Since Pentecost, it is through the sacramen-
tal signs of his Church that the Holy Spirit carries on the work of
sanctification. The sacraments of the Church do not abolish but purify
and integrate all the richness of the signs and symbols of the cosmos
and of social life. Further, they fulfill the types and figures of the Old
Covenant, signify and make actively present the salvation wrought
by Christ, and prefigure and anticipate the glory of heaven.
Words and actions
A sacramental celebration is a meeting of God’s children
with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes
the form of a dialogue, through actions and words. Admittedly, the
symbolic actions are already a language, but the Word of God and
the response of faith have to accompany and give life to them, so
that the seed of the Kingdom can bear its fruit in good soil. The
liturgical actions signify what the Word of God expresses: both his
free initiative and his people’s response of faith.
liturgy of the Word
is an integral part of sacramental
celebrations. To nourish the faith of believers, the signs which
accompany the Word of God should be emphasized: the book of
the Word (a lectionary or a book of the Gospels), its veneration
(procession, incense, candles), the place of its proclamation (lectern
or ambo), its audible and intelligible reading, the minister’s homily
which extends its proclamation, and the responses of the assembly
(acclamations, meditation psalms, litanies, and profession of faith).
The liturgical word and action are inseparable both insofar
as they are signs and instruction and insofar as they accomplish
what they signify. When the Holy Spirit awakens faith, he not only
gives an understanding of the Word of God, but through the
sacraments also makes present the “wonders” of God which it
proclaims. The Spirit makes present and communicates the Fa-
ther’s work, fulfilled by the beloved Son.
Singing and music
“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treas
ure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.
The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of
sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of
The composition and singing of inspired