Memory of a gift

Publish date 06-01-2024

by Cesare Falletti

I have already spoken about the conciliar Constitution on the liturgy, which is particularly dear to me. Today I want to return to it to underline some aspects that concern the Eucharist, its celebration and the participation of the faithful in its celebration. They are not "news". Theology does not change, but new times and a long process, which lasted at least the entire first half of the 20th century, have meant that the awareness of one's participation in the celebration has taken on new strength. Not yet fully matured, in my opinion.

The first aspect to note is that the Church is entirely present in every Eucharist and the gathering of the faithful is not each being together on their own in an intimate presence with their Lord, but it is an entire people, called, invited according to the various parables evangelical, from his Lord, to experience with him the redemption of the world, the paschal mystery, the Trinitarian love that opens to welcome every human person, of which the baptized present are the sign. Together we experience what is essential in the Eucharist: the gift that the Lord Jesus makes of himself for the salvation of all.
The faithful and ministers celebrate and stand before their God and redeemer who leads them to live as the "praise and glory" of God, as Saint Paul says, and offers himself to the Father for the salvation of all, reconciling man with his creator .

We all know that the Eucharist means "thanksgiving" and that it is therefore praise. Up until the Council, the sacrificial aspect was emphasised, which is undoubtedly present.
But with the signs of the celebration in a low voice and with the celebrant turning his back to the faithful, the duty to live praising and thanking the Lord for the infinite gift of salvation has been forgotten. Today, with the aloud recitation of the various Eucharistic prayers, sometimes partly sung, the celebrating assembly participates in the great praise and thanksgiving of the faithful, on behalf of all humanity to whom salvation is given. In the preface of the Eucharistic Prayer IV it is said: "Together with them, we too, become the voice of every creature" to underline how much each believer is united with all redeemed and yet to be redeemed humanity.

With a solemn Amen we unite and make the prayer that the celebrant recited on behalf of everyone our own. From an attitude of personal and intimate adoration we moved on to the praise and thanksgiving of the entire Body of Christ gathered to celebrate the resurrection and the victory over death. God has done everything for humanity and the incarnation of the Word and his Easter of death and resurrection are the pinnacle of this gift, sealed by the coming of the Holy Spirit: we must not forget it and the celebration of the mass is the memory of everything the gift. Memory that is not just a nostalgic memory, but a current presence of everything that the Lord does for us. If remembering him, welcoming him and living with him is a duty, it is also the source of the beauty of our life. For this reason, in the current post-conciliar liturgy we stand more upright than in the previous one, because the memory of the divine work, which made us living, is celebrated in praise.

This great service of the Lord (or liturgy) is for us a source of joy, hope and vitality and becomes a service to the world, making current in the Church the Body of Christ sacrificed on the Cross and risen, giving life to the dead and defeating death. For this reason we must never neglect the "service of praise", which is both union with the glory of God and communication of life and joy to our world which has always been tormented and taken up by the flesh of Christ tortured and killed on the cross. His goodness opens up to us a horizon of joyful hope and a source of love in a world immersed in the darkness of hatred.

Cesare Falletti
NP November 2023

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