... and makes his supreme calling clear." That statement from Gaudium et Spes is, as Marcel of "Aggie Catholics" writes, was dear to Pope John Paul II's heart:
What is the truth? It is that each of us are created in the image and likeness of God. Big deal, you might think. But, it is. It is our identity. We are adopted into the family of God (the Trinity) and made partakers of the divine nature. This means we that our nature is caught up into God, by our participation in God's divine life. A new-found identity in Christ means we can no longer look at ourselves or others in the same way. This is why the John Paul the Great quoted the following verse more than any other from Vatican II:
Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. (Gaudium et Spes 22)
If we want to know who we are, who others are, and the answers to the other questions that have been planted deep within us, then we need to understand who Jesus is and who we are in light of Christ. When God became man in the Incarnation, He didn't lower His own divine nature, which is impossible - because God is unchangeable, rather He raise up our human nature higher.
Marcel offers a fine reflection on these truths, especially as to how they relate to man's struggle with serious problems such as abortion and broken homes. A few years ago I put together some similar thoughts in a piece titled, "The Dignity of the Human Person: Pope John Paul II's Teaching on Divinization in the Trinitarian Encyclicals":
Man’s dignity is not rooted in his temporal existence, but in where he has come from and where he is called to go. This calling is found in the revelation of Christ. In his writings, the Pontiff refers often to a phrase in Gaudium et spes: "Christ, the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling" (GS 22, quoted in RH 8.2).
If man had no value in the eyes of God, Christ would not have come and taken on flesh and died. So man’s dignity rests in the Redemption and within the salvific economy man becomes a "new creature": "In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly ‘expressed’ and, in a way, is newly created" (RH 10.1). ...
The Incarnation and man’s divinization should be seen as part of a familial reality. Just as the Father sent his only begotten Son (Jn 3:16, Heb 1:5), the Son in turn sends forth adopted sons (Gal 4:4-7). Just as the Son came to do the will of the Father (Lk 22:42, Jn 4:34), adopted sons go forth to do the will of the Son (Jn 15:14-17). This spiritual procreation occurs by the power of the Holy Spirit, the giver of life (2 Cor 3:6, Gal 6:8). John Paul II writes:
For as Saint Paul teaches, "all who are led by the Spirit of God" are "children of God." The filiation of divine adoption is born in man on the basis of the mystery of the Incarnation, therefore through Christ the eternal Son. But the birth, or rebirth, happens when God the Father "sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts." Then we receive a spirit of adopted sons by which we cry ‘Abba, Father!’" Hence the divine filiation planted in the human soul through sanctifying grace is the work of the Holy Spirit. "It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." Sanctifying grace is the principle and source of man’s new life: divine, supernatural life. (DeV 52.2).
By entering into human history and uniting Himself with mankind, God not only restored communion between the divine and the natural, He modeled divine sonship for us. By becoming united to humanity, he demonstrated that man can become one with God. Man can become by grace what the Son is by nature. Put another way, the Son of God became a Son of Man so that men might become sons of God (see CCC 460).
John Paul II's encyclical's, with study tools, can be read and studied on the Vatican site.