The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours inte-
grate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, express-
ing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the
feast being celebrated. Moreover, the reading from the Word of
God at each Hour (with the subsequent responses or
readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours,
reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated,
assist in understanding the psalms, and prepare for silent prayer.
where the Word of God is so read and meditated
that it becomes prayer, is thus rooted in the liturgical celebration.
The Liturgy of the Hours, which is like an extension of the
Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather in a comple-
mentary way calls forth the various devotions of the People of God,
especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament.
The worship “in Spirit and in truth”
of the New Cove-
nant is not tied exclusively to any one place. The whole earth is
sacred and entrusted to the children of men. What matters above
all is that, when the faithful assemble in the same place, they are
the “living stones,” gathered to be “built into a spiritual house.”
For the Body of the risen Christ is the spiritual temple from which
the source of living water springs forth: incorporated into Christ
by the Holy Spirit, “we are the temple of the living God.”
When the exercise of religious liberty is not thwarted,
Christians construct buildings for divine worship. These visible
churches are not simply gathering places but signify and make
visible the Church living in this place, the dwelling of God with
men reconciled and united in Christ.
A church, “a house of prayer in which the Eucharist is
celebrated and reserved, where the faithful assemble, and where is
worshipped the presence of the Son of God our Savior, offered for
us on the sacrificial altar for the help and consolation of the faithful
—this house ought to be in good taste and a worthy place for prayer
and sacred ceremonial.”
In this “house of God” the truth and the
harmony of the signs that make it up should show Christ to be
present and active in this place.