I believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Respond quickly to this question: “What is the full name of the Catholic Church?”
If your answer was “Catholic Church, Apostolic, Roman,” I’d say you got it right, but only in parts. A more complete and precise answer to this question can be found in the beautiful composition of theNicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: “I Believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”
It would be very important that all those who freely profess their faith through the Creed to be thoroughly aware of the wealth that lies behind each of these terms. To say that the Catholic Church is one, for example, entails saying that among many other things it has a single founder, professes a single faith, has a common celebration of divine worship. Besides, she is One, because she has a single Pope since Saint Peter, she has a single doctrine. As we can see, in the trace of each attribute, one finds an inestimable treasure , encompassing rich meanings, permeated by history and the most crystalline Tradition.
Get ready for this irrefutable proposal!
How can we dive, little by little, into this source of grace and fruitfulness, which are some of the teachings of the Catholic Church? In other words, how about we stand before this precious treasure to contemplate its brilliance and its beauty? Of course, as we do this, we will be more aware of our faith, more enlightened “in” and “for” reason and enlightened “in” and “by” the Spirit.
We will have, therefore, four more articles. They were prepared with much affection for you. Through them we will be given the opportunity to delve deeper into each attribute of the Church (One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic).
What is behind the expression “Church”?
Since we leave to deal with these attributes in the next articles, I want to at least point to some basic meanings about the expression “Church”.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 751, tells us that this word derives from the Greek term “ekklésia”, and means “convocation.” And “convocation” can be understood in the following sense: God who “summons” his people from the ends of the earth, to form the community of those who believe in him. In this way, God wants to bring together in one community all men dispersed by sin.
Church as God’s house and our house
Leaving the etymological context of “Church”, and giving a slightly more metaphorical sense, this word can also be understood as “House of God”. How interesting is this definition!
Surely, I can say that the sense of “home” for me and for you is very rich and deep. Our house represents, among many other things, security, warmth, freedom. We show ourselves, truly, who we are within our home. Such a sense of welcome is so intense, for example, that when we want to welcome a person into our home, we often say to her, “Feel at home” or “It’s your house.” Ask yourself this question and try to answer it within yourself: Am I making the Church my home?
Church is a place of intimacy
In our house, we live with those people closer and, as a consequence, we know them very well. So the house is a place of intimacy. We know the most intimate secrets of those who live with us and they also know our secrets. Without a doubt, the most effective way to truly know a person is to live with them under one roof. Here is another question: Am I living a relationship of intimacy with God and with my brothers within this house, which is the Church?
Once we live inside this house (Church), we find people who represent for us the presence of real parents, mothers, brothers. We can then say: We are a family, by the way, we are a big family. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the first paragraph, proves this thesis, which affirms the familiarity among the faithful. God calls us “to the unity of his family, the Church”.
The gateway to this house, which is the Church
It may seem the greatest of all the truisms, but there is no house without a door and, of course, the Church also has its door. But what door would that be? The Catechism of the Catholic Church responds clearly to this question in paragraph 950: “… the sacraments, especially baptism, which is the door through which one enters the Church …”.
If, therefore, we were baptized, we are residents of that house. This reality is so important that I will repeat it in other words. The moment we were baptized, we became residents of that house. The Church is your home, my brother! In short, the Church is the house of God, and it is also our home.
Important warning that the Church makes us
To conclude, I want to leave here a fraternal admonition made by the Catholic Church . It can be found in paragraph 837: “They are fully incorporated into the Church, those who… Accept the whole of their organization and all the means of salvation instituted therein. However, one who, not persevering in charity, remains within the Church ‘with the body’, but not ‘with the heart’ is not saved, although it is incorporated into the Church. “
In other words, it is no use to be only present in the Church, it is necessary to be in full.
In the following articles, we will have the opportunity to reflect a little more about the four attributes of the Catholic Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
God bless and see you next time!
Seminarian Gleidson de Souza Carvalho (Instagram: @cngleidson)
Missionary of the Canção Nova Community