Catholic Doctrine: The Sense of the Church (1)

September 19, 2019

The Church of Jesus Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ founded the Church in calling into His service the Apostles and in making them the pillars. He chose them from among the disciples who followed him:

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God. And when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles): Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called the Zealot, And Jude, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor” (Lk. 6:12-16).

To His Church, He promised many tribulations, rejection and hardship as well as persecutions. Because it is in the midst of human infirmities that the power of God appears: 

“But look to yourselves. For they shall deliver you up to councils, and in the synagogues you shall be beaten, and you shall stand before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony unto them. And unto all nations the gospel must first be preached. And when they shall lead you and deliver you up, be not thoughtful beforehand what you shall speak; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye. For it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost. And the brother shall betray his brother unto death, and the father his son; and children shall rise up against the parents, and shall work their death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved” (Mk 13:9-13).

Nevertheless, through the end of time, Our Lord has promised His indefectible assistance:

“Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt 28:19-20).

From the heights of heaven, ceaselessly the Son of God prays for His Church, keeping watch over her and assisting her. Jesus Christ is her leader, the head who takes care of her members: “Whereby He is able also to save for ever them that come to God by Him; always living to make intercession for us” (Heb.7:25).

Bossuet writes, “the Church is Jesus Christ spread and communicated, it is wholly Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ in His plenitude,” (Letter to a Young Lady of Metz). Continuing in her, He manifests Himself and communicates Himself through her, animating her with His spirit and nourishing her with His own flesh.

From: Le Sens de l’Eglise (The Sense of the Church) by Fr. Gaston Courtois, Fleurus, Paris, 1950.

Next: It is necessary to believe in the Church.