A Primary Theology

The meaning of the liturgy resides first of all in the liturgy itself. If the gathering has a meaning for us, if it says an authentic thing about God and our world – indeed, if it brings us face to face with God – then that becomes known while we are participating in the gathering. The liturgical vision engages us while the order of actions flows over us and while we ourselves perform the patterns and crises of this public work. The liturgy itself is primary theology, and no book of reflections can take its place in actually proposing symbols that hold and interpret modern life. When we gather to do ritual, we bear modern life within ourselves. We also are the ones who set out the ancient symbols. Then our common actions is the locus for the meaning of this juxtaposition.

Gordon W. Lathrop, Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1993), p. 5. ISBN: 978-0-8006-3131-4.