To this end, the Archbishop of Denver offered several suggestions: the need to recover the “intrinsic and inseparable connection” between liturgy and evangelization; the need to see the liturgy as a participation in the “liturgy of heaven” where Christians worship “in Spirit and truth” with the Church and the communion of the saints; and the need to recover and live the early Christians’ “vibrant liturgical and evangelical spirituality.”
“Liturgy is both the source of the Church’s mission and its goal,” explained the prelate. “The reason we evangelize is in order to bring people into communion with the living God in the Eucharistic liturgy. And this experience of communion with God, in turn, impels us to evangelize.”
The “pedestrian” and self-focused nature of many contemporary liturgies results from the loss of the sense of this participation in the heavenly liturgy, he suggested.
“The Eucharist … is a cosmic liturgy that unites the worship of heaven with our own worship here on earth… Heaven and earth are filled with the glory of God,” he continued. Worship is a window through which “the reality and destiny of our lives is glimpsed.”
This truth should “make us strive for liturgies that are reverent and beautiful, and that point our hearts and minds to things above.” The ultimate purpose of Christian witness is to “prepare the way for the cosmic liturgy in which all humanity will adore the Creator.”
The archbishop encouraged the faithful to look to the early Christians, who found their identity in the liturgy and said “we cannot live without the Mass.”
“This is the kind of faith that should inspire our worship. And this is the kind of faith that our worship should inspire. Can we really say today that we’re ready to die rather than not celebrate the Mass?”
Describing the liturgy as “a school of sacrificial love,” he said that all Christians should see themselves as a Eucharistic offering, “a perfect offering holy and acceptable to God.”
“The liturgical act becomes possible for modern man when you make your lives a liturgy, when you live your lives liturgically -- as an offering to God in thanksgiving and praise for his gifts and salvation. You are the future of the liturgical renewal.”
Archbishop Chaput closed his lecture with the words of one of the dismissal prayers of the new Roman Missal: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”
To read Archbishop Chaput's full lecture, click here.
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