A. What is it?
>> “Sacrosanctum Concilium” is one of the four Major Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council.
>> It was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963.
>> The title “Sacrosanctum Concilium” is derived from the opening lines of the Document and means “This Sacred Council”
>> Liturgy was the first topic that was discussed at the Second Vatican Council
B. What does it speak of?
>> The purpose of “Sacrosanctum Concilium” is to achieve greater Lay Participation in the Church’s liturgy.
>> This Constitution on the Liturgy is divided into 7 chapters:
1. General Principles for the Restoration and Promotion of the Sacred Liturgy
>> Jesus Christ is the Source of the Sacred Liturgy, which is the public worship of the Church. The sacred liturgy allows us to experience the heavenly liturgy on earth
>> The faithful must come to the liturgy with the proper dispositions, by fully, actively, and consciously engaging in the liturgical celebration – participating both internally and externally. Both Clergy and Laity must be instructed in the nature and practice of the liturgy since It is a communal event.
2. The Most Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist
>> The Holy Eucharist perpetuates the sacrifice of the Cross.
>> At every Mass, the Lay Faithful join the Priest in offering the Divine Victim, and in doing so, they must offer themselves also that they might enter into a more perfect communion with God and each other.
>> The “Treasures of the Bible” must be lavishly poured out at every Mass. The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist form a single, united act of worship.
3. The Other Sacraments and the Sacramentals
>> The purpose of the Sacraments is threefold: Give worship to God, Build up
the Body of Christ, and Sanctify humanity.
4. The Divine Office
>> The Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, is the public prayer of the whole Church.
>> It offers Praise to God, intercedes for the entire world, and sanctifies each day and must be prayed with attention and devotion so as to nourish piety and personal prayer.
5. The Liturgical Year
>> The Church unfolds the entire Mystery of Christ throughout the liturgical year in order to allow the faithful to receive the Riches of Christ.
>> The Church honours the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints by celebrating their feast days and acknowledging their merits, examples, intercession, and love.
6. Sacred Music
>> Sacred music is a “treasure of inestimable value” that gives Glory to God and helps to sanctify the faithful. It also enhances prayer and contributes to the solemnity of the sacred liturgy.
>> Gregorian chant retains “pride of place” in the liturgy, but other kinds of sacred music are allowed and encouraged.
7. Sacred Art and Sacred Furnishings
>> Works of Sacred Art must be protected and cultivated so that they may be “worthy, becoming, and beautiful signs and symbols of things supernatural.”
C. Pointers for Reflections
1. The Document calls for a “full and active participation” by all in the Sacred Liturgy
>> In our local language/parlance, we sometimes say, “I am going to SEE Mass”. This statement/attitude is to undergo a revolutionary change, as we are all PARTICIPANTS at the Holy Mass.
>> The “passivity” during liturgy has to be transformed to an “active participation”, so as to derive the full fruits of the Sacred Mysteries.
2. “Sacrosanctum Concilium” speaks of retaining sound tradition whilst being open to legitimate progress
>> The Document provides a balance between two strong extreme trends seen today in the Church (a) Make Liturgy “relevant” by making it appealing or sometimes, sadly, even entertaining (b) Make Liturgy insular and almost museum-like, with a rigid fixation on mysterious details.
>> The history of the Liturgy, down through the centuries, shows organic development and the Document affirms and exhorts to understand the True Nature of Sacred Liturgy: It is the saving action of Jesus Christ in his Church.
D. What virtues/points can we pick up from “Sacrosanctum Concilium” for this Season of Lent?
1. Give the Holy Eucharist the greatest and the highest place in our life of Faith
2. Prepare well to participate in the Holy Mass
E. Tips to practice these virtues
1. Make sure to attend Mass on all Sundays and Days of Obligation, and to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, as often as possible (personally as well as a family/community)
>> Fall in love with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, so as to derive strength and power from this “Source, Strength and Summit” of our Life!
2. Read the Scriptures (1st Reading/Psalm/2nd Reading/Gospel) before going for the Holy Mass
>> Look into how these Readings affect – personally and practically
>> Offer all the situations of one’s life, at the Holy Mass.
>> Receive Jesus – in the Word and Eucharist – with much devotion and love
>> Learn to Live (practise) the fruits of the Eucharist, in day-to-day life
May this Lent and the familiarity with the Second Vatican Council Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy “Sacrosanctum Concilium” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
The Full Text of Sacrosanctum Concilium can be found at: