Liturgical Time

Salvation, enlightenment, and transformation

While re-visiting the books and articles used in Liturgy classes, I was drawn to a piece entitled Time and Liturgy by Thomas Merton. Excerpts about the liturgical year follow:

For one in Christ, the cycle of the seasons is something entirely new. It has become a cycle of salvation. The year is not just another year, it is the year of the Lord – a year in which the passage of time itself brings us not only the natural renewal of spring and the fruitfulness of an earthly summer, but also the spiritual and interior fruitfulness of grace. The life of the flesh which ebbs and flows like the seasons and tends always to its last decline is elevated and supplanted by a life of the spirit which knows no decrease, which always grows in those who live with Christ in the liturgical year.

The liturgy makes the very passage of time sanctify our lives, for each new season renews an aspect of the great Mystery of Christ living and present in His Church. Each recurring season shows us some new way in which we live in Him, in which He acts in the world. Each new feast draws our attention to the great truth of His presence in the midst of us, and shows us a different aspect of the Paschal Mystery in our world.

The liturgical year is a year of salvation, but also a year of enlightenment and of transformation.

The liturgy is the great school of Christian living and the transforming force which reshapes our souls and our characters in the likeness of Christ.

Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God – Rule of Benedict 43:3

Seasons of Celebration by Thomas Merton, 1965, pages 51 - 53