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Why Bother?

Why bother with liturgy at all? Why should we take the time to gather with other believers to worship God?

A basic response is simply that it is good for human beings to acknowledge the existence of God and their relationship to God. Doing so helps us to remember who we really are and where we fit in the grand scheme of the universe. That might keep us from the kind of arrogance that has led humans to rape the earth and oppress the poor. It can also keep us aware of how gifted we are and how gratefully we should live.

For believers in Christ, the liturgy offers needed support for living the gospel way of life. Christianity is fundamentally a communal religion. We are not called by God as separate individuals but are called into a community of faith. We need to gather with one another on a regular basis to both offer and find support as we carry on the mission Christ entrusted to us. Gathering at least weekly to celebrate the Eucharist offers us regular contact with the word of God to nourish and challenge our embrace of the Gospel values Jesus taught. It also feeds us with the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation, the meal that unites us intensely both with Christ and with one another. Nourished from both the Table of the Word and the Table of the Bread, we are strengthened to go out into the world to live the gospel for another week.

Many people today seem hungry for a deeper spirituality, for meaning in their lives. They seek it in all kinds of spiritual practices from various religions and philosophical traditions. Many openly say that they are interested in spirituality but not religion. Yet the purpose of religion is to foster our spiritual lives, to bring us into union with God.

The liturgy is a powerful tool to bring about that growth. If we understand what we are doing and enter into it wholeheartedly, we will certainly find that it draws us deeper into ourselves and closer to God. We join with other believers to enact the rituals, and in doing so we act as the body of Christ assembled in union with our head. We worship the Father in and through Christ and thus are drawn into the mysterious workings of God in our world, as God gradually draws the whole universe toward unity with God, who is the source and center of all that is. Ρ

Adapted from How We Worship: The Eucharist, the Sacraments, and the Hours, Rev. Lawrence E. Mick (Liguori Publications, 2009, 819360). To order, visit Liguori.org or call 800-325-9521.

Published inReflections