How should we understand the expression "The
I have been baptized, I am a member and part of the
Church. Does that mean that I also participate in the self-awareness of the
Church? And even more so, "we," taken together, participating in the
services, learning the Law of God, are we not the spokesmen of the general
awareness of the Church? Where is this "teaching" Church, from which
we should seek instruction?
Let us try to answer this question.
For this, let us consider what Christís Church is
in its fullness. Let us not forget that the Church is a holy part of Godís
world. We cannot even imagine the vastness of the Church and the depth of its
spiritual content. We are but temporary parts of the earthly Church, often
diverted by worldly cares. Can we easily reach the spiritual level which would
enable us to perceive the fullness of the Churchís life? For this reason we
seek direction from the holy Church fathers of all ages. All those holy fathers
had general consent regarding the faith. And we see that none of them taught
anything about faith directly from himself, but
partook from the source of the Church. What is this source? It consists of two
parts: 1) the Old Testament scriptures and 2) the New Testament, the Gospel of
Christ and His holy apostles.
Each of us is a citizen of his country, but does
each of us know all his countryís territory, its content, its needs, all its
laws? Neither should we simplify our view of the Church, the catholicity of which
is expressed not only in the unity of its heavenly and earthly members, but
also in the fullness of its mysteries, some of which are open and accessible to
us, and some are completely unknown.
We must admit that when people, too sure of
themselves, consider themselves empowered to add to the teachings of the
Church, either through their philosophical or personal considerations, this
only shows that they do not know the Church. Either they do not admit that the
Church has a ready answer they are looking for, or they are invading areas that
even angels fear to intrude.
An example of such unjustifiable self-assuredness,
connected with a lack of knowledge of the Churchís teaching, can be seen in the
unacceptable teachings of a group of Russian philosophers about "Sophia ó
the Wisdom of God," perceived as a mediator between God and the world in
Godís providential acts. We should be aware, therefore, of the true teaching
about Godís All-wise Providence.
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