Thursday, December 27, 2007

An interview with Mons. Guido Marini

~an excerpt via The New Liturgical Movement
So your responsibility is great: to get the faithful involved and make them understand what is happening.

That is the great task of every liturgical celebration, of the ars celebrandi. If it succeeds, then one truly has the active participation of everyone, because they will not only be taking part exteriorly in the celebration, but will be profoundly, spiritually engaged and able to enter into the action of Christ and the Church, thus growing in holiness and a transformation of one's life.

We truly participate in a liturgy when we arrive at the mystery of the Lord,our Savior, and come out of it interiorly changed and capable of giving oneself without reservation to God and our fellowmen.

Let's get back to the symbolic aspects. What vestments will the Pope wear?

Above all, it must be underscored that the vestments chosen, like some details of the rites themselves, are meant to underscore the continuity of the present liturgy with that which characterized the traditional liturgy of the Church.

The hermeneutic of continuity is always the right criterion for interpreting the course of the Church in time. This goes for the liturgy as well.

Just as a Pope cites his predecessors in his documents, to show the continuity of the magisterium, a Pope also does the same in the liturgical sense when he uses the vestments and sacred accessories that previous Popes have used, to indicate the same continuity in the lex orandi.

Thus during the Christmas season liturgies, Pope Benedict XVI will be wearing miters that belonged to Benedict XVI, John XXIII, John Paul I and John Paul II.

So, attention to external elements reflects attention to the spiritual content of the liturgy?

The beauty of a liturgical celebration in all its entirety is not simply external, even if this has its value because it reminds us that the liturgy is an act of worship, that the Eucharist is the greatest treasure of the Church, and we can never 'give' it enough.

The beauty also tries to express humanly the infinite beauty of God and his love. And therefore, liturgy cannot be not beautiful, nor lacking in dignity, order, precision and harmony, even in the smallest details.

The Crucifix will be at the center of the altar even for the Christmas Mass. How do you reconcile a nativity event with a symbol of death?

The Crucifix on the altar indicates the centrality of the Cross in the eucharistic celebration, which is the precise orientation that the congregation is called on to have during the liturgy. We do not look at each other - we look at Him who was born, died and resurrected for us, the Savior.

The Lord bring salvation. He is the Orient, the Sun who rises, to whom we should all look, and from whom we may all receive the gifts of grace.

What can a Christian today, a man or woman of the third millennium, gain from the celebration of an event that took place two centuries ago? The liturgical celebrations of the season, starting with the Midnight Mass, allow us to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation. In contemplating that mystery, everything should contribute to inspire awe and wonder.

How can we fail to wonder at the event of the Son of God becoming a baby for us and for our salvation? In him, the true and previously unknown face of God was revealed, and with him, the truth about man's life and destiny. The liturgy makes manifest the beauty of that mystery and the love of God which is rich with his infinite mercy. It is a splendid wonder that conquers the human heart.

So the star that shone over that cave in Bethlehem remains 'contemporary'? The birth of Jesus is not just a fact of the past - it is a fact that is present and vivid today in the eucharistic celebration. Jesus Christ is the Living One. And there is a keyword which indicates this - the word 'today' which recurs so many times in the celebrations of the Christmas season.

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