Commentary on Desiderio desideravi

Pope Francis’s important apostolic letter on liturgical formation, Desiderio desideravi, has been with us since June 2022. Now that first impressions have been registered, more in-depth commentary will no doubt be emerging.

My own commentary on this letter was just published in Commonweal magazine this week, and I invite you to read it. The article is entitled, Earnest Desire: A New Papal Letter Invites Us to Reflect on the Liturgy. It will appear in the September issue of the print edition.

You can find it online here. It is not behind a paywall, but the magazine only lets you read five articles per month at no cost, so beware. (Students can subscribe for free.)

In the article, I discuss several subjects relevant to the letter:

  • The title; the importance of Christ’s desire
  • The vital link between liturgy, prayer, and an encounter with the person of Jesus
  • Francis as retreat director: the influence of the Spiritual Exercises
  • The importance of “being small”
  • Francis’s use of the Conciliar language of Paschal Mystery as the key to opening the depths of the liturgy’s revelation
  • How Francis’s interest in “amazement” differs from John Paul II’s approach to the same in Ecclesia de Eucharistia
  • What beauty means in the letter, and the danger of confusing beauty with “a ritual aesthetic”
  • The implications of Francis’s use of the term “bread broken”
  • The expectation that prayerful study and joyful celebration walk hand in hand in liturgical formation
  • Challenges to our current state of liturgical formation in the United States, and suggestions for a way forward.