The Church can be found in the Confession line
“Evangelization is to the person of Jesus Christ, not to a church.”
Haven’t we all heard this? With all due respect to people’s good intentions in saying this, I would caution against setting up a false dichotomy.
The Church is identified in Scripture as Christ’s Body, and — to use another image — His Bride. You simply cannot be converted to Christ but refuse to be vitally joined to the other members of His Body. Here vitally joined means joined on the basis of real need and real efficacy: “The eye cannot say to the hand, I do not need you” (1 Cor. 12:21). Nor can you be joined to Christ and remain aloof from His Bride, for you are His Bride together with His Bridal Church.
The Church we see does not always look Bridal, because we are so marred by sin. But still, of all the objects of Faith mentioned in the Creed (one God the Father Almighty, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body) the Church is the one thing you can see.
I was thinking of that just today, while waiting in a long line for Confession. “Right now,” I thought, “before my eyes, this is the Church: repenting, confessing our sins, turning toward Him and being thankful to God ‘for His mercy endures forever.'”
St. John writes, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).
To think the Church is an invisible thing that can’t be this sinful is foolish! The Church is right in front of your eyes in the Confession line: sinners all! Like the joke says, “Ain’t nobody here but us sinners.”
“O Lord Jesus Christ…regard not my sins but the faith of Your Church.”
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