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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    Lord 1118 The sacraments are of the Church in the double sense that they are by her and for her They are by the Church for she is the sacrament of Christ s action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit They are for the Church in the sense that the sacraments make the Church 35 since they manifest and communicate to men above all in the Eucharist the mystery of communion with the God who is love One in three persons 1119 Forming as it were one mystical person with Christ the head the Church acts in the sacraments as an organically structured priestly community 36 Through Baptism and Confirmation the pRiestly people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy while those of the faithful who have received Holy Orders are appointed to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God in the name of Christ 37 1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood 38 The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church The saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person 39 The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and through them to the words and actions of Christ the source and foundation of the sacraments 1121 The three sacraments of Baptism Confirmation and Holy Orders confer in addition to grace a sacramental character or seal by which the Christian shares in Christ s priesthood and is made a member of the

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    sent his apostles so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations 41 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit 42 The mission to baptize and so the sacramental mission is implied in the mission to evangelize because the sacrament is prepared for by the word of God and by the faith which is assent to this word The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God The preaching of the Word is required for the sacramental ministry itself since the sacraments are sacraments of faith drawing their origin and nourishment from the Word 43 1123 The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men to build up the Body of Christ and finally to give worship to God Because they are signs they also instruct They not only presuppose faith but by words and objects they also nourish strengthen and express it That is why they are called sacraments of faith 44 1124 The Church s faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it When the Church celebrates the sacraments she confesses the faith received from the apostles whence the ancient saying lex orandi lex credendi or legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi according to Prosper of Aquitaine 5th cent 45 The law of prayer is the law of faith the Church believes as she prays Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition 46 1125 For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    IV THE SACRAMENTS OF SALVATION 1127 Celebrated worthily in faith the sacraments confer the grace that they signify 48 They are efficacious because in them Christ himself is at work it is he who baptizes he who acts in his sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies The Father always hears the prayer of his Son s Church which in the epiclesis of each sacrament expresses her faith in the power of the Spirit As fire transforms into itself everything it touches so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power 1128 This is the meaning of the Church s affirmation 49 that the sacraments act ex opere operato literally by the very fact of the action s being performed i e by virtue of the saving work of Christ accomplished once for all It follows that the sacrament is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient but by the power of God 50 From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it independently of the personal holiness of the minister Nevertheless the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them 1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation 51 Sacramental grace is the grace of the Holy Spirit given by Christ and proper to each sacrament The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature 52 by uniting them in a

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions 1132 The Church celebrates the sacraments as a priestly community structured by the baptismal priesthood and the priesthood of ordained ministers 1133 The Holy Spirit prepares the faithful for the sacraments by the Word of God and the faith which welcomes that word in well disposed hearts Thus the sacraments strengthen faith and express it 1134 The fruit of sacramental life is both personal and ecclesial For every one of the faithful an the one hand this fruit is life for God in Christ Jesus for the Church on the other it is an increase in charity and in her mission of witness NOTES 3 Eph 1 3 6 4 eu logia bene dictio 5 Lk 10 21 6 2 Cor 9 15 7 Eph 1 6 8 Rom 6 10 Heb 7 27 9 12 cf Jn 13 1 17 1 9 SC 6 10 Cf Jn 20 21 23 11 SC 7 Mt 18 20 12 SC 7 13 SC 8 cf LG 50 14 LG 2 15 Cf DV 14 16 Lk 24 13 49 16 Cf 2 Cor 3 14 16 17 Cf I Pet 3 21 18 Jn 6 32 cf I Cor 10 1 6 19 Cf Jn 14 26 20 SC 24 21 PO 4 22 DV 2 23 Cf Rom 12 1 24 St John Damascene De fide orth 4 13 PG 94 1145A 25 Cf Eph 1 14 2 Cor 1 22 26 Cf Jn 15 1 17 Gal 5 22 27 Cf I Jn 1 3 7 28 2 Cor 13 13 29 Cf SC 6 30 Cf Council of Lyons

