The liturgical action is an invitation to allow the whole of one's life to be transformed, to be deified, to become vehicle for God's love in the world. The liturgical invitation is addressed to human beings of body and soul: it is expressed in symbols and concepts, in liturgical actions and gestures, and hymns and prayers. To understand and respond is to enter into the meaning of these ceremonies, which is God's philanthropia, his love for all humanity. And that response is required of all who take part in the liturgy.The censer at the Abbey this morning was billowing incense in great swirling clouds, as in Isaiah, chapter six. Maybe that has something to do with the drift of my mind later in the day.
Monday, January 25, 2010
The Pure in Heart see God
I found myself thinking today about the beatitude "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." There is, of course, no technique for acquiring a pure heart, but there is an encounter that -- renewed and deepened over time -- conduces to a pure heart. When I later today came upon this observation from Dionysius the Areopagite, it occurred to me that the Eucharist liturgy is the place where that encounter has been happening for 2000 years: