Liturgy Celebrated For Us Or For God?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,700
    My trumpet player just forwarded this to me. For those who missed it, here it is:

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-the-liturgy-is-celebrated-for-god-and-not-for-ourselves/
    Thanked by 2Ben E_A_Fulhorst
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    So, if it isn't for us, should we just stay home and let the priest handle it?
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    Actually, the Pope makes clear the liturgy is FOR us, (primarily) BY God.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Man was made for the sabbath, not the sabbath for man."
  • francis
    Posts: 10,700
    Adam said:

    So, if it isn't for us, should we just stay home and let the priest handle it?

    As I understand it, God celebrates the Mass for us (through the priest and through us) for the expiation of our sins. I would think the least we could do is show up to offer praise and thanksgiving for so great a kindness shown to us.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    I think it's primarily a Trinitarian reality. Christ offers the Father glory, in union with the Holy Spirit. But, we're caught up in it, and it wouldn't happen except to save us. So it's both: for God's glory and eternal majesty, for us and for our salvation.
  • Ted
    Posts: 203
    The way this is viewed certainly has consequences on the music in the Mass. If the Mass is thought to be about us primarily then the music will be about us, about the me and the we, just like the hymn I recently heard sung after communion, "I come with joy". But the Mass is more than a mere social event.
    The Gregorian Propers of the Mass are rarely if ever about the me or we. Could this be another reason why they are so unpopular?
    And the way this is viewed also delineates the meaning of "active participation". When the liturgy is celebrated primarily for God, God comes to us by His grace. If the Mass is primarily about God, then active participation is primarily internal and spiritual.
    Thanked by 2donr E_A_Fulhorst
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    The Mass can be "for us" without it being "about us."
    And it can be for our benefit, without it pandering to our tastes.

    The remedy for dumbed-down, liturgitainment is not unfeeling disregard for God's people, nor is it slavish devotion to Baroque liturgical practices.
    Thanked by 2Gavin CharlesW
  • donr
    Posts: 971
    "...the Pope explained how the Church is made most visible in the liturgy, where “God enters into our reality, and we can meet him; we can touch him.” The liturgy is where “he comes to us, and we are enlightened by him.”


  • francis
    Posts: 10,700
    donr

    That truly is an incredible image and reality, and is something to think about every time we attend a liturgy.
  • The Mass is offered to God the Father by Christ the Son, on our behalf. Like Adam said, it is for us, but not about us.

    Further, the ecclesiology of the Eucharist can also be described as Christ's offering of His body, of which we are a part. That is why the priest acts in persona Christi Capitis Ecclesiae: in the person of Christ, who is the head of the Church.

    "Man was made for the sabbath, not the sabbath for man."

    Gavin, did you deliberately get that backwards?
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    The Mass can be "for us" without it being "about us."
    And it can be for our benefit, without it pandering to our tastes.


    This.

    The other way I think to explain it is that God doesn't need the liturgy. He's God. Nothing that we do or don't do can change him. He demands our praise however (for our benefit, not his), and the liturgy is a form of praise. Now, on the other hand, man needs the liturgy because man needs God ... and that's where BXVI's quote comes into play.

    "...the Pope explained how the Church is made most visible in the liturgy, where “God enters into our reality, and we can meet him; we can touch him.” The liturgy is where “he comes to us, and we are enlightened by him.”
  • Quia, cum nostra laude non egeas
    tuum tamen est donum quid tibi grates rependamus
    nam te non augent nostra praeconia,
    sed nobis proficiant ad salutem
    per Christum Dominum nostram -- Praefatio Communis IV

    For although you do not require our praise,
    By your gracious gift you enable us to give you thanks,
    Not that our praises may increase your glory
    But that they may avail for our salvation
    Through Christ our Lord
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Yes, Andrew, I did have that deliberately backwards.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • Ted
    Posts: 203
    Mr Wood:
    The Mass can be "for us" without it being "about us."

    Benedict XVI:
    "The liturgy is celebrated for God and not for ourselves.”

    Benedict is not primarily speaking about benefits here; obviously we can have benefits for our salvation from praising God at Mass as a consequence, if God so wishes.

    The point Benedict is making is that too often what the people want at Mass is put ahead of what God deserves at Mass. It that sense, I do not see how a Mass celebrated for us will not be about ourselves. Has not this Copernican liturgical turn been the chief problem since the last century, that of serving first the people at Mass rather than God? Otherwise, why turn around the altars and bring in the anti-sacred pop music that delights the common masses, while leaving little to endure in the soul? The Mass is not about feelings, which are ephemeral. In serving God first, we bring into the liturgy the best that is humanly possible to praise God with. (Yes, that means good choirs.) From there, the grace of His presence can obtain. His presence can be discovered in the Holy that the liturgy, including its music, is meant to unfold in front of us. The Holy is beyond the rational, the understandable. It is also well beyond "feelings". Rather, the Holy directs our passions towards God. The music at Mass must be Holy. The Gregorian composers certainly were aware of this.

    Thanked by 2miacoyne CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    Ted, I essentially agree with you.

    Also, to the extent I understand B16's feelings on the matter, I agree with him to.

    I think he means "not for us" precisely in the way you are describing- not for our tastes, not for our entertainment, not for our worldly comfort...

    I do not imagine that Benedict would favor altering the creed, so as to be rendered, "For God's own self and His mysterious purposes, He became incarnate...."

    Much like human love, the paradox here is that the sacrifice of God is entirely for our benefit, a lavish gift poured out on us undeserving sinners- and yet, it is only in orienting ourselves away from selfish concern that we are able to enjoy such benefits.

    Liturgy in service of ourselves does ourselves no service. I think that is what the Holy Father was getting at.