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart He who sings prays twice 21 1157 Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are more closely connected with the liturgical action 22 according to three principal criteria beauty expressive of prayer the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments and the solemn character of the celebration In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful 23 How I wept deeply moved by your hymns songs and the voices that echoed through your Church What emotion I experienced in them Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart A feeling of devotion surged within me and tears streamed down my face tears that did me good 24 1158 The harmony of signs song music words and actions is all the more expressive and fruitful when expressed in the cultural richness of the People of God who celebrate 25 Hence religious singing by the faithful is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises as well as in liturgical services in conformity with the Church s norms the voices of the faithful may be heard But the texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine Indeed they should be drawn chiefly from the Sacred Scripture and from liturgical sources 26 Holy images 1159 The sacred image the liturgical icon principally represents Christ It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God but the incarnation of the Son of God has ushered in a new economy of images Previously God who has neither a body nor a face absolutely could not be represented by an image But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men I can make an image of what I have seen of God and contemplate the glory of the Lord his face unveiled 27 1160 Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words Image and word illuminate each other We declare that we preserve intact all the written and unwritten traditions of the Church which have been entrusted to us One of these traditions consists in the production of representational artwork which accords with the history of the preaching of the Gospel For it confirms that the incarnation of the Word of God was real and not imaginary and to our benefit as well for realities that illustrate each other undoubtedly reflect each other s meaning 28 1161 All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well They truly signify Christ who is glorified in them They make manifest the cloud of witnesses 29 who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united above all in sacramental celebrations Through their icons it is man in the image of God finally transfigured into his likeness 30 who is revealed to our faith So too are the angels who also are recapitulated in Christ Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that like the figure of the precious and life giving cross venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ our inviolate Lady the holy Mother of God and the venerated angels all the saints and the just whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God on sacred vessels and vestments walls and panels in houses and on streets 31 1162 The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God 32 Similarly the contemplation of sacred icons united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of liturgical hymns enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration so that the mystery celebrated is imprinted in the heart s memory and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful III WHEN IS THE LITURGY CELEBRATED Liturgical seasons 1163 Holy Mother Church believes that she should celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse in a sacred commemoration on certain days throughout the course of the year Once each week on the day which she has called the Lord s Day she keeps the memory of the Lord s resurrection She also celebrates it once every year together with his blessed Passion at Easter that most solemn of all feasts In the course of the year moreover she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ Thus recalling the mysteries of the redemption she opens up to the faithful the riches of her Lord s powers and merits so that these are in some way made present in every age the faithful lay hold of them and are filled with saving grace 33 1164 From the time of the Mosaic law the People of God have observed fixed feasts beginning with Passover to commemorate the astonishing actions of the Savior God to give him thanks for them to perpetuate their remembrance and to teach new generations to conform their conduct to them In the age of the Church between the Passover of Christ already accomplished once for all and its consummation in the kingdom of God the liturgy celebrated on fixed days bears the imprint of the newness of the mystery of Christ 1165 When the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ there is a word that marks her prayer Today a word echoing the prayer her Lord taught her and the call of the Holy Spirit 34 This today of the living God which man is called to enter is the hour of Jesus Passover which reaches across and underlies all history Life extends over all beings and fills them with unlimited light the Orient of orients pervades the universe and he who was before the daystar and before the heavenly bodies immortal and vast the great Christ shines over all beings more brightly than the sun Therefore a day of long eternal light is ushered in for us who believe in him a day which is never blotted out the mystical Passover 35 The Lord s day 1166 By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ s Resurrection the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day which day is appropriately called the Lord s Day or Sunday 36 The day of Christ s Resurrection is both the first day of the week the memorial of the first day of creation and the eighth day on which Christ after his rest on the great sabbath inaugurates the day that the Lord has made the day that knows no evening 37 The Lord s Supper is its center for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet 38 The Lord s day the day of Resurrection the day of Christians is our day It is called the Lord s day because on it the Lord rose victorious to the Father If pagans call it the day of