Friday, April 19, 2013

Catechism of the Catholic Church                                               
Saturday, April 6, 2013
#683- 816


683 "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit."1 "God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"'2 This knowledge of faith is possible only in the Holy Spirit: to be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit. He comes to meet us and kindles faith in us. By virtue of our Baptism, the first sacrament of the faith, the Holy Spirit in the Church communicates to us, intimately and personally, the life that originates in the Father and is offered to us in the Son.
Baptism gives us the grace of new birth in God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit. For those who bear God's Spirit are led to the Word, that is, to the Son, and the Son presents them to the Father, and the Father confers incorruptibility on them. and it is impossible to see God's Son without the Spirit, and no one can approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of God's Son is obtained through the Holy Spirit.3
          Pope Francis is strongly emphasizing the importance and greatness of the sacrament of Baptism. I offer Pope Francis on clericalism that basically undervalues the power of Baptism to enter into Christ and begin the journey of becoming “other Christs.”
“As I have said before, there is a problem: the temptation to clericalism. We priests tend to clericalize the laity. We do not realize it, but it is as if we infect them with our own thing. And the laity – not all but many – ask us on their knees to clericalize them, because it is more comfortable to be an altar boy than the protagonist of a lay path. We must not enter into that trap, it is a sinful complicity. Neither clericalize nor ask to be clericalized. The layman is a layman and has to live as a layman with the strength of his baptism, which enables him to be a leaven of the love of God in society itself, to create and sow hope, to proclaim the faith, not from a pulpit but from his everyday life. And by carrying his daily cross as all of us do. And this is the cross of the layman, not that of the priest. Let the priest carry the cross of the priest, since God gave him a broad enough shoulder for this.”

“What I Would Have Said At The Consistory” (Interview: 30 Days)

This is valid also for lay people…

BERGOGLIO: Their clericalization is a problem. The priests clericalize
the laity and the laity beg us to be clericalized… It really is sinful abetment.
And to think that baptism alone could suffice. I’m thinking of those
Christian communities in Japan that remained without priests for more than
two hundred years. When the missionaries returned they found them all
baptized, all validly married for the Church and all their dead had had a
Catholic funeral. The faith had remained intact through the gifts of grace
that had gladdened the life of a laity who had received only baptism and had
also lived their apostolic mission in virtue of baptism alone. One must not be
afraid of depending only on His tenderness… Do you know the biblical
episode of the prophet Jonah?
I don’t remember it. Tell us.
BERGOGLIO: Jonah had everything clear. He had clear ideas about
God, very clear ideas about good and evil. On what God does and on what
He wants, on who was faithful to the Covenant and who instead was outside
the Covenant. He had the recipe for being a good prophet. God broke into
his life like a torrent. He sent him to Nineveh. Nineveh was the symbol of all
the separated, the lost, of all the peripheries of humanity. Of all those who
are outside, forlorn. Jonah saw that the task set on him was only to tell all
those people that the arms of God were still open, that the patience of God
was there and waiting, to heal them with His forgiveness and nourish them
with His tenderness. Only for that had God sent him. He sent him to
Nineveh, but he instead ran off in the opposite direction, toward Tarsis.
Running away from a difficult mission…

BERGOGLIO: No. What he was fleeing was not so much Nineveh as
the boundless love of God for those people. It was that that didn’t come into
his plans. God had come once… “and I’ll see to the rest”: that’s what Jonah
told himself. He wanted to do things his way, he wanted to steer it all. His
stubbornness shut him in his own structures of evaluation, in his preordained methods, in his righteous opinions. He had fenced his soul off with the barbed wire of those certainties that instead of giving freedom with God and opening horizons of greater service to others had finished by deafening his heart. How the isolated conscience hardens the heart! Jonah no longer knew that God leads His people with the heart of a Father.

A great many of us can identify with Jonah.

BERGOGLIO: Our certainties can become a wall, a jail that imprisons
the Holy Spirit. Those who isolate their conscience from the path of the
people of God don’t know the joy of the Holy Spirit that sustains hope. That
is the risk run by the isolated conscience. Of those who from the closed
world of their Tarsis complain about everything or, feeling their identity
threatened, launch themselves into battles only in the end to be still more
self-concerned and self-referential.”

