Monday, September 14, 2015

Part Fifteen


     Most organizations adopt laws and strive to govern themselves  in accordance with the laws which they have established. Governing the Church is similar for to govern and rule the Church means to conduct it to the end for which it was originally proposed. Ideally in the Church all sincere members have one desire, to be sanctified and justified in the eyes of the Father in heaven, who is the greatest of all, and to inherit everlasting life in His heavenly kingdom. Any soul is able to be sanctified through the propitious sacrifice of Christ, by eating and drinking the Body and Blood of the Lamb of God, who  lifts away the sins of the world. They are justified by behaving in agreement with the fundamental law of the Church, which bids us to listen to Christ and do all that He commands. In other words every soul can be justified and saved by doing the will of the heavenly Father.

     The will of the heavenly Father is expressed in the fundamental law of the Church and is the same as the wills of the Son and the Holy Spirit, which is that everyone accept Christ and keep His commandments. The rulers of the Church rule and act in accordance with the Holy Spirit should have the fundamental law constantly before them. Celebrating the propitious sacrifice and the divine mystery, they distribute the food of God to the children of God, thus strengthening them. Within the temple of God the rulers (apostles and bishops) must never cease performing these duties in Holy Spirit. The duties of the rulers includes also to observe  all that happens to the faithful outside the Church, seeing to what extent each person fulfills or fails to fulfill their particular duties. By doing this they will know how to treat each individual within the Church.

     The Church of Christ can be likened to a sheepfold and its rulers to shepherds. In the same way that a shepherd leads his sheep to pasture, and protects them from wolves and robbers, so the rulers of the Church feeds the Christians with the bread of life, watering them with the divine doctrine. If a Christian lacks the Christian nature of sheep he will be excluded from the flock. Spiritual children must be like bees continually eating their flowers, they must produce honey, and those who do not are excluded from the hives as being drones rather than bees. 

     In sum, the ruler of the Church bears the same relation as the farmer bears to his vineyard and field, as the shepherd bears to his flock, and the beekeeper to the hive. He will bless and care for the good ground, but will curse and deliver to be burned the ground which bears thorns and thistles which smothers and stifles and does not germinate the divine seed.  He will cut the fruitless branch off the vine, and will purge and cleanse the fruit-bearing branch that it might bear more fruit; he will let the sheep feed on the holy grass of the Lord’s temple, and will water them with living water; and will also safeguard them from the assault of wolves and robbers. He will let the bees alight upon the flower of Jesse’s rod, but he will exclude the drone from the hive.  He will do all these things binding and loosing in Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Spirit binding and remitting sins, and governing and directing the Church in accordance with the will of God.

      Ecclesiastical government consists of a trinomy or three things: 

1.) The celebration of the propitious sacrifice and other mysteries of the Church