the sun we willingly agree for today the light of the world is raised today is revealed the sun of justice with healing in his rays 39 1167 Sunday is the pre eminent day for the liturgical assembly when the faithful gather to listen to the word of God and take part in the Eucharist thus calling to mind the Passion Resurrection and glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who has begotten them again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead unto a living hope 40 When we ponder O Christ the marvels accomplished on this day the Sunday of your holy resurrection we say Blessed is Sunday for on it began creation the world s salvation the renewal of the human race On Sunday heaven and earth rejoiced and the whole universe was filled with light Blessed is Sunday for on it were opened the gates of paradise so that Adam and all the exiles might enter it without fear 41 The liturgical year 1168 Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance Gradually on either side of this source the year is transfigured by the liturgy It really is a year of the Lord s favor 42 The economy of salvation is at work within the framework of time but since its fulfillment in the Passover of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the culmination of history is anticipated as a foretaste and the kingdom of God enters into our time 1169 Therefore Easter is not simply one feast among others but the Feast of feasts the Solemnity of solemnities just as the Eucharist is the Sacrament of sacraments the Great Sacrament St Athanasius calls Easter the Great Sunday 43 and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week the Great Week The mystery of the Resurrection in which Christ crushed death permeates with its powerful energy our old time until all is subjected to him 1170 At the Council of Nicaea in 325 all the Churches agreed that Easter the Christian Passover should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon 14 Nisan after the vernal equinox Because of different methods of calculating the 14th day of the month of Nisan the date of Easter in the Western and Eastern Churches is not always the same For this reason the Churches are currently seeking an agreement in order once again to celebrate the day of the Lord s Resurrection on a common date 1171 In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one Paschal mystery unfold This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the mystery of the incarnation Annunciation Christmas Epiphany They commemorate the beginning of our salvation and communicate to us the first fruits of the Paschal mystery The sanctoral in the liturgical year 1172 In celebrating this annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ Holy Church honors the Blessed Mary Mother of God with a special love She is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son In her the Church admires and exalts the most excellent fruit of redemption and joyfully contemplates as in a faultless image that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be 44 1173 When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle she proclaims the Paschal mystery in those who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ and through their merits she begs for God s favors 45 The Liturgy of the Hours 1174 The mystery of Christ his Incarnation and Passover which we celebrate in the Eucharist especially at the Sunday assembly permeates and transfigures the time of each day through the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours the divine office 46 This celebration faithful to the apostolic exhortations to pray constantly is so devised that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praise of God 47 In this public prayer of the Church 48 the faithful clergy religious and lay people exercise the royal priesthood of the baptized Celebrated in the form approved by the Church the Liturgy of the Hours is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom It is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father 49 1175 The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God In it Christ himself continues his priestly work through his Church 50 His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives priests devoted to the pastoral ministry because they are called to remain diligent in prayer and the service of the word religious by the charism of their consecrated lives all the faithful as much as possible Pastors of souls should see to it that the principal hours especially Vespers are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts The laity too are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests or among themselves or even individually 51 1176 The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart but also a deeper understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible especially of the Psalms 52 1177 The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church expressing the symbolism of the time of day the liturgical season or the feast being celebrated Moreover the reading from the Word of God at each Hour with the subsequent responses or troparia and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated assist in understanding the psalms and prepare for silent prayer The lectio divina where the Word of God is so read and meditated that it becomes prayer is thus rooted in the liturgical celebration 1178 The Liturgy of the Hours which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration does not exclude but rather in a complementary way calls forth the various devotions of the People of God especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament IV WHERE IS THE LITURGY CELEBRATED 1179 The worship in Spirit and in truth 53 of the New Covenant is not tied exclusively to any one place The whole earth is sacred and entrusted