Second set of notes from the June 19-23 symposium at University of Notre Dame. Videos of the talks will be posted on the McGrath Institute for Church Life YouTube Channel.
Simone Brosig is Director of Liturgy, Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|Photo by Tim O'Malley|
School liturgy example from real life - it's all about them. Diocesan school leadership Masses on August 31 and Nov. 1st built around "theme of the year" - same music, same readings, all picked to support the theme, unaware that the liturgical year is primary. They started with their agenda - it was not about encountering Christ. Liturgical year should be their starting point.
See Sacramentum Consilium 10, General Norms on the Liturgical Year p. 2
Liturgical year first started with Easter, then gradually, over time, it became a season... By 4th century Christmas was added. These 2 cycles make up the lit year - everything else is geared around them.
Proper of Time takes precedence. (SC 108) Easter Cycle, Christmas Cycle, Ordinary time. Sanctoral time (saints' days) is secondary.
Starting with Advent at the beginning was not a practice until the 10th or 11th century.
Liturgical year not conceived as a whole. It grew out of the Paschal Mystery. Every encounter of the liturgical year provides opportunity to encounter a particular aspect of Christ's grace.
We should ask where did we meet Jesus this year in the celebration of ______?
This helps us develop our spirituality and attitudes.
See SC 12 - we are touched by the mysteries of redemption.
Liturgical year shapes us and our discipleship. An instrument of evangelization and invitation to encounter with Jesus Christ.
People who aren't connected to the liturgical year aren't connected to themselves. (Her story - stressful family issues around Christmas had distanced her from Advent/Christmas) Spiritual director told her to participate in the whole Christmas cycle. That practice gradually changed how she sees Advent and Christmas.
To connect to the liturgical year, we have to connect to ourselves. It can shed new light on our inner life.
Advent to Dec. 16 - Eschatological emphasis. Dec 17-24 - oriented toward the Lord's birth.
Psalm 85 - first Sunday - comfort
Psalm second Sunday - promise
Communion antiphon 3rd Sunday - courage
Overall Advent is an invitation to get in touch with our fears and vulnerabilities. Not penitential in the same way as Lent. Devout and expectant delight. Yet, we may discover our own exile.
When the Baby comes, we put aside our agendas. That's what the liturgical year calls us to. Paradox of triumph through weakness.
Liturgical year is not a passion play. We are not expected to change our moods to correspond with it. Even in the 50 days, we may experience grief. The good news of the Resurrection comes with an edge - we remember his suffering, Palm Sunday reminds of us the willingness of Jesus to go to Jerusalem even though it meant death. The Empty Tomb is not a source of joy, but of grief until the Resurrection is discovered.
Evangelization through the liturgical year needs to be invitational, not directive. Ritual greetings of the Eastern church are faith statements:
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.
Jesus is born. Let us glorify him. (invitation)
Liturgy and Life
We need to discover moments in the Liturgical Year that we look forward to. We need to allow the liturgy to work on people. It's not directive, it's invitational.
- The Word is a starting point. Proclaimed well, liturgical preaching...
- Music should shape the celebration
- Bring the liturgy to the life of the parish - sing seasonal music at meetings and gatherings
- Good liturgical art. We can create it to sanctify other spaces - and bring it home Candlemas candles and Advent wreaths bring the liturgical year into the home.
Liturgical practices can become part of identity. Ash Wednesday, for example. Young adults mark time, take it into their bodies and identify.