Von Balthasar: “Prior to the cross the Spirit resides in Jesus alone (Jn. 7, 39). “He is not yet there” as far as we are concerned. He does not ‘come’ until that ‘final’ (Jn. 13, 1) self-giving of Jesus to his disciples, which is both the giving of his flesh and blood as the communication of eternal life (Jn. 6, 54), the surrender of his …life for his sheep.” Christ gives up his life for us and incorporates us into him. After the death and resurrection, Christ breathes on the Apostles which is the giving of the Spirit. The Spirit of the God revealed by Jesus Christ is the Personification of the total self gift that is both the Father and the Son. Jesus exercised this total gift of self on the Cross. The proof of it is: to death. And Christ breathed this Spirit upon us.
  Also consider that after the Ascension into heaven, Christ as Body and Soul spirates the Person of the Spirit with the Father Whom He sends on the Apostles at Pentecost. That is, the transcendent dignity of Christ’s human body enters into the divine procession of the Spirit. The human body that is that of the Son Himself,  is part of the process of spirating a divine Person Who is God.

684 Through his grace, the Holy Spirit is the first to awaken faith in us and to communicate to us the new life, which is to "know the Father and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ."4 But the Spirit is the last of the persons of the Holy Trinity to be revealed.
685 To believe in the Holy Spirit is to profess that the Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, consubstantial with the Father and the Son: "with the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified."6 
 686 The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of the plan for our salvation. But in these "end times," ushered in by the Son's redeeming Incarnation, the Spirit is revealed and given, recognized and welcomed as a person. Now can this divine plan, accomplished in Christ, the firstborn and head of the new creation, be embodied in mankind by the outpouring of the Spirit: as the Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
687 "No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."7Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, He is hidden. We see and hear the Son, but not the Spirit.
688 The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
- in the Scriptures he inspired;
- in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;
- in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists;
- in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;
- in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
- in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
- in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.
I. The Joint Mission of the Son and the Spirit
689 When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him.
690 the mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live in him:
II. The Name, Titles, and Symbols of the Holy Spirit
The proper name of the Holy Spirit
691 "Holy Spirit" is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. the Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children.16
The term "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God's breath, the divine Spirit.17 On the other hand, "Spirit" and "Holy" are divine attributes common to the three divine persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms "spirit" and "holy."

Titles of the Holy Spirit
692 “Paraclete” is commonly translated by "consoler," and Jesus is the first consoler.19 The Lord also called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth."20
Symbols of the Holy Spirit
694 Water. The water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit."27 Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified28 as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.29
695 Anointing. the symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called "chrismation" in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. …There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David.31 But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established him as "Christ."32 The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord.33 The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving.34 Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.35 Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ":36 "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression. Escriva’s terminology: alter Christus, ipse Christus.[1]
696 Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions…. The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions.41 "Do not quench the Spirit."42
697 Cloud and light. Theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai,43 at the tent of meeting,44 and during the wandering in the desert,45 and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple.46 In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures
698 The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him.50 Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.
699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.51 The imposition of hands.
700 The finger. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons”… The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."57
701 The dove. At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable…. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.
III. God's Spirit and Word in the Time of the Promises
702 From the beginning until "the fullness of time"… When the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches there for what the Spirit, "who has spoken through the prophets," wants to tell us about Christ.61
By "prophets" the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in the composition of the sacred books…
In creation
703 The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature:63
It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son.... Power over life pertains to the Spirit, for being God he preserves creation in the Father through the Son.64
704 "God fashioned man with his own hands [that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit] and impressed his own form on the flesh he had fashioned, in such a way that even what was visible might bear the divine form.”
The Spirit of the promise
705 Disfigured by sin and death, man remains "in the image of God," in the image of the Son, but is deprived "of the glory of God,"66 of his "likeness." the promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that "image"67 and restore it in the Father's "likeness" by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is "the giver of life."
706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.68 In Abraham's progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,69in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad."70 God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and "the promised Holy Spirit . . . [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it."
In Theophanies and the Law
707 Theophanies (manifestations of God) light up the way of the promise, from the patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the visions that inaugurated the missions of the great prophets.
708 This divine pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law.72 God gave the letter of the Law as a "pedagogue" to lead his people towards Christ. In the Kingdom and the Exile
709 The Law, the sign of God's promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham's faith gave birth. "If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, . . . you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."75 But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations. the Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David,76 would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit.
710 The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the mysterious fidelity of the Savior God and the beginning of a promised restoration, but according to the Spirit. the People of God had to suffer this purification.77 In God's plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church. Don’t forget the greatness of the Exile: The interchange of faith with reason and reason with faith to the development of both. Greek rationalism becomes metaphysical wisdom, and Abrahamic faith becomes rationally available to the then-known world.
Expectation of the Messiah and his Spirit
711 "Behold, I am doing a new thing."78 
712 The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the "Book of Emmanuel" ("Isaiah said this when he saw his glory,"80 speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11: 81
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
713 The Messiah's characteristics are revealed above all in the "Servant songs."82  714 This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his own the following passage from Isaiah:84
The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor” (Isaiah 61, 1-2 as spoken by Christ in Lk. 4, 18-19).
715 The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his peopleSt. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost.86 According to these promises, at the "end time" the Lord's Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.
716 The People of the "poor" … are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit's hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ's coming …In these poor, the Spirit is making ready "a people prepared for the Lord.”
IV. The Spirit of Christ in the Fullness of Time
John, precursor, prophet, and baptist
717 "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."89 John was "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb"90 by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary's visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.91
718 John is "Elijah (who) must come."92 The fire of the Spirit dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord. In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of "[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord."93
719 John the Baptist is "more than a prophet." In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah…. "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.... Behold, the Lamb of God."99
720 Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of "the divine likeness," prefiguring what he would achieve with and in Christ. John's baptism was for repentance; baptism in water and the Spirit will be a new birth.
Pay attention to Pope Francis’ emphasis on the sacrament of Baptism as the key to the new culture in which each will be another Christ serving the poor through the priesthood of work.
The Virgin: "Rejoice, you who are full of grace"
721 Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men…. In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:
722 The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"102 should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice."103 It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle104 lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.
723 In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father's loving goodness. With and through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit's power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful.105
724 In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin. She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh. It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes him known.106
725 Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God's merciful love,107 into communion with Christ. And the humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the first disciples.
726 At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve ("mother of the living"), the mother of the "whole Christ."108 As such, she was present with the Twelve, who "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer,"109 at the dawn of the "end time" which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.
Christ Jesus
727 The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father's Spirit since his Incarnation - Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. 

Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ's whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Why is this? Because the Self-giftedness of the Son “outside” the Trinity is driven by the Spirit. Therefore, we do not see the Spirit, but the Incarnate Son. The Spirit is hidden until the Incarnate Son returns to the Father. Then, He sends the Spirit to us as His Spirit.
728 Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that his own flesh will be food for the life of the world.110 He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus,111 to the Samaritan woman,112 and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles.113 To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer114 and with the witness they will have to bear.115
729 (…) The Spirit of truth. (…) Jesus will send him from the Father's side, since he comes from the Father. The Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. the Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
730 At last Jesus' hour arrives:117 he commends his spirit into the Father's hands118 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,"119 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his disciples.120 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."121
V. The Spirit and the Church In the Last Days
731 On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance.122
732 On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed (…) By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the "last days," the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated.
Notice, we are not now in the time of the Holy Spirit, but we have reached the end in Christ. There is no time “after” Christ. Christ is the meaning of man and therefore of creation and time. The “end-time” is now. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. And his mission is to engender us into being “alter Christus, ipse Christus.” There is not before, during and after Christ. As Ephesians 1, 4 says: “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons…” We existed in Christ before we were created.
The Holy Spirit - God's gift
733 "God is Love"124 and love is his first gift, containing all others. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."125
734 Because we are dead or at least wounded through sin, the first effect of the gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. The communion of the Holy Spirit126 in the Church restores to the baptized the divine likeness lost through sin.
Clarify: By being baptized, we are restored (empowered) to Love, to say “Yes,” to be gift. As Cardinal Bergoglio remarked in 2001: Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord. I beg the theologians who are present not to turn me in to the Sant’Uffizio or to the Inquisition; however, forcing things a bit, I dare to say that the privileged locus of the encounter is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin.

In front of this merciful embrace we feel a real desire to respond, to change, to correspond; a new morality arises. We posit the ethical problem, an ethics which is born of the encounter, of this encounter which we have described up to now. Christian morality is not a titanic effort of the will, the effort of someone who decides to be consistent and succeeds, a solitary challenge in the face of the world. No.
[as he will say below, this would be a proud pelagianism].Christian morality is simply a response. It is the heartfelt response to a surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy (I shall return to this adjective). The surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy, using purely human criteria, of one who knows me, knows my betrayals and loves me just the same, appreciates me, embraces me, calls me again, hopes in me, and expects from me. This is why the Christian conception of morality is a revolution; it is not a never falling down but an always getting up again.

As we shall see, this authentic, in a Christian sense, conception of morality which Giussani presents has nothing to do with the spiritualistic-type quietisms of which the shelves of the religious supermarkets of today are full. Trickery. Nor with the Pelagianism so fashionable today in its different, sophisticated manifestations. Pelagianism, underneath it all, is a remake of the Tower of Babel. The spiritualistic quietisms are efforts at prayer and immanent spirituality which never go beyond themselves.

