that vague “sense of mystery,” then more than a cause for accusations, it is to its credit. Beauty, just like truth, always engenders wonder, and when these are referred to the mystery of God, they lead to adoration.

Would you disagree or assent to this?

The full document, copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione – Libreria Editrice Vaticana is here on the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Desiderio Desideravi, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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