The Church, a Divine Society

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The Triumph of Christ's Church - by UNKNOWN MASTER, Flemish - from Museo del Prado, Madrid

 

There are Two (2) Societies which are Perfect - the Church and the State:

The State is a Society aimed at the 'Temporal Welfare' of the Community
The Church is a Society aimed at the 'Spiritual Welfare' of its Members

 

The Church, a Divine Society

from the Catholic Encyclopedia

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The Church is a Society formed of living Men, not a mere Mystical Union of Souls. As such it resembles other Societies. Like them, it has its Code of Rules, its Executive Officers, its Ceremonial Observances. Yet it differs from them more-than it resembles them: for it is a Supernatural Society. The Kingdom of God is Supernatural alike in its Origin, in the Purpose at which it aims, and in the Means at its disposal. Other Kingdoms are 'Natural' in their Origin; and their Scope is limited to the Temporal Welfare of their Citizens.

The Supernatural Character of the Church is Seen, when its Relation to the Redemptive Work of Christ is considered. It is the Society of those whom He has Redeemed from the World. The World, by which term are signified Men in so far as they have Fallen from God, is ever set forth in Scripture as the Kingdom of the Evil One. It is the "World of Darkness" (Ephesians 6:12), it is "Seated in the Wicked One" (1John 6:19), it Hates Christ (John 15:18). To Save the World, God the Son became Man. He offered Himself as a Propitiation for the Sins of the whole World (1John 2:2). God, Who desires that all Men should be Saved, has offered Salvation to all; but the greater part of Mankind Rejects the proffered Gift. The Church is the Society of those who accept Redemption, of those whom Christ "has chosen out of the World" (John 15:19). Thus it is the Church alone which He "hath purchased with His Own Blood" (Acts 20:28). Of the Members of the Church, the Apostle can say that "God hath delivered us from the Power of Darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of His Love" (Colossians 1:13).

Saint Augustine terms the Church "Mundus Salvatus " -- the Redeemed World -- and speaking of the Enmity borne towards the Church by those who Reject her, says: "The World of Perdition hates the World of Salvation". To the Church, Christ has given the Means of Grace He Merited by His Life and Death. She Communicates them to her Members; and those who are outside her Fold she bids to enter that they too may participate in them. By these means of Grace -- the Light of Revealed Truth, the Sacraments, the Perpetual Renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary -- the Church carries-on the Work of Sanctifying the Elect. Through their Instrumentality, each individual Soul is Perfected, and Conformed to the Likeness of the Son of God.

It is thus Manifest that, when we regard the Church simply as the Society-of-Disciples, we are considering its External Form only. Its Inward Life is found in the Indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Gifts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, the Grace Communicated by the Sacraments, and the other Prerogatives by which the Children of God differ from the Children of the World. This aspect of the Church is described by the Apostles in Figurative Language. They represent it as the Body of Christ, the Spouse (Bride) of Christ, the Temple of God. In order to understand its True Nature, some consideration of these comparisons is requisite. In the Conception of the Church as a Body governed and directed by Christ as the Head, far more is contained than the Familiar Analogy between a Ruler and his Subjects on the one hand, and the Head guiding and coordinating the Activities of the several Members on the other. That Analogy expresses indeed the Variety of Function, the Unity of Directive Principle, and the Cooperation of the Parts to a Common End, which are found in any Society; but it is Insufficient to explain the Terms in which:

Saint Paul speaks of the Union between Christ and His Disciples.

Each of them is a Member of Christ (1Corinthians 6:15);

Together they Form the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16);

As a Corporate Unity they are simply termed Christ (1Corinthians 12:12).

 

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Church comes from God

The Church comes from God, not from Man - by Father Charles Irvin

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Apostles' Creed - by Father Pablo Straub

A Series of Twenty (20) Audio Clips reflecting on the Creed,
each Ten (10) Minutes in length

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Creeds of the Catholic Church

The Athanasian, Apostles, Nicene, and Trentine Creeds; and the
Credo of the People of God

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Apostles Creed

By Father Reginald Martin, O.P.

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Apostles Creed

By Father William G. Most

 angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) John Paul II defines the Church

Venerable Pope John Paul II has developed a new Theological Synthesis for presenting the Catholic Faith, including this Presentation on the Church as the Person of Christ.

 angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Mark of the Church

From the Catholic Encyclopedia

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Holy Catholic Church

From the Baltimore Catechism

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Bark (Barque) of Peter

The Church as the Sturdy Ship/Ark/Barque that carries us to Salvation

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) One Catholic Faith, Many Ways to Life in the Trinity

A quick look at the Eastern Catholic Churches

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Micro Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Full Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Descent of Jesus into Hell

As professed in the Apostles Creed, a detached account of Jesus' descent into Hell from 'The Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ' by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824)

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Basics of Scripture

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Prostitution in the Bible

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Sacred Tradition

By Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) What is the Bible? What does it say?

By Father William G. Most

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Rending of the Veil in the Temple

The tearing in two by God of the great Veil in the Jerusalem Temple starts the Forty (40) year countdown to the Complete, Utter Destruction of the Temple and the Jewish Nation.

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem

Prophesied by Jesus, this event symbolizes the end of the Jewish Religion as a means of Redemption, leaving only the Redemptive Mission of His Catholic Church.

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Mass of Christ's Church

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Sacraments of Christ's Church

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Four Evangelists

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Twelve Apostles

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Liturgical Use of Candles in the Church

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Highest Dignity on Earth

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Our Indebtedness to the Apostles

by Father Paul K. Raftery, O.P.

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Liturgical Seasons of the Church

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Numbers of the Roman Catholic Church

Sacred Scripture contains many Numbers. The thoughtful man cannot escape being aroused to wonder why it is that Moses and Elijah, and Our Lord Himself fasted Forty (40) days. Ignorance of the Principles of Numbers will mean that a Man will fail to understand many things in the Scriptures.

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Symbols of the Roman Catholic Church

Catholic Symbolism is the use of Signs and Emblems to teach and present Religious Truths. Words often fail where Symbolism succeeds, while taken together they frequently make spiritual things more fully grasped.

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Laity of the Church

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Dominican Treatise on the Apostles' Creed

By Father Reginald Martin, O.P.

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) Dominican Treatise on the Our Father

By Father Reginald Martin, O.P.

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) Dominican Treatise on the Church

By Father Reginald Martin, O.P.

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Lord's Prayer

By Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) The Hail Mary

By Father Reginald Martin, O.P.

angel_01.gif (2832 bytes) The Eternity of God

angel_02.gif (2330 bytes) God and Infinity (∞)

 

"We Love Jesus Christ in His Church, because She is His Immaculate Spouse, Who came out of His Opened Side on the Cross, just as Eve came out of the first Adam"

Saint Eugene de Mazenod

 

Pentecost is Traditionally considered to be the Birthday-of the Church, which is Christ's One (1) and only Bride. However, the above Quote by Saint Eugene-de-Mazenod sheds additional Light on the Subject. Actually, the Birth of the Church Commenced on Good Friday, when the Side (Heart) of Jesus was Pierced with a Lance, and Water and Blood Flowed-Forth for the Salvation of all Mankind. This Concept is Eloquently Explained below by the Great Doctor-of-the-Church, Saint John Chrysostom. The Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Soul of the Church, Fifty (50) days after Easter, on the Feast-of Pentecost, Concluded the Birth (Fashioning) of Christ's Immaculate Spouse, the Church.

 

Birth of Eve,
the Bride of Adam,
from Adam's side

Birth of the Church,
the Bride of Christ,
from Christ's Side

"Water and Blood Symbolized Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. From these Two (2) Sacraments the Church is Born: from Baptism, the Cleansing Water that gives Rebirth and Renewal from the Holy Spirit, and from the Holy Eucharist. Since the Symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist flowed from His Side, it was from His Side that Christ 'Fashioned' the Church, as He had 'Fashioned' Eve from the side of Adam".

Saint John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church