Jesus is encountered, just as 2,000 years ago, in a human presence, the Church, the company of those whom He assimilates to Himself, His Body, the sign and sacrament of His Presence. Reading this book, one is amazed and filled with admiration at the sight of such a personal and profound relationship with Jesus, and thinks it is unlikely to happen to him. When people say to Fr. Giussani, “How brave one has to be to say ‘Yes’ to Christ!” or, “This objection comes to my mind: it is evident that Fr. Giussani loves Jesus and I don’t love Him in the same way,” Giussani answers, “Why do you oppose what you think you don’t have to what you think I have? I have this yes, only this, and it would not cost you one iota more than it costs me.… Say “Yes” to Jesus. If I foresaw that tomorrow I would offend Him a thousand times, I would still say it.” Thérèse of Lisieux says almost exactly the same thing: “I say it, because if I did not say ‘Yes’ to Jesus I could not say ‘Yes’ to the stars in the sky or to your hair, the hairs on your head…” Nothing could be simpler: “I don’t know how it is, I don’t know how it might be: I know that I have to say ‘Yes.’ I can’t not say it,” and reasonably; that is to say, at every moment in his reflections in this book, Giussani has recourse to the reasonableness of experience.

It is a question of starting to say “You” to Christ, and saying it often. It is impossible to desire it without asking for it. And if someone starts to ask for it, then he begins to change. Besides, if someone asks for it, it is because in the depths of his being he feels attracted, called, looked at, awaited. This is the experience of Augustine: there from the depths of my being, something attracts me toward Someone who looked for me first, is waiting for me first, is the almond flower of the prophets, the first to bloom in spring. It is the quality which God possesses and which I take the liberty of defining by using a Buenos Aires word: God, in this case Jesus Christ, always primerea, goes ahead of us. When we arrive, He is already there waiting.

He who encounters Jesus Christ feels the impulse to witness Him or to give witness of what he has encountered, and this is the Christian calling. To go and give witness. You can’t convince anybody. The encounter occurs. You can prove that God exists, but you will never be able, using the force of persuasion, to make anyone encounter God. This is pure grace. Pure grace. In history, from its very beginning until today, grace always 
primerea, grace always comes first, then comes all the rest.

735 He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God (has) loved us."127 This love [which is Transcendent Love (Agape = Self-Gift) (the "charity" of  1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit.128
736 By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."129 "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit."130
Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.131

The Holy Spirit and the Church
737 The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit."132
          In the jargon we take to be “religious,” this sounds “nice.” The reality is that it is metaphysical as most real, but of a different epistemological order. This is not religious abstraction. For example, “Love” as agape is going out of self to the point of death for a creature. God is that Love. What is Love in God is “death” in man.
738 Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity (the topic of the next article):
All of us who have received one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the Father's and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many, still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each and every one of us, . . . and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the power of Christ's sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in all, leads all into spiritual unity (St. Cyril of Alexandria In Jo. Ev. 11, 11)

*****  Note that the Will of God is that we be One as God is One made up of Three Persons. So also we must be one. This is the reason for the Church. When we have achieved this “oneness” the Church will cease to be. Therefore, God did not will the Church and then “oneness,” but the other way round. He will “oneness” and therefore willed the Church. The Church, then, is for unity.
742 "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' ( Gal 4:6).
743 From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable.
744 In the fullness of time the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ's coming among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father gives the world Emmanuel "God-with-us" ( Mt 1:23).
745 The Son of God was consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf  Ps 2:6-7).
746 By his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf  Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church.
747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.
Article 9
748 "Christ is the light of humanity; and it is, accordingly, the heart-felt desire of this sacred Council, being gathered together in the Holy Spirit, that, by proclaiming his Gospel to every creature, it may bring to all men that light of Christ which shines out visibly from the Church." (Lumen Gentium 1). The Church is the moon reflecting the light of Christ to the world.
 750 To believe that the Church is "holy" and "catholic," and that she is "one" and "apostolic" (as the Nicene Creed adds), is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Apostles' Creed we profess "one Holy Church" (Credo . . . Ecclesiam), and not to believe in the Church, so as not to confuse God with his works and to attribute clearly to God's goodness all the gifts he has bestowed on his Church.138
Ratzinger: “…(T)he Church is not an apparatus, nor a social institution, nor one social institution among many others. It is a person. It is a woman. It is a Mother. It is alive. A Marian understanding of the Church is totally opposed to the concept of the Church as a bureaucracy or a simple organization. We cannot make the Church, we must be the Church. We are the Church, the Church is in us only to the extent that our faith more than action forges our being. Only by being Marian, can we become the Church. At its very beginning the Church was not made, but given birth. She existed in the soul of Mary from the moment she uttered her fiat. This is the most profound will of the Council: the Church should be awakened in our souls. Mary shows us the way.”
In his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Newman explained his dilemma thus: “The Anglican disputant took his stand upon Antiquity or Apostolicity, the Roman upon Catholicity. The Anglican said to the Roman: ‘There is but One Faith, the Ancient, and you have not kept to it:” the Roman retorted: ‘There is but One Church, the Catholic, and you are out of it.’ … The cause lay thus, Apostolicity versus Catholicity.”

