PrayerSacramental Life and Liturgy

Religious life is about love—a response of love to the One who first loved us. As we allow Jesus to transform us into His image, we are in need of His gift of grace. The Sacraments are at the heart of our Dominican life, with the historical foundation of the Order having roots in the sacramental life of the Church.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the center of our day, and our frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance, draw us deeper into the mystery of Christ as we receive His gift of grace.  The Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, extends the praise of the Mass throughout the day, sanctifying the hours of our work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

In the liturgy we find the whole Church at prayer. The word liturgy means the participation of God’s people in “the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). What is that work? First of all it refers to Christ’s Passion, His Death and Resurrection, and His Ascension—what we call the Paschal Mystery. It also refers to the celebration of the liturgy itself. The two meanings are in fact inseparably linked because this “work of Jesus” is the real content of the liturgy. Through the liturgy, the “work of Jesus” is continually brought into contact with history; with our lives in order to shape them. Here we catch another glimpse of the grandeur of our Christian faith. Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to Himself, into His sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all. We see then that the Church’s liturgy is a ministry of hope for humanity. Your faithful participation is an active hope which helps to keep the world—saints and sinners alike—open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone. (Pope Benedict XVI)