The Church is...
- The Teaching of the Apostolic Faith, to enlighten those entering the church and build-up those who are already members.
- The Fellowship, or human solidarity of mutual care, not only spiritual but physical and material as well.
- The Life of Prayer that goes on in various contexts, both public and private, for the needs of the church and for those of the whole world.
- The Proclaiming of God’s Good News in Christ to those outside the church, to bring them to a knowledge of the truth and to Holy Baptism.
- The Sacramental Life of Sharing the body and blood of Christ – the “breaking of bread” that is far more than an ordinary meal.
- HIS PRESENCE We believe in a living and present Lord. His ascension to God’s right hand took him from our sight, but not from our world. Jesus said: “I am with you always, to the close of the age." “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
- HIS POWER Our Lord even promised the Apostles, “I will build my church.” Through the message of Jesus’ life and sufferings, he himself works on the hearts of those who hear it. In the Sacraments that Christ commanded us to use, he himself saves individuals. And when he does so, he forms them into his community. This is why to believe in Christ is to love and confess his church as well. The normal pattern is for the followers of God’s Son to meet together faithfully. The power of Christ works among his people by the Holy Spirit, whose task is not only to bring people to faith and into the church, but also to keep them there and to knit them together as the Body of Christ.
- HIS RETURN IN GLORY The final promise of Jesus is to return openly in divine glory at the end of time. We do not fear this judgment, for that is when God will gather his faithful – his saints from every age and land, both those still living on earth and those who have departed – for eternal life in the world to come.
- IN THE FOUR GOSPELS The people who became Jesus’ disciples and stayed with him were the first members of his church. What he showed and taught them, therefore, he still shows and teaches us. Moreover, by the example of his own ministry he shows what the ministry of the Church is to be.
- IN THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES The same Luke who wrote the third Gospel also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. There he records the history of first congregation in Jerusalem, follows the people who took it into all the world, and ends with the arrival of St. Paul in the imperial capital of Rome.
- THE NEW TESTAMENT EPISTLES Over a dozen New Testament books are letters written by St. Paul, St. Peter, and others to Christian congregations. These epistles exhort believers to keep the faith, to live in hope, and to love each other from the heart. Even the Revelation to St. John, a great vision written in apocalyptic language, was from a loving bishop who wrote to comfort churches in the face of suffering. From all these letters to early churches, our churches today have so much to learn!