Lumen Fidei: The Ecclesial Form of Faith

When we begin to live in the light of faith, we see that our salvation incorporates us into the Church.  We come to Life as one member of the larger Body of Christ.  We cannot live apart from the Church any more than one part can live separated from the body.

This is why “churchless Christianity” will never work, even though some of the concerns it carries are valid.  The cure for whatever damage the Church has inflicted on our faith is not our separation from it, but the renewal of it.

Christ gathers all believers to himself, functioning as our Head.  We are “one” in him.  We cannot individualize or privatize our salvation without destroying what Christ gave himself to accomplish–namely, the joining together of what sin had separated.  No family is complete when there is an empty chair at the table, created when someone decided to leave home.

So, as Pope Francis says, “Faith is necessarily ecclesial.”  This does not mean the Church is perfect; in fact, it is often very flawed.  This does not mean it always lives up to our expectations–even legitimate ones.  But it does mean the Church is “of God” (Who must both praise and purge it), and it is the family into which we are incorporated when we believe.

And like the individual parts joined to the larger body, as we are joined to the larger Body of Christ, we find the life of God present and active in us so that we can continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books.
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One Response to Lumen Fidei: The Ecclesial Form of Faith

  1. marialing says:

    Reblogged this on Past(or) Imperfect and commented:
    Steve Harper gives us a sound word.

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