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PART TWO

THE CELEBRATION

OF THE CHRISTIAN

MYSTERY

Why the liturgy?

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In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses themystery

of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God’s “good pleasure” for all

creation: the Father accomplishes the “mystery of his will” by

giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the

world and for the glory of his name.

1

Such is the mystery of Christ,

revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered

plan that St. Paul calls the “plan of the mystery”

2

and the patristic

tradition will call the “economy of the Word incarnate” or the

“economy of salvation.”

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“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 accom-

plished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of his blessed

Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension,

whereby ‘dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.’

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.’”

3

For this reason, the Church celebrates in the

liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accom-

plished the work of our salvation.

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It is this mystery of Christ that the Church proclaims and

celebrates in her liturgy so that the faithful may live from it and

bear witness to it in the world:

1

Eph

1:9.

2

Eph

3:9; cf. 3:4.

3

SC

5 § 2; cf. St. Augustine,

En. in Ps.

138, 2: PL 37, 1784-1785.

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