The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church's Life
God who "wills that all men 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 fathers 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 (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 man (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. Moh.Iberg), 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 mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He achieved His task principally by the paschal mystery of His blessed passion, 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".