“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you”, this is how the story of the Last Supper begins and hence the title of the recent papal document, Desiderio desideravi, which Pope Francis has chosen to give us a new gift. It is a kind of meditation on the Liturgy, so that we may recover the “wonder” in the face of mystery and allow ourselves to be penetrated by the One who unites Truth and Beauty in Himself. “Beauty, just like truth, always engenders wonder, and when these are referred to the mystery of God, they lead to adoration” (DD 25).
Every gift must have someone ready to receive it, and here we are, women of WUCWO, women of the Church, just like the Apostles, infinitely miniscule before the Eucharist which is given to us each time the Last Supper is enacted. But beware, all the men and women of our time are invited to this Banquet. “We must not allow ourselves even a moment of rest, knowing that still not everyone has received an invitation to this Supper or knowing that others have forgotten it or have got lost along the way in the twists and turns of human living…” (DD 5).
Dear friends, let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of our missionary ardour! If we experience within ourselves how much Jesus loves us and how with the power of his infinite tenderness “every time we go to Mass, the first reason is that we are drawn there by his desire for us” (DD 6), we can be conduits for so many others. Let us allow ourselves to be penetrated by the concrete words and gestures of the Liturgy, which are the words and gestures of Jesus for us today.
Without a living encounter with Jesus, Christian faith is dead. “The Liturgy guarantees for us the possibility of such an encounter […] to be able to hear his voice, to eat his Body and to drink his Blood. We need Him” (DD 11). Furthermore, the Pope explains that the Liturgy is the antidote to those two poisons that destroy the life of the Church: Gnosticism, by which we remain enclosed in our own reason or feeling, in a self-referential subjectivism; and neo-Pelagianism, narcissistic and authoritarian, which instead of evangelising, analyses and classifies others, spending its energies on control (DD 17-20).
The Holy Father poses two questions and gives an answer: “how can we grow in our capacity to live in full the liturgical action? How do we continue to let ourselves be amazed at what happens in the celebration under our very eyes? We are in need of a serious and dynamic liturgical formation” (DD 31). And he distinguishes two aspects: formation for the Liturgy and formation by the Liturgy. What a precious invitation to be women formed in this liturgical ministry in order to evangelise by the Liturgy!
I spent some very happy years of my life working in pastoral ministry in a small rural town in my country, Argentina. The priest, who, not living there, was attending 3 parishes with a distance of about 150 kilometres between them, asked me to do liturgical formation for the faithful before each Sunday Eucharist. It was for me a school and a wonderful task, especially because of the Holy Week ceremonies that we all prepared together with deep devotion. I experienced the sacramental power of the Liturgy of a people walking on this earth towards the Father’s House.
We need to commit and “accompany the permanent formation of everyone, with the humility of little ones, the attitude that opens up into wonder” (DD 38). The Pope warns us not to fall into the error of thinking that this is only the task of ordained ministers, for it is the task of all the baptised. I invite you to meditate on this document in order to achieve our fourth resolution of the Dakar General Assembly (2018): Let us educate to respond to the call to holiness.
Let us make sure to let the fire of Jesus’ love burn in us, protected in the womb of Mary, a Mother capable of interpreting all the gestures and words of our Saviour. May she, who was the humble Teacher of the Apostles, teach us how to “rediscover the meaning of the liturgical year and of the Lord’s Day” (DD 63). And that, with regard to the Liturgy, it may unite us in prayer and unity as at Pentecost, abandoning all “polemics to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church…” (DD 65).
Please receive my warmest regards,
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General