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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: difference between "In Christ" and "being Christ"

Dan said,

2. Some branches that are in Christ dont bear fruit, and God removes those branches (which were in Christ nonetheless).

DM commented,
And that is my point with which Mike disagrees.

Am I correct Mike?

Mike says,
Yes I do disagree with you on that.

Ok, Dan, did you get that. You and I agree on that and Mike disagrees.

We've gone from the mystery of the body of Christ to the metaphor of vines and branches. Big difference.

Not so big. No, not in my opinion. This metaphor points to an underlying truth. A mystery, yes, but a truth.

The point that I was trying to make is this.

The catechism says this,
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 (branches), but Christ (vine) himself.

Ah, no. That is not how we view it.

Christ is the Head and we are the Body.

Therefore, we are the branches and He is the vine. We do not become the vine. He is the source of life. We do not survive unless we are united to the vine.

If we take the catechism literally, which I think you do, then there is no difference between Christ and the church.

I have read the entire Catechism. Have you?

From your understanding of this teaching, I would say that you haven't. Just as I have read the entire Bible and I don't make a doctrine out of one verse without considering the rest of Scripture.

So, what else does the Catechism say on this subject?
796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist. The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom." The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed" to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him. The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb. "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her." He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:

This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many . . . whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? "The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church." And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh." They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union, . . . as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself "bride."

Can you imagine Jesus, while on terra firma, gouging out His eye or cutting off His hand or foot or any other part of His body because it was misbehaving?
I can't but apparently you can.

Ok, that's confusing. Because you just agreed with Jeff that, that is not what you were referring to:

re: Perhaps you're going too

So, is this what you are talking about or not? Because the entire idea goes over my head and you will need to explain in great detail what you are talking about.

"About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."

Why do you complicate it?

I don't. It is you who have complicated the matter, being a neophyte in Catholic doctrine, you have understood it based upon your prejudices and preconceptions.

But hey, that's what I'm here to do. To correct those false impressions.

Sincerely,

De Maria




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