Friday, December 08, 2006
A Way to Express Belonging to Christ, He Says
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 4, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that it is urgent to emphasize "the sacredness of the Lord's Day and the need to participate in Sunday Mass."
The Pope expressed this in a message sent to Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, on the occasion of a study day organized by the Vatican dicastery.
The study day marked the anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council constitution "Sacrosanctum Concilium" of Dec. 4, 1963.
The meeting on the topic "Sunday Mass for the Sanctification of the Christian People" was held Friday in the Vatican.
The Holy Father stressed that, for the early Christians, participation in Sunday Mass "was the natural way to express one's belonging to Christ, his communion with his Mystical Body, in the joyful hope of his glorious return."
This "was manifested in a heroic way in the case of the martyrs of Abitene, who faced death exclaiming: 'Sine dominico non possumus,' that is, we cannot live without gathering on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist," Benedict XVI said.
Today, it is necessary to emphasize the "sacredness of the Lord's Day," as "the cultural context in which we live, often characterized by religious indifference and secularism … obfuscates the horizon of the transcendent," the Pontiff added.
"May the Lord's Day, which can also be called the 'Lord of the days,' regain all its importance and be perceived and lived fully in the celebration of the Eucharist," the Holy Father said.
In his opening address to the congress, Cardinal Arinze analyzed some of the cultural challenges that must be addressed to restore the central character of Sunday. He pointed out the negative idea of the "weekend," understood as free time from work which makes of the holiday a day like any other.
The "virus of secularism" cannot be accepted, he insisted, as "religion is not something optional, a superfluous accessory," but a duty to God.