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One Flesh Union - Christ and the Church

De Maria's picture

What is the One Flesh Union concerning Christ and the Church?

I have posted a version of this question in the Biblical Studies because I believe it is a beautiful question to ponder. And another version in the interdenominational Discussions to see how we view this mystery as expressed in the Sacrament of Matrimony differently.

But I have really been waiting patiently and anxiously for quite a long time to post this particular question on this forum because in another discussion here, the Catholic view of the One Flesh Union between Christ and the Church was called blasphemous. Specifically this teaching from the Catechism.

795 Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity:

Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man. . . . The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church.

Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.

Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.

A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."

Our understanding of the One Flesh Union between Christ and the Church is based upon this verse.
Ephesians 5:
30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Now, it seems to me that our understanding lines up pretty well with Scripture.

And so, I posted this particular thread to see how your views contrast with the Catholic view of this greatest and most wonderful of mysteries.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria's picture

re: jq cited excerpts from: AD

jq cited excerpts from:

AD PETRI CATHEDRAM (On Truth, Unity and Peace)
Pope John XXIII
Encyclical of Pope John XXIII On Truth, Unity and Peace, In A Spirit of Charity, promulgated on 29 June 1959

Catholic tradition

In this Eucharistic sacrifice Christ Himself, our Salvation and our Redeemer, immolates [to kill as a sacrifice] Himself each day... (ibid.)

DM replied, but he did not cite his source:

What you have defined is the Protestant understanding of the word. But it is not thus understood by Catholics:

IMMOLATION

The actual or equivalent destruction of some material object as an act of sacrifice. When the destruction is done actually, the object is radically changed, as when an animal is killed or wine is poured out. When the destruction is not done but is equivalent, it is called mystical or symbolic, as occurs in the sacrifice of the Mass, where the separate consecration of the bread and wine symbolizes the separation of Christ's body and blood on Calvary. Christ does not actually die in the Mass, but he manifests his willingness to die symbolically by the double consecration. (Etym. Latin immolatio, sacrifice.)

There you go.

jq replies;

If this is a catholic source please cite it.

Catholic Culture dictionary

The confusion is now whether the mass is symbolic, as this definition states, or real, as Pope John XXIII stated.

There is no confusion there for a Catholic. All Sacraments are EFFICACIOUS SYMBOLS:
SACRAMENT

A sensible sign, instituted by Jesus Christ, by which invisible grace and inward sanctification are communicated to the soul. The essential elements of a sacrament of the New Law are institution by Christ the God-man during his visible stay on earth, and a sensibly perceptible rite that actually confers the supernatural grace it symbolizes. In a broad sense every external sign of internal divine blessing is a sacrament. And in this sense there were already sacraments in the Old Law, such as the practice of circumcision. But, as the Council of Trent defined, these ancient rites differed essentially from the sacraments of the New Law, they did not really contain the grace they signified, nor was the fullness of grace yet available through visible channels merited and established by the Savior. (Etym. Latin sacramentum, oath, solemn obligation; from sacrare, to set apart as sacred, consecrate.)

If it is merely symbolic then it does align better with Protestant teachings.

The problem is, it seems, the Protestant "either/or" logic. Which makes it strange that you can believe that Jesus is God AND Man.

Catholic Sacraments are both symbolic and real.

But I don't think it is since then the bread and wine would only symbolize the body and blood of Christ rather than actually becoming the body and blood.

The Body and Blood of Christ is given us in the guise of Bread and Wine. Bread and Wine are food for the Body. The Body and Blood of Christ are food for the soul.

Jesus Himself said:
John 6:55
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Let's substitute your definition rather than that of the dictionary and see what it says now.

"In this Eucharistic sacrifice Christ Himself, our Salvation and our Redeemer, [symbolizes the separation of His body and blood on Calvary] each day... [Christ does not actually die in the Mass, but he manifests his willingness to die symbolically by the double consecration.]"

If you're going to use substitution, you should do it properly.

What is it that the Catholic Culture dictionary says "symbolizes the separation of His body and blood on Calvary"?

where the separate consecration of the bread and wine symbolizes the separation of Christ's body and blood on Calvary.

Do you know what that is?

In other words, Jesus first symbolized His death when He separately consecrated the bread (i.e. His Body) and the wine (His Blood):
Matthew 26:25-28 (King James Version)

25Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. 26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Obviously, Jesus was not yet dead, so He symbolized His death by separating His Body and Blood with separate Words of Consecration.

And this statement actually proves that the Church does not kill Christ everytime She offers the sacrifice. [Christ does not actually die in the Mass, but he manifests his willingness to die symbolically by the double consecration.]

Jesus died once for all on the Cross. That is Catholic teaching as is confirmed here, but of course, you object to anything taught by the Catholic Church simply because it is taught by the Catholic Church.

Anyway, lets do a proper substitution of words in this paragraph. "In this Eucharistic sacrifice Christ Himself, our Salvation and our Redeemer, [ by the separate consecration of the bread and wine symbolizes the separation of His body and blood on Calvary] each day... [Christ does not actually die in the Mass, but he manifests his willingness to die symbolically by the double consecration.]"

There you go! It is now a Protestant teaching and that which Christ established with these words, "This do in remembrance of [my death]." It is not a real sacrifice but rather symbolic, representative, to serve as a reminder, of His death.

You are correct. The substitutions you made corrupted the true meaning of the Catholic doctrine. But what is your point? That playing with words you can make Scripture and Catholic doctrine say whatever you want them to say?

You are correct. You can do that. But those are perversions of the truth. Not the truth itself.

The true Catholic meaning of the words however, teach that Christ died on Calvary and the Eucharist is a re-presentation of that sacrifice. Christ does not die again, nor is His Blood shed again. It is the self same sacrifice of Calvary.

So, it doesn't matter how much you twist the words of the Pope or of Scripture, the truth remains true.

According to your definition the bread and wine does not become the actual body and blood of Christ else the immolation would be actual.

I hope my previous explanations have already dispelled that false notion. The Bread and Wine actually become the Body and Blood of Christ which hung on the Cross in Calvary.

With a mystical or symbolic destruction the immolation is not actual but is only equivalent,

That is true. We don't actually take Jesus and nail Him to the Cross. We remember and thus re-present His sacrifice on the Cross once for all.

or symbolic--as would be the case where the body and blood are only representative of the body and blood of Christ.

Nope. We believe Christ. And He didn't say that the bread represents symbolically His Body. He said:
Matthew 26:25-28 (King James Version)
25Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

If the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ then the immolation is actual. If the bread and wine are representative of the body and blood of Christ then the immolation is symbolic.

The Bread and Wine are the actual Body and Blood of Christ and the separate consecration of the Bread and Wine symbolize the actual death of Christ on the Cross in Calvary.

"When the destruction is done actually, the object is radically changed, as when an animal is killed or wine is poured out. When the destruction is not done but is equivalent, it is called mystical or symbolic, as occurs in the sacrifice of the Mass" --source unknown, quoted by DM.

Thanks for showing how adamantly YOU want us to kill Christ on the altar. I'm glad we had this discussion.

To reiterate, the Sacraments established by Jesus Christ contain symbolic elements which produce what they symbolize.

In this instance, the Bread and Wine become the Actual Body and Blood of Christ. But the death of Christ is symbolized by Christ Himself in the separate consecration of the Bread and Wine which He instructed us to perform in remembrance of Him.

1 Cor 11 23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.




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