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May 31, 1963     Catholic Northwest Progress
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May 31, 1963

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.&--THE,,, PROORESS , Friday, May 31, 1963 THEOLOGY FOR THE LAYMAN: (Lesson 18/ CHRI00STIAN Chapter XVIII The Roman /Catholic Church, The Mystical Body of Christ In the above title we find the final great mystery concerning the Kingdom of God on Earth. We have referred to the Church or'Kingdom of God as a society from the very beginning of this course. Under God the Father wg insisted that the Jewish re- /qon was a true visible society. I'f consisted of a group of people (e Chosen People) with a specific purpose: holiness; and it possessed within itself the means to attain that goal: LAW, P R O P H E T S, REDEEMER- KING, SACRIFICE AND SACRED-SIGNS. But the new society which Christ perfected and the Holy Spirit preserves in the world today is not a merely human 6rganization. This new and won- drful Society with its TRADI- TION, SAINTS, POPE, MASS, AND SACRAMENTS is CHRIST: Just as we would make a serious mistake if we considered Christ to be merely human, so would we err if we considered the Church to be rfierely human. As Christ Him- self is also divine, so is the Church divine. In fact, the Church is the Body of which Christ is the Head. It is the Mys- tical Body of Christ. Mystical Body And Physical Body :-'The word "mystical" is used in order to distinguish the Church, as the Body of Christ, from the physical body of Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary and is now present m heaven and in the Holy Eucha- rist. Although the Church is not the physical body of Christ, it i, nevertheless, really His body. For Christ has two bodies: His physical body and His Mystical Body. Catholic teaching regarding the Mystical Body will not seem as strange if you think a little bit about human organizations. When men form a club they join together and elect a leader. They make up their minds regarding the purpose of the club. Perhaps the purpose is to play basketball, to raise funds for some charity, or simply to have a good time. Next a list of conditions are compiled, to be fulfilled by whoever wishes to-join. Before one realizes it, they are speaking of the leader as the head of the club, and of themselves as mem- bers, just as one speaks of the head and members (arms, legs, etc.) of a physical body. Why A Human Organization Is Called A Body Why do we speak in this way? One reason is that men have always spoken in this man- ner of their human organiza- tions. The real reason, however, is that there is a real resemblance between a human organization and a human body. In the hu- man body the head and mem- bers are so closely united that they form one living and acting unit. The head directs the mem- bers and the members work un- der the direction of L the head. Those who belong to a human organization also feel a sense of unity among themselves and with the leader of the organiza- ion. The purpose which they are seeking to achieve unites them, so that they willingly follow their leader's directions. In fact, they form a single acting unit, thus resembling the human body. The head and the members to- gether, in this sense, form a body. The Church as a "Body" Now, Christ Our Lord made Himself the leader of an organi- zation when He perfected the already existing organization of the Jewish religion. The purpose of the organization is the salva- tion of all those who join it. Christ had merited salvation for the members on the cross; they In a great Tradition- The 1963 graduates of Seattle University will take Their places in the mainstream Of Catholic and Community Cultural Life. Their Alma Mater salutes Sponsors of the Christian Culture Series seattle University McDonald & McGarry Providence Heights St. Vincent dePaul Rosellini's Restaurants Insurance Brokers Sister Formation Salvacje Bureau of Renown . : Victor's,610 Pine Catholic Gifts and L Schulmerich Bailarc Rosellini s Four-10 Church Goods Inc. Carillons Archdiocesan Union Bill Thoma L.G.'Massart Holy Name S0ciefies Select Used Cars PIcj. & Htg. Co. Information Center L/I. " " " ' '* Mechanical Contractor ' " "" '*" ,' L Bonney-Wafson , The Christian Brothers ; Archdiocesan Council %'" Funeral Director Wire KXA Radio Station , of Catholic Women Them. CULTURE Seattle University, Dedicated to Intellectual and Moral Excellence were to achieve salvation by joining His Church. He laid down certain conditions for join- ing the Church principally faith and baptism. And all those who enter the Church do so with the intention of following His di- rections and the inspirations of the Holy Ghost who guides and preserves the Church, in order to attain salvation. As members of the Church, therefore, they form with Christ the Head, one single acting unit a body. To this extent the Mystical Body is