to the children of men What matters above all is that when the faithful assemble in the same place they are the living stones gathered to be built into a spiritual house 54 For the Body of the risen Christ is the spiritual temple from which the source of living water springs forth incorporated into Christ by the Holy Spirit we are the temple of the living God 55 1180 When the exercise of religious liberty is not thwarted 56 Christians construct buildings for divine worship These visible churches are not simply gathering places but signify and make visible the Church living in this place the dwelling of God with men reconciled and united in Christ 1181 A church a house of prayer in which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved where the faithful assemble and where is worshipped the presence of the Son of God our Savior offered for us on the sacrificial altar for the help and consolation of the faithful this house ought to be in good taste and a worthy place for prayer and sacred ceremonial 57 In this house of God the truth and the harmony of the signs that make it up should show Christ to be present and active in this place 58 1182 The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord s Cross 59 from which the sacraments of the Paschal mystery flow On the altar which is the center of the church the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs The altar is also the table of the Lord to which the People of God are invited 60 In certain Eastern liturgies the altar is also the symbol of the tomb Christ truly died and is truly risen 1183 The tabernacle is to be situated in churches in a most worthy place with the greatest honor 61 The dignity placing and security of the Eucharistic tabernacle should foster adoration before the Lord really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar 62 The sacred chrism myron used in anointings as the sacramental sign of the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit is traditionally reserved and venerated in a secure place in the sanctuary The oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick may also be placed there 1184 The chair of the bishop cathedra or that of the priest should express his office of presiding over the assembly and of directing prayer 63 The lectern ambo The dignity of the Word of God requires the church to have a suitable place for announcing his message so that the attention of the people may be easily directed to that place during the liturgy of the Word 64 1185 The gathering of the People of God begins with Baptism a church must have a place for the celebration of Baptism baptistry and for fostering remembrance of the baptismal promises holy water font The renewal of the baptismal life requires penance A church then must lend itself to the expression of repentance and the reception of forgiveness which requires an appropriate place to receive penitents A church must also be a space that invites us to the recollection and silent prayer that extend and internalize the great prayer of the Eucharist 1186 Finally the church has an eschatological significance To enter into the house of God we must cross a threshold which symbolizes passing from the world wounded by sin to the world of the new Life to which all men are called The visible church is a symbol of the Father s house toward which the People of God is journeying and where the Father will wipe every tear from their eyes 65 Also for this reason the Church is the house of

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    are circumcision anointing and consecration of kings and priests laying on of hands sacrifices and above all the Passover The Church sees in these signs a prefiguring of the sacraments of the New Covenant 1151 Signs taken up by Christ In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God 17 He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures 18 He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant above all to the Exodus and the Passover 19 for he himself is the meaning of all these signs 1152 Sacramental signs Since Pentecost it is through the sacramental signs of his Church that the Holy Spirit carries on the work of sanctification The sacraments of the Church do not abolish but purify and integrate all the richness of the signs and symbols of the cosmos and of social life Further they fulfill the types and figures of the Old Covenant signify and make actively present the salvation wrought by Christ and prefigure and anticipate the glory of heaven Words and actions 1153 A sacramental celebration is a meeting of God s children with their Father in Christ and the Holy Spirit this meeting takes the form of a dialogue through actions and words Admittedly the symbolic actions are already a language but the Word of God and the response of faith have to accompany and give life to them so that the seed of the Kingdom can bear its fruit in good soil The liturgical actions signify what the Word of God expresses both his free initiative and his people s response of faith 1154 The liturgy of the Word is an integral part of sacramental celebrations To nourish the faith of believers the signs which accompany the Word of God should be emphasized the book of the Word a lectionary or a book of the Gospels its veneration procession incense candles the place of its proclamation lectern or ambo its audible and intelligible reading the minister s homily which extends its proclamation and the responses of the assembly acclamations meditation psalms litanies and profession of faith 1155 The liturgical word and action are inseparable both insofar as they are signs and instruction and insofar as they accomplish what they signify When the Holy Spirit awakens faith he not only gives an understanding of the Word of God but through the sacraments also makes present the wonders of God which it proclaims The Spirit makes present and communicates the Father s work fulfilled by the beloved Son Singing and music 1156 The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value greater even than that of any other art The main reason for this pre eminence is that as a combination of sacred music and words it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy 20 The composition and singing of inspired psalms often accompanied by musical instruments were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant The Church continues and develops this tradition Address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart He who sings prays twice 21 1157 Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are more closely connected with the liturgical action 22 according to three principal criteria beauty expressive of prayer the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments and the solemn character of the celebration In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful 23 How I wept deeply moved by your hymns songs and the voices that echoed through your Church What emotion I experienced in them Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart A feeling of devotion surged within me and tears streamed down my face tears that did me good 24 1158 The harmony of signs song music words and actions is all the more expressive and fruitful when expressed in the cultural richness of the People of God who celebrate 25 Hence religious singing by the faithful is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises as well as in liturgical services in conformity with the Church s norms the voices of the faithful may be heard But the texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine Indeed they should be drawn chiefly from the Sacred Scripture and from liturgical sources 26 Holy images 1159 The sacred image the liturgical icon principally represents Christ It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God but the incarnation of the Son of God has ushered in a new economy of images Previously God who has neither a body nor a face absolutely could not be represented by an image But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men I can make an image of what I have seen of God and contemplate the glory of the Lord his face unveiled 27 1160 Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words Image and word illuminate each other We declare that we preserve intact all the written and unwritten traditions of the Church which have been entrusted to us One of these traditions consists in the production of representational artwork which accords with the history of the preaching of the Gospel For it confirms that the incarnation of the Word of God was real and not imaginary and to our benefit as well for realities that illustrate each other undoubtedly reflect each other s meaning 28 1161 All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well They truly signify Christ who is glorified in them They make manifest the cloud of witnesses 29 who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united above all in sacramental celebrations Through their icons it is man in the image of God finally transfigured into his likeness 30 who is revealed to our faith So too are the angels who also are recapitulated in Christ Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that like the figure of the precious and life giving cross venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ our inviolate Lady the holy Mother of God and the venerated angels all the saints and the just whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God on sacred vessels and vestments walls and panels in houses and on streets 31 1162 The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God 32 Similarly the contemplation of sacred icons united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of liturgical hymns enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration so that the mystery celebrated is imprinted in the heart s memory and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful III WHEN IS THE LITURGY CELEBRATED Liturgical seasons 1163 Holy Mother Church believes that she should celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse in a sacred commemoration on certain days throughout the course of the year Once each week on the day which she has called the Lord s Day she keeps the memory of the Lord s resurrection She also celebrates it once every year together with his blessed Passion at Easter that most solemn of all feasts In the course of the year moreover she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ Thus recalling the mysteries of the redemption she opens up to the faithful the riches of her Lord s powers and merits so that these are in some way made present in every age the faithful lay hold of them and are filled with saving grace 33 1164 From the time of the Mosaic law the People of God have observed fixed feasts beginning with Passover to commemorate the astonishing actions of the Savior God to give him thanks for them to perpetuate their remembrance and to teach new generations to conform their conduct to them In the age of the Church between the Passover of Christ already accomplished once for all and its consummation in the kingdom of God the liturgy celebrated on fixed days bears the imprint of the newness of the mystery of Christ 1165 When the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ there is a word that marks her prayer Today a word echoing the prayer her Lord taught her and the call of the Holy Spirit 34 This today of the living God which man is called to enter is the hour of Jesus Passover which reaches across and underlies all history Life extends over all beings and fills them with unlimited light the Orient of orients pervades the universe and he who was