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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

In LITURGY, We Pray in the Name of the Entire Body of Christ

Leave your "Oh, I just had a great idea!" moments for personal prayer.

The General Instruction for the LotH has a word to the wise for those who look at Liturgy as a blank canvas on which to give free reign to their creativity and personal expression:

Those who pray the psalms in the liturgy of the hours do so not so much in their own name as in the name of the entire Body of Christ. This consideration does away with the problem of a possible discrepancy between personal feelings and the sentiments a psalm is expressing: for example, when a person feels sad and the psalm is one of joy or when a person feels happy and the psalm is one of mourning. Such a problem is readily solved in private prayer, which allows for the choice of a psalm suited to personal feelings. The divine office, however, is not private; the cycle of psalms is public, in the name of the Church, even for those who may be reciting an hour alone. Those who pray the psalms in the name of the Church nevertheless can always find a reason for joy or sadness, for the saying of the Apostle applies in this case also: "Rejoice with the joyful and weep with those who weep" (Rom 12:15). In this way human frailty, wounded by self-love, is healed in proportion to the love that makes the heart match the voice that prays the psalms.

A great deal of flexibility is inherent in most of the Church's liturgies, we need not seek to exercise options no on offer.


Paul B. said...

Thank you for this.

Here's what I've been putting at the top of our order for Evening Prayer during Lent (note that this is for people not used to thinking along these lines in worship):

"Please gather in prayerful silence, and regard the psalms and hymns being prayed aloud as streams of devotion into which your own heart may merge, bearing in mind that words which may not seem to speak directly to our lives, do speak directly to the life of someone, somewhere in the Body of Christ, which suffers daily for His Name around the world.

"The people named below are among those whom you may wish to remember before God tonight, not only during the prayers of intercession but also as you pray the psalms and hymns ..."

Scelata said...

Thank you for stopping by, Paul.

That's very well worded.

The concept of prayerful silence, and aligning oneself with the prayers of the Church Universal are so foreign to many people, that we are fighting an uphill battle, I fear.

But the Enemy could plant himself on top of K-2, it would not matter, we will prevail, (whether in "conquering ranks" or as guerrillas, either way.)

Save the Liturgy, Save the World

Scelata said...
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