Offering & Making Holy - 2 Corinthians 5:19

2 Corinthians 5:19 "In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their transgressions against them and entrusting us with the message of salvation."

In preparation for my 25th anniversary of profession of vows (2003) my mother’s wedding ring was engraved with words from the Maronite Liturgy in honor our Maronite ancestry and in gratitude for my consecration. In Spirit of the Liturgy the chapter on the Body and the Liturgy expressed what I engraved on the ring in Syriac – “This is my body given up for you.” Since the Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine Liturgy I asked the Bishop if this was permissible. My reasons were that the words of consecration were also my response to Christ’s offering.

Joseph Ratzinger expresses this so well as the whole event of the Incarnation, cross and resurrection present as the way God draws us into cooperation with himself. We pray that the Sacrifice of the Logos become our sacrifice so that we may be transformed. As a young professed I had many opportunities to enjoy liturgies where large number of priests were present. For want of room on the altar they would stay in the pews at the celebration. During the consecration all rose and prayed the Anaphora in close proximity to all of the faithful. During those moments I reflected on the offering we were all making. This was a wonderful visual of what was occurring in reality – we were all praying to be made the true Body of Christ .

The Maronite name for the Divine Liturgy is Qorbono in Syriac referring to the “offering” and focusing on the sacrificial acts of Christ offering himself and on our own willingness to give our lives as an oblation. In Arabic term Quddas means “making holy” referring to the fact that in the liturgy the gifts, and by analogy the participants, are divinized by the action of the Holy Spirit. The Preparation of the Gifts is an act of offering by the whole community. The bread and wine selected from among the gifts are chosen to become the Body and Blood of Christ. Similarly, our gifts and dedication to be of service to Christ are consecrated through the action of the liturgy.

“The Word leads us out of individualism into the communion of saints spanning all times and places." In our community when it is someone’s turn for Eucharistic Adoration, we use the words of Martha to Mary as an invitation to a sister for adoration: “The Master is here and he is asking for you.” When we will travel or transfer to another location we tell each other: “We will meet before the tabernacle.” These words serve to remind us that worship includes our whole life. “The true liturgical action is the deed of God, and for that very reason the liturgy of faith always reaches beyond the cultic act into everyday life, which must itself become 'liturgical', a service for the transformation of the world." Our bodies are trained, as we transform our wills in a communion of will with God, for the resurrection – as the liturgy is oriented toward the risen Christ.
This has implications for mission as well, in the call to transform the world. Transformation in Christ begins with us and also effects change in the world. Mission is a call to live liturgy which does not compete in the market place. It attracts others when it looks not at itself, but at God, when it allows God to enter and act. It is authentic inculturation as it interprets the world anew in the light of God –opening up men and women to their possibilities.

Quotes from Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Ratzinger

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