John Jay Hughes wrote: “It is worth noting in passing that his standoff is replicated today in the dispute between the members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and Catholics united with the Pope. The SSPX takes its stand upon the statements of 19th century Popes and Vatican I (with occasional side glances to the Council of Trent) and charges Catholics with having abandoned these immutable teachings at Vatican II. Catholics respond today as they did in Newman’s time: ‘There is but one Church, and you are out of it.”[2]

751 The word "Church" (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to "call out of") means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people… the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people.140 By calling itself "Church," the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly.
752 In Christian usage… "The Church" is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body.

758 We begin our investigation of the Church's mystery by meditating on her origin in the Holy Trinity's plan and her progressive realization in history.
A plan born in the Father's heart
759 "The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life," (Lumen Gentium 2)150 to which he calls all men in his Son. "The Father . . . determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ." (Lumen Gentium 2)151 This "family of God" is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father's plan. In fact, "already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance. Established in this last age of the world [Christ’s Resurrection, Ascension and Presence] and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time." (Lumen Gentium 2)152
The Church - foreshadowed from the world's beginning
John Henry Newman: “In a higher world it is otherwise. But here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”[3] We become Christ, and therefore, Church, like a surfer on the large wave of contingent history. To have the identity of remaining in the same spot on the front of the wave (which is to be Christ), the surfer must change with every variation of the face of the moving wave in order to move such as always to remain in the same spot.

“Now, the phenomenon, admitted on all hands, is this: that great portion of what is generally received as Christian truth is in its rudiments or in its separate parts to be found in heathen philosophies and religions. For instance, the doctrine of a Trinity is found both in the East and in the West; so is the ceremony of washing; so is the rite of sacrifice. The doctrine of the Divine Word is Platonic; the doctrine of the Incarnation is Indian; of a divine kingdom is Judaic; of Angels and demons is Magian; the connection of sin with the body is Gnostic; celibacy is known to Bonze and Talapoin; a sacerdotal order is Egyptian; the idea of a new birth is Chinese and Eleusinian; belief in sacramental virtue is Pythagorean; and honors to the dead are a polytheism. Such is the general nature of the fact before us; Mr. Milman argues from it – ‘These things are in heathenism, therefore they are not Christian:” we, on the contrary, prefer to say, “These things are in Christianity, therefore they are not heathen.” That is, we prefer to say, and we think that Scripture bears us out in saying, that from the beginning the Moral Governor of the world has scattered the seeds of truth  [spermatikoi] (my underline and parenthesis) far and wide over its extent; That these have variously taken root, and grown up as in the wilderness, wild plants indeed but living; and hence that, as the inferior animals have tokens of an immaterial principle in them, yet have not souls, so the philosophies and religions of men have their life in certain true ideas, though they are not directly divine. What man is amid the brute creation, such is the Church among the schools of the world; and as Adam gave names to the animals about him, so has the Church from the first looked round upon the earth, noting and visiting the doctrines she found there. She began in Chaldea, and then sojourned among the Canaanites, and went down into Egypt, and thence passed into Arabia, till she rested in her own land. Next she encountered the merchants of Tyre, and the wisdom of the East county, and the luxury of Sheba. Then she was carried away to Babylon, and wandered to the schools of Greece. And wherever she went, in trouble or in triumph, still she was a living spirit, the mind and voice of the Most High; “sitting in midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions;” claiming to herself what they said rightly, correcting their errors, supplying their defects, completing their beginnings, expanding their surmises, and thus gradually by means of them enlarging the range and refining the sense of her own teaching. So far then from her creed being of doubtful credit because it resembles foreign theologies, we even hold that one special way in which Providence has imparted divine knowledge to us has been by enabling her to draw and collect it together out of the world, and, in this sense, as in others, to “such the mild of the Gentiles and to such the breast of kings.”

            How far in fact this process has gone is a question of history; and we believe it has before now been grossly exaggerated and misrepresented by those who, like Mr. Milman, have thought that its existence told against Catholic doctrine; but so little antecedent difficulty have we in the matter, that we could readily grant, unless it were a question of fact not of theory, that Balaam was an Eastern Mahol, or Moses was a scholar of the Egyptian hierophants. We are not distressed to be told that the doctrine of the angelic host came nor that the vision of a Mediator is in Philo, if in very deed he died for us on Calvary. Nor are we afraid to allow, that, even after his coming, the Church has been a treasure-house, giving forth things old and new, casting the gold of fresh tributaries into her refiner’s  fire, or stamping upon her own, as time required it, a a deeper impress of her Master’s image.

            The distinction between these two theories is broad and obvious. The advocates of the one imply that Revelation was a single, entire, solitary act, or nearly so, introducing a certain message; whereas we, who maintain the other, consider that Divine teaching has been in fact, what the analogy of nature would lead us to expect, “at sundry times and in divers manners,” various, complex, progressive, and supplemental of itself. We consider the Christian doctrine, when analyzed, to appear, like the human frame, “fearfully and wonderfully made;” but they think it some one tenet or certain principles given out at one time in their fullness, without gradual accretion before Christ’s coming or elucidation afterward. They cast off all that they also find in Pharisee or heathen; we conceive that the Church, like Aaron’s rod, devours the serpents of the magicians. They are ever junting for a fabulous primitive simplicity; we repose in Catholic fullness.”[4]
760 Christians of the first centuries said, "The world was created for the sake of the Church."(Pastor Hermae)153 God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the "convocation" of men in Christ, and this "convocation" is the Church. The Church is the goal of all things, (St. Epiphanius)154 and God permitted such painful upheavals as the angels' fall and man's sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world:
Just as God's will is creation and is called "the world," so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called "the Church." (Clement of Alexandria).
The Church - prepared for in the Old Covenant
761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God…
762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people.157 Its immediate preparation begins with Israel's election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations.158 But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant."159
The Church - instituted by Christ Jesus
763 It was the Son's task to accomplish the Father's plan of salvation… To fulfill the Father's will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church "is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery."162
764 "This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ."
 765 The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head.168 Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem.169 The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but also in his lot.170By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church.
766 The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. "The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus."171 "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.'"172 As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross.173
The Church - revealed by the Holy Spirit: Not a “Babysitter” (Francis) – but with Mission – to make all men “one.” The “one” is not numerical or an accidental grouping but a “communion” that is ontologically one. That means that one cannot be without the other.
767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176
768 So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit "bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her."177 "Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom."178
Me: She is the “Sacrament” of the Kingdom. Her  mission is to bring men into the Kingdom which is the Person of Christ (See Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth I” pp. 49-50.
The Church - perfected in glory
769 "The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven,"179 at the time of Christ's glorious return. Until that day, "the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world's persecutions and God's consolations."180 Here below she knows that she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom, when she will "be united in glory with her king."181 The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials. Only then will "all the just from the time of Adam, 'from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,' . . . be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father's presence."182

770 The Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It is only "with the eyes of faith"183 that one can see her in her visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as bearer of divine life.
The Church - both visible and spiritual
771 "The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men."184The Church is at the same time:
- a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;
- the visible society and the spiritual community;
- the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches."
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element":
The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.187
O humility! O sublimity! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heaven's beauty has adorned her.188
The Church - mystery of men's union with God
772 It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him."189 St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn.190Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."191
773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world.192
"[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. and holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom."
193Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle."194 This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."195
The universal Sacrament of Salvation
774 The Greek word mysterion was translated into Latin by two terms: mystenum and sacramentum. In later usage the term sacramentum emphasizes the visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation which was indicated by the term mystenum. In this sense, Christ himself is the mystery of salvation: "For there is no other mystery of God, except Christ."196 The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church's sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call "the holy mysteries"). the seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. the Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a "sacrament."
775 "The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men."197 The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. In her, this unity is already begun, since she gathers men "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues";198 at the same time, the Church is the "sign and instrument" of the full realization of the unity yet to come.
776 As sacrament, the Church is Christ's instrument. "She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all," "the universal sacrament of salvation," by which Christ is "at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God's love for men."199 The Church "is the visible plan of God's love for humanity," because God desires "that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit."200
777 The word "Church" means "convocation." It designates the assembly of those whom God's Word "convokes," i.e., gathers together to form the People of God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ.
778 The Church is both the means and the goal of God's plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the earth (cf Rev 14:4).
779 The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her mystery, which only faith can accept.
780 The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men.

