The Liturgical Year: The Joy of the People

As we conclude our series on the liturgical year, let us reflect on the beauty that God has given us in the variety and change that bolsters our spiritual life.

God knows us better than we know ourselves and He is well aware that we need seasons throughout the year to break up the monotony of life and this is no different in the liturgy. God has inspired His church to set in motion a liturgical year that changes and focuses our attention on different aspects on the life of Christ.

This allows us to deepen our love of God each year as we learn more about Him and as different things touch our hearts at different times.

To further reflect on this beautiful gift God has given us, below is a short reflection by Dom Prosper Guéranger on this wondrous gift of the liturgical year.

"Would that we might worthily describe the sacred wonders of this mystical calendar, of which all others are but images and humble auxiliaries! Happy indeed should we deem ourselves, if we could make the faithful understand the grand glory which is given to the blessed Trinity, to our Saviour, to Mary, to the angels, and to the saints, by this annual commemoration of the wondrous works of our God! If, every year, the Church renews her youth as that of the eagle [Ps. cii. 5], she does so because, by means of the cycle of the liturgy, she is visited by her divine Spouse, who supplies all her wants."

"Each year she again sees Him an Infant in the manger, fasting in the desert, offering Himself on the cross, rising from the grave, founding His Church, instituting the Sacraments, ascending to the right hand of His Father, and sending the Holy Spirit upon men. The graces of all these divine mysteries are renewed in her; so that, being made fruitful in every good thing, the mystic garden yields to the Spouse, in every season, under the influence of the Spirit He breathes into her, the sweet perfume of aromatic spices [Cant. iv. 16]. Each year the Spirit of God retakes possession of His well-beloved and gives her light and love; each year she derives an increase of life from the maternal influence which the blessed Virgin exercises over her, on the feasts of her joys, her dolours, and her glories; and lastly, the brilliant constellation formed by the successive appearance of the nine choirs of the angels, and of the saints in their varied orders of apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins, sheds on her, each year, powerful help and abundant consolation.

"Now, what the liturgical year does for the Church at large, it does also for the soul of each one of the faithful that is careful to receive the gift of God. This succession of mystic seasons imparts to the Christian the elements of that supernatural life, without which every other life is but a sort of death, more or less disguised. Nay, there are some souls, so far acted upon by the divine succession of the Catholic cycle, that they experience even a physical effect from each evolution: the supernatural life has gained ascendancy over the natural, and the calendar of the Church makes them forget that of astronomers.

"Let the Catholic who reads this work be on his guard against that coldness of faith, and that want of love, which have well-nigh turned into an object of indifference that admirable cycle of the Church, which heretofore was, and always ought to be, the joy of the people, the source of light to the learned, and the book of the humblest of the faithful."

As we progress through the year with the Church, let us be attentive to the different movements of God and appreciate the great beauty of the liturgical year.