Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus


UT UNUM SINT: The liturgy as the source of the spiritual life of the Church

26 Mar 2018

Many a time have I heard this prayer during the Eucharistic celebration: “humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit”, but only now do I understand its deeper meaning. The liturgy transforms us into one body. In the Eucharistic prayer we pray “so that we become one”. This is the most important fruit for me from the mini-course on the liturgy that took place here in the novitiate a few days ago.

Increasingly, however, we are witnessing the departure of young people – and not-so-young people – from ecclesial liturgies, in Italy as well as throughout the Western world. If one does not experience the Risen Christ, the liturgy can hardly communicate anything of the spiritual life expressed in it.

Without a personal relationship with Jesus, in fact, one can not participate in the liturgy without experiencing in it a vague exteriority and a uselessness for one’s own lived experience of spirituality or otherwise. The liturgy is to live the mystery of salvation, it is to participate in the mystery of the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus, Our Lord.

The liturgy, therefore, is to be lived. Believers draw life from the liturgy they celebrate. It is an experience that changes us. In it we live the experience of the beauty of forgiveness invoked, of the Word of God heard, of the action of grace, of the Eucharist received as communion.

God offers himself for us in the liturgy. It is the most beautiful gift we receive. And it makes us one, it transforms us into a community reconciled with our Creator. In fact, the Christian is never an individualist. The Christian is church, enters a community. This is what we ask unceasingly of the Father, to be transformed, to become one body, to be in communion with Christ, with the earthly Church, with the heavenly Church, with the Pope and with our bishops. This is the fulcrum of every Eucharistic celebration.

Praise as the day decline

by Gianluca Severin

As evening falls, if we are not attending the apostolate, we gather to celebrate Vespers, the evening prayer of the Christian community.

We pray for our families, for our friends, for our confreres, for the people we meet on our journey so that the memory keeps our affection alive. We pray with our community, with our confreres everywhere in the world, with those in joy and with those in difficulty. We pray with those who pray alone, with those who, in the solitude and silence of a crowded and chaotic world, whisper the words of their heart. We pray with those who do not know how to pray, with those who cannot find the words, with those who fear opening their souls, with those who fear that their cry will fall on deaf ears or that it will be received with judgment and condemnation. We pray with those who do not pray, with those who do not feel like it, with those who do not have time, with those who do not find something to thank or to plead for, nor hope that someone will listen to their gratitude or plea.

Our prayer blends with the thousand voices of the human family, with the praises and pleas, joys and sorrows, anger and peace, desires and fears that animate the hearts of men.

In praying we use words that Christ, that prophets and saints, that common people used before us, uniting ours to their voice, their feeling, their living, their meeting the Lord; in praying we perceive the echo of everyone’s voices in ours, and ours resound in those of Christ and those of Christ in us.

The prayer of each one merges and intertwines with the prayer of all; in the psalms, canticles and hymns, I find the words to express the stirrings of heart that I share with that psalmist trusting in God of thousands of years ago. I am not the only to seek, I am not the only to feel, I am not the only to love: the words of others, of the ancient ones, of the distant ones, remind me that I am not alone. That image, that expression, that experience give shape and light to my inner life.

In praying I infuse in ancient words the very current and concrete meaning of my life, that unique beat of my heart. In those words I tell my life, I read my past, I see traces for my future. Just as a thousand sparks spring from the same flint, a thousand lives ignite from the same Word.

The whole life, with its succession of days and nights, of actions and thoughts, of words and silences, with praise for the beauty of life, with respect for the mystery of truth of every creature and person, with loving service to God and to men is prayer, sacred and precious.

As evening falls, in communion with all men and women, we gather to celebrate the prayer of God’s people.


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