New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Monday, August 16, 2010

Loving the Church - Pope John Paul II

Loving the Church

The Church, handing on the message of Revelation with which she has been entrusted, is the place of God's living presence in the human world, and the place where redemption takes place. The Church, as the Second Vatican Council states, is 'in Christ, in the nature of a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity with the human race'. We should reconsider this essential statement in the Constitution Lumen gentium (n. 1) so that our mission may derive full benefit from it.

The face and function of the Church cannot be understoodunless we go right to the depths of her nature: in conferring baptism on us, she is our Mother, she gives us life in Christ, she makes us holy and transmits the gift of the Holy Spirit to us.

In the Eucharist, a thank-offering to the Father and a bond of fellowship among us, we are privileged to share in Christ's redemptive sacrifice. Outside of this sacramental dimension, we cannot but have a superficial and totally perverted vision of the Church.

It seems to me that today there is a need to rekindle a love in Catholics for the Church which they form and which they should not view from the outside. The Church is no mere association it is an authentic fellowship. To illustrate this concept, I want to quote St Irenaeus, the second-century Bishop of Lyons: 'The Father is above all, and he is the head of Christ, but the Word is through all things and he is himself the head of the Church; whilst the Spirit is in us all; and he is the living water which the Lord gave to those who believe in him and love him and know
that there is one sole God and Father' (Adversus haereses, V 18,2). Aware of their dignity as responsible children in the bosom of the Christian family, the baptized can the better welcome the prophetic messages transmitted by the Church, the gift of the Faith and the moral rules that follow from it.

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