“Father, what does ‘liturgy’ mean?” is a fair question to ask, in light of our previous post! (If you haven’t seen our previous post, check it out, here) You may have heard this word before – if not, that’s ok (lol)! But the questions are: what is it, and what difference does it make?
One of the more profound prayers from the Mass – at least for me – comes from the Preface (“lift up your hearts” … “we lift them up to the Lord”):
Although You have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving [to You] is itself Your gift [to us], since our praises add nothing to Your greatness but profit us for salvation
This little line gets at the heart of what liturgy is! What is it? Like all prayer, it is a gift from God. And like all gifts from God, the purpose is to begin and maintain relationship with the Lord. What is it? The old Greek term for “public work.” But within the tradition of the Church, it means, “the participation of the people of God in the work of God.”
Whenever we pray, it is God’s work, which we participate in; when God works in us, whenever we finish praying, we’re more courageous to go do God’s work. Prayer leads to action!
So, just imagine: “I’m stressed, I have a bunch of schoolwork to do, and feel lonely here in high school.” What different does participating in the work of God have?
Well, it’s kind of similar to priesthood, where there’s a lot of pressure. Participating, praying in one of the specific liturgies we have, the Mass, gives me a peaceful reminder that all I have to do is bring whatever it is I have – five loaves, a couple fish – and God will take care of the rest. Here, in the liturgy I remember I don’t have to have it all together, I don’t have to have it all figured out because, first of all I’m not God, and second of all I know God and what He can do great things with the little I bring.
That’s just one of the ways praying the liturgy, one of the ways participating in God’s work bears life for me. I’m curious, how does liturgy and prayer affect your life? Have you had experiences where you realized you were doing God’s work and it did make a difference? And if you haven’t, don’t worry, eventually it will!
Y’all take care, and God bless,