I. THE CHURCH - PEOPLE OF GOD: Me: This is the huge epistemological change from previous Magisterium. See Wojtyla’s “Sources of Renewal” The Enrichment of Faith (Cpt 1).
781 "At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people.... All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit."201
Characteristics of the People of Got
782 The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history:
- It is the People of God: God is not the property of any one people. But he acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people: "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation."
- One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being "born anew," a birth "of water and the Spirit,"
203 that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism. Me:  This means that Baptism is the power to make the gift of oneself – that is Faith – whereby one becomes “another Christ” and therefore “one” with all the “other Christs.”
- This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body, this is "the messianic people."
- "The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple."
- "Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us."
204 This is the "new" law of the Holy Spirit.205 Me: This means to make the gift of self for the others to death. That is the “law of Christ.”
- Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world. Me: A Transfiguration takes place by the transcending of self. This people is "a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole human race."
-Its destiny, finally, "is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time."
A priestly, prophetic, and royal people: Remember: priesthood means “mediation.” By subduing self and therefore owning self, one is able to make the gift of self to and for the other. That is Christian anthropology and Christian priesthood. It brings about the “one” because it empowers the other “to be” and is the action of “being” for the self. It is the exercise of freedom [self-determination] and therefore of irreducible autonomy and well as oneness with the others. Hence, Escriva called the dimensions: “priestly soul” and “lay mentality.” They are the two aspects of the same Christian anthropology.
783 Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. the whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them.208
784 On entering the People of God through faith and Baptism, one receives a share in this people's unique, priestly vocation: "Christ the Lord, high priest taken from among men, has made this new people 'a kingdom of priests to God, his Father.' the baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood."209
785 "The holy People of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office," above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it "unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints,"210 and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world Me: The whole people have a consciousness of being Christ. The whole development of human dignity and human rights is grounded on this prophetic consciousness.
786 Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. Me: By Baptism, the Christian is empowered to master and subdue himself to serve God and the others. This is kingship. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection.211 Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."212 For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder."213 The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.
The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? and what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart?214

The Church is communion with Jesus
787 From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings.215 Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: "Abide in me, and I in you.... I am the vine, you are the branches."216 and he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."217
788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit.218 As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: "By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation."219
789 The comparison of the Church with the body casts light on the intimate bond between Christ and his Church. Not only is she gathered around him; she is united in him, in his body. Three aspects of the Church as the Body of Christ are to be more specifically noted: the unity of all her members with each other as a result of their union with Christ; Christ as head of the Body; and the Church as bride of Christ.
"One Body"
790 Believers who respond to God's word and become members of Christ's Body, become intimately united with him: "In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification."220This is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ's death and Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which "really sharing in the body of the Lord, . . . we are taken up into communion with him and with one another."221
791 The body's unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: "In the building up of Christ's Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the Church."222 The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: "From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice."223 Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."224
"Christ is the Head of this Body"
792 Christ "is the head of the body, the Church."225 He is the principle of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father's glory, "in everything he (is) preeminent,"226 especially in the Church, through whom he extends his reign over all things.
793 Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to resemble him, "until Christ be formed" in them.227 "For this reason we . . . are taken up into the mysteries of his life, . . . associated with his sufferings as the body with its head, suffering with him, that with him we may be glorified."228
794 Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our head,229 he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance by which we help one another along the way of salvation.
795 Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). the Church is one with Christ. the saints are acutely aware of this unity:
Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man.... the fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church.230
Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.231
Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.232
A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."233
The Church is the Bride of Christ
796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. the theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist.234 The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom."235The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed" to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him.236 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.237 "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her."238 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:239
This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many . . . whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? "The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church."240 and the Lord himself says in the Gospel: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."241 They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union, . . . as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself "bride."242
797 "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church."243 "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members."244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church "the temple of the living God":245
Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the "Gift of God" has been entrusted.... In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God.... For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit; where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace.246
798 The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body."247 He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity:248 by God's Word "which is able to build you up";249 by Baptism, through which he forms Christ's Body;250 by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ's members; by "the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts";251 by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called "charisms"), by which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."252
799 Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.
800 Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms.253
801 It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds. "Their office (is) not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good,"254 so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good."255

802 Christ Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own" ( Titus 2:14).
803 "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people" ( 1 Pet 2:9).
804 One enters into the People of God by faith and Baptism. "All men are called to belong to the new People of God" (LG 13), so that, in Christ, "men may form one family and one People of God" (AG 1).
805 The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body.
806 In the unity of this Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted.
807 The Church is this Body of which Christ is the head: she lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives with her and in her.
808 The Church is the Bride of Christ: he loved her and handed himself over for her. He has purified her by his blood and made her the fruitful mother of all God's children.
809 The Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Mystical Body, the source of its life, of its unity in diversity, and of the riches of its gifts and charisms.
810 "Hence the universal Church is seen to be 'a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit'" (LG 4 citing St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 23: PL 4, 553).

