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Liturgy Is For God

“There were practical reasons for the fact that [the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy] was the first [of Vatican II]. Yet looking back, we have to say that this made good sense in terms of the structure of the Council as a whole: worship, adoration, comes first. And thus God does….The Constitution on the Church, which then followed as the Council’s second text, should be seen as being inwardly bracketed together with it. The Church derives from adoration, from the task of glorifying God. Ecclesiology, of its nature, has to do with liturgy. And so it is logical, too, that the third Constitution talks about the Word of God, which calls the Church together and is at all times renewing her. The Fourth Constitution shows how the glory of God presents itself in an ethos, how the light we have received from God is carried out into the world, how only thus can God be fully glorified. In the period following the Council, of course, the Constitution on the Liturgy was understood, no longer on the basis of this fundamental primacy of adoration, but quite simply as a recipe book concerned with what we can do with the liturgy. In the meantime many liturgical experts, rushing into consideration about how we can shape the liturgy in a more attractive way, to communicate better, so as to get more and more people actively involved, have apparently quite lost sight of the fact that the liturgy is actually ‘done’ for God and not for ourselves. The more we do it for ourselves, however, the less it attracts people, because everyone can clearly sense that what is essential is increasingly eluding us.”

Martin Luther on the Church Fathers on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

“Of all the fathers, as many as you can name, not one has ever spoken about the sacrament as these fanatics do. None of them uses such an expression as, ‘It is simply bread and wine,’ or ‘Christ’s body and blood are not present.’ Yet this subject is so frequently discussed by them, it is impossible that they should not at some time have let slip such an expression as, ‘It is simply bread,’ or ‘Not that the body of Christ is physically present,’ or the like, since they are greatly concerned not to mislead the people; actually, they simply proceed to speak as if no one doubted that Christ’s body and blood are present. Certainly among so many fathers and so many writings a negative argument should have turned up at least once, as happens in other articles; but actually they all stand uniformly and consistently on the affirmative side.”

-Martin Luther