Sacrosanctum Concilium 5


Now we start to get to the meat of what Vatican II said about liturgy. Chaprter I is entitled: “General Principles for the Restoration and Promotion of the Sacred Liturgy” Section 5 begins under a chapter subheading, “The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church’s Life”

God who “wills that all … be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), “who in many and various ways spoke in times past to the (ancestors) by the prophets” (Heb. 1:1), when the fullness of time had come sent His Son, the Word made flesh, anointed by the Holy Spirit, to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart (Cf. Is. 61:1; Luke 4:18.), to be a “bodily and spiritual medicine” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, To the Ephesians, 7, 2.), the Mediator between God and (humankind) (Cf. 1 Tim. 2:5.). For His humanity, united with the person of the Word, was the instrument of our salvation. Therefore in Christ “the perfect achievement of our reconciliation came forth, and the fullness of divine worship was given to us” (Sacramentarium Veronese (ed. Mohlberg), n. 1265; cf. also n. 1241, 1248.).

The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming (hu)mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He achieved His task principally by the paschal mystery of His blessed passions resurrection from the dead, and the glorious ascension, whereby “dying, he destroyed our death and, rising, he restored our life” (Easter Preface of the Roman Missal.). For it was from the side of Christ as He slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth “the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church” (Prayer before the second lesson for Holy Saturday, as it was in the Roman Missal before the restoration of Holy Week.).

This is a verification for the notion that the liturgy is all about Christ. Christ himself is “the fullness of divine worship.” God’s deliverance of the Israelites foreshadowed the unviersal deliverance offered to those who will accept God’s grace. Note that the Church itself is described as a “s”acrament, a visible sign instituted by God to give grace. Which is what it does.

The liturgy is important because it draws believers in. It beckons us to join Christ in the act of worship in glorifying the Father.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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