CCC 672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel1 which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace.2 According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church3 and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.4
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.5 The Lord referred to himself as the “bridegroom.”6 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.7 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.8 “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.”9 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:10
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.”11 And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”12 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.”13
CCC 1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”14
Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.”15
CCC 1618 Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social.16 From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming.17 Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model:
“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”18
1 Cf. Acts 1:6-7.
2 Cf. Is 11:1-9.
3 Cf. Acts 1:8; I Cor 7:26; Eph 5:16; I Pt 4:17.
4 Cf. Mt 25:1, 13; Mk 13:33-37; I Jn 2:18; 4:3; I Tim 4:1.
5 Jn 3:29.
6 Mk 2:19.
7 Cf. Mt 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:2.
8 Cf. Rev 22:17; Eph 1:4. 5:27.
9 Eph 5:25-26.
10 Cf. Eph 5:29.
11 Eph 5:31-32.
12 Mt 19:6.
13 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 74:4: PL 36, 948-949.
14 Mt 7:13-14.
15 LG 48 # 3; Mt 22:13; cf. Heb 9:27; Mt 25:13, 26, 30, 31 46.
16 Cf. Lk 14:26; Mk 10:28-31.
17 Cf. Rev 14:4; 1 Cor 7:32; Mt 2:56.
18 Mt 19:12.