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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.


De Maria

Noshic's picture


I was thinking about another passage from 1 John
"We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says I know Him, but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His Word, GOD'S love is truly made complete in him. Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did " 1 John 2: 3-6.

Now that's ONE HIGH standard (to walk as Jesus did), and that's a standard that no sane person - protestant or catholic - ever presumes he can live upto by himself. I don't think the catholics are saying that they are trusting to themselves to live upto that standard. But those who believe are given the deposit of the Holy Spirit, Christ within them, who helps them to obey...and man retains the free will to either cooperate with that grace or let it depart by unrepentant suppression of the truth.

Insofar as obedience is attested to be the sign of true faith repeatedly in the scriptures, it naturally follows that we work out our salvation with trembling and fear..and also acknowledge that in the end it's God who will judge how faithful (ie obedient?) we actually were.

Where is the boasting in this obedience - for we all know that by the blood of the Lamb we are washed , and by His Spirit we obey?
From whatever little I've read, I don't think the catholics believe in the power of their works apart from faith. And as long as those works arise from faith, that is scripturally consistent with obedience. (Ofcourse you all can correct me regarding this understanding).

Sometimes the concept of works has been misused - as in the matter of 'indulgences' at the time of Luther. But misuse / abuse does not make the concept wrong per se...Some protestants have fallen into a deeper pit by 'faith alone', and 'once saved- always saved' doctrines...as they make no effort to obey, and forgive themselves way too freely..

(As an aside, I've often wondered what church history would have been like if the Pope had paid heed to Luther when he wrote the ninety five theses. To retain its moral authority, church must listen to the legitimate concerns of its followers - esp regarding moral corruption amongst its clergy. Otherwise many will turn away in rebellion, rather than see the house of their Father turned into a marketplace)