Liturgical Prayer

What is the role of liturgical prayer in the Church?

BibleHeritage_dm.jpgThe word liturgy comes from the Greek meaning the work of the people. The Liturgy and its role in the Church were so important that when the Fathers of Vatican II convened, the first document that was issued was Sacrosanctum Concilium, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, issued 12/3/63.

In it Church Fathers said: "It is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, ‘the work of our redemption is accomplished’, and it is through the liturgy, especially, that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church….The liturgy daily builds up those who are in the Church, making of them a holy temple of the Lord, a dwelling-place for God in the Spirit, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ. (par 2)….The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount (the source) from which all her powers flow." (par 10).

What is the liturgical prayer to the monastic life?

ChoirMonks1A.jpgSaint Benedict built on practices already established by other religious communities, but was very specific to the place of prayer in his communities which he bases on two ideas: Ora et Labora, “Prayer and Work". In addition, prayer is to take such predominance in the monastic’s life that he calls it Opus Dei, the “Work of God”. We believe that the Divine presence is everywhere and that the eyes of the Lord behold good and evil in every place. Especially, however, do we without any doubt believe this to be true when we are assisting at the Work of God. (Ch 19) Let nothing be preferred to the work of God. (Ch 43)

Why is liturgical prayer important to the laity?

The liturgy is just as much the source and summit of the spiritual life of the laity as it is for the clergy and religious. This was key to the Council Fathers wanting the Church’s liturgy to be examined and restored: In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy the full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else, for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit." (SC, par 14). "The liturgy, in its turn, moves the faithful filled with ‘the paschal sacraments’ to be ‘one in holiness;’ further it prays that ‘they hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith."( SC par 10).