Desiderio Desideravi 40: Formation from Participation

40. This last consideration brings us to reflection on the second sense that we can understand in the expression “liturgical formation.” I refer to our being formed, each one according to his or her vocation, from participation in the liturgical celebration. Even the knowledge that comes from studies, of which I was just speaking, for it not to become a sort of rationalism, must serve to realize the formative action of the Liturgy itself in every believer in Christ.

This is the essence of mystagogy. It was a thing in the last century to tell people little of nothing about the catechumenate rites–just enough to prepare them. The idea is not to build expectations in the liturgy, but be more open to noticing God’s breaking through. Often people look to liturgy for what they will receive. “What do I get out of Mass?” To an extent, yes, God provides something. But often people arrive at church with expectations: a good message, good music, a sense of community. God may well choose something different from our expectations. This is one chief reason why we can look to liturgy to form us, perhaps in surprising ways.

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.
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1 Response to Desiderio Desideravi 40: Formation from Participation

  1. Liam says:

    I think of the late Sr Wendy Beckett, famed for her observations about great works of art, who on the occasion of her 80th birthday share her memory of her preparation for her first Holy Communion in her youth, how she yearned with desire for her first communing conversation with the Lord after receiving the Sacrament. When she in fact did, she experienced … profound silence … and the awareness of God’s presence in that silence in a way beyond words and sensory perception.

    How to form people for such radical open-heartedness?

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