God and do His will in his constant search for the Kingdom, which is already present, but which will arrive definitively in the day of the Parousia of the Lord Jesus. Liturgy and life are two inseparable realities. Liturgy which is not reflected in life would be come empty and certainly not pleasing to God.
3. The celebration of the Liturgy is an act of the virtue of religion that, consistent with its nature, must be characterized by a profound sense of the sacred. In this, man and the entire community must be aware of being, in a special way, in the presence of Him who is three times holy and transcendent. Consequently, the attitude of imploring cannot but be permeated by reverence and by the sense of awe that comes from knowing that one is in the presence of the majesty of God. Did God not want to ex press this when He ordered Moses to take off his sandals before the burning bush? Did not the attitude of Moses and Eli who dared not look at God facie ad faciem [face to face] arise from this awareness?
The People of God need to see priests and deacons behave in a way that is full of rev erence and dignity, in order to help them to penetrate invisible things without un necessary words or explanations. In the Roman Missal of St. Pius V, as in several Eastern liturgies, there are very beautiful prayers through which the priest expresses the most profound sense of humility and reverence before the Sacred Mysteries: they reveal the very substance of the Liturgy.
The liturgical celebration presided over by the priest is a praying congregation, gath ered in faith and attentive to the Word of God. It has, as its primary aim, to present the Divine Majesty the living, pure and holy sacrifice offered on Calvary once and for all by the Lord Jesus, who is preset each time the Church celebrates Holy Mass, and to express the worship due to God in spirit and truth.
I am aware of the strong commitment of this Congregation to promote, together with the bishops, the deepening of the liturgical life of the Church. In expressing my ap preciation, I hope that such invaluable work will contribute to making the celebra tions [of Mass] ever more worthy and fruitful.
4. Your plenary assembly, in view of a proper Directory, has chosen as its main theme, popular religiosity. This represents an expression of the faith which uses cultural el ements of a particular environment, interpreting and questioning the sensibilities of the participants in a lively and effective way.
Popular religiosity, which expresses itself in different ways, when it is genuine, has faith as its source and thus must be appreciated and promoted. In its most authentic manifestations, it is not opposed to the centrality of the Holy Liturgy; rather, by pro moting the faith of the people who consider it a natural religious expression, it pre disposes the people to the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.
5. The correct relationship between these two expressions of faith must take it on ac count some firm principles, and among these the most important is that the Liturgy is the center of the life of the Church and no other religious expression can replace it or can be considered on the same level. Moreover, it is important to reaffirm that popular religiosity has its natural fulfillment in the liturgical celebration, towards which, although not usually joined together, it must ideally tend. This must be shown through an appropriate catechesis.
The expressions of popular religiosity sometimes appear polluted by elements that are inconsistent with Catholic doctrine. In such cases, they must be purified with pru-