What is Church in the plan of Salvation
To deepen our faith let us learn more from teaching of the Church in the Catechism if the Catholic Church (CCC). We learn about Church in the plan of Salvation.
1. What does the word Church means?
The word Church refers to the people whom God calls and gathers together from every part of the earth. They form the assembly of those who through faith and Baptism have become children of God, member of Christ, and temple of the Holy Spirit.
Ref: CCC (751-752 777, 804)
2. Are there other names and images with which the Bible speaks about Church?
In secret Scripture we find many images which bring out various complementary aspects of the mystery of the church. The Old Testament favours those images that are bound to people of God. The new Testament offers images that are linked to Christ as the Head of this people which is body. Other image are drawn from pastoral life (sheepfold, flock, sheep), from agriculture (field, olive grove, vineyard), from construction (dwelling place, stone, temple), and from family life (spouse, mother, family).
Ref: CCC (753-757)
3. What is the origin and the fulfilment of the church?
The Church finds her origin and fulfilment in the eternal plan of God. She was prepared for, in the Old Covenant with the election of Israel, the sign of the future gathering of all the nations. Founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ: fulfilled by his redeeming death and resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. She will be perfect in the glory of heaven as the assemble of all the redeemed of the earth.
Ref: CCC (758, 766, 778)
4. What is the mission of the church?
The mission of the Church is to proclaim and establish the kingdom of God begun by Jesus Christ among all peoples. The Church constitutes on earth the seed and beginning of this salvific Kingdom.
Ref: CCC (767-769)
5. In what way is the Church a mystery?
The Church is a mystery in as much as in her visible reality, there is a present and active divine spiritual reality which can only be with the eyes of faith.
Ref: CCC (770-773, 779)
6. What does it mean to say that the church is the universal sacrament of salvation?
This means that she is the sign and instrument both of the reconciliation and communion of all of humanity with God and of human race.
Ref: CCC (774-776, 780)
CHURCH: PEOPLE OF GOD, BODY OF CHRIST, TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
7. Why is the Church the “People of God”?
The Church is the “people of God” because it pleased God to sanctify and save men not in the isolation but by making them into one people gathered together by the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Ref: CCC (781, 802-804)
8. Where does the one church of Christ subsist?
The one church of Christ, as a society constituted and organized in the world, subsists in (subsist it in) the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him. Only through this church can we obtain the fullness of the means of salvation since the Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to apostolic college alone whose head is Peter.
9 How are non-Catholic Christian to be considered!
In the churches and ecclesial communities which is separated from full communion with the Catholic Church many elements of sanctification and truth can be found. All of these blessings come from Christ and lead to Catholic Church Members of these churches and communities are incorporated into Christ by Baptism and we so recognize them brothers.
10. How does one commit oneself to work for the unity of Christians?
The desire to restore the unity of all Christians is a gift from Christ and a call of the spirit. This desire involves the entire church and it is purposed by conversion of heart. Prayer. Fraternal knowledge of each other and theological dialogue
11. Why is the church called “catholic”?
The church is catholic that is universal, insofar as Chris: present in her: “where there is Christ Jesus, there is catholic church” (saint Ignatius of Antioch). The church proclaims the fullness and the totality of the faith; she be and administers the fullness of the means of salvation; she sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race.
12. Who belong to the Catholic Church?
All human beings in various ways belong to or are ordered the catholic unity of the people of God. Fully incorporated the Catholic Church are those who, possessing the spirit of Christ, are jointed to the church by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government and communion. The baptised who do not enjoy full catholic unity are in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.
13. What is the meaning of the affirmation “outside the church there is no salvation”?
This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the church as found by Christ and the necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through his dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation.
LET US PRAY: Lord God, you have prepared for those who love you what no eyes has seen, no ear heard. Fill us with your love, so that loving you above all and all, we may attain your promise which the heart of man has no conceived. Through our Lord. Amen.
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