The Liturgy is at the same time the Kingdom of Heaven and our dwelling place, “a new Heaven and a new earth”, the point of convergence where all things find true meaning.
The Liturgy not only teaches us to broaden our horizon and our vision, to speak the language of love and communion, but also to learn how to live in love for one another, notwithstanding our differences and even our divisions.
The whole world is included in this great embrace, the communion of saints and all God’s creation. The entire universe becomes “Cosmic Liturgy”, to cite the teaching of St Maximus the Confessor. Such a Liturgy can never become old or antiquated. – Patriarch Bartholomew, 2006 (when Pope Benedict visited him).
Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God’s humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity. Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light
God is—and the Christian faith adds: God is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three and one. This is the very heart of Christianity, but it is so often shrouded in a silence born of perplexity. Has the Church perhaps gone one step too far here? Ought we not rather leave something so great and inaccessible as God in his inaccessibility? Can something like the Trinity have any real meaning for us? Well, it is certainly true that the proposition that “God is three and God is one” is and remains the expression of his otherness, which is infinitely greater than we and transcends all our thinking and our existence. But if this proposition had nothing to say to us, it would not have been revealed. And as a matter of fact, it could be clothed in human language only because it had already penetrated human thinking and living to some extent.
Joseph Ratzinger, The God of Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Triune God (trans. Brian McNeil; San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008), 29.
On Good Friday, I thought this quote from the Pope Emeritus’ book was fitting:
In all that we have said so far, it is clear that not only has a theological interpretation of the Cross has been given, together with an interpretation, based on the Cross, of the fundamental Christian sacraments and Christian worship, but also that existential dimension is involved: What does this mean for me? What does it mean for my path as a human being? The incarnate obedience of Christ is presented as an open space into which we are admitted and through which our lives find a new context. The mystery of the Cross does not simply confront us; rather, it draws us in and gives new value to our life.
This existential aspect of the new concept of worship and and sacrifice appears with particular clarity in the twelfth chapter of the Letter of the Romans: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, to present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual [word-like] worship” (v. 1) ….
I’ve happened upon this book, quite by accident, thanks to the newly redesigned iPad app for Logos. It is included in the daily devotional section. I have made a habit of reading it, almost daily, for the past few weeks.
It is…deeply theological and not altogether different than what the current Pope is saying.
Cardinal Ratzinger offers selected passages from his profound spiritual and theological writings as meditations for each day of the year. He picked the title of this book from verse 8 in the third letter of St. John, which he also adapted for his coat of arms: “Co-Workers of the Truth.” Just as these words signify for St. John the participation of all the faithful in the service of the Gospel, which includes the faithful extending hospitality to all who come as messengers of faith, so too Ratzinger shows the importance of our uniting charity with truth to make possible the proclamation of the Gospel. Through his meditations here, he hopes to help awaken in each reader the courage and generosity to become coworkers with the Gospel, which is the truth of Jesus Christ.