The Word of God in liturgical celebration
Lk 24, 13-35
The sacrament is sanctified by means of the words of the Lord (Adm I)
The meaning of the Word-Dabar: it expresses the secret of things, it is creative, it produces and realises that which it announces as an event (Is 55,10-11): it communicates the living reality of God while it proclaims it. It is Spirit and Life, says Jesus (Jn 6,63), it gives eternal life to the believers (Jn 5, 39-40; 6,40; 6,68), it is the seed of life (Mt 13,19) that develops into the tree of the kingdom.
The whole of Scripture is summarised in the person of Christ, who is the only Word of God: cf. DV 13 and Heb 1,1-4: "At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets. But in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of Gods glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty".
Among the books of Scripture, the Psalms assume a special obviousness for prayer with the Word of God. The Our Father suggests the spirit with which we should pray the psalms: the spirit of adoration in the first part and of poverty and indigence in the second. The psalms present some difficulties: the sentiments of the psalms, in what they express, appear at times to be in contrast with the Christian spirit. We find in the psalms the vast range of human feelings and passions, inspired by the Holy Spirit. We have adequate images of God and man, of Christ and of the Church. Our images of God are often poor and inadequate. The inspired experiences of the People of God in the psalms and now presented in the prayer of the Church, are a privileged space for understanding the mystery of God, of Christ, of the Church and of the true desire and need of man.
The Word of God is received, listened to, celebrated and lived in the vital space of the Church. This was born from the side of Christ on Good Friday and in the mystery of Pentecost. Through this the action and the power of the Word of God are celebrated in the sacraments, and from this fountain continually recreates and revitalises the life of the Church. It has never ceased to be nourished by the Scriptures, by the OT and NT. It is not for nothing that in all liturgical celebrations the Word of God is solemnly announced. It must take first place in the life of the faithful, especially in that of religious, called to give testimony to the power of the Good News. It is a privileged place where Scripture becomes Word and true Liturgy. The presence of Christ renders the Word efficacious in the Liturgy.
The Word of God is a means of fraternal communication, especially in the Eucharist that focuses attention on and makes present the mystery of Christ, the bread of eternal life. We cannot but take account of the importance and purpose of Sacred Scripture in the Church and in our Franciscan Fraternity, especially when preparing agents of evangelisation, putting at their disposal the structures and necessary means for the Word of God to be heard well. The Word of God is prophetic. The liberation of the Word that has come about in the Church, especially with II Vatican Council, makes us aware of our reality as a priestly, royal and prophetic people. In the Gospels, Jesus announces the Word for conversion (cfr. Mk 1,14-15). The Virgin Mary is the model for listening attentively to the Word, of deep meditation and of the service that flows from here.
In this second part are given some very general suggestions, to show how to gradually approach the WoG in Ongoing Formation.
* Objective: The Friar Minor, in the different ages and stages of his life asks himself the question: "how can I rekindle the gift of God that is in me?" This question is encouraged and accompanied by vital contact with the Word of God, made deeper as an essential place of human growth and of human, Christian and Franciscan vocational maturation.
- The fundamental and ordinary means is the life of the local Fraternity, better centred on listening to and responding personally and in community to the Word of God.
- To encourage the vital appropriation in Fraternity of moments such as the local Chapter, the prayerful reading of the Word of God, the common preparation for the Sunday and weekday liturgy, the reading of the signs of the times and of history through the Word.
- To support the Friars in re-discovering the Liturgy of the Hours as a celebration of the Word, especially through the celebration of the Office of Readings.
- To re-discover in the life of Fraternity the suitable place for the time of prayer and silent and personal meditation, also carried out in common; these times should be revised and nourished by listening to the Word of God.
- Intense times of renewal and renewed vocational motivation, centred on listening to and vital confrontation with the Word (sabbatical periods, spiritual exercises, Franciscan hermitage, etc.).
- To accompany each Friar towards freedom of choice in the way of praying (cfr. Letter to Br. Leo).
- Necessary updating of Biblical Studies.
- The process of OF to the rhythm of biblical books and topics.
- Personal accompaniment to the rhythm of Scripture.
* Times and places:
- The Provincial Chapter should put the place it expects for the Word of God and the ways to achieve this objective into the plan for OF.
- Formative mediations such as the local Chapter, review of life, the shared reading of the Word of God and others, should always be remodelled on the basis of Scripture
- At the time of particular spiritual deepening, Scripture should be put at the centre.
- Listening to history and to the Word: an exercise in which to grow
- Take care of the places and times for meditation (oratory, silence, etc.).
* In the diverse phases of age and stages of life (cfr. Vita Consecrata, 70).
- Age of youth: the existential-spiritual dimension; the intellectual dimension; the dimension of liturgical and personal prayer; evaluation of the time given to silent meditation and the link between personal listening and service to the Word. Verification of times and places through personal accompaniment.
- Age of maturing: verify that prayer lived with and through the Word of God; biblical updating to be taken up again; against routine
; the place of the Word of God at times of crisis and of transition
- Adult age: more profound biblical updating; evaluation of the fidelity to personal contact with the Word of God; what kind of growth in the attitude of wisdom of the heart.
- Advanced age: count it as a privileged time of listening, have specific formation for the old, through simple and understandable proposals of prayerful reading of the Word of God.
* Fundamental Texts: Mt 6,9-13; 11,25-27; 26,39-44; Jn 11,4-42. 17; 2Tess 2,13-14; Gal 1,3-5; Heb 2. 4.
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