Lord, your perfect mysteries pass through the hands of your imperfect servant, and yet your mysteries lose nothing of their glory. May I your humble servant be given the grace to enter this intimate exchange with perfect abandonment, bothered not by the burdens of my created nature nor the many shortcomings that flow from human error.

In the liturgy, we participate in the eternal exchange of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When a believer enters into this participation in a state of grace, they receive the fullness of God’s Divine life. In this way, every liturgy that is validly celebrated is a perfect liturgy in that it communicates and bestows upon those present this incredible gift. This perfection is not the work of human ingenuity or effort, but rather is the free gift offered by the Father through Jesus Christ.

Yet the liturgy does not always appear so perfect.

Often, in a quest for novelty and excitement, humans tend to treat these sacred mysteries in ways that cause distractions and take away from the celebration. Although grace is communicated by means of the celebration, the fruitfulness of the encounter can sometimes be lacking. A variety of factors can cause us to walk away from the liturgy feeling angry, anxious, or uncomfortable with how we have just worshiped. Although this is sometimes the result of forces beyond our control, it can also be caused by the disorders of sin within our own hearts.

There are no easy answers to settle this dilemma. Discomfort with how things are can be an important prompting of the Spirit, causing us to seek reform and development in ways intended by God. However, the same feelings can also be grounded in disordered attachments to self and our limited ways of thinking. Instead of being the fuel for healthy discussion, such emotions become the source of conflict and sin. What we must learn to do is to walk in the two-fold paradox of the liturgy. While the liturgy is perfect in her essence, in her concrete manifestation, the liturgy must pass through imperfect human vessels.

Patience, gentleness, and the other fruits of the Spirit are the marks of someone who is walking in the light of this mystery. When transfigured by the purifying light of Christ, imperfections become vehicles of growth and understanding. This does not happen because of an act of the will, but rather is the result of a heart that has been transformed by the love of Christ. We are all disfigured by the effects of sin, and the more we come to recognize our weakness and experience the unconditional mercy of Jesus Christ, the more we participate in the freedom offered in Christ.

So today, we must constantly walk in the mystery that our Lord has given us. We must rest in the truth that the perfection of God is made manifest through the imperfect works of his humble servants. This truth must take hold of our hearts and allow us to let go of our limited ways of seeing the world.