Catechism of the Catholic Church

210 Part One associated with his sufferings as the body with its head, suffering with him, that with him we may be glorified.” 228 794 Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our head, 229 he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance by which we help one another along the way of salvation. 795 Christ and his Church thus together make up the “whole Christ” ( Christus totus ). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity: Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man. . . . The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does “head and members” mean? Christ and the Church. 230 Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself. 231 Head and members form as it were one and the same mys- tical person. 232 A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.” 233 The Church is the Bride of Christ 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 bride- groomand bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroomof the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist. 234 The Lord referred to himself as the “bridegroom.” 235 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. 236 The Church is the spotless 228 LG 7 § 4; cf. Phil 3:21; Rom 8:17. 229 Cf. Col 2:19; Eph 4:11-16. 230 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 21, 8: PL 35, 1568. 231 Pope St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, præf. , 14: PL 75, 525A. 232 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 48, 2. 233 Acts of the Trial of Joan of Arc. 234 Jn 3:29. 235 Mk 2:19. 236 Cf. Mt 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:2. 872 695 1474 757 219 772