The holy Church includes many people, men, women and children without number. They are all quite different from one another in birth, in size, in nationality and language, in style of living and age, in trades and opinions, in clothes and customs, in knowledge and rank, in welfare and in appearance. Thanks to her, they are nonetheless all reborn, newly created in the Spirit. The Church grants to all of them without distinction the grace of belonging to Christ and of taking his name by calling themselves Christians.

Faith, moreover, puts us in a position which is extremely simple, and incapable of separation, in such a way that the differences between us seem not to exist, because everything is gathered together into the Church and reconciled in her.

No one lives alone any more, no one is separated from the others, but all are mutually joined together as brothers and sisters in the simple and indivisible power of faith.

Of the first Church, Scripture says: ‘The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul’, [Acts 4:32] in such a way that all the many members looked like a single body, truly worthy of Christ himself, our true Head. And, speaking of the action of Christ in the Church, the Apostle asserts: ‘There is neither male nor female, neither Jew nor Greek, neither circumcised nor uncircumcised, neither barbarian nor Scythian, neither slave nor freeman, but Christ is all and in all.’ [cf. Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11] Christ with the unique power of goodness and with infinite wisdom reunites everything in himself, as the centre from which the rays go out.

Maximus the Confessor, Mystagogia, I (PG91, 664) quoted in Thomas Spidlik (ed). Drinking from the Hidden Fountain. A Patristic Breviary (London, New City, 1992) 319-320.

Advertisements