like human or- ganizations and is called a body because it resembles the human body. Christ and His Members: A Living Unit But we have already said that the Church is not a mere human organization. Therefore there is more than a resehablance be- tween the Church and a body. The resemblance is so great that it is proper to call the Church the Body of Christ. A human organization is unified princi- pally by the common purpose which the members aim to achieve under the direction of the head. They form a single acting unit, but not a single liv- ing unit. The Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts of America are not in them- selves living units. They are act- ing units. It is also true that the Chosen People in the Old Testa- ment were not a living unit in the sense referred to above. They were an acting unit. By making Christians a living unit Christ perfected the society of the Old Law and made it immeasurably more wonderful. For the Church Christ perfected is Christ Him- self living and acting in and through and with His members. The members_ of the Church united with Christ their Head, form not only a single acting unit but a single living unit as well. This is accomplished by the mystery of divine grace. We have already seen that grace is life, supernatural life, a share in SERIES the divine life. This divine life was merited for us by Christ on the cross. It is possessed by Him in all its fullness as the Head of the Mystical Body. From Him, as the Head, it is channelled to each and every one of those who are united to Him as members of His Body. Thus all the mem- bers together with the Head form a single living and acting unit. Grace: Life of The Mystical Body All live by the one life of grace which comes to them from Christ and for this reason they act as one in their pursuit of salvation. It is p r i n c i p a I I y t h r o u g h the sacraments that Christ nourishes and strengthens the life of grace in each of His members. But he also increases that life in each as the reward of prayers and good works. By receiving the sacraments, by praying, and by doing good we do our part, not only toward saving our souls, but toward what St. Paul calls, "the build- ing up of the Body of Christ," the Body of Christ which is His Church. The Holy Spirit The Soul of The Mystical Body Everybody needs a life-giving unifying principle, a soul. The soul of Christ's Mystical Body the Church is the Holy Spirit. As soul of the Mystical Body the Holy Spirit joins the members of the Church to one another and to Christ. their Head. He is entire in Christ, the Head, .en- tire in the Body, and entire in each of the members. Through His grace He is the cause of every supernatural, act m all parts of the Body. His is per- sonally present and active in all the members. He also acts in the members through the ministry of the higher members. He pro- vides for the constant growth of the Church. Thus we see how the Holy Spirit preserves with his life- giving grace the Mystical Body of Christ and makes it possible for men and women of every age to become one witla Christ by becoming a member of His Body the Church. Our bodies are not formed by any haphazard g r o u p i n g of members. They are made up of organs, i.e., members which have different functions, but which work together in such a way that the body lives and acts as a whole. So, too, it is with the Church. In the Church there are many members, millions of men, women and children. As mem- bers. of the Church they occupy special positions and exercise special functions; the POPE, as visible head, teaching, sanctify- ing and ruling in the name of Christ; the bishops exercising the same functions in union with the Holy Father; the, clergy assisting the bishops in the work of teaching and sanctifying; lay- men  each performing some s p e c i a 1 function; teachers teaching; parentsforming the youngest members of Christ; d o c t o r s, lawyers, farmers, workers all cooperating, each in his own way, according to his calling in the work of worship- ping God, extending the Body of Christ throughout the world and increasing its inner holiness. And all this kept alive, vigor- ous, and healthy by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who lives in the Church as the life- giving soul of the Mystical Body of Christ. We can sum up the vital or- gans of Christ's Body in TRA- DITION, S A I N T S, POPE, MASS AND SACRAMENTS. Through these five means the Holy Spirit preserves the Life of Christ in the members of the Mystical Body. The members of Christ learn Life-giwng truth through the marvelous organ of Divine Tradition. Christ lives in each of His members who are in the state of grace. The Saints and Martyrs bear Christ in their bodies to an extraordinary de- gree and the Holy Spirit uses their lives to teach the rest of the world that Christ does live on in His members. To Become Saints . . . Saints represent the entire