UPDATED 23 Jan 07 – 22:05 GMT:
In his Wednesday audience address, focused mostly on Christian unity, the Holy Father subtly reinforced what he has been doing about reorienting the focus of liturgy, both the positioning of the Crucifix in relation to the altar and by celebrating Mass ad orientemi. Remember: the Pope has a plan to reinvigorate the identity of the Church and liturgy is the tip of the spear. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that he will bring liturgical references into talks on many subjects.
Here is what he said at the audience in my translation corrected from the released text by listening to the audio. The important corrections from the recording I indicate in green:
Behold, the meaning of prayer: to open our hearts, to create in us a willingness which opens the path to Christ. In the liturgy of the ancient Church, after the sermon, the bishop or president of the celebration, the principal celebrant, said: "Conversi ad Dominum…Turn (around) toward the Lord". Then he himself and all there rise [text: rose] up and turn [text: turned] themselves toward the East. They all want [text: wanted] to gaze toward Christ. Only if we have been converted, only in this turning toward Christ, in this common gaze at Christ, can we find the gift of unity.
What I find interesting here is that, in this quotation, in the official text released by the Holy See, the Holy Father uses the past tense, as if he is speaking of a historical reality. In his actual talk, he changed the tenses to present, not past. People ARE turning, etc.
This is a subtle change, to be sure, but I think the Holy Father has something in mind in doing this. He is talking about a liturgical turning to the Lord TODAY, as a tool of Christian unity.
In one of my recent PODCAzTs I spoke about worship ad orientem.