As Rita Ferrone has powerfully reminded us, article 10 has great claim to be considered one of the doctrinal high points of the Liturgy Constitution: the liturgy is at once “summit and source” of life in Christ.
Vatican Website Translation:
10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord’s supper.
The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with “the paschal sacraments,” to be “one in holiness” ; it prays that “they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith” ; the renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.
10. Attamen Liturgia est culmen ad quod actio Ecclesiae tendit et simul fons unde omnis eius virtus emanat. Nam labores apostolici ad id ordinantur ut omnes, per fidem et Baptismum filii Dei facti, in unum conveniant, in medio Ecclesiae Deum laudent, Sacrificium participent et cenam dominicam manducent.
Vicissim, ipsa Liturgia impellit fideles ut “sacramentis paschalibus” satiati fiant “pietate concordes”(26); orat ut “vivendo teneant quod fide perceperunt”(27); renovatio vero foederis Domini cum hominibus in Eucharistia fideles in urgentem caritatem Christi trahit et accendit. Ex Liturgia ergo, praecipue ex Eucharistia, ut e fonte, gratia in nos derivatur et maxima cum efficacia obtinetur illa in Christo hominum sanctificatio et Dei glorificatio, ad quam, uti ad finem, omnia alia Ecclesiae opera contendunt.
Slavishly literal translation:
Nonetheless the Liturgy is the acme/summit to which the Church’s action strives and likewise the fountain/source from which its power arises. For apostolic works are ordered to it so that all, made God’s children through faith and Baptism, might gather together into one, might praise God in the midst of the Church, might participate in the Sacrifice and might eat the Lord’s supper.
In turn, the Liturgy itself drives the faithful so that filled “with the paschal sacraments” they might be made “unified in dutifulness” [Roman Missal in use at the time of the Council: Postcommunion prayer of the Paschal Vigil and of the Lord’s Resurrection]; it prays that “in living they may cling to what they have perceived by faith” [Roman Missal in use at the time of the Council: Opening Prayer of the Mass of Tuesday within the Octave of Easter]; in fact the renewal of the Lord’s covenant with human beings in the Eucharist draws the faithful into Christ’s urgent love and sets them aflame. Therefore from the Liturgy, especially from the Eucharist, as from a fountain, grace is distributed into us and with greatest effectiveness that in Christ the sanctification of human beings and the glorification of God is obtained, toward which, as toward an end, all other works of the Church strive.
Liturgy is “summit” insofar as other ecclesial actions are ordered to it, as was intimated in article 9. The purpose of preaching faith and conversion to non-believers is so that they may enter the community of the faithful through faith and Baptism; church membership, in turn, is oriented toward praising God ecclesially (which may be a reference to the Liturgy of the Hours, and the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals other than the Eucharist) and celebrating the Eucharist (using the categories of the 1958 Instruction, with external, internal and sacramental participation).
Liturgy is “source” insofar as it is genuinely sacramental, i.e., a sign system that effectively causes what it signifies. There are spiritual consequences to liturgical worship; as J. D. Crichton writes, “The message is clear: liturgical worship that is not translated into life and action is vain and incurs the strictures of Christ upon the Pharisees….” A modified formula from Pius X’s Tra le sollecitudini in which liturgy is described as (simultaneously) the glorification of God and the sanctification (and edification) of the faithful appears embedded in the final sentence of the article, reinforcing the notion that all of the Church’s activity derives from and is ordered to declaring/manifesting/celebrating God’s glory and receiving/modeling/witnessing to human transformation in holiness.
While commentators are free to go in any direction they wish, it might be fruitful to consider if and how, over the last fifty years, this teaching has been communicated, to what extent a genuinely liturgical spirituality animates our congregations, and what modifications of this teaching (if any) we might offer in the light of fifty years experience.