The Profession of Faith
The Church is in history, but at the same time she tran-
scends it. It is only “with the eyes of faith”
that one can see her
in her visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as
bearer of divine life.
The Church—both visible and spiritual
“The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains
here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and
charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates
truth and grace to all men.”
The Church is at the same time:
— a “society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical
body of Christ;
— the visible society and the spiritual community;
— the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly
These dimensions together constitute “one complex real-
ity which comes together from a human and a divine element”:
The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but
endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedi-
cated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pil-
grim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward
and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible,
action to contemplation, and this present world to that city
yet to come, the object of our quest.
O humility! O sublimity! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanc-
tuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of
clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and
at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ!
She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for
even if the labor and pain of her long exilemay have discolored
her, yet heaven’s beauty has adorned her.
I, 10, 20.
8 § 1.
188 St. Bernard of Clairvaux,
In Cant. Sermo
27:14: PL 183:920D.