Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Church as Mother

The Church is the Bride of the Bridegroom (Christ). The Church is also the Body of Christ. During the centuries it has received many exegeses on what She is, what She represents. St Cyprian in the third century AD gives an interesting definition of the Church as Mother, claiming that

‘She spread her branches in generous growth over all earth, she extends her abundant streams ever further; yet one is the headspring, one the source, one the Mother who is prolific in her offspring, generation after generation: of her womb are we born, of her milk are we fed, from her Spirit our souls draw their life-breath. The spouse of Christ cannot be defiled, she is inviolate and chaste; she knows one home alone, in all modesty she keeps faithfully to one chamber. It is she who seals for the kingdom the sons whom she has borne. Whoever breaks with the Church and enters on an adulterous union, cuts himself off from the promises made to the Church. . . You cannot have God for your Father if you no longer have the Church for your mother.’[1]

[1] St Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church, 5-6, M. Bevenot (ed. And trans), (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971). 

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