More than a human and legal Institution, the Church is a “Mystery”; it is a human-divine complex. The same way Jesus is man and God at the same time, His Church is also human and divine and was created after His likeness. That is the Mystery we shall never be able to perfectly understand during earthly life, though it is a reality.
Chapter I of “Lumen Gentium” (Peoples’ Light) – the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution on the Church – is devoted to that Mystery and starts as follows:
“… The Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race…” (LG, 1).
Vatican Council II teaches us that God did not want to save mankind individually; on the contrary, “He planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ” (LG, 2).
God the Father decreed the salvation of mankind through the Body of Christ, the Church. Each baptized individual becomes a member of that Body, in which God gathers His human family that sin had dispersed. In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul clearly explains that reality:
“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 12-27).
That is an awesome reality: we are the Body of Christ. The Father decided to bring back His human family to His Proximity through the creation of this human-divine Mystical Body (mysterious Body), so that we can co-experience His blissful life once again.
“Grafted in Christ” (Romans 11, 17) through Baptism, we participate in His Death and Resurrection; in Him we become God’s adoptive children and heirs of eternal life. That is the redeeming reality of the Church, “the universal sacrament of salvation” (LG, 48) and “mystery of men’s union with God” (CCC # 772).
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