The Church is the body of Christ on Earth. We become the body of Christ by receiving the body of Christ in the Eucharist. So we share part of Christ’s divinity. However, we do not embody the whole of Christ as far as I know as his body is also in heaven. The Church is not God the Father who resides in heaven. The Holy Spirit can work through the Church but the Church does not embody the entirety of the Holy Spirit.
When St. Paul refers to the Church as the Body of Christ, he is using what is known as a metaphor. The dictionary defines a metaphor as: "a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” God does protect us, but He is not litterally a fortress.
The Church is not litterally the Body of Christ in the way that the Eucharist is. The Church is divine in origien because Jesus founded it and is protected from doctrinal error by the divine power of the Holy Spirit. But it is not littereally Jesus. It is the Body of Christ in the sense that New Jersy is the country’s garden state or California is the golden state. The Church is the Body of Christ in that it is so precious to Him, that it seems like a part of Him and He and all its parts (people) are inter-related.
I know that’s what the Church teaches but I believe I’m not actually fully united to Christ’s body except in name until I receive Communion. When I receive Communion I am physically inside Christ’s body and united to it by flesh. I suppose at baptism I’m like an adopted member of the family or bear Christ’s family name.
Christ Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own” (Titus 2:14).
"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people" (1 Pet 2:9).
One enters into the People of God by faith and Baptism. “All men are called to belong to the new People of God” (LG 13), so that, in Christ, “men may form one family and one People of God” (AG 1).
The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body.
In the unity of this Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted.
The Church is this Body of which Christ is the head: she lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives with her and in her.
The Church is the Bride of Christ: he loved her and handed himself over for her. He has purified her by his blood and made her the fruitful mother of all God’s children.
The Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Mystical Body, the source of its life, of its unity in diversity, and of the riches of its gifts and charisms.
"Hence the universal Church is seen to be ‘a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’" (LG 4 citing St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 23: PL 4, 553).
The Church is not some kind of club people join.
The Church are those who respond to God’s call and are set apart from the world and incorporated into Christ by Baptism. It is called the Mystical Body of Christ, because we do not fully understand exactly how we share in Christ’s life and Divinity, but we do from the moment of our Baptism.
The Eucharist is the Source and Summit, because it is Christ Himself. Without Baptism one cannot receive or benefit from receiving any other Sacraments. Everything including all the other Sacraments are oriented towards the Eucharist.
Gee … too bad that you weren’t around when Jesus appeared to Paul when Paul were persecuting Christ’s Church and Jesus REPEATEDLY asked Paul why he was persecuting Jesus. Christ clearly equated Himself and the Church to be one and the same.
God is at the heart of the Church.
So, the fullness of Truth is at it’s heart.
And the life-giving blood,
Which is constantly pumped,
Is pumped to all of it’s parts.
As all of it’s parts
Receive and pass it along.
***In the Philosophy Forum, one might postulate a different responce.
The Church, “The Bride of Christ,” and the direct offspring of Christ [Mt. 16:18-19] is in a sense seperate from Christ, all-though He is Her “Mother Church”] creator, [to make out of nothing] as her “Marks” that are her identification, her very idenity, are Faith, Hope, Charity and TRUTH.
As the one who brought her into existence, keeps her holy and the deposit of TRUTH on all matters of Faith and ot Morals, and insures her continuence by and through the very Sacrifice of His Life, Christ remains ever present to her and in her [physically, in Catholic Holy Communion] and spiritually as Her guide and protector]. Christ is always in her, is always with her, and continually guides her.
Further the members of Christ * Church are to emulate Christ, be “Christ-like,”[James 1:4; Mt.19:21 and Mt. 5:48] and to know, live and share Her Purpose, which is the Salvation of Souls.
And yet, closely bound too, fully committed too, and as Her Creator, guide and Redeemer, He is “not thee Church” that is the task He has set before me and you.**
More than anything else Christ wishes to be Her Savior, your Savior, my Savior; but
and leaves that up to Mother Church and me and you. Mother Church takes up where Christ left off on the Cross, after His Ressurection. She is to be be for us and with us the image of Christ on earth; in, with and through the Living Christ, now and forever. Amen!
ONE= That was and continues to be God’s own intent!
**HOLY= **By which is meant the She [Mother Church} is and always shall be kept “holy” dispite the frequent sinful actions and decisions of all of her members, because She belongs completely to God.
**Catholic= Which means “Universal” World-wide, and like the term “One” She, not the 30,000 subsiquent step children, all Illegitimate [all though not necessarily invalid] are and were by God Himself meant to be the means of Salvation.
Apolostolic= Means to be in complete “communion and unity of mind, heart and will” with Peter and his successors. To teach, to share, to correct and conform as did the apostles, the very message of Christ and to be the fount of THEE truth, and thee means and thee way to salvation, in, with and through Jesus Christ.