Benedict XVI is guiding us to a healthier vision of the Church’s doctrine, history, public worship and our very identity as Catholics.
There can be no authentic change for a better future without continuity with our past.
I have often in my talks and writings about Pope Benedict’s plan for the Church referred to the liturgy as “the tip of the spear”.
I have also quite often spoken and written our participation at Holy Mass in terms of Moses’ experience at the cleft in the rock. Having encountered God in the burning bush and having learned his ineffable Name, later Moses wanted to see God. Moses asked God to show Himself to him. God instructed Moses to stand behind a rock with a cleft in it and then glimpse God as God passes before the rock with His back turned.
Moses encounters mystery.
This is what happens with us during Holy Mass. This is what we experience in Holy Communion.
We get a glimpse, though the space between the signs, at the vast reality beyond, a reality was cannot grasp here and now. Only in the time to come will we grasp it.
The Holy Father, in his sermon for the closing of the Year for Priests on 11 June, said this:
We are celebrating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and in the liturgy we peer, as it were, into the heart of Jesus opened in death by the spear of the Roman soldier. Jesus’ heart was indeed opened for us and before us – and thus God’s own heart was opened. The liturgy interprets for us the language of Jesus’ heart, which tells us above all that God is the shepherd of mankind, and so it reveals to us Jesus’ priesthood, which is rooted deep within his heart; so too it shows us the perennial foundation and the effective criterion of all priestly ministry, which must always be anchored in the heart of Jesus and lived out from that starting-point.
Note two important things in that quote: First, the Heart of Jesus is opened for us to peer into, opened by the tip of the spear which is the liturgy. Second, the beating of the heart is like a language, a mysterious message from the Eternal Word, God from all Eternity.
The liturgy is how we listen to what that Word is saying, how to interpret the beats of His Sacred Heart and determine what they want for us, and from us, and how the Word loves us with ineffable love.
Peering into the Heart of Jesus, listening to His Heartbeat, must also, I think – and I believe the Holy Father would agree – urge us to a serious examination of our liturgical life.
What we have been doing for the last few decades suggests to me that we have been somewhat blinded by our own notions and deaf to the echoes of our tradition.