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The Spirit Of The Liturgy: Chapter 4 (Part Two, Chapter One)

There is an inherent tension between the completed work of Jesus Christ, the action of the liturgy, and the hidden spiritual realities to which the sacramental signs point. Ratzinger reminds us that the liturgy utterly depends upon the death and resurrection of Christ as a past event. But what is still to come in us and in our world depends on him making his priestly work present to us, and us making an offering of ourselves to the Father through Him.

The liturgy is not a play-act, but neither is it--as Dr. David Anders might say--a time-travel adventure of a crude sort. Ratzinger asks, "After the tearing of the Temple curtain and the opening up of the heart of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified, do we still need sacred space, sacred time, mediating symbols?" Yes, he says. Answering his own question prior to asking it, Ratzinger says, "The theology of the liturgy is in a special way "symbolic theology," a theology of symbols, which connects us to what is present but hidden."

One reason why this is fitting for us to commune with God through symbols is our frailty, but also the recognition that we are not what we shall be. The truth of presently journeying to the City of God is not altered by the confidence of reaching it, in the mercy of God.

It's only prudent to say that this is a great mystery, especially in light of Christ's substantial presence in the Eucharist.

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