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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

301

united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of

liturgical hymns, enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration

so that the mystery celebrated is imprinted in the heart’s memory

and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful.

III.

W

hen

I

s

the

L

iturgy

C

elebrated

?

Liturgical seasons

1163

“Holy Mother Church believes that she should celebrate

the saving work of her divine Spouse in a sacred commemoration

on certain days throughout the course of the year. Once each week,

on the day which she has called the Lord’s Day, she keeps the

memory of the Lord’s resurrection. She also celebrates it once every

year, together with his blessed Passion, at Easter, that most solemn

of all feasts. In the course of the year, moreover, she unfolds the

whole mystery of Christ . . . . Thus recalling the mysteries of the

redemption, she opens up to the faithful the riches of her Lord’s

powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present in

every age; the faithful lay hold of them and are filled with saving

grace.”

33

1164

From the time of the Mosaic law, the People of God have

observed fixed feasts, beginning with Passover, to commemorate the

astonishing actions of the Savior God, to give him thanks for them, to

perpetuate their remembrance, and to teach new generations to con-

form their conduct to them. In the age of the Church, between the

Passover of Christ already accomplished once for all, and its consum-

mation in the kingdom of God, the liturgy celebrated on fixed days

bears the imprint of the newness of the mystery of Christ.

1165

When the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ, there is

a word that marks her prayer: “Today!”—a word echoing the

prayer her Lord taught her and the call of the Holy Spirit.

34

This

“today” of the living God which man is called to enter is “the hour”

of Jesus’ Passover, which reaches across and underlies all history:

Life extends over all beings and fills them with unlimited

light; the Orient of orients pervades the universe, and he who

was “before the daystar” and before the heavenly bodies,

immortal and vast, the great Christ, shines over all beings

more brightly than the sun. Therefore a day of long, eternal

light is ushered in for us who believe in him, a day which is

never blotted out: the mystical Passover.

35

33

SC

102.

34 Cf.

Mt

6:11;

Heb

3:7-4:11;

Ps

95:7.

35 St. Hippolytus,

De pasch.

1-2: SCh 27, 117.

512

2659-2836

1085