The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
The Holy Spirit makes present the mystery of Christ
Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us
but actualizes them, makes them present. The Paschal mystery of
Christ is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are
repeated, and in each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy
Spirit that makes the unique mystery present.
(“invocation upon”) is the intercession in
which the priest begs the Father to send the Holy Spirit, the
Sanctifier, so that the offerings may become the body and blood of
Christ and that the faithful, by receiving them, may themselves
become a living offering to God.
Together with the anamnesis, the epiclesis is at the heart
of each sacramental celebration, most especially of the Eucharist:
You ask how the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the
wine . . . the Bloodof Christ. I shall tell you: theHoly Spirit comes
upon them and accomplishes what surpasses every word and
thought. . . . Let it be enough for you to understand that it is by
the Holy Spirit, just as it was of the Holy Virgin and by the Holy
Spirit that the Lord, through and in himself, took flesh.
The Holy Spirit’s transforming power in the liturgy has-
tens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the
mystery of salvation. While we wait in hope he causes us really to
anticipate the fullness of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sent
by the Father who hears the epiclesis of the Church, the Spirit gives
life to those who accept him and is, even now, the “guarantee” of
The communion of the Holy Spirit
In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to
bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body. The
Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father’s vine which bears fruit on
The most intimate cooperation of the Holy Spirit
and the Church is achieved in the liturgy. The Spirit, who is the
Spirit of communion, abides indefectibly in the Church. For this
reason the Church is the great sacrament of divine communion
which gathers God’s scattered children together. Communion with
24 St. John Damascene,
De fide orth.
4, 13: PG 94, 1145A.