With music and prayer, it’s easy to get defensive about our preferences. The mentor who handed me my first copy of the Vatican II documents knew, however, that those who prepare the assembly’s prayer must be driven by something more than preference. They must stand with the entire people of God on the broad tradition of the church at prayer.
Vatican II’s first document, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL), starts with the understanding that liturgy is bigger than us and our comfort levels. The liturgy is first the work of Christ praising the Father. Second, when we participate in Christ’s work through visible human actions and signs, like singing or intentional silence, we are consecrated to show Christ’s Spirit to the world (see CSL 2, 7; note: church documents are referenced by paragraph number, not page number).In liturgy, we do not recreate the past but open ourselves to the Spirit, who renews the present by giving us a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy already being celebrated by the saints and angels. Click To Tweet
In liturgy, we do not recreate the past but open ourselves to the Spirit, who renews the present by giving us a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy already being celebrated by the saints and angels (see CSL 8).
That heavenly liturgy is less about musical style; it’s about attitude—that what we do here matters. It changes the world. For that kind of work, we need all our treasures, past and present. And we need everyone, going beyond their comfort for the sake of the other.