divine worship


  • Anglo-Saxon: weordh, worth; scipe, state of


Among Christians, it means originally the state of being worthy of honor. It signifies also the recognition of this worthiness, our reaction to it in mind and sentiments (internal worship) and as manifested by outward acts, in speech, act or symbol (external worship). It differs according to the nature and degree of worthiness recognized in the object. Strictly only a person can be the object of worship (absolute worship); but as things may be the means of presenting the person to us, so they may be the vehicle carrying our veneration to the person (relative worship). By Divine worship we mean the recognition of the supreme and infinite excellence of God and our total submission to it. Here we take it in a factual sense, the actual worship of God as recognized and practiced among Christians and Catholics. God is worshiped as He is revealed to us by Christ, as one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; God the Son, made man and named Jesus Christ, is worshiped in His Divinity and in His Humanity, and that as naturally present in heaven and as sacramentally present in the Holy Eucharist. Even the veneration of the Saints is ultimately reducible to worship of God, since they are venerated because of the power of God manifested in them. “God is wonderful in His saints.” In its external expression, worship went through a natural development under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and of the Church, the nucleus being what the Apostles had seen and heard from Christ. The Sunday superseded the Sab- bath as the Lord’s Day by Apostolic arrangement. “The breaking of the bread” from house to house early yielded to gatherings in temples, significantly called churches (kyriake oike – house of the Lord). The service consisted of the repetition of the Last Supper with hymns and prayers (The Mass).

During the first three centuries of our era, its inner spirit was developed to greater clearness under the influence of the Trinitarian and Christological controversies; during the following 300 years, from the Peace of Christendom to Gregory the Great, its external form was gradually determined. Later accidental developments followed as the implications of the Real Presence were more explicitly felt, up to the time of the pseudo-reformation. With that synchronizes the breach of the original Protestant groups, who, rejecting the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence, and even the definite statement of the Divinity of Christ, in the degree in which they reject these, find no more reason for ceremonial, although many of them perform rites without reality. Catholic worship, meanwhile, like a living thing, flowered in richer developments, especially in Eucharistic Worship.

MLA Citation

  • “divine worship”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 December 2018. Web. 9 May 2021. <>