The fiftieth anniversary of the conciliar Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium” on the Sacred Liturgy – the first document promulgated by Vatican Council II – is a cause for “gratitude for the profound and wide-ranging renewal of liturgical life, made possible by the conciliar Magisterium … and at the same time urges relaunched commitment to welcoming and more fully implementing this teaching.”
Thus began Pope Francis’ message to Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on the occasion of the conclusion of the symposium “Sacrosanctum Concilium. Gratitude for and Commitment to a Great Ecclesial Movement,” organized by this dicastery in collaboration with the Pontifical Lateran University.
“Sacrosanctum Concilium,” promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963, and the further developments of the Magisterium in the furrow it has traced “have improved our understanding of the liturgy in the light of the divine Revelation, as the ‘exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ’ in which ‘the whole public worship is performed by the mystical body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the head and his members.’ Christ is revealed as the true protagonist of every celebration, and he associates with himself ‘the Church … his beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through him offers worship to the Eternal Father.’ This action, which takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit, possesses a profound creative force able to attract every man and, in some way, the whole of Creation.”
“To celebrate true spiritual worship means to offer oneself as a living sacrifice, sacred and agreeable to God. A liturgy detached from spiritual worship would risk becoming empty, declining from its Christian originality to a generic sacred sense, almost magical, and a hollow aestheticism. As an action of Christ, liturgy has an inner impulse to be transformed in the sentiments of Christ, and in this dynamism all reality is transfigured.” The Pontiff quoted Pope emeritus Benedict XVI who, in his Lectio divina to the Pontifical Major Roman Seminary in 2012, explained that “our daily life … must be inspired, profuse, immersed in the divine reality, it must become action together with God. This does not mean that we must always be thinking of God, but that we must really be penetrated by the reality of God so that our whole life — and not only a few thoughts — may be a liturgy, may be adoration.”
To our gratitude to God for what it has been possible to achieve, the Pope stated that it is necessary to unite “a renewed willingness to go ahead on the path indicated by the Council Fathers, as there remains much to be done for a correct and complete assimilation of the Constitution of the Holy Liturgy on the part of the baptized and ecclesial communities. I refer, in particular, to the commitment to a solid and organic liturgical initiation and formation, both of lay faithful as well as clergy and consecrated persons”.