About Honouring the Saints
The AMAIC has joyfully run with the recent remarkable series of canonisations/beatifications of modern era popes, for it is properly Catholic to honour Our Lady (hyperdulia) and the Saints (dulia). To God alone, however, belongs true worship (latria).
Catholics need to get this right into proper perspective. That is why we have followed up this little section with Pope Francis’s invitation (on next page) to ‘rediscover a sense of the sacred’. “The Eucharistic celebration”, he says, “is something else. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control: only He is the unique One, the glory, the power… He is everything”. God is infinitely more interesting than any given saint.
An observer, watching some Catholics in church piously doing the rounds of the saints and the Stations, whilst totally ignoring the Blessed Sacrament as they cross right in front of It, might perhaps be excused for thinking that Catholics really do “worship” Mary and the saints.
Rediscover a ‘sense of the sacred’
(Vatican Radio) …. The first Reading of the day speaks about the “theophany” of God in the time of Solomon the king. The Lord came down like a cloud upon the temple, which was filled with the glory of God. The Lord, the Pope said, speaks to His people in many ways: through the prophets, the priests, the Sacred Scriptures. But with the theophanies, He speaks in another way, “different from the Word: it is another presence, closer, without mediation, near. It is His presence.” This, he explained, happens in the liturgical celebration. The liturgical celebration is not a social act, a good social act; it is not a gathering of the faithful to pray together. It is something else. In the liturgy, God is present,” but it is a closer presence. In the Mass, in fact, “the presence of the Lord is real, truly real.”
“When we celebrate the Mass, we don’t accomplish a representation of the Last Supper: no, it is not a representation. It is something else: it is the Last Supper itself. It is to really live once more the Passion and the redeeming Death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is made present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world. We hear or we say, ‘But, I can’t now, I have to go to Mass, I have to go to hear Mass.’ The Mass is not ‘heard’, it is participated in, and it is a participation in this theophany, in this mystery of the presence of the Lord among us.”
Nativity scenes, the Way of the Cross… these are representations. The Mass, on the other hand, “is a real commemoration, that is, it is a theophany: God approaches and is with us, and we participate in the mystery of the Redemption.” ….
“The liturgy is to really enter into the mystery of God, to allow ourselves to be brought to the mystery and to be in the mystery. For example, I am sure that all of you have come here to enter into the mystery; however, someone might say: ‘Ah, I have to go to Mass at Santa Marta, because on the sight-seeing tour of Rome, each morning there is a chance to visit the Pope at Santa Marta: it’s a tourist stop, right?’ All of you here, we are gathered her to enter into the mystery: this is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is the cloud of God that surrounds all of us.”
… So, the Pope concluded, “to celebrate the liturgy is to have this availability to enter into the mystery of God,” to enter into His space, His time, to entrust ourselves to this mystery:
“We would do well today to ask the Lord to give to each of us this ‘sense of the sacred,’ this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray in Church, to pray the Rosary, to pray so many beautiful prayers, to make the Way of the Cross, so many beautiful things, to read the Bible… The Eucharistic celebration is something else. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control: only He is the unique One, the glory, the power… He is everything. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord would teach us to enter into the mystery of God.” ….