Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Do We Go To Church?

How do lay people participate in the liturgy? Must we leave the pews and go into the sanctuary? A few may perform certain tasks of assistance to the priest and the rest of the worshiping community such as serving at the altar or reading the Word of God. But that does not mean that the rest of us who remain in the body of the church are mere spectators in an action that does not involve us.

The real way for the laity to "get more involved" in the liturgy is for us to unite ourselves through liturgical worship to the offering of the sacrifice of Christ, to unite our whole lives to that offering. And in giving ourselves in earnest prayer, with words and heart, we, the faithful, also offer Jesus Himself–in the mysterious sacramental re-presentation of that One Sacrifice by which He redeems the world–to the Father in the Holy Spirit, through the sacred ministry of the priest who acts in the Person of Christ, and together with him.

Listening and praying God's word, gestures, hymns, and responses are meant to dispose our hearts, minds, and bodies to this sacrifice of Christ, in communion with our brothers and sisters. Through the liturgy, my whole life can be united to Christ's act of loving obedience to the Father on the Cross, and that is what gives my life real value, ultimately.