Bishop Lopes on Beauty in the Liturgy

Click here to hear an excellent presentation by Bishop Lopes on the liturgy.

My slap-dash effort at a general summary:

  1. Discussion of Theology of the Liturgy.
    1. Revelation of the Father’s desire for our eternal happiness.
    2. The Spirit effects this revelation, in the liturgy, from within those who are open to receive.
    3. This revelation is effected by Christ himself being present and perceived as such, as happened with the disciples at Emmaus.
  2. Approaches to ways in which our individual (i.e., subjective, interior) celebrations of the one liturgy can more transparently reveal the truth, goodness, and beauty of God.  (Not how do *we make* our liturgies more beautiful)  (39:30)
    1. The Genesis Approach: the revealed beauty of God. 
      1. Creation is not simply God doing but also giving of Himself.  He speaks (Logos, the Son) and creation occurs; breathes (Spiritus, the Holy Spirit) over the waters.  (41)
      2. Therefore, liturgy should respect the inherent beauty in God’s creation.  E.g., real flowers, real candles. 
      3. Therefore, bringing order out of chaos.  Good preparations of servers, a well-rehearsed choir, etc.  This is co-creation so that God’s created order is revealed.  Decorum (calm) is also order rather than chaos.  (Neither rigidity nor the affect of being casual.)
    2. The Spoken Word Approach (the Grammar of Salvation)
      1. God’s word is alive and calls for a response.  Wort und Antwort.  (48)  The assembly is called to hear receptively.
      2. Our speaking responds to a person: Christ who first speaks to us. 
      3. Therefore, we respond to him and to the words he speaks rather than replacing them or changing them.
      4. Therefore, the Psalms should be prayed as Wort und Antwort.  (Most responsorial praying of the Psalms in liturgy gives the assembly nothing but a refrain rather than inviting the assembly more fully into the Wort und Antwort.)
    3. The Artistic Approach.
      1. Artists aren’t only co-creators with God but revealers who look for ways to translate the ineffable into perception.  (58)
      2. Creativity.  We are in service to the One who is the Principal Actor and Artist.
        1. We do not “plan” the liturgy.  The liturgy has already been planned by the Principal Actor and Artist.
        2. We are not creators (ex nihilo) as much as “sub-creators” (Tolkien).
        3. We do not try to make the liturgy “relevant” or “normal” or “expected.”  The history of revelation shows again and again that God shatters “normal,” “relevant” expectations.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Tom Perna says:

    This is great! Bishop Lopes is a college friend of mine. He married my wife and I back in September.

    Liked by 1 person

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