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Part Two


Sacramental signs.

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

solemn liturgy.”


The composition and singing of inspired