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Part One

of the world, this Church was prepared in marvellous fashion in the

history of the people of Israel and the old Alliance. Established in this

last age of theworld andmademanifest in the outpouring of the Spirit,

it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time.”

152

The Church—foreshadowed from the world’s beginning

760

Christians of the first centuries said, “The world was cre-

ated for the sake of the Church.”

153

God created the world for the

sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought

about by the “convocation” of men in Christ, and this “convoca-

tion” is the Church. The Church is the goal of all things,

154

and God

permitted such painful upheavals as the angels’ fall and man’s sin

only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm

and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world:

Just as God’s will is creation and is called “the world,” so his

intention is the salvationofmen, and it is called“theChurch.”

155

The Church—prepared for in the Old Covenant

761

The gathering together of the People of God began at the

moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and

that ofmen among themselves. The gathering together of the Church

is, as it were, God’s reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This

reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: “In every

nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable” to

God.

156

762

The remote

preparation

for this gathering together of the

People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he

will become the father of a great people.

157

Its immediate prepara­

tion begins with Israel’s election as the People of God. By this

election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of all

nations.

158

But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant

and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal

covenant. “Christ instituted this New Covenant.”

159

152

LG

2.

153

Pastor Hermæ,

Vision 2, 4, 1: PG 2, 899; cf. Aristides,

Apol.

16, 6; St. Justin,

Apol.

2, 7: PG 6, 456; Tertullian,

Apol.

31, 3; 32, 1: PL 1, 508-509.

154 Cf. St. Epiphanius,

Panarion

1, 1, 5: PG 41, 181C.

155 Clement of Alex.,

Pæd.

1, 6, 27: PG 8, 281.

156

Acts

10:35; cf.

LG

9; 13; 16.

157 Cf.

Gen

12:2; 15:5-6.

158 Cf.

Ex

19:5-6;

Deut

7:6;

Isa

2:2-5;

Mic

4:1-4.

159

LG

9; cf.

Hos

1;

Isa

1:2-4;

Jer

2; 31:31-34;

Isa

55:3.

294

309

55

122, 522

60

64