I apologize the the Pray Tell readers. I have been engaged in a recording project these last two weeks and have not been able to post as regularly as I wished. I hope to return to our Monday / Thursday posting schedule this coming week.
Vatican Website Translation:
8. In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle ; we sing a hymn to the Lord’s glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory .
8. In terrena Liturgia caelestem illam praegustando participamus, quae in sancta civitate Ierusalem, ad quam peregrini tendimus, celebratur, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens, sanctorum minister et tabernaculi veri(22); cum omni militia caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Domino canimus; memoriam Sanctorum venerantes partem aliquam et societatem cum iis speramus; Salvatorem exspectamus Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, donec ipse apparebit vita nostra, et nos apparebimus cum ipso in gloria(23).
Slavishly literal translation:
In the earthly Liturgy we participate by savoring beforehand that heavenly [liturgy] which is celebrated in the holy city, Jerusalem, toward which we pilgrims are journeying, where Christ, the servant of the holy things and of the true tabernacle, is sitting on the right of God [cf. Revelation 21:2; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 8:2]; with all the militia of the heavenly army we sing a hymn to the glory of the Lord; venerating the memory of the Saints, we hope for some part and association with them; we await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, our life, will appear, and we will appear with him in glory [cf. Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:4].
Article 8 serves as a transition from the consideration of the nature of the liturgy to reflections on its role in the life of the Church. In J. D. Crichton’s lapidary sentence “[t]he liturgy recalls (anamnesis) the past events of salvation, makes Christ present here and now and looks both upwards to heaven and on to the future.”
The article first contemplates the heavenly liturgy as a manifestation of the Lordship of Christ. To again quote Crichton: “With his resurrection and ascent to glory, [Christ] becomes too the source of the Spirit whom, with his Father, he sends upon the Church which can now become the Spirit-filled body of Christ and the source of all salvation to [hu]mankind. The Church, and the world insofar as it accepts Christ, now moves into a new era, the Last Days, the age of the Spirit, Pneuma, and it is the whole effort of the Church to eliminate the sinful condition of the world so that it may be transformed into the new kingdom in which sin has no part. In this slow process of winning the world to Christ and his Spirit the liturgy has a central part to play.”
The article then associates the angels and the saints with Christ in his glory, reminding us that the liturgy engages the Body of Christ in its fullness, earthly worshipers taking their place alongside the angels and saints.
Finally, the article underlines the eschatological character of liturgical worship. It recaptures the early Church’s sense of joyful expectation of the Parousia of the Lord, when at Christ’s triumph all his faithful ones would be gathered into his kingdom in an ultimate and final way, all wrongs would be righted, and God’s justice revealed.
I think it might be of interest for readers to share how this celestial and eschatological perspective is embodied (or not) in the sign systems of our post-Vatican II Roman Rite worship.