Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From the Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God:The Mass and Evangelization

….Pope Benedict XVI has seen the need to recover the inseparable connection between the Mass and evangelization, for we evangelize to bring the sheep into the fold of the living God in the Eucharist, an experience which in turn compels us to accept our mission as disciples and evangelize. Would that an awareness of our present condition would spawn a recovery of the vibrant liturgical and evangelical spirituality of the early Christian disciples, who remarked often of their dependency on the Mass for their existence!
Evangelical proclamation of the Gospel invites the believer to be in relationship with God; hence, the importance of prayer — personal, popular, and above all liturgical prayer. Only in experience of God’s life does the reality of His existence dawn on the believer. Thus, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most sublime prayer of the Church, emphasis should be placed on God and His action in the sacrifice, not on ourselves. Pope Benedict has noticed an error with regard to current liturgical celebration, i.e., approaching it so as to make ourselves understood, which produces banal liturgy. The Holy Father has said also that it is not the personality of the priest which matters, but his faith, which makes Our Lord transparent. In the Mass, God acts, and we respond to His divine action, and in this way evangelization and liturgical prayer go hand in hand, wherein evangelization is the guide to communion with God, bringing the believer into communion with Him. John Paul II’s reflection here is prescient:
The Church never ceases to relive his death on the Cross and his Resurrection, which constitute the content of the Church's daily life. Indeed, it is by the command of Christ himself, her Master, that the Church unceasingly celebrates the Eucharist, finding in it the "fountain of life and holiness", the efficacious sign of grace and reconciliation with God, and the pledge of eternal life. The Church lives his mystery, draws unwearyingly from it and continually seeks ways of bringing this mystery of her Master and Lord to humanity-to the peoples, the nations, the succeeding generations, and every individual human being-as if she were ever repeating, as the Apostle did: "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified". The Church stays within the sphere of the mystery of the Redemption, which has become the fundamental principle of her life and mission.