CCC 51 “It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature.”1
CCC 52 God, who “dwells in unapproachable light”, wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son.2 By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.
CCC 257 “O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!”3 God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the “plan of his loving kindness”, conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: “He destined us in love to be his sons” and “to be conformed to the image of his Son”, through “the spirit of sonship”.4 This plan is a “grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”, stemming immediately from Trinitarian love.5 It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church.6
CCC 294 The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace”,7 for “the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man’s life is the vision of God: if God’s revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word’s manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God.”8 The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become ”all in all“, thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.”9
CCC 492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.10 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.11
CCC 517 Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross,12 but this mystery is at work throughout Christ’s entire life:
– already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty;13
– in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience;14
– in his word which purifies its hearers;15
– in his healings and exorcisms by which “he took our infirmities and bore our diseases”;16
– and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.17
CCC 668 “Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”18 Christ’s Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God’s power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”, for the Father “has put all things under his feet.”19 Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are “set forth” and transcendently fulfilled.20
CCC 693 Besides the proper name of “Holy Spirit,” which is most frequently used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit of the promise,21 the Spirit of adoption,22 the Spirit of Christ,23 the Spirit of the Lord,24 and the Spirit of God25 – and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of glory.26
CCC 698 The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. “The Father has set his seal” on Christ and also seals us in him.27 Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible “character” imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.
CCC 706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.28 In Abraham’s progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,29 in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”30 God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and “the promised Holy Spirit. .. [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.”31
CCC 772 It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God’s plan: “to unite all things in him.”32 St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church “a great mystery.” Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn.33 Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”34
CCC 796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist.35 The Lord referred to himself as the “bridegroom.”36 The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride “betrothed” to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him.37 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.38 “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.”39 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:40
This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many. .. whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? “The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church.”41 And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”42 They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union,. .. as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself “bride.”43
CCC 865 The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that “the Kingdom of heaven,” the “Reign of God,”44 already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time. The kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation. Then all those he has redeemed and made “holy and blameless before him in love,”45 will be gathered together as the one People of God, the “Bride of the Lamb,”46 “the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.”47 For “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”48
CCC 1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed:
The Church. .. will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.49
CCC 1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, “new heavens and a new earth.”50 It will be the definitive realization of God’s plan to bring under a single head “all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth.”51
CCC 1066 In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God’s “good pleasure” for all creation: the Father accomplishes the “mystery of his will” by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name.52
Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the “plan of the mystery”53 and the patristic tradition will call the “economy of the Word incarnate” or the “economy of salvation.”
CCC 1077 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us before him in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”54
CCC 1083 The dual dimension of the Christian liturgy as a response of faith and love to the spiritual blessings the Father bestows on us is thus evident. On the one hand, the Church, united with her Lord and “in the Holy Spirit,”55 blesses the Father “for his inexpressible gift”56 in her adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. On the other hand, until the consummation of God’s plan, the Church never ceases to present to the Father the offering of his own gifts and to beg him to send the Holy Spirit upon that offering, upon herself, upon the faithful, and upon the whole world, so that through communion in the death and resurrection of Christ the Priest, and by the power of the Spirit, these divine blessings will bring forth the fruits of life “to the praise of his glorious grace.”57
CCC 1107 The Holy Spirit’s transforming power in the liturgy hastens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the mystery of salvation. While we wait in hope he causes us really to anticipate the fullness of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sent by the Father who hears the epiclesis of the Church, the Spirit gives life to those who accept him and is, even now, the “guarantee” of their inheritance.58
CCC 1274 The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord (“Dominicus character”) “for the day of redemption.”59 “Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life.”60 The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life “marked with the sign of faith,”61 with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of faith – and in the hope of resurrection.
CCC 1296 Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Father’s seal.62 Christians are also marked with a seal: “It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”63 This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial.64
CCC 1426 Conversion to Christ, the new birth of Baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ received as food have made us “holy and without blemish,” just as the Church herself, the Bride of Christ, is “holy and without blemish.”65 Nevertheless the new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life.66 This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us.67
CCC 1671 Among sacramentals blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father “with every spiritual blessing.”68 This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.
CCC 2603 The evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during his public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses him because he has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes.69 His exclamation, “Yes, Father!” expresses the depth of his heart, his adherence to the Father’s “good pleasure,” echoing his mother’s Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what he will say to the Father in his agony. The whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of his human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father.70
CCC 2627 Two fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father – we bless him for having blessed us;71 it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that descends through Christ from the Father – he blesses us.72
CCC 2641 “[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.”73 Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard-of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father.74 Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this “marvelous work” of the whole economy of salvation.75
CCC 2748 In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ:76 God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.
