'The divine life is that of love, glory, and freedom. Man, created in God's image and redeemed by Christ, is given by God the possibility of participating in the divine life. This redemptive grace reaches people especially through the sacraments when celebrated, participated in, and faithfully lived out.
It is the sacred liturgy that in a special way makes possible the participation in the divine life. Liturgical celebration postulates, makes possible, and increases the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in Christ's faithful so that they can the more give glory to the Father, through the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
Liturgical participation here below on earth tends towards the future, towards heaven... When, therefore, we talk of active participation in the sacred liturgy, we are speaking of the part that the baptised have in the celebration here on earth, which is related to the heavenly liturgy. Liturgical participation will find its eventual conclusion at the end of our earthly sojourn, for each of us, and the end of the world for the entire Church. Who does not appreciate the importance of such participation? Are we not thereby striving to contribute our part so that the will of God may be done on earth as it is in heaven? "Where God's will is done," said Cardinal Ratzinger, "there is heaven, there earth becomes heaven. Surrendering ourselves to the action of God, so that we in our turn may co-operate with him - that is what begins in the liturgy and is meant to unfold further beyond it."
[S]ome people began to exaggerate "active participation" to the extreme of activism. They seemed to be pushing an unwritten agenda of active participation at all costs, in all sorts of ways, by everyone, and in all parts of the liturgy possible. Sometimes this led to noisy celebrations in which the roles of the ordained priesthood and the royal priesthood of the lay faithful were confused. Silence and times for meditative listening were apparently not considered important. Activism, or the effort to get everyone doing something active all the time, was sponsored as if it were what the Second Vatican Council had desired'.
Francis Cardinal Arinze
Fr Lee Kenyon
Priest, Husband, Father, Lancastrian, Mancunian