Catechism of the Liturgy by a Religious of the Sacred Heart
Compiled from Approved Sources
A Religious of the Sacred Heart
This little work deserves a warm welcome from Catholic Schools and homes, for it gives in small compass the rudiments of a subject which has been too little studied amongst us, but which is happily regaining its lawful place. This growing appreciation is a matter for congratulation, for where the Liturgy of the Church is loved and lived, Christian principles are sure to be vigorous.
The Liturgy is the form of public worship prescribed and arranged by the Church. Theology teaches that the Church is a living body, an organism, which has the duty of offering, as a body, praise and sacrifice to Almighty God, and for the fulfillment of this duty the Church has designed a form of prayers and actions, which we call the Liturgy. The Liturgy, then, is the official prayer of the Church. In it she offers to God homage and expiation, draws down His blessings, renders Him thanks. Through it she sanctifies every part of the day and night, and converts the whole year into a continuous circle of prayer. This center is formed by the Holy Mass, in which the Adorable Sacrifice is surrounded by a magnificent set of prayers and actions. Round the Mass, in a wider circle, we have the Canonical Hours, i. e., forms of prayer distributed over the hours of day and night. Then dividing the mystery of the divine work of the Redemption into its various phases, as the prism divides the light into colors, it establishes a series of festivities encircling the whole year. Through Advent, with its sombre but joyful expectation, we are led to Christmas, which is followed by the austere periods of Septuagésima and Lent, preparation for the holiest seasons of Passiontide and Easter. Paschaltide gives us a long extension of the joy of the Resurrection, and ends with the crowning festival of Pentecost. Then, with new sets of offices, we are led on, week by week, to another Advent. With such inspiration the Christian life is nurtured, mentally and morally, and the true Catholic character is formed.
We can frame no better wish for this little catechism than that it may serve as an introduction to the Church's treasure-house.
Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester.