Ch. 2 – The Mystical Body

  1. How many natures are in Christ?- How many persons?-

“In Christ there are two natures: human and divine, and one Person: the Person of the Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.”

  1. Finish…”From all eternity Christ is God, ………………………”

“From all eternity Christ is God; only from the moment of His Incarnation is He God-man.”

  1. Does Christ have a human personality?- Why not?-

“Christ’s is a human individual nature, without a human personality; in Him the Divine Personality of the Word performs the functions of the human personality, and it does infinitely more, as behoves a Divine Personality.”

  1. The human nature of Christ was an instrument of what?-

“It follows that the human nature of Christ was a kind of instrument of His Divine Personality. It was not an instrument separate from His Person, as a pencil is separate from my hand, but united as my hand is united to my brain.”

  1. What happens to human nature thanks to the hypostatic union?-

“Thanks to the hypostatic union, a human nature has been raised to such a height as to make it capable of sharing in the whole work of Redemption and Sanctification.”

  1. What are His life, death, and resurrection instruments of?-

“Christ’s human nature, body, and soul through its union with the Second Person of the Trinity, has acquired unparalleled fitness to be in the hands of God the instrument of every spiritual marvel. Thus His life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension are the instruments of Divinity for our sanctification, our life, our resurrection, our ascension.”

  1. Actions belong to who?- Explain-

“Actions belong to the person- not to the nature.” For example, though it is the nature of my eye to see, the nature of my tongue to taste, the nature of my feet to walk, it is nevertheless true that when it comes to accounting for the source of their responsibility, we attribute these actions not to our nature, but to our person.”

  1. All of Christ’s actions must be attributed to?- His person is the person of what?-

“We do not say, My eye saw you, but I saw you; we do not say, My ear heard you, but I hear you. Now, in the incarnate Life of our Savior, though His human nature is a perfect human nature like unto ours, though it did the perfectly human things such as shedding tears, suffering pain and a bloody sweat, blessing children, and speaking words of comfort, nevertheless each of the actions of His human nature is to be attributed to His person.”

  1. Why did all of His actions have value?- 

“But His Person is the Person of God, therefore, each and every action of His human nature had an infinite value because it was done by the Person of God. Hence a sigh, a word, or a tear would have been sufficient to have redeemed the world, because it was the sigh, the word, or the tear of God.”

  1. What was the triple role that Our Lord fulfilled?- Because He is what?- Explain each?-

“He was Teacher, He was King, and He was Priest. He was Prophet and Teacher, not as the Scribes and Pharisees, but as one having authority, as the Light of the world. Before Him, Plato, Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, and others had said: ‘I will show you how to discover truth. He alone could say: ‘I am the Truth.’ He was King, not a king of this world, but King of a spiritual Kingdom whose power extended over heaven and earth, the living and the dead. He was Priest, not merely by holding up His Life as an example for us, but by laying down His Life for the Redemption of the world, in order that we might be regenerated from within as children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

  1. How did He exercise this threefold role?-

“This triple role of Teacher, King, and Priest, our Lord exercised on earth through the instrumentality of His human nature. It was thanks to the body which He assumed from the womb of the Virgin Mary that He was able to make His teaching, His power, and His sanctification visible to men. 

  1. Describe the plan of the Incarnation.-

“The plan of the Incarnation was based upon the communication of the Divine through the human, the invisible through the visible, and the eternal through the temporal. It was, in a certain sense, the foundation of a Sacramental universe in which material things would be used as the channels for the spiritual.”

  1. How was Christ to remain with men to the consummation of the world?-

“He was to be with men even to the consummation of the world. In order that this union might be effective, He said that He would assume a new body which should not indeed be like the physical body which He assumed from the Blessed Virgin, but another body, a kingdom, a social unit, a spiritual corporation of regenerate souls, a new humanity, a new race.”

  1. How would men become incorporated into this new spiritual Kingdom?-

“But, how would men become incorporated into the new spiritual Kingdom. If it were a mere earthly kingdom they might become citizens of it by some external means, but if the Kingdom be not material but organic and living, then incorporation will have to be effected in some vital way, namely by a birth.”

  1. How do men become members of the body of Adam?-

“Men become members of the body of Adam, or the human race, by being born of the flesh,”

  1. How do we become members of Christ’s body?-

“So Christ declared that they should become members of His body by being born of the Spirit.”

  1. What is the condition of membership in His new society?-

“Once reborn, membership in His new society was conditioned upon acceptance of every iota of His teachings: ‘He that believeth not shall be condemned.”

  1. Why when the head of the mystical body suffers does the body also suffer?- Explain-

“When the head suffers the body suffers too, because they constitute one life; when the body is hurt the head feels it, because they are one.”

17. How are the head and the members to be one?-

“Using this analogy, He said that whatever happened to Him as Head would happen to His Body; if He was persecuted His Body would be persecuted; if He was hated His Body would be hated; if the world did not receive Him it would not receive His Body, for the servant is not above the master. In like manner, anyone who heard the members of His new body would hear Him, anyone who despised them would despise Him. The relation would be so close between the members of that Body and Himself, that anyone who gave a drink to the members in His name, or visited them in prison, or received one of their children, or gave bread to satisfy hunger, or clothes to cover nakedness, would be doing the service unto Him. It would seem that He had exhausted all analogies to mark the unity between Him and His new body; but the night before He died, He said that He and His flock were not to be one merely as shepherd and sheep, they were to be one as He and the Father were one.”

18. How did Christ prove His love for His body, the Church?-

“The very fact that He spoke these words on the eve of His crucifixion and but an hour before His Agony in the Garden was a reminder that this new Kingdom, or this new Body of His, would not reveal itself in all its glory and beauty until He had purchased that glory and beauty by the sacrifice of His Life. Thus would He prove that He loved His new corporated life, ‘for greater love than this no man hath, that he lay down his life for his friends. Addressing His heavenly Father in some of the most beautiful words ever heard on this sinful earth of ours, He confirmed this forthcoming union o fHis new Body and Himself: ‘As Thou hast sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world. That they may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee; that they may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them as Thou hast loved me.”

  1. What is required of men?- 

“Men must have faith in Him, as Head, before they can have faith in His body. And so he reminded them that He must first be lifted up on the Cross before He could draw them unto Himself.”

  1. What were the greater gifts he had for man conditioned on?-

“The greater gifts he had for men in His new Kingdom were conditional on His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension.”

  1. What did Christ say would come upon His departure in human form?- Why had He been sanctifying Himself in His human nature?-

“His departure was the very condition of their receiving Him in a new way. If He left the earth in His human earthly existence which He had taken from the womb of the Blessed Mother, He could descend in a new way by overshadowing them with His Spirit.”

“But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the truth; it is expedient to you that I go, for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. He had been sanctifying Himself not for Himself, for He was God; rather He was sanctifying Himself in His human nature in order that He might pour forth His Spirit for the sanctification of His body and for the faith of the world.”

  1. What was to be the raw material into which He would send His Spirit?- Why?- What privilege is reserved for them?- What are they to work for?- Why?-

“What was to be the embryo of this new living Kingdom which would fill the earth? Its nucleus was to be men, but not men who chose Him, but men whom He chose because the Father had given them to Him. A little band of apostles, who had been witnesses of His Resurrection and who were therefore convinced of His Divinity, were to be the raw material into which He would send His Spirit to quicken them into a living Body.”

“Most of the Gospels are made up not of His teaching to the multitude, but to the chosen little band who were constantly with Him. They are not to be the ones who will represent Him when He is gone; they will have to stand before princes and governors and speak the truths which His Spirit will give them to speak, they will be hated as He was hated, and men will think to do a service to God in harming them.”

“The privilege of evangelizing the world is reserved to them. He is sent to the lost sheep of Israel, and only with reluctance does He leave His people; but they are to go to the Gentiles, to the Samaritans, to the ends of the earth. This ‘little flock’ He called to be His posthumous Self, His prolonged Personality, the scattered reapers of His harvest, the lights kindled at His Light, the syllables of Him who is the Word. They are not to seek to gain the world, but to save souls as fishers of men, to preach, to baptize in the name of the Trinity, to continue the Memorial of His Passion, and to forgive sins. Very simply, they were to do the same three things as He had done in His earthly life: they were to teach, to govern, and to sanctify. Just as He, the Incarnate Word, exercised this triple office through the instrumentality of His physical body, so would He continue to exercise it through the medium of His corporate Body of which they are the elements.”

  1. When would the understand how much they were His?- Explain-

“But all this was foretold: they would not understand how much they were His until He had sent His Spirit: Had He not told them so: ‘And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever.”

“Ten days later, as promised, these frail, weak, human creatures, as yet full of their individual doubts and ambitions, were lifted up into a higher unity by the gift of the Holy Ghost, became earthly branches of Him the Eternal Vine, the living Kingdom of Him the heavenly King, and the new Body of Him the glorified Christ.”

  1. Why was the term, ‘body,’ used?- Explain-

“The term ‘body’ was used, therefore, merely to make it easier for the mind to grasp the unity existing between the head and members. A body is an organic whole, composed of an infinite number of cells and members, all directed by the head and all vivified by the soul and all directed to a common end, which is the conservation of the organism and its ultimate happiness.”

  1. What kind of body is the Church?-

“But granted that the Church is a Body, it remains now to inquire: What kind of a Body is it? Is it the Physical Body of Christ, or is it a Moral body of Christ, or is it something yet other?”

  1. Is the Church an organization or an organism?-

“A moral body is an organization, but the Church is an organism because of its Soul.”

  1. How is the transcendent unity of Christ and His Church effected?-

“In order to express that transcendent unity of Christ and His Church which is effected not by external bonds, but by an internal bond of charity, diffused in our souls by the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the theologians have applied the term ‘Mystical.”

  1. Why is the Church the Mystical Body of Christ?-

“The Church is the mystical Body of Christ. It is a body because it is made up of many members who have become incorporated to Christ by being reborn of the Holy Ghost.”

  1. What is the Church made up of?-

“The Church is made up of millions and millions of members incorporated into it by Baptism.”

  1. What does St. Paul say the Church is?-

“Hence to St. Paul it is one and the same thing to say that the Church is the Bride of Christ as to say she is His Body; but he prefers the latter phrase, as signifying a closer unity and a common life. Being His Body, she is one with Him, and from Him comes her whole activity, her whole life, her whole growth and development.”

  1. Did the head of the Church pre-exist from all eternity?- And what is His present plan?-

“The head of the Church pre-existed it from all eternity, and the present plan of Providence is to make all men conformable to Christ, and to subject all men to Him, in love.”

“Christ is the Head of the Church in the eternal decrees as well as in the order of time, for He is the only one in all the world who ever had a pre-history- a pre-history to be studied not in the slime and dust of primeval jungles but in the bosom of an eternal Father.”

  1. Finish…..”The Church continues Christ, ………………………………..”

“The Church continues Christ, expresses Christ, develops all the virtualities and potentialities of Christ, makes it possible for Him to extend Himself beyond the space of Palestine and the space of thirty-three years to prolong His influence unto all times and to all men- in a word, it de-temporalizes and de-localizes Christ so that He belongs to all ages and all souls.”

  1. Would the Church be complete without Christ?-

“Without the Church Christ would be incomplete.”

  1. When did Christ’s physical body reach its perfect stature?- What about His mystical body?- 

“The physical Body reached its perfect stature, humbled itself in death, and was exalted to glory; the Mystical Body must likewise grow, be humbled, and enter into its glory.”

“Through it, Christ re-lives, re-grows, re-dies, and is re-glorified; and without it He would lack His fullness and would be circumscribed by time and space- His own creation. It certainly is not fitting that the Creator be limited by His creation.”

  1. Why is the life of Christ infinite?- Who is the universal principle of life in the Church?-

“Likewise in the Church, the Life of Christ is Infinite because Divine It admits of no increase; it remains the inexhaustible Source regardless of how many members of the Mystical Body voluntarily receive it.”

“But without it, the Mystical Body would have no life whatever, for Christ is the universal principle of Life in the Church.”

  1. What is the human element of the Church?- What is the Divine element of the Church?- Are the two one?- What are theandric actions?-

“Now the Church has a human element and also a Divine element, though the union between them is not hypostatic. The human element is we, the regenerated humanity; the Divine element is our Head, the Risen Christ, and the two are on, in ‘Christ Jesus,’ as St. Paul expresses it.”

  1. How are the sacraments of the Church theandric?-

“The actions of the Church are therefore theandric actions, inasmuch as they involve a human and a divine element, a visible and an invisible factor. When the Church forgives sins through the instrumentality of a priest, the Lift of Christ flows into the soul of the penitent, the priest being merely the channel of the grace, but not its creator.”

  1. How are the actions of the Mystical Body, the actions of Christ?- Explain-

“In a certain sense, therefore, the actions of the Mystical Body are the actions of Christ. Actiones sunt suppositorum. Actions are attributed not to a nature, but to a person.”

“In the Incarnation, the actions of the human nature of Christ were attributed to His Divine Person. When His human hand was laid on a child, it was God Who blessed the child.”

  1. Finish…..”Christ and His Mystical Body………….”

“Christ and His Mystical Body make but one Mystical Person.”

  1. How does a Mystical person have a double existence?-

“A Mystical Person has a double existence: one in Himself as Head of the Mystical Body, and the other in the Body of the faithful who receive His Life. Inasmuch as He exists in Himself, He is a single Person; but inasmuch as He subsists mystically in His members, He fills the role of Personality. Thus united to us, Christ shares His Life by a kind of ‘communication of idioms’ somewhat akin to that which is established between His two natures.”

  1. How is the Church the prolongation of the Incarnation?-

“The Church, then, is in the truest sense of the term, the prolongation of the Incarnation; it is the new Body which Christ assumes after His Ascension, with which to extend His Kingship throughout the kingdoms of the World; it is the new living instrument through which He teaches, governs, and sanctifies; it is His new corporate human nature under the headship of His Divine Person, of whose plentitude we have all received; it is His fullness, without which His life would be but a memory and His Kingship only a name.”

  1. Finish……”The Church is…………” Explain-

“The Church is Christ.”

  1. Explain how the Church is an organism.- When did the Church come into existence?-

“All misunderstandings come from regarding the Church as an organization. It is not an organization like a club; it is an organism like a body. It was formed not by men coming together unto Christ, as bricks are piled together to make a building; it was formed by the life of Christ going out to men, as the life of a cell diffuses itself from within. The Church was not formed by the faithful; it was the faithful who were formed by the Church. The Church did not spring into being, when the apostles heard the message of Jesus and then agreed on the basis of their common faith to form a society, which is called the Church.”

  1. Explain how the Christian is born in the womb.-

No! The Church was in existence before Peter or James or John or the other apostles became believers. It was in actual existence the very moment when the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, for at that moment Christ assumed a human nature, the pattern-man, like unto which He would mould us by the fingers of His love and the power of His grace.”

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