811 "This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic."256  (LG 8.)
These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other,257 indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. the Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.
812 Only faith can recognize that the Church possesses these properties from her divine source. But their historical manifestations are signs that also speak clearly to human reason. As the First Vatican Council noted, the "Church herself, with her marvellous propagation, eminent holiness, and inexhaustible fruitfulness in everything good, her catholic unity and invincible stability, is a great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefutable witness of her divine mission."258
"The sacred mystery of the Church's unity" (UR 2). Me: the point: The Holy Spirit in Baptism gives us the power to be self-gift. We are constitutively relational. Therefore, no one can be without the other. Hence the many are one in a way that is not an accidental grouping of individuals. This is the meaning of communio as opposed to communion.”
813 The Church is one because of her source: "the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit."259 The Church is one because of her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body."260 The Church is one because of her "soul": "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity."261 Unity is of the essence of the Church:
What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her "Church."262
814 From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions."263 The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. and so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."264
815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony."265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
- profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
-common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
- apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family.
816 "The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it.... This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."267
The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God."268
The Second Vatican Council, with the formula of the subsistit — in accord with Catholic tradition — wanted to teach the exact opposite of "ecclesiological relativism": the Church of Jesus Christ truly exists. He himself willed her, and the Holy Spirit has continuously created her since Pentecost, in spite of being faced with every human failing, and sustains her in her essential identity. The institution is not an inevitable but theologically unimportant or even harmful externalization, but belongs in its essential core to the concrete character of the Incarnation. The Lord keeps his word: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against her".
Council: 'Subsistit In' Explains Church As Concrete Subject
At this point it becomes necessary to investigate the word subsistit somewhat more carefully. With this expression, the Council differs from the formula of Pius XII, who said in his Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi: "The Catholic Church "is" (est) the one mystical body of Christ". The difference between subsistit and est conceals within itself the whole ecumenical problem. The word subsistit derives from the ancient philosophy as later developed in Scholastic philosophy. The Greek word hypostasis that has a central role in Christology to describe the union of the divine and the human nature in the Person of Christ comes from that vision. Subsistere is a special case of esse. It is being in the form of a subject who has an autonomous existence. Here it is a question precisely of this. The Council wants to tell us that the Church of Jesus Christ as a concrete subject in this world can be found in the Catholic Church. This can take place only once, and the idea that the subsistit could be multiplied fails to grasp precisely the notion that is being intended. With the word subsistit, the Council wished to explain the unicity of the Catholic Church and the fact of her inability to be multiplied: the Church exists as a subject in historical reality.
The difference between subsistit and est however contains the tragedy of ecclesial division. Although the Church is only one and "subsists" in a unique subject, there are also ecclesial realities beyond this subject — true local Churches and different ecclesial communities. Because sin is a contradiction, this difference between subsistit and est cannot be fully resolved from the logical viewpoint. The paradox of the difference between the unique and concrete character of the Church, on the one hand, and, on the other, the existence of an ecclesial reality beyond the one subject, reflects the contradictory nature of human sin and division. This division is something totally different from the relativistic dialectic described above in which the division of Christians loses its painful aspect and in fact is not a rupture, but only the manifestation of multiple variations on a single theme, in which all the variations are in a certain way right and wrong. An intrinsic need to seek unity does not then exist, because in any event the one Church really is everywhere and nowhere. Thus Christianity would actually exist only in the dialectic correlation of various antitheses. Ecumenism consists in the fact that in some way all recognize one another, because all are supposed to be only fragments of Christian reality. Ecumenism would therefore be the resignation to a relativistic dialectic, because the Jesus of history belongs to the past and the truth in any case remains hidden.
The vision of the Council is quite different: the fact that in the Catholic Church is present the subsistit of the one subject the Church, is not at all the merit of Catholics, but is solely God’s work, which he makes endure despite the continuous unworthiness of the human subjects. They cannot boast of anything, but can only admire the fidelity of God, with shame for their sins and at the same time great thanks. But the effect of their own sins can be seen: the whole world sees the spectacle of the divided and opposing Christian communities, reciprocally making their own claims to truth and thus clearly frustrating the prayer of Christ on the eve of his Passion. Whereas division as a historical reality can be perceived by each person, the subsistence of the one Church in the concrete form of the Catholic Church can be seen as such only through faith. Since the Second Vatican Council was conscious of this paradox, it proclaimed the duty of ecumenism as a search for true unity, and entrusted it to the Church of the future.” (“The Ecclesiology of the Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, Lumen Gentium” – Joseph Ratzinger

Rev. Robert A. Connor – April 20, 2013.

[1] “The expression alter Christus does not occur as such in the New Testament, but its meaning has a solid biblical foundation:” Antonio Aranda  “ The Christian, alter Christus, ipse Christus in the thought of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer” in Holiness and the Word, Scepte(1997) 132.
[2] Inside the Vatican, August-September 2010, 38.
[3] J.H. Newman, “An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine” (1844).
[4] John Henry Newman, “Essays Critiacl and Historical,” XI: Milman’s View of Christianity (1871), vol. 2, 232-233.

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