Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

10/4/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

But do not forget: we discover Christ, we know him as a living Person, in the Church

In liturgical prayer, especially the Eucharist, and - formats of the liturgy - in every prayer, we do not speak as single individuals, rather we enter into the "we" of the Church that prays. And we need to transform our "I" entering into this "we".

Pope Benedict XVI at Mass

Pope Benedict XVI at Mass


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

10/4/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Liturgy, Mass, Holy Mass, Sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharist, Holy Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI, Worship, Deacon Keith Fournier

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Benedict XVI is one of the great liturgists of our age. His seminal book, The Spirit of the Liturgy , written when he was still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, is required reading in most seminaries and should be read by every Catholic.

There is a Latin maxim that addresses the centrality of worship in the life, identity and mission of the Catholic Church; "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi". The phrase in Latin literally means the law of prayer ("the way we worship"), and the law of belief ("what we believe"). It is sometimes written as, "lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi", further deepening the implications of this truth - how we worship reflects what we believe and determines how we will live.

To the Catholic, how we worship not only reveals and guards what we believe but guides us in how we live our Christian faith and fulfill our Christian mission in the world. Liturgical Worship is not an "add on". It is the foundation of Catholic identity; expressing our highest purpose. Worship reveals what we truly believe and how we view ourselves in relationship to God, one another and the world into which we are sent to carry forward the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ.

The Pope used his Wednesday Audience of October 3, 2012, to continue a new series he has begun on the Liturgy and its primary role in our life together in the Church. We present it in its entirety below because of its beauty and importance for all of us.This theologian/teacher Pope needs to be read closely by all who desire to grow in holiness of life and enter into the full riches of the Church.


Pope Benedict XVI

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the last catechesis I began speaking about one of the privileged sources of Christian prayer: the sacred liturgy, which - as the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms - is "participation in Christ's own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1073). In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal."(n. 1073). Today I would like us to ask ourselves: in my life, do I reserve enough space for prayer and, above all, what place does liturgical prayer have in my relationship with God, especially the Mass, as participation in the common prayer of the Body of Christ which is the Church ?

In answering this question we must first remember that prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit (cf. ibid., 2565). Therefore, the life of prayer lies in habitually being in the presence of God and being conscious of it, in living our relationship with God just as we live the usual relationships of our lives, those with close family members, and with real friends; indeed our relationship with the Lord gives light to all of our other relationships. This communion of life with God, One and Triune, is possible because, through Baptism we have been inserted into Christ, we have begun to be one with Him (cf. Rom 6:5).

In fact, only in Christ we can talk to God the Father as children, otherwise it is not possible, but in communion with the Son, we too can say, as he said "Abba", because only in communion with Christ, can we know God as our true Father (cf. Mt 11:27). For this Christian prayer lies in constantly looking, in an ever new way, at Christ, talking with Him, being in silence with Him, listening to Him, acting and suffering with Him. The Christian rediscovers his true identity in Christ, "the firstborn of every creature », in whom all things were created (cf. Col 1:15 ff). By identifying with Him, being one with Him, I discover my personal identity, that of the true child who sees God as a Father full of love.

But do not forget: we discover Christ, we know him as a living Person, in the Church. It is "his Body." This embodiment can be understood from the biblical words on man and woman: the two shall become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24, Ephesians 5.30 ff. 1 Cor 6.16 s). The unbreakable bond between Christ and the Church, through the unifying power of love, does not negate the 'you' or 'I', but raises them to their most profound unity.

Finding one's true identity in Christ means achieving communion with him, that does not cancel me out, but raises me to the highest dignity, that of a child of God in Christ, "the love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God's will increasingly coincide "(Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, 17). To pray means to rising towards the heights of God through a necessary gradual transformation of our being.

Thus, participating in the liturgy, we make ours the language of the Mother Church, we learn to speak it and for it. Of course, as I have already said, this takes place in a gradual manner, little by little. I have to progressively immerge myself in the words of the Church, with my prayer, my life, my suffering, my joy, my thoughts. It is a journey that transforms us.

Thus I think that these reflections enable us to answer the question that we posed at the beginning: how do I learn to pray, how can I grow in my prayer? Looking at the model that Jesus taught us, the Pater Noster [Our Father], we see that the first word is "Father" and the second is "our." The answer, then, is clear: I learn to pray, I nourish my prayer, addressing God as Father and praying-with-others, praying with the Church, accepting the gift of his words, which gradually become familiar and rich in meaning.

The dialogue that God establishes with each of us, and we with Him, in prayer always includes a "with", you can not pray to God in an individualistic manner. In liturgical prayer, especially the Eucharist, and - formats of the liturgy - in every prayer, we do not speak as single individuals, rather we enter into the "we" of the Church that prays. And we need to transform our "I" entering into this "we".

I would like to recall another important aspect. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read: " In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church" (n. 1097); so it is the "whole Christ" , throughout the Community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates. Thus the liturgy is not a kind of "self-manifestation" of a community, but it is emerging from the simple "being-oneself", being closed in on ourselves, and accessing the great banquet, entering the great living community in which God nourishes us.

The liturgy implies universality and our awareness of this universal character must always be renewed. The Christian liturgy is the worship of the universal temple which is the Risen Christ, whose arms are stretched out on the cross to draw us all into the embrace that is the eternal love of God. It is the cult of the open skies. It is never only the event of a single community, in a given time and space. It is important that every Christian feels and really is part of this universal "we", which provides the foundation and refuge to the "I" in the Body of Christ which is the Church.

