Benedict, fervently committed to the renewal of the sacred liturgy

by Daniel Murphy on January 15, 2007

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Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977

As a young child, Benedict was captivated by the beauty and mysterious power of the sacred liturgy. His favorite liturgical memory is of lights flooding the Church on Easter Sunday, after the vacant and haunting darkness of Holy Saturday. (It was on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927 that he was born–considered by his parents a providential sign.)

As an adult theologian and peritus of Vatican II, Ratzinger/Benedict became convinced of the need for a true liturgical renewal in the mind and authentic spirit of the Second Vatican Council. This renewal would foster both increased meaningful participation by all of Christ’s faithful and the continuation and cultivation of beautiful liturgical practices that correspond to the transcendent realities being enacted.

The closing words of Ratzinger’s “Milestones” (Memoirs 1927-1977) suggest the Pope’s commitment and attitude: “I have become your donkey, and in just this way, am I wiith you.” This disposition–called to be a scholar, but willing to bear the burden of pastoral responsibility (now on the world stage)–portends change. Ratzinger, it seems, will not avoid the hard work of renewing the inseparable connection among faith, worship, and ethics.

As God’s beast of burden, he will lead us all to our common treasure of truly beautiful music, vestment, gesture, and, above all, word that comprise the sensory material of the supernatural-natural mystery of God’s meeting and transforming us through the sacred liturgy.

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