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|Meeting Christ in the Liturgy|
Instruction of the Roman Missal
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1. The celebration of Mass, the action of Christ and the people of God arrayed hierarchically, is for the universal and the local Church as well as for each person the center of the whole Christian life.1 In the Mass we have the high point of the work that in Christ God accomplishes to sanctify us and the high point of the worship that in adoring God through Christ, his Son, we offer to the Father.2 During the cycle of the year, moreover, the mysteries of redemption are recalled in the Mass in such a way that they are somehow made present.3 All other liturgical rites and all the works of the Christian life are linked with the eucharistic celebration, flow from it, and have it as their end.4
2. Therefore, it is of the greatest importance that the celebration of the Mass, the Lord's Supper, be so arranged that the ministers and the faithful who take their own proper part in it may more fully receive its good effects.5 This is the reason why Christ the Lord instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood and entrusted it to the Church, his beloved Bride, as the memorial of his passion and resurrection.6
3. This purpose will best be accomplished if, after due regard for the nature and circumstances of each assembly, the celebration is planned in such a way that it brings about in the faithful a participation in body and spirit that is conscious, active, full, and motivated by faith, hope, and charity. The Church desires this kind of participation, the nature of the celebration demands it, and for the Christian people it is a right and duty they have by reason of their baptism.7
4. The presence and active participation of the people bring out more plainly the ecclesial nature of the celebration.8 But even when their participation is not possible, the eucharistic celebration still retains its effectiveness and worth because it is the action of Christ and the Church,9 in which the priest always acts on behalf of the people's salvation.
5. The celebration of the eucharist, like the entire liturgy, involves the use of outward signs that foster, strengthen, and express faith.10 There must be the utmost care therefore to choose and to make wise use of those forms and elements provided by the Church which, in view of the circumstances of the people and the place, will best foster active and full participation and serve the spiritual well - being of the faithful.
6. The purpose of this Instruction is to give the general guidelines for planning the eucharistic celebration properly and to set forth the rules for arranging the individual forms of celebration.11 In accord with the Constitution on the Liturgy, each conference of bishops has the power to lay down norms for its own territory that are suited to the traditions and character of peoples, regions, and various communities12
1. See SC art. 41; LG no. 11; PO nos. 2, 5, 6; CD no. 30; UR no. 15. SCR, Instr. EuchMyst, 25 May 1967, nos. 3e, 6.
2. See SC art. 10.
3. See SC art. 102.
4. See PO no. 5; SC art. 10.
5. See SC art. 14, 19, 26, 28, 30.
6. See SC art. 47.
7. See SC art. 14.
8. See SC art. 41.
9. See PO no. 13.
10. See SC art. 59.
11. For Masses with special groups see SCDW, Instr. «Actio pastoralis» 15 May 1969; for Masses with children, SCDW, «Directory for Masses with Children,» 1 Nov. 1973; for the manner of joining the liturgy of the hours with the Mass, GILH nos. 93 - 98.
12. See SC art. 37 - 40.
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