Chapter 7

For February 26

CHAPTER 7. Liturgical Prayer: Mass, Other Sacraments, Liturgy of the Hours

Read the following digest of quotations. Then reflect upon the questions further below.


"In the Liturgy, we are lifted up into heaven, we are united with the saints in praise of God, and we share their inheritance already through the virtue of hope." (187)

"On the other hand, the liturgy can be disappointingly simple, grounded in the bland experience of our poor, human limitations. We are sleepy, distracted; we misspeak the words or even struggle with the language; we accidentally omit certain parts of embarrassingly repeat others. Sometimes it feels like an entirely ordinary experience with little real impact..." (189)

"...we are invited and urged to bring our full humanity into the celebration of the Sacraments. We are invited to stir our minds to recognize, in faith, the heavenly realities present in the Liturgy. We also repeatedly make the choice to be present, to lift up our hearts above the things of this world and to remain consciously and actively in the Lord's presence through an act of the will.... This is the meaning of the full, active participation that the Second Vatican Council sought to foster through the liturgical reforms." (191, italics added)

"Despite the frequent protest that one can confess one's sins to God directly, the human meditation of the priest in the Sacrament of Confession provides an irreplaceably powerful experience of the concreteness of God's forgiving and healing love." (194)

"The Spirit of God exposes the inner mysteries and makes God vulnerable to our senses and understanding in a particular way through the Sacraments." (199)

"There are certain feelings of surrender, certain aspects of interior candor which cannot be publicly proclaimed, at any rate in their entirety, without danger to spiritual modesty. The liturgy has perfected a masterly instrument which has made it possible for us to express our inner life in all its fullness and depth, without divulging our secrets..." (203, quoting Romano Guardini)

"We can remember that all the angels and saints are present during the Liturgy and imagine our favorite saint sitting next to us or even presiding at the Mass." (207)


Please "Enter your comment..." below (then hit "Publish") to respond to one or more of the following.

1. The authors state that liturgical prayer is "the highest form of prayer" (186). Does that perspective align well with or challenge your experience and understanding?

2. How are some ways that you might grow in dedication to and appreciation of liturgical prayer?

3. What do you make of Guardini's notion of "liturgical" or "spiritual modesty?"

4. Comment upon any aspect of this week's quotations or reading.