The General Instruction of the Roman Missal

CHAPTER I

IMPORTANCE AND DIGNITY OF THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION

1. The celebration of Mass, the action of Christ and the people of
God arrayed hierarchically, is for the universal and the local Church
as well as for each person the center of the whole Christian life.[1]
In the Mass we have the high point of the work that in Christ God
accomplishes to sanctify us and the high point of the worship that in
adoring God through Christ, his Son, we offer to the Father.[2]
During the cycle of the year, moreover, the mysteries of redemption
are recalled in the Mass in such a way that they are somehow made
present.[3] All other liturgical rites and all the works of the
Christian life are linked with the eucharistic celebration, flow from
it, and have it as their end.[4]

2. Therefore, it is of the greatest importance that the celebration
of the Mass, the Lord's Supper, be so arranged that the ministers and
the faithful who take their own proper part in it may more fully
receive its good effects.[5] This is the reason why Christ the Lord
instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood and
entrusted it to the Church, his beloved Bride, as the memorial of his
passion and resurrection.[6]

3. This purpose will best be accomplished if, after due regard for
the nature and circumstances of each assembly, the celebration is
planned in such a way that it brings about in the faithful a
participation in body and spirit that is conscious, active, full, and
motivated by faith, hope, and charity. The Church desires this kind
of participation, the nature of the celebration demands it, and for
the Christian people it is a right and duty they have by reason of
their baptism.[7]

4. The presence and active participation of the people bring out more
plainly the ecclesial nature of the celebration.[8] But even when
their participation is not possible, the eucharistic celebration
still retains its effectiveness and worth because it is the action of
Christ and the Church,[9] in which the priest always acts on behalf
of the people's salvation.

5. The celebration of the eucharist, like the entire liturgy,
involves the use of outward signs that foster, strengthen, and
express faith.[10] There must be the utmost care therefore to choose
and to make wise use of those forms and elements provided by the
Church which, in view of the circumstances of the people and the
place, will best foster active and full participation and serve the
spiritual well-being of the faithful.

6. The purpose of this Instruction is to give the general guidelines
for planning the eucharistic celebration properly and to set forth
the rules for arranging the individual forms of celebration.[11] In
accord with the Constitution on the Liturgy, each conference of
bishops has the power to lay down norms for its own territory that
are suited to the traditions and character of peoples, regions, and
various communities[12]

Courtesy of: Meeting Christ in the Liturgy: Weekly reflections on the Scriptures of the sacred Liturgy and the Catechism of the Catholic Church http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/