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Publish date 04-12-2023

by Flaminia Morandi

Masses of individuals, not communion. Everyone there in the desk, closed to their own problem. While a reversal of reality is taking place in the space of the church, individuals are stuck in what ails them. They pray, yes, but to be freed from what oppresses them. The job that doesn't exist, a sick child, a debt, a heartbreaking loss, a rejection, a humiliation, envy, the nightmare of a disabling illness, war at home. The list is long, everything that attacks us and scares us. What harm is there in praying for deliverance?

No harm. Jesus came to free us, every sign of him in the Gospels is a sign of liberation. But precisely for this reason he asks us to look further, and backwards. As Origen says: «We see one thing and believe another. We see a man, Jesus, and we believe in God." And we don't go to church for what we want to get, but for what we can give. Here is what the Apostolic Constitutions say at the end of the 4th century (book II, c.59): «When you teach, O bishop, command and exhort the people to attend church regularly, every day in the morning and in the evening and to never give up, but to always meet so as not to diminish the Church by being absent and depriving the body of Christ of one of its members". Therefore "gather every day morning and evening, singing psalms and prayers in the house of the Lord, in the morning singing Psalm 62 and in the evening Psalm 140. But especially on Saturday and on the day of the Lord's Resurrection, meet with greater attention, raising praises to God…".

Therefore, no distinction between the Eucharist as an "action of the Church as a body" and the Liturgy of the Hours as an "office of devotion". Each "synaxis" always has a single purpose: to constitute the people of God in the Body of Christ. The absence of even one means preventing fullness. The liturgy, including the liturgy of the hours, is an active prophecy: it celebrates the Christian life, which is communion. That is, reproducing Christ in our lives. The purpose is not to change the bread and wine, but you and me. It is we who become Christ for each other, and so we become - simply by living - a sign for those who do not yet know him or know him poorly.

Not a path for monads, but for communities. “Sanctification is a community journey, to be done two by two,” says Francis in Gaudete et exultate. And he recalls the testimony of the Trappist monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, kidnapped on the night of March 26, 1996 and then killed. They had been preparing for martyrdom for three years, when they were threatened by Islamic extremists. “We have more or less given our hearts to God,” said Prior Christian de Chergé, “and how much it costs us to see Jesus take us seriously!” The prayer intention of the last Compline was found in the archives, before the commando kidnapped them: «Lord Jesus, receive into blessed eternity those who die and like the brothers of Fes, grant us to welcome our death as a passage to life ». And they went to sleep. Today their tomb is visited by hundreds of pilgrims. Islamic.

Flaminia Morandi

MP Ottobre 2023

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