CCC 2807 The term “to hallow” is to be understood here not primarily in its causative sense (only God hallows, makes holy), but above all in an evaluative sense: to recognize as holy, to treat in a holy way. And so, in adoration, this invocation is sometimes understood as praise and thanksgiving.77 But this petition is here taught to us by Jesus as an optative: a petition, a desire, and an expectation in which God and man are involved. Beginning with this first petition to our Father, we are immersed in the innermost mystery of his Godhead and the drama of the salvation of our humanity. Asking the Father that his name be made holy draws us into his plan of loving kindness for the fullness of time, “according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ,” that we might “be holy and blameless before him in love.”78
CCC 2823 “He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ. .. to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will.”79 We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven.
CCC 2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him.80 Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”81 We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.82
CCC 2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ’s return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has “the keys of Death and Hades,” who “is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”83
Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.84
1 DV 2; cf. Eph 1:9; 2:18; 2 Pt 1:4.
2 1 Tim 6:16, cf. Eph 1:4-5.
3 LH, Hymn for Evening Prayer.
4 Eph 1:4-5,9; Rom 8:15,29.
5 2 Tim 1:9-10.
6 Cf. AG 2-9.
7 Eph 1:5-6.
8 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4,20,7: PG 7/1,1037.
9 AG 2; cf. 1 Cor 15:28.
10 LG 53, 56.
11 Cf. Eph 1:3-4.
12 Cf. Eph 1:7; Col 1:13-14; 1 Pt 1:18-19.
13 Cf. 2 Cor 8:9.
14 Cf. Lk 2:51.
15 Cf. Jn 15:3.
16 Mt 8:17; cf. Is 53:4.
17 Cf. Rom 4:25.
18 Rom 14:9.
19 Eph 1:20-22.
20 Eph 1:10; cf. 4:10; 1 Cor 15:24, 27-28.
21 Cf. Gal 3:14; Eph 1:13.
22 Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6.
23 Rom 8:9.
24 2 Cor 3:17.
25 Rom 8:9, 14; 15:19; 1 Cor 6:11; 7:40.
26 1 Pet 4:14.
27 Jn 6:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:3.
28 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.
29 Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.
30 Cf. In 11:52.
31 Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.
32 Eph 1:10.
33 Eph 5:32; 3:9-11; 5:25-27.
34 Col 1:27.
35 Jn 3:29.
36 Mk 2:19.
37 Cf. Mt 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:2.
38 Cf. Rev 22:17; Eph 1:4. 5:27.
39 Eph 5:25-26.
40 Cf. Eph 5:29.
41 Eph 5:31-32.
42 Mt 19:6.
43 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 74:4: PL 36, 948-949.
44 Rev 19:6.
45 Eph 1:4.
46 Rev 21:9.
47 Rev 21:10-11.
48 Rev 21:14.
49 LG 48; Cf. Acts 3:21; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; 2 Pet 3:10-13.
50 2 Pet 3:13; Cf. Rev 21:1.
51 Eph 1:10.
52 Eph 1:9.
53 Eph 3:9; cf. 3:4.
54 Eph 1:3-6.
55 Lk 10:21.
56 2 Cor 9:15.
57 Eph 1:6.
58 Cf. Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:22.
59 St. Augustine, Ep. 98, 5: PL 33, 362; Eph 4:30; cf. 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:21-22.
60 St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 3: SCh 62, 32.
61 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 97.
62 Cf. Jn 6:27.
63 2 Cor 1:21-22; cf. Eph 1:13; 4,30.
64 Cf. Rev 7:2-3; 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6.
65 Eph 1:4; 5:27.
66 Cf. Council of Trent (1546) DS 1515.
67 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1545; LG 40.
68 Eph 1:3.
69 Cf. Mt 11:25-27 and Lk 10:21-23.
70 Cf. Eph 1:9.
71 Cf. Eph 1:3-14; 2 Cor 1:3 7; 1 Pet 1:3-9.
72 Cf. 2 Cor 13:14; Rom 15:5-6,13; Eph 6:23-24.
73 Eph 5:19; Col 3:16.
74 Cf. Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; Eph 5:14; 1 Tim 3:16; 6:15-16; 2 Tim 2:11-13.
75 Cf. Eph 1:3-14; Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:20-21; Jude 24-25.
76 Cf. Eph 1:10.
77 Cf. Ps 111:9; Lk 1:49.
78 Eph 1:9, 4.
79 Eph 1:9-11.
80 Cf. Lk 15:11-32, 18:13.
81 Col 1:14; Eph 1:7.
82 Cf. Mt 26:28; Jn 20:23.
83 Rev 1:8,18; cf. Rev 1:4; Eph 1:10.
84 Roman Missal, Embolism after the Lord’s Prayer, 126: Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris, ut, ope misericordiae tuae adiuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi: expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi.