Stepping into the supernatural world

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE need to realize more deeply that every time we participate in any liturgical act, we are actually stepping into the supernatural world of God. We are made contemporaries with Christ as he continues his work of human redemption until the end of time.

And that’s simply because in the liturgy, as in the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, Christ is made present and continues to act. The liturgy is a divine initiative, not ours. It’s God who brings us to his supernatural world. Ours is simply to express and articulate in human forms this divine initiative as commanded by Christ and to participate in its supernatural dynamics.

This is why we should develop and keep a very special consideration, attention, and devotion to the liturgy, especially the Holy Mass. In it, we have to give our all, carrying out what Christ commanded us to do: to love God with all our might, and our neighbor as ourselves, which he later perfected by saying that we have to love one another as he himself has loved us.

If this truth about the liturgy is understood and upheld properly, you can just imagine how we ought to behave when we participate in a liturgical act! We can never exaggerate the intensity of our devotion, prayer, and worship to God. Our best will always be found wanting. But the point is that we just have to do our best even if our best can still be made better.

We need to do a more effective and abiding catechesis on this very important aspect of our Christian life. We cannot deny that there are many things that indicate that the people’s understanding and attitude toward the liturgy is inadequate, marked by ignorance, confusion, and error.

This sorry state about how the liturgy is understood can even start among the clergy. Though we cannot generalize, neither can we deny that in many instances the sacredness of the liturgical acts appears to be missing due to the way they are celebrated. More than faithful ministers of Christ, some clerics reduce their status into simply being performers and actors.

Being a divine initiative, the liturgy, as in the celebration of the sacraments, derives its supernatural effectiveness more from God’s power (ex opere operato) rather than from our dispositions (ex opere operantis). Just the same, it will always demand of us the best dispositions that we can give. So we cannot overemphasize the need for the appropriate preparation we ought to have before celebrating or participating in a liturgical act.

Our participation in it can be likened to the most pliable clay in the hands of the potter (God) so that we can be as God wants us to be. We need to be as malleable as possible to God’s will and ways.  He is very eager to make us like him

Our participation in it can also be likened to the relation that good laborers have toward God, the owner of the vineyard or faithful servants in God’s household. We need to work with the will of God as the owner always in mind.

We therefore cannot overemphasize the need to participate in the liturgical acts as actively as possible. In this regard, it would be helpful if we familiarize ourselves with the prayers and the different parts involved in the liturgy. We need to spend time for this purpose so that hopefully we can go along with the liturgy actively aware of what is happening and not just coasting along passively.

The prayers involved usually, are most inspired prayers that will always be helpful to us. They express the proper attitude and sentiments we ought to have toward God. They are always worthwhile to be internalized so that we can truly enter into the spirit of the liturgy and not just get entangled in its externals.