34. LITURGICAL APOSTOLATE (II)
To ask the Lord for the grace to possess the liturgical spirit means, to ask for the grace to possess the spirit of the Church. Always use the expression: in Christo et in Ecclesia.1 Christ is individually considered in his earthly life, in his eucharistic life, in his glorious life; Christ is socially considered in his Mystical Body, the Church. The Church is divided into: militant, suffering and triumphant. The militant Church prepares for the triumphant Church; the earthly liturgy is a preparation to the Heavenly Liturgy. Here is the way that you must follow.
The Liturgy presents to us the three means of sanctification: sacraments, sacramentals and prayer.
Sacraments. They are the most noble part. The Holy Mass is its center, as Jesus is the center of everything, and those that surround him are like his rays.
The Liturgy offers us the means of sanctification with the sacraments and above all, with the sacrament that has in it not only the grace, but the author of the grace itself: Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ himself, works in the sacraments; the Priest is merely his mouth, his hand. St. Augustine1 says: Does Peter baptize? It is Jesus. Does Judas baptize? It is still Jesus who baptizes. The sacrament has always its value because it is the action of Jesus Christ. Thus, have a great care of the sacraments. It is a good thing to celebrate the anniversaries of the Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion, etc.
Sacramentals. They are the second means of sancti-fication. Sacramentals are institutions of the Church and they function through her. The ceremonies described in the Rituals are sacramentals; the functions, processions, consecrations, blessings. The bells, ships, seeds, religious habits, statues, persons, etc. are blessed.
Prayer. It is the third means of sanctification, offered by the Liturgy. Meditation, Bible reading, rosaries and prayers in general. To bring the blessed medals, to acquire the indulgences, to kiss the Crucifix.
There is gradation in prayer and has value according to the piety of the individuals.
All these means together form the very rich treasure of the Holy Spirit. Everything is included and the essential part is always the Holy Mass.
Get into the dogmas, prepare yourselves for the beatific vision, to the contemplation of Heaven.
There are persons who possess the gift of the intellect, by which they penetrate the truth, they feel to live in themselves the most sublime doctrines, as for example, that of the Most Holy Trinity; they often have flashes of heavenly light. The more you get into the sacred Liturgy on earth, the more you will enjoy the beatific vision in Heaven.
The Liturgy prepares us for the possession of God who is Love. Store up heavenly treasure.1 Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness.2
Oh, the immeasurable wealth! the Bridegroom who possesses the Bride, the Bride who is all of the Bridegroom. My Beloved is mine and I am his. He pastures his flock among the lilies.3
The liturgical soul gradually detaches itself from the earth and appreciates the real goods, those spiritual. She prepares the beautiful dwelling places for Jesus; she desires the most beautiful ornaments for Him and above all, she fulfills in her soul a great work of purification and innocence, to please the Bridegroom of singular beauty whom she chose for herself. However, it is He who conquered your heart, who before all other else, willed to possess you and impressed his seal on you.4 The most fitting place for the lover Virgin Bride is the Church. She finds there especially her Beloved. For Him, she looks for everything that can be most beautiful to have and to possess in her soul, as well as in the external ornaments which must decorate the dwelling place of her God. Then in Heaven, she shall see him face to face5 as he is.6
The earthly Liturgy prepares for the eternal Liturgy, which is again: joy.
The person that is detached from the earth tastes God and the things of God. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum, concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.1 Elegi abiecta esse in domo Dei mei, magis quam habitare in tabernaculis peccatorum.2 (How my soul yearns and pines for Yahweh's courts. My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. A single day in your courts is worth than a thousand elsewhere; merely to stand on the steps of God's house is better than living with the wicked). I got away from the world, from darkness, from the earthly consolations, so as to find only in Jesus all my light, my joy. I will seek my Beloved...have you seen him whom my heart loves?3 Gradually detaching from the earth and from the earthly things, the person savors God's sweetness and enjoys its presence.
The Liturgy creates in us the taste of the heavenly things and introduces us in the realization of the divine promise: intra in gaudium Domini tui.1 (come and join in your master's happiness).
However, whoever did not take advantage enough of this grace on earth, who did not follow the Liturgy well, must pass in Purgatory to purify oneself and to stir up the desire of the Heavenly Liturgy.
Do you love the Liturgy and do you love it so much to avoid Purgatory? How do you use the means? How do you deepen the truths?
All the ascetical and mystical doctrines, in addition to those dogmatic and moral, are contained in the Liturgy.
The Liturgy is the way to possess God, the way and preparation to the eternal vision and everlasting joy.
In Heaven, there shall be beauties never imagined and never seen; sweetness never tasted; inexhaustible graces and glory.
Rise like eagles that fixed their eyes to the sun and dwell in the eternal wonders.
1 Eph. 5, 32.
1 St. Augustine, Ioannis evangelium tractatus, 6, ML 35, 1428.
1 Cf. Mt. 6, 20.
2 Mt. 6, 33.
3 Song 2, 16.
4 Cf. Song 8, 6.
5 Cf. 1 Cor. 13, 12.
6 Cf. 1Jn. 3, 2.
1 Ps. 83, 2-3.
2 Ps. 83, 11.
3 Cf. Song 3, 1-4.
1 Mt. 25, 21; 23.