The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church's Life - Part 3
To accomplish so great a work (the celebration of the paschal mystery), Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the
sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross" (Council of Trent, Session XXIl, Doctrine on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, c. 2), but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes (cf. St. Augustin.e, Tractatu.s in Ioannem, Vl, n. 7). He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).
Christ indeed always associates the Church with Himself in this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and people are sanctified. The Church is His beloved B1ide who caJls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father.
Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the people is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.
From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.
-Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Conciliwn # 7