• The next Dads’ Prayer Group Meeting is this Sunday, October 27, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. All dads are welcome!
• Congratulations to our students who made the First Quarter Honor Roll!
+First Honors: 93% and above: Santiago Barreto; Nathan Clark; Joseph Esser; Leighton Frater; Liam Frater; Daniel Korman; Brian Nguyen; Kenneth Nguyen; Luke Nguyen; Ryan Nguyen; Aidan Oakley; Dominic Oakley; Isaac Osborne; Alexander Pham; Peter Pham; Luke Smith; Zachary Tran; Matthew Walker; Franklin Watkins; John Wehn; Caleb White
+Second Honors: 87%-92%: William Babbitt; Isaiah Cain; Anthony Clark; Isaac Domingo; Diego Flores-Casados; Jose Gallardo; Nicholas Garcia; Patrick Harrington; Stefano Hong; Justin Ng; Anthony Nguyen; Justin Nguyen; Maximilian Nunes; Zachary Oborny; Leo Pearson; Giancarlo Puccio; Luca Puccio; Jacob Rems; Joseph Romero; Vincent Silveira; Dillon Tuliau; Amaru Vasquez; Thu Vu; Francis Ysmael
• Looking ahead: Students are dismissed for Thanksgiving Break on Tuesday, November 26, at 2:05 PM.
• The next football game will be on November 1, at 3:15 PM, at Rolling Hills Preparatory School [1 Rolling Hills Prep Way, San Pedro, CA 90732]
We just heard our Lord give one of the harshest rebukes recorded in Scripture. And to whom did He give it? St. Peter, the first pope. Not exactly the best beginning for the papacy, or for the Church for that matter. Last week we reflected on the founding of the Church by Jesus Christ and the reasons why His founding of it makes perfect sense. Today, we should reflect a bit on what exactly the Church is.
If the Church were just a mere human institution, we would have been in trouble a long time ago—all of our sins, starting with St. Peter, would have brought it to utter ruin. As we see, its first visible head was just called “Satan” by Christ Himself—not good, not good at all. Furthermore, if the Church were just a mere human institution, it would not be worth all the trouble. But be sure, it’s no mere human institution. As we saw last week, it was founded by Christ, Who is God; but it is also sustained, driven, ruled, nourished, by the Holy Spirit, Who is also God. It is, in fact, so closely united to Christ’s its Head, that the Church is one with Him, His Mystical Body. That makes it, in a sense, divine. The Church has as its Head Christ Who is God, and its soul is the Holy Spirit, Who is also God. As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us: Just as a man has only one soul and one body, composed of different members, so the Catholic Church forms one Body composed of many members: this soul that vivifies the Body is the Holy Spirit [In Sym. Apost. Exp.]; and again, The Holy Spirit is found in the Church just as the soul is in the physical body—It is the ultimate and supreme perfection of the entire Mystical Body [III Sent. Dist. 13, q. 2, quaest. 2 ad 1]. And in the words of Pope Leo XIII, If Christ is the Head of the Church, the Holy Spirit is its Soul [Divinum illud munus]. And finally, in the words of St. Augustine: What the soul is to the body of man, the Holy Spirit is to the [Mystical] Body of Christ, which is the Church. Now, what does all this mean?
Well, the soul is the life source of the body in which it dwells. We say in philosophy that it is the “form” of the body. This means that the soul makes a being what it is; it gives it its nature, as well as its life and its ability to act. And so, when we say that the Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church, we mean that He makes the Church what it is, He gives the Church its being, He gives it its life, its power to act, its ability to grow. Now, the Church is not divine as God is divine; the Church is a creature, created by God; but the Church is divine in a sense, by participating in God’s divinity, just as any baptized Christian is divine by participating in God’s divine nature, provided he remains in the state of grace. This is why, despite our own sinfulness, Sacred Scripture calls the Church “holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle.” As a holy Cardinal, Cardinal Journet, once said, “the Church is certainly not without sinners, but she is without sin.” All of us sinners belong to the Church, but our sins don’t belong to the Church; they do not enter into it; they are like diseases that do not penetrate into the body, but are pushed out. This is also why the Church will never die despite attacks from without, and will always be faithful to Christ the Head despite grievances from within.
Pope Benedict once said: Do we have hope for the Church? I respond without hesitation: yes!…The Church is alive…We have 2,000 years of Church history, with much suffering and also many failures…[But despite things like]…the Muslim invasion, the Reformation, the Enlightenment…Adolph Hitler, the Marxists…all of whom claimed to be able to destroy the Church…the Church always rises again…and even grows stronger…[because] it is the life of Christ which triumphs in His Church. The Church’s infallibility, indefectibility, and authority are the result of the fact that she is ruled by Christ her Head and the Holy Spirit her Soul. In the words of St. Irenaeus, Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church. All of this should fill us with great hope; for, since the Church “is of God, it cannot be overthrown.”
It is at the moment of our baptism that we become members of this Mystical Body which is the Church. At that moment, we receive within us the life of Christ; we begin to participate in His life, His divine life—this is what we call sanctifying grace. And this divine life unites us to Christ, and to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and to all the other members of His Mystical Body. And once we become members of the Church, all of our good works become the Church’s; these works take on a supernatural value, and they contribute to the building-up of that same Mystical Body. You might say, the Church adopts the good works for herself and adds them to her treasury, to be shared in by all her members. Hence the words of St. Paul: There is a diversity of graces, but the same Spirit…and the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man for profit…and all these things one and the same Spirit worketh...but God has tempered the body together.
It is to the Holy Spirit then that we owe the Church’s being and life, its divine nature, its growth, its order and beauty. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of Your Church—we pray these words at every Mass right before we receive Holy Communion, right before Christ nourishes us, the members of His Mystical Body, with His own Flesh and Blood, soul and divinity. When Christ founded the Church, He did not simply set up some simple organization or human society; He extended His life to us humans, and He continues to draw us into that life, which begins at the moment of our baptism and, God willing, will last forever in heaven.
So, what does it mean to be a member of the Catholic Church? It means being a member of Christ’s Mystical Body. It means being united to Christ and sharing in His life. And this no other religion can claim.
• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.