From Fr. Ryan's blog
Calling all Catholic Bloggers to Re-Post this!
Here is the single clearest and simplest explanation of the relationship of Clergy to Laity that I have seen. It’s excellent!
Lotsa thanks to Fr. Z.
“The role of lay people in the world is to shape the world around them, each in their own sphere, according to their own vocation, according to their influence and means, etc., and to be sanctified in doing so, to seek the kingdom of God beyond this world by doing so. The role of priests is the teach, govern and sanctify the laity for their task, and thus seek for themselves entrance to the kingdom of heaven together with the laity to whom they bring order and the ordinary means of salvation.
“The role of liturgy in this is absolutely central. There is a reciprocal relationship between what we believe, and therefore how we pray and how we act in the macro and the micro dimensions of our lives. Since the Eucharist, both the Sacrament and Its celebration, are the “source and summit” of Christian life, how we celebrate the Eucharist affects our ability to keep hold of the kingom of God opened for us by the Logos who took up our humanity. Our celebration of the Eucharist forms us into a people of the Gospel, which in its essence concerns the proclamation of the kingdom of God.
“Formed in this way, lay people then form the world. If we pray a certain way, that will affect what we do in and to the world around us. This is one way to understand what Pope Benedict is saying when he raises up the ideal of being Christ’s liturgists in the world.
“Moreover, liturgy ought to be an encounter with mystery, and an anticipation of what we will gain in full in the kingdom of God to come. Our daily acts, informed by our lifelong participation in the Church’s liturgy, open outward to the ultimate mystery, past our own fear of death, through the doorway which is our own share in Christ’s Cross. When we are doing the work of our vocation, in prayer which is both individual the collective prayer of the Church, each of our acts opens out beyond the immediate here and now to their ultimate fulfillment in the celestial eternal liturgy before the throne of God, when Christ will have taken all things (which we also shaped) to Himself and then presents them to God, in the cosmic liturgy, so that God may be all in all.”