So we run into Eliade's illud tempus here. According to that way of thinking, the goal of ritual is to get back to the sacred time (illud tempus [that time] in Latin) when divine activity was stronger, to transpose the current events into that time so that the power of the divinity can overcome the problems.
I've always found the theory attractive, but have also been a bit skeptical; it seems too simplistic. But, at the same time, there are parts of it that resonate with me. Of course, I always run it through my Christian theology filter...