The Church: A Plan Born in the Father's Heart
By Professor Felipe Aquino
©Catholic Online 2004
The Church is "God's Family", redeemed and reunited in Jesus Christ: the Church is God's People. She is "a plan born in the Father's Heart", says the Catechism of the Church (CCC # 759).
Saint Augustine says that: "Everything we read in the Holy Gospel was written before the Lord's Advent: there is no other reason for that than to prepare for His coming and to mark beforehand the future Church: God's people among all peoples."
Vatican Council II teaches us that: "Already from the beginning of the world the foreshadowing of the Church took place. It was prepared in a remarkable way throughout the history of the people of Israel and by means of the Old Covenant. In the present era of time the Church was constituted and, by the outpouring of the Spirit, was made manifest. At the end of time it will gloriously achieve completion, when, as is read in the Fathers, all the just, from Adam and 'from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,' will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church" (Lumen Gentium # 2).
Saint Justine, the Pastor of Hermas, the first Christians and many other outstanding people affirmed that: "the Church was foreshadowed before the foundation of the world" (Hermas, Visions 2,4,1; Justine, Apol. 2.7; Aristides. Apol. 16,6).
These words mean that the Church "convokes the whole of mankind, through the Christ, to be in communion with God."
Saint Epiphany follows the same trend of thoughts and affirms that the Church "is the final goal of all things" (Epiphany, haer 1,1,5).
Saint Clemens of Alexandria affirmed that: "God's Will is an action that we call 'the world' and His intention is mankind's salvation that we call 'the Church'" (Paed. 1, 6).
The Church is God's people redeemed and reconciled to Him: She was prepared since the moment when original sin broke the union between mankind and God and dispersed His children far away from Him. God immediately started preparing a Covenant with mankind: it started with Noah, went on with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Prophets and so on, until the establishment of the New and Eternal Covenant in Jesus Christ.
That was the pathway God prepared in human history so that the Church could emerge like "God's Family", the place of the new communion between mankind and God.
One can say that Israel is the Church of the Old Testament, the people God prepared so that His Son could be born as one of them: Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God, Head of the Church. Next lesson we will see something about the pathway God prepared in Israel's history to create His Church.
Professor Felipe Aquino
http://www.cancaonova.net TX, US
Professor Felipe Aquino - Theologian, 817 281-0766
Church, Ecclesiology, Cancao Nova
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