Formed By The Liturgy

The person formed by the Liturgy has absorbed in his flesh and blood the notion that he owes a suitable response to every value. He will rejoice in every exalted spectacle of nature, the beauty of the starlit sky, the majesty of the sea and mountains, the charm of life, the world of plants and animals, the nobility of a profound truth, the mysterious glow of a man’s purity, the victorious goodness of a fervent love of neighbor. The man formed by the Liturgy will affirm all this as a reflection of the eternal glory of God, and not with the thought that it is meant for his own satisfaction or that through such an affirmation he will develop and grow inwardly. It will be on his part a spontaneous accomplishment of what is due, the realization of the fact that he owes this response to all that has value, that the value in question objectively “deserves” this response. It will be not the fulfillment of a painful duty, but a spontaneous gift of himself to the value, a blissful acquiescence in the lovable beauty of the value, a gladdening submission to the Lord of whom it is said “Gustate et videte quam suavis est Dominus” (Taste and see how sweet the Lord is). The person formed by the Liturgy will not ask himself whether he is obliged under sin to give this response. His entire value-responding attitude, his heart and spirit, will be turned completely toward the world of values and God in the first place. By this he will speak: “Vultum tuum quaesivi, Domine” (I have sought Thy face, O Lord). He will achieve this response freely from within, and even experience it as the highest of all bliss.

Dietrich von Hildebrand, Liturgy and Personality, 4th. Eng. ed. (Steubenville, OH; Hildebrand Project, 2016), loc. 895-906. ISBN 978-1-939773-00-5.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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