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The Profession of Faith

205

the

inner union of men with God.

Because men’s communion with

one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also

the sacrament of the

unity of the human race.

In her, this unity is already

begun, since she gathers men “from every nation, from all tribes and

peoples and tongues”;

198

at the same time, the Church is the “sign and

instrument” of the full realization of the unity yet to come.

776

As sacrament, the Church is Christ’s instrument. “She is

taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all,” “the

universal sacrament of salvation,” by which Christ is “at once

manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God’s love for men.”

199

The Church “is the visible plan of God’s love for humanity,”

because God desires “that the whole human race may become one

People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one

temple of the Holy Spirit.”

200

IN BRIEF

777

The word “Church” means “convocation.” It desig-

nates the assembly of those whom God’s Word “con-

vokes,” i.e., gathers together to form the People of

God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body

of Christ, become the Body of Christ.

778

The Church is both the means and the goal of God’s

plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old

Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus

Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resur-

rection, the Church has been manifested as the mys-

tery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the

assembly of all the redeemed of the earth (cf.

Rev

14:4).

779

The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical

society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet

formed of two components, human and divine. That

is her mystery, which only faith can accept.

780

The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation,

the sign and the instrument of the communion of God

and men.

198

Rev

7:9.

199

LG

9 § 2, 48 § 2; GS 45 § 1.

200 Paul VI, June 22, 1973;

AG

7 § 2; cf.

LG

17.

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