Tuesday, February 9, 2010

John Paul II on the boundaries of the Eucharist

This is part of the English translation of Pope John Paul II's Angelus Address given on 3rd November, 1996:

'. . . the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed have enabled us to feel the intimate communion linking us to our brothers and sisters who have already entered eternity. They are now having a deep experience of God; they sing his mercy; they celebrate his love. The liturgy we celebrate on earth is a mysterious participation in this heavenly liturgy.

'The sense of liturgy is particularly vivid among our Eastern brothers and sisters. For them, the liturgy is truly "heaven on earth" (Orientale lumen, n. 11). It is a synthesis of the whole faith experience. It is an involving experience which touches the whole human person, body and soul. Everything in the sacred action aims at expressing "the divine harmony and the model of humanity transfigured": the shape of the church, the sounds, the colours, the lights, the scents. The lengthy duration of the celebrations itself and the repeated invocations express the progressive identification with the mystery celebrated with one's whole person (cf. ibid).

'The special care that Easterners devote to the beauty of form is also at the service of mystery. According to the Kiev Chronicle, St. Vladimir is supposed to have been converted to the Christian faith also because of the beauty of worship in the churches of Constantinople.

'An Eastern author has written that the liturgy is "the royal gate through which one must pass", if one wishes to grasp the spirit of the Christian East (cf. Fr Evdokimov, The Prayer of the Eastern Church).'


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