VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II
called for an examination of conscience on the beauty and dignity with which
Catholic communities should celebrate the liturgy, particularly in regard to
"It is necessary to constantly discover and live
the beauty of prayer and of the liturgy. One must pray to God not only with
theologically precise formulas, but also in a beautiful and dignified way,"
the Pope said during today’s general audience.
"In this connection, the Christian community must
make an examination of conscience so that the beauty of music and song will
return increasingly to the liturgy," he added.
The Pope made his request when commenting before 10,000
pilgrims on Psalm 150, a poetic invitation to praise God as the People of Israel
did, with musical instruments and dance.
The papal meditation began with a reference to God "transcendent"
and "mysterious" yet at the same time "near to us."
"The liturgy unites the two sanctuaries, the earthly
temple and the infinite heavens, God and man, time and eternity," he explained.
"During prayer, we begin a kind of ascent toward
the divine light and at the same time we experience a descent of God who adapts
himself to our limitation to hear us and to speak to us, to meet us and save
us," the Pope continued.
To make this encounter more profound, Psalm 150 suggests
recourse to music. It was at this point that the Pope emphasized the need for
an examination of conscience on the way music is used today.
"It is necessary to purify worship of deformations,
of careless forms of expression, of ill-prepared music and texts, which are
not very suited to the grandeur of the act being celebrated," the Holy
John Paul II concluded quoting St. Augustine of Hippo:
"The highest music is the one that arises from our hearts. It is precisely
this harmony that God wants to hear in our liturgies."