body of the Church itself. Saints are the living Organism as a" whole for all are called upon to bear Christ in our bodies and show Him to the world. To be- leaders of His Church) hears Me." In receiving grace and the Sacraments from her hands, we receive them from Him. Our life is of and in Him. We are cells of the one Mystical Body of Christ. Our supernatural life is_ His life. He is not a far-awa31B but a near Lord, Teacher, King, Priest, Victim, Prophet and Saviour. Through our member- ship in the Church it is in Him that we live and move and be, the Incarnate Son of God, the invisible Life in His visible Church. The Catholic Church is called  g the Mystical Body of Christ be- cause its members are united by supernatural bonds with one an- other and with Christ, their Head, thus resembling the mem- bers and head of the living humanbody. The Life of Z= = . __= :____: ==_ _:__- 1. While the Church is called a body because it resembles a human body, why is it proper to call the Church the Body of Christ? 2. All members of the Mystical Body are sharers through Grace of the Divine Life of Christ, our Head. Does this mean that we should be more attentive to, more respectful of our fellow Catholics than we are of others? 3. By what means does the Holy Spirit preserve the Divine Life in the Members of the Mystical Body? 4. Can a Catholic have the confidence that when he obeys the Church he is obeying Christ? 5. Is it necessary for a Catholic to have devotion to Mary, the Mother of Christ? I | == 6. Who are members of the Mystical Body? What do we mean by the Commumon of Saints? -=- llllltlllllllllltlll ] llllfll IIIIIIIIIIIIIFIII ITIHIIIr Illlll Illllilllll{ll]llltllllll[IIIlllNIIrllllllll IllllltlllTIIIrllllllll!l I[II?II][IIITIIIHI[ come a Sa'int is the goal of every Christian and to make Saints is the goal of all the various func- tions of the Mystical Body. The Pope, of'course, is Christ's v i s i b 1 e representative and is the visible head of the Body. The Mass is the official organ by which the Body united to Christ its Head worships God the Father. Through the Mass, Christ is offered to God. the Father in an unbloody renewal Of Calvary; and this is accom- .p!ished through the special func- tion of the Priesthood. Through the Sacraments the divine life of Christ is made available to all the members of Christ's Body. It is chiefly through the Mass and the Sacraments under the direction of the Pope that Saints are formed, i.e., Christ is formed and lives in His members. Living, Vital Organs Without these f i v e organs: TRADITION, SAINTS, POPE, MASS AND SACRAMENTS, the body of Christ could not function. Without the constant guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit the Body of Christ would be dead. The religious society of the new law is actually a living body. The purpose of this society is to share in the very life of Christ Himself. Those who belong to this Body are closely united for they share in common life and purpose; to live Christ and to show Him to the world. The means to accom- plish this goal are not dead of- fices but living vital organs, they are: TRADITION, SAINTS, POPE, MASS AND SACRA- MENTS. Wonderfully Organized How wise and how wonder- fully organized is the Catholic Church! In obeying the Church, we obey Christ. In believing her teaching, we believe Him. "He who hears you (Christ told the body is Grace, the life of Christ in our souls. The Soul of this Body is the Holy Spirit. Mary's Role In The Mystical Body Christ Himself has told us role His mother is to have in the life of His ChurcK In the 19th Chapter of St. John's Gos- pel we read: "Now there were standing by' the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sis- ter, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus, mere-' fore, saw his mother and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold thy son.' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home." (John 19:25-27). With these words, "Behold thy Son--behold thy mother" Jesus was not merely providing for the care of his mother. He was explicitly confirming Mary's position as spiritual mother of the whole human race. Her right to that title was won at the mo-k ment she conceived the Son of' God in her virginal womb. It had been through a woman that sin had entered the world, when Eve tempted Adam. Christ, the new Adam, who brought re- demption to the world, chose to come into the world through a woman. Mary, therefore, is new Eve, the spiritual mother of mankind. Mary Was Chosen It was Mary whom thd Father chose to be the mother of his Son. But Mary's work did not end even with this most exalted of roles. God chose, also, to use her cooperation in the work redeeming us; as she stood at the foot of the cross Mary was not merely a mother suffering the agony of seeing her beloved Son die. 'She, as the new Eve, had to offer him, as he was offering himself, for the sins of men. t |