10 key quotes for every Catholic to reflect on from Pope Francis' apostolic letter on the liturgy, Desiderio desideravi.
Need an idea for Lenten almsgiving?
Help us spread faith on the internet. Would you consider donating just $10, so we can continue creating free, uplifting content?
The pope’s newest apostolic letter reflects upon the meaning of baptism, our understanding of mystery, inadequate liturgical approaches, the art of celebrating the liturgy and more…
Aleteia offers the following 10 selected quotes from Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Desiderio desideravi – ‘I have desired with a great desire’ (Lk 22:15) – on the liturgy, published on June 29, 2022. These ideas offer some of the text’s key ideas about our public worship.
Baptism, not magic
Our first encounter with his paschal deedis the event that marks the life of all believers: our Baptism. This is not a mental adhesion to his thought or the agreeing to a code of conduct imposed by Him. Rather, it is a being plunged into his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension, a being plunged into his paschal deed. It is not magic. [§ 12]
Theological sense of Liturgy
With this letter I simply want to invite the whole Church to rediscover, to safeguard, and to live the truth and power of the Christian celebration. I want the beauty of the Christian celebration and its necessary consequences for the life of the Church not to be spoiled by a superficial and foreshortened understanding of its value or, worse yet, by its being exploited in service of some ideological vision, no matter what the hue. [§ 16]
Observing the rubrics
Let us be clear here: every aspect of the celebration must be carefully tended to (space, time, gestures, words, objects, vestments, song, music…) and every rubric must be observed. Such attention would be enough to prevent robbing from the assembly what is owed to it; namely, the paschal mystery celebrated according to the ritual that the Church sets down. [§ 23]
The liturgical reform and Vatican II
It would be trivial to read the tensions, unfortunately present around the celebration, as a simple divergence between different tastes concerning a particular ritual form. The problematic is primarily ecclesiological. I do not see how it is possible to say that one recognizes the validity of the Council — though it amazes me that a Catholic might presume not to do so — and at the same time not accept the liturgical reform born out of Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document that expresses the reality of the Liturgy intimately joined to the vision of Church so admirably described in Lumen gentium. [§ 31]
A celebration that does not evangelize
A celebration that does not evangelize is not authentic, just as a proclamation that does not lead to an encounter with the risen Lord in the celebration is not authentic. And then both of these, without the testimony of charity, are like sounding a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1) [§ 37]
So, the question I want to pose is how can we become once again capable of symbols? How can we again know how to read them and be able to live them? [§ 45]
Uniformity in worship
Everybody doing together the same gesture, everyone speaking together in one voice — this transmits to each individual the energy of the entire assembly. It is a uniformity that not only does not deaden but, on the contrary, educates individual believers to discover the authentic uniqueness of their personalities not in individualistic attitudes but in the awareness of being one body. [§ 52]
The art of celebration
We could say that there are different “models” of presiding. Here is a possible list of approaches, which even though opposed to each other, characterize a way of presiding that is certainly inadequate: rigid austerity or an exasperating creativity, a spiritualizing mysticism or a practical functionalism, a rushed briskness or an overemphasized slowness, a sloppy carelessness or an excessive finickiness, a superabundant friendliness or priestly impassibility. Granted the wide range of these examples, I think that the inadequacy of these models of presiding have a common root: a heightened personalism of the celebrating style which at times expresses a poorly concealed mania to be the centre of attention. [§ 54]
The role of the priest
The priest himself should be overpowered by this desire for communion that the Lord has toward each person. It is as if he were placed in the middle between Jesus’ burning heart of love and the heart of each of the faithful, which is the object of the Lord’s love. To preside at the Eucharist is to be plunged into the furnace of God’s love. [§ 57]
A call to abandon polemics
Let us abandon our polemics to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Let us safeguard our communion. Let us continue to be astonished at the beauty of the Liturgy. The Paschal Mystery has been given to us. Let us allow ourselves to be embraced by the desire that the Lord continues to have to eat His Passover with us. All this under the gaze of Mary, Mother of the Church. [§ 65]