In this we must be aware of and accept the logic of the Incarnation of God: He has drawn near, present, entering into history and human nature, becoming one of us. And this presence continues in the Church, his Body. The liturgy then is not the memory of past events, but it is the living presence of Christ's Paschal Mystery that transcends and unites all times and spaces. If the centrality of Christ does not emerge in the celebration, then it is not a Christian liturgy, totally dependent on the Lord and sustained by his creative presence. God acts through Christ and we can only act through him and in him. Every day the conviction must grow in us that the liturgy is not our, my, 'action', but the action of God in us and with us.

It is not the individual - priest or layman - or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it can not be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church.

The entire Church is always present, even in the liturgy of the smallest community. For this reason there are no "foreigners" in the liturgical community. The entire Church participates in every liturgical celebration, heaven and earth, God and man. The Christian liturgy, even if it is celebrated in a concrete place and space, and expresses the "yes" of a particular community, it is inherently Catholic, it comes from everything and leads to everything, in union with the Pope, the Bishops , with believers of all times and all places. The more a celebration is animated by this consciousness, the more fruitful the true sense of the liturgy is realized in it.

Dear friends, the Church is made visible in many ways: in its charitable work, in mission projects, in the personal apostolate that every Christian must realize in his or her own environment. But the place where it is fully experienced as a Church is in the liturgy: it is the act in which we believe that God enters into our reality and we can meet Him, we can touch Him. It is the act in which we come into contact with God, He comes to us, and we are enlightened by Him.

So when in the reflections on the liturgy we concentrate all our attention on how to make it attractive, interesting and beautiful, we risk forgetting the essential: the liturgy is celebrated for God and not for ourselves, it is His work, He is the subject, and we must open ourselves to Him and be guided by Him and His Body which is the Church.

Let us ask the Lord to learn every day to live the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic celebration, praying in the "we" of the Church, that directs its gaze not in on itself, but to God, and feeling part of the living Church of all places and of all time. Thank you.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Europe

Is ancient Greek tomb for Alexander the Great's friend Hephaestion? Debate continues Watch

Image of After his death in 325 B.C., Alexander the Great reportedly ordered that shrines be constructed throughout the empire. Hephaestion died less than a year before the Macedonian leader.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri declared that the mysterious Amphipolis monument is a tomb to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great's best friend who died less than a year before Alexander did.Fragmentary inscriptions link the monument to Hephaestion. Other archaeologists ... continue reading

10,000 copies of Germany's constitution was printed in Arabic to help nearly 800,000 migrants integrate Watch

Image of


Germany translated the first 20 articles of its constitution, which concerns basic rights such as freedom of speech, into Arabic for refugees to learn in an attempt to help immigrants integrate. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the moment, Germany struggles to ... continue reading

Segregation of Jewish and Muslim pupils in a French school echoes chilling Nazi segregation Watch

Image of


Jewish and Muslim students at the Piedallous primary school in Auxere, Burgundy were ordered to wear disks around their necks. The incident brought with it memories of Nazi segregation and caused an uproar. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail ... continue reading

German refugee camps plagued with rape and child abuse Watch

Image of The European migrant crisis continues to grow. Rape and sexual abuse are already being reported inside German refugee camps.


Rape and sexual abuse is now becoming a major problem in several German refugee asylums as the country tries to cope with their migrant crisis. HOLLYWOOD, CA (Catholic Online) - Refugees are facing several problems inside overcrowded refugee centers across the country ... continue reading

OVERRUN AND OUT OF PATIENCE: Immigrants quickly wear out welcome in Germany Watch

Image of In Germany, there are a few terrorist agents mixed in with those who say they are fleeing the brutal persecution of Islamic State, when in fact they themselves are ISIS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Germany was lauded by the international community for taking in the large influx of immigrants feeling violence in Syria and Iraq. However . this generosity has a heavy price. Many of these so-called immigrants have left their native lands to make their ... continue reading

Expert confident forensic remains of fabled 'Mona Lisa' found Watch

Image of Most everyone is familiar with the image of a young woman with an enigmatic smile, her hands folded on her lap.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," perhaps the world's most famous painting, has cast a spell across the imagination. Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, is thought to have been the portrait's model. Bone fragments have ... continue reading

British mother of six brutally assaulted in acid attack Watch

Image of Thirty-seven-year-old Carla Whitlock says that she is still trying to come to terms with how her life has been changed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what is common in India - but most unusual in the United Kingdom, a 37-year-old mother of six is struggling to come to terms after suffering a vicious acid attack. Witnesses saw her face visibly melt, and doctors say she will probably lose the sight in one ... continue reading

EU holds summit to discuss migrant crisis Watch

Image of The migrant crisis has resulted in over 160,000 eligible refugees with no country to settle in.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

European Union leaders met in a summit Wednesday evening in Brussels to talk about reinforcing surveillance of the frontiers, particularly sea routes into Greece where hundreds of refugees die in the midst of attempts to reach Greek islands. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA ... continue reading

Majority of migrants entering Europe NOT Syrian refugees Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The migrant crisis hitting Europe has driven headlines over the past month, tugging at the heartstrings of people wanting to help desperate refugees running from a war-torn country. However, new reports from Europe show that "only one in five migrants claiming asylum" ... continue reading

Hungarian officials approved for weapon use against migrants Watch

Image of Hungarian officials can now use non-lethal weapons against migrants trying to illegally cross borders.


Hungarian parliament have granted police and the Hungarian army the power to keep migrants out of their country. Fears of Europe being overran by migrants continue to increase. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 4th, 2015 Image

St. Francis of Assisi
October 4: Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in ... Read More