before the daystar and before the heavenly bodies immortal and vast the great Christ shines over all beings more brightly than the sun Therefore a day of long eternal light is ushered in for us who believe in him a day which is never blotted out the mystical Passover 35 The Lord s day 1166 By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ s Resurrection the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day which day is appropriately called the Lord s Day or Sunday 36 The day of Christ s Resurrection is both the first day of the week the memorial of the first day of creation and the eighth day on which Christ after his rest on the great sabbath inaugurates the day that the Lord has made the day that knows no evening 37 The Lord s Supper is its center for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet 38 The Lord s day the day of Resurrection the day of Christians is our day It is called the Lord s day because on it the Lord rose victorious to the Father If pagans call it the day of the sun we willingly agree for today the light of the world is raised today is revealed the sun of justice with healing in his rays 39 1167 Sunday is the pre eminent day for the liturgical assembly when the faithful gather to listen to the word of God and take part in the Eucharist thus calling to mind the Passion Resurrection and glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who has begotten them again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead unto a living hope 40 When we ponder O Christ the marvels accomplished on this day the Sunday of your holy resurrection we say Blessed is Sunday for on it began creation the world s salvation the renewal of the human race On Sunday heaven and earth rejoiced and the whole universe was filled with light Blessed is Sunday for on it were opened the gates of paradise so that Adam and all the exiles might enter it without fear 41 The liturgical year 1168 Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance Gradually on either side of this source the year is transfigured by the liturgy It really is a year of the Lord s favor 42 The economy of salvation is at work within the framework of time but since its fulfillment in the Passover of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the culmination of history is anticipated as a foretaste and the kingdom of God enters into our time 1169 Therefore Easter is not simply one feast among others but the Feast of feasts the Solemnity of solemnities just as the Eucharist is the Sacrament of sacraments the Great Sacrament St Athanasius calls Easter the Great Sunday 43 and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week the Great Week The mystery of the Resurrection in which Christ crushed death permeates with its powerful energy our old time until all is subjected to him 1170 At the Council of Nicaea in 325 all the Churches agreed that Easter the Christian Passover should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon 14 Nisan after the vernal equinox Because of different methods of calculating the 14th day of the month of Nisan the date of Easter in the Western and Eastern Churches is not always the same For this reason the Churches are currently seeking an agreement in order once again to celebrate the day of the Lord s Resurrection on a common date 1171 In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one Paschal mystery unfold This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the mystery of the incarnation Annunciation Christmas Epiphany They commemorate the beginning of our salvation and communicate to us the first fruits of the Paschal mystery The sanctoral in the liturgical year 1172 In celebrating this annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ Holy Church honors the Blessed Mary Mother of God with a special love She is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son In her the Church admires and exalts the most excellent fruit of redemption and joyfully contemplates as in a faultless image that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be 44 1173 When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle she proclaims the Paschal mystery in those who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ and through their merits she begs for God s favors 45 The Liturgy of the Hours 1174 The mystery of Christ his Incarnation and Passover which we celebrate in the Eucharist especially at the Sunday assembly permeates and transfigures the time of each day through the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours the divine office 46 This celebration faithful to the apostolic exhortations to pray constantly is so devised that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praise of God 47 In this public prayer of the Church 48 the faithful clergy religious and lay people exercise the royal priesthood of the baptized Celebrated in the form approved by the Church the Liturgy of the Hours is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom It is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father 49 1175 The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God In it Christ himself continues his priestly work through his Church 50 His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives priests devoted to the pastoral ministry because they are called to remain diligent in prayer and the service of the word religious by the charism of their consecrated lives all the faithful as much as possible Pastors of souls should see to it that the principal hours especially Vespers are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts The laity too are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests or among themselves or even individually 51 1176 The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart but also a deeper understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible especially of the Psalms 52 1177 The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church expressing the symbolism of the time of day the liturgical season or the feast being celebrated Moreover the reading from the Word of God at each Hour with the subsequent responses or troparia and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated assist in understanding the psalms and prepare for silent prayer The lectio divina where the Word of God is so read and meditated that it becomes prayer is thus rooted in the liturgical celebration 1178 The Liturgy of the Hours which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration does not exclude but rather in a complementary way calls forth the various devotions of the People of God especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament IV WHERE IS THE LITURGY CELEBRATED 1179 The worship in Spirit and in truth 53 of the New Covenant is not tied exclusively to any one place The whole earth is sacred and entrusted to the children of men What matters above all is that when the faithful assemble in the same place they are the living stones gathered to be built into a spiritual house 54 For the Body of the risen Christ is the spiritual temple from which the source of living water springs forth incorporated into Christ by the Holy Spirit we are the temple of the living God 55 1180 When the exercise of religious liberty is not thwarted 56 Christians construct buildings for divine worship These visible churches are not simply gathering places but signify and

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    New Covenants the twenty four elders the new People of God the one hundred and forty four thousand 4 especially the martyrs slain for the word of God and the all holy Mother of God the Woman the Bride of the Lamb 5 and finally a great multitude which no one could number from every nation from all tribes and peoples and tongues 6 1139 It is in this eternal liturgy that the Spirit and the Church enable us to participate whenever we celebrate the mystery of salvation in the sacraments The celebrants of the sacramental liturgy 1140 It is the whole community the Body of Christ united with its Head that celebrates Liturgical services are not private functions but are celebrations of the Church which is the sacrament of unity namely the holy people united and organized under the authority of the bishops Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole Body of the Church They manifest it and have effects upon it But they touch individual members of the Church in different ways depending on their orders their role in the liturgical services and their actual participation in them 7 For this reason rites which are meant to be celebrated in common with the faithful present and actively participating should as far as possible be celebrated in that way rather than by an individual and quasi privately 8 1141 The celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized who by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood that through all the works of Christian men they may offer spiritual sacrifices 9 This common priesthood is that of Christ the sole priest in which all his members participate 10 Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy and to which the Christian people a chosen race a royal priesthood a holy nation a redeemed people have a right and an obligation by reason of their Baptism 11 1142 But the members do not all have the same function 12 Certain members are called by God in and through the Church to a special service of the community These servants are chosen and consecrated by the sacrament of Holy Orders by which the Holy Spirit enables them to act in the person of Christ the head for the service of all the members of the Church 13 The ordained minister is as it were an icon of Christ the priest Since it is in the Eucharist that the sacrament of the Church is made fully visible it is in his presiding at the Eucharist that the bishop s ministry is most evident as well as in communion with him the ministry of priests and deacons 1143 For the purpose of assisting the work of the common priesthood of the faithful other particular ministries also exist not

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    Alert SOLIDARITY MONTH 10 is as good as 1 000 Help set a new record for the number of gifts this month Goal 1 000 769 to go Catechism of the Catholic Church The celebrants of the heavenly liturgy 1137 The book of Revelation of St John read in the Church s liturgy first reveals to us A throne stood in heaven with one seated on the throne the Lord God 1 It then shows the Lamb standing as though it had been slain Christ crucified and risen the one high priest of the true sanctuary the same one who offers and is offered who gives and is given 2 Finally it presents the river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb one of most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit 3 1138 Recapitulated in Christ these are the ones who take part in the service of the praise of God and the fulfillment of his plan the heavenly powers all creation the four living beings the servants of the Old and New Covenants the twenty four elders the new People of God the one hundred and forty four thousand 4 especially the martyrs slain for the word of God and the all holy Mother of God the Woman the Bride of the Lamb 5 and finally a great multitude which no one could number from every nation from all tribes and peoples and tongues 6 1139 It is in this eternal liturgy that the Spirit and the Church enable us to participate whenever we celebrate the mystery of salvation in the sacraments Notes 1 Rev 4 2 8 Isa 6 1 cf Ezek 1 26 28 2 Rev 5 6 Liturgy of St John Chrysostom Anaphora cf Jn 1 29 Heb

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