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Thursday, October 29, 2015

4 Marks of the Church


Knowledge and sight of the true Church allows men to know who they’re fighting for and defending against the world, flesh, and the devil.  These latter enemies seek to show the Church as divided, Corrupt, Limited, and Chauvinistic.  The True Marks are: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic-- as the Nicene Creed indicates.  My first realization of the reality of the Marks of the Church was at a Diocesan Men’s Conference in which the local Bishop celebrated Mass after men had opportunities for confession and adoration.  This event opened my eyes to the fact that the Body of Christ is united, set apart, multi-faceted, and composed of true Servants of servants.

St. John Paul II wrote about the Marks of the Church as they relate especially to the Eucharist[1]:

We can apply to the Eucharistic mystery the very words with which, in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, we profess the Church to be ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’. The Eucharist too is one and catholic. It is also holy, indeed, the Most Holy Sacrament. But it is above all its apostolicity that we must now consider (#26).

He goes on to explain the importance of the Apostles and their successors in handing down Catholic Tradition:

the Church is apostolic in the sense that she ‘continues to be taught, sanctified and guided by the Apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of Bishops assisted by priests, in union with the Successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor’.  Succession to the Apostles in the pastoral mission necessarily entails the sacrament of Holy Orders, that is, the uninterrupted sequence, from the very beginning, of valid episcopal ordinations.  This succession is essential for the Church to exist in a proper and full sense (#28).   

As I said, I truly saw this reality unfold at a Men’s Conference themed, ironically, on the Eucharist.  I did not connect the words of the Creed with what I saw at that time, but I vision returned to me often when I heard the words of the Creed.  I was teaching a Catechism Class in Detroit when it finally dawned on me that the Marks captured exactly what I saw at the Conference: “Uno, Sancta, Catolica, y Apostolica” as the Catechist book titled Una Sola Fe, Un Solo SeƱor.  The faith is literally understood in every language and by every people across the globe! 



[1] POPE JOHN PAUL II.  ENCYCLICAL LETTER ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA.  Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 17 April, Holy Thursday, in the year 2003

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