CATECHISM and the LITURGY

Pentecost: The Birth of the Church

(Posted 05/31/20)

   CAT. 1152, 1226, 1302,1556: The Mystery of Pentecost Continues in the Church

   CAT. 767, 775, 796, 798: The Church as the Communion of the Spirit

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   The Spirit born Church is Jesus' particular gift to his followers for continuing his salvific work through the destiny and call given to each member of the Mystical Body. St. Augustine shows that Christ speaks in his person as head and also in his person as members. This intimacy is so close that whether it is his members united in the Church or as himself, Christ fully speaks in the Church or in himself with the same faith, power to sanctify, and love of the Father.

   St. Augustine noticed that St. Paul was inspired to see the union of husband and wife as great foreshadowing of the oneness between Jesus Christ as the head of the Mystical Body, as the bridegroom, to the members purified as the bride of Christ.

   Those people from all over the world on that first Pentecost saw the Church revealed as the sacrament of unity. First, despite different languages, races, and even creeds, all are made one in the common acceptance of Jesus' faith and their acceptance by Christ into divine union through baptism and the other sacraments.

   The Church is an instrument for the unity of all people who, despite different conditions, are called to participate in the one plan of God for the good on earth and salvation in eternity for each other. The Church is an expression of the real unity of individuals and all humanity with God, something which will occur in glorious fullness at the summation of the world, but something that is present in seminal form in the unity of believers in the Church.

   The supernatural grace of Christ is apprehended by people in the sacraments. The Church makes use of the sign value of created things (e.g. water, oil, bread and wine), which convey meanings to us, but these things are purified as to why God made those material things to convey greater spiritual unity with the Creator.

   These signs are prefigured often enough in the Old Testament, which sows both the ancient longing to worship God and come into contact with him, which directed to reveal Jesus as the Savior. These sacraments are now the means whereby the Holy Spirit communicates and enriches the Christian with unity in God and an understanding of the ramifications of such an encounter to be lived out in our world.

   By its very nature, the Church is missionary - sent by God, with Christ and the Spirit, to announce salvation, engender understanding, and begin to effect the unity God desires and has implanted as a longing in the human heart, mind, and soul for intimacy with God.

   We are sent together for mutual support as we need constant correction to our course and purification of our motives. We more profoundly conform to a message and service which is not of our own 

foundation, but a work which primarily remains with Jesus with whom we intimately cooperate. 

   As his members, Christ works in us and us with him. As the head of the Body, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit to lead us in an organized manner representing divine peace through truth.

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