“In that Body the life of Christ is poured into the believers who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ who suffered and was glorified” (Lumen Gentium # 7).
That is the reason why each and every Baptized Christian is called to “conforming with” the Christ (NT. From the Latin conformare = com/like, with, according to + formare/to form); that means taking the same shape of, being similar or identical to the Christ in suffering and in glory. Like Saint Paul told Saint Timothy:
“This saying is trustworthy: if we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him” (The Second Letter to Timothy 2, 11-12).
The Popes of the Church have always affirmed: “Christianus alter Christus”, which means that “a Christian is another Christ”, precisely because he is a member of Christ’s Body and he lives in His Spirit. Saint Paul actually felt he was a member of the Christ and affirmed:
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (The Letter to the Colossians 1, 24).
Saint Paul Apostle also reveals his perfect identification with the Christ-Head of the Church in his Letter to the Galatians:
“Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me” (The Letter to the Galatians 2, 20).
Saint Paul also reveals his perfect communion with the Christ in his Letter to the Philippians:
“My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain” (The Letter to the Philippians 1, 20 21).
Paul wanted the Philippians to share the same feeling of belonging to the Body of the Christ:
“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus”(The Letter to the Philippians 2, 5).
In other words, he wanted the members of the Body to act in accordance with their Head.
“Complete my joy be being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing” (The Letter to the Philippians 2, 3).
The ultimate goal of each and every member of the Body is to be in total conformity with the Head:
“He is the head of the body, the church” (The Letter to the Colossians 1, 18).
We have been inserted in the Mystery of His Life to achieve that goal:
“My children, for whom I am in labor until Christ be formed in you” (The Letter to the Galatians 4, 19).
The Church is “just one Body” and therefore its greatest need is unity. Christ and the Apostles have repeatedly pointed at that fact. During the Last Supper Jesus prays His Father before His Passion:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are” (John 17, 11).
Prof Felipe Aquino
Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino