Community of Oteiza OUR LIFE HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD AT THE HEART OF THE COSMOS THE LITURGY OF THE

HOURS

Introduction The subject proposed for this Vicariate Chapter expresses clearly our identity as contemplatives. Yes, we are convinced that our life hidden with Christ in God places us at the heart of the cosmos. In fact, the Paschal Mystery introduces us to the heart of the person and work of Jesus. He invites us to follow him and to continue in the Church, on the one hand, the prayerful attitude of his relationship with the Father, and on the other, to let ourselves to be guided by Him, with Him and in Him into his “cosmic mission”. The Son opens himself to the world through his Incarnation, and takes upon himself all that is created, and by his Resurrection, He is the heart of the world, the heart of the cosmos. In this central heart-beat, He unites us as community each day for his praise. Among the millions of Galaxies and the billions of stars, some very much bigger than the Sun, we believe: “that in the beginning, God created heaven and earth” (Gen 1:1). We see the earth as the “privileged planet”, the wonderful place of the Covenant, the space chosen for the Incarnation of God. Liturgy opens up this central space from which we can see the entire cosmos. The daily liturgy is an authentic, cosmic celebration which embraces heaven and earth. The Liturgy of the Hours “The cosmic dimension is an essential part of Christian liturgy” J. Ratzinger says in his book: The spirit of the Liturgy. The cosmos praises God. Every creature sings the glory of God in its inner being, by the very fact of existing. When the liturgy of the hours becomes an authentic personal prayer for us, we perceive much better the bond which unites the Liturgy to the whole of Life. Our entire life, in all the Hours of day and night, constitutes a “leitourgia”. In it, united to Christ, we offer a service of love to God and humanity at the heart of the cosmos. So that the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours can reflect God‟s beauty, an expression of his Mystery of Love and acceptable in God‟s eyes, it must extend beyond the celebration itself to our evangelical attitudes in the concrete reality of daily life. It is in Christ that we live, pray and sing the liturgy every day. It demands fraternal love: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).
With the Liturgy of the Hours, we make the “Church in prayer” present. It is “the prayer that Christ, united

to his Body, addresses to the Father”. When we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, our voice is that of Christ and his voice is ours. We are aware that it requires self-forgetfulness, detachment from self. The Lord does not accept religious formalism and every liturgical celebration should be free of this. (Is 10:20) United with the Church, we want our worship to be pleasing to God. We try to live the Liturgy of the Hours as a preparation for and prolongation of the Eucharist. It gives unity to our life, and helps us to grow in faith, hope and charity. Liturgy is not a private and pious act. It belongs to the entire Body of the Church: “the praying Church”. This makes us aware of the necessity of being faithful to the Liturgy of the Hours in Community. We see the importance of Feasts, Solemnities and Memorials which introduce us to the Mystery of Christ throughout the Liturgical Year. The Liturgy makes Christ present among us in our daily life, until the end of time. (Mt 28:20) Liturgy, before being a celebration, is the fullness of the event of Jesus Christ‟s superabundant Mystery.
1

When we pray the Office, it is not, in the first place, time given to God. The Liturgy is God‟s Gift to the Church. He gives us his time and desires that we live in the rhythm of his Paschal Mystery. The Liturgy of the Hours is a gratuitous time of gratitude. Praying the Liturgy of the Hours does not mean “sanctifying time”, but rather, living time from the heart of Christ. “To sanctify the day” is simply to continually praise God day and night. This liturgy is the explosion of the heavenly praise on our earth. “Hidden with Christ in God we continue this praise at the heart of the cosmos”, we remember that: “Liturgy brings cosmic time into the time of Jesus Christ and into his presence. Through it we are incorporated in the great historical process by which the entire creation moves forward towards the promise: „when God will be all in all”. (Ratzinger) Our Liturgy, that we celebrate each day on this earth, is praise to God in union with the heavenly Church, with all the angels and saints, before the Father. We ask ourselves: - “Who celebrates this liturgy?” And we reply: - “It is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father”. Christ is the centre of the liturgy of heaven and earth, the One who prays and the Temple. United to him, we pray and praise the Father, raising our voice in supplication and conclude by saying: “through Jesus Christ, our Lord”. Jesus introduces us to the praise, adoration, thanksgiving and intercession of heaven. The Liturgy is the place where we take part in the heavenly liturgy towards which we are moving as pilgrims. We, who pray here on earth, “are taking part” already in the liturgy of heaven, where prayer is love, communion and joy in plenitude. The Liturgy of the Hours is more than a community prayer, more than a devotion accomplished in common. The Liturgy of the Hours makes us a sacrament, a sign of the universal Church at the heart of the cosmos. We are a “prayerful expression of the faith of the Church, of the Church in prayer”. The treasure of the Word of God is given to us in abundance in the Liturgy of the Hours. Holy Scripture enriches us. It is the principal source of the entire Liturgy of the Hours. We realise how important it is to let ourselves be instructed and penetrated by the Word which opens up the Mystery of Christ for us throughout the whole liturgical year. Readings, psalms, prayers and hymns are permeated with the Holy Spirit. We can see how our faith is nourished by the Word of God and our life enriched and strengthened by this prayer. The psalms are central in the celebration of the Hours. We are aware of the importance of studying the Bible. We comment here on one of the celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours: The Vigil for the Lord‟s Day. This prayer is not like the Office of Readings of every day; rather it is a „keeping watch‟, a contemplation and an acclamation in honour of the Resurrection of the Lord, with the characteristics of nocturnal prayer. Through this weekly vigil in honour of the Resurrection we live in communion with the celebration of the Great Vigil of the Paschal Triduum. This celebration is desired and valued. It centres us, in everyday life, in the Resurrection of Christ, in his Paschal Mystery. Those who join us participate in it with pleasure. Every Saturday night we proclaim an extract of the Resurrection of Our Lord who is the heart of the world and the heart of the cosmos. We follow the schema presented by Vatican II, after the renewal of the Liturgy. We are united to the heavenly liturgy which, day and night, sings without ceasing: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty; He who was, and is and is to come”. (Rev. 4:8) The message we wish to communicate: Liturgical life keeps us alert to and gives us a basic and ongoing formation in this cosmic dimension. Daily we live and discover the cosmic dimension in all the elements of the Liturgy of the Hours: the Word of God, the Psalms, the Patristic commentaries etc. In this way, as „praying community‟ with Christ, through him and in him, with the Church, we praise, adore, give thanks and intercede with humanity, by our commitment in truth to its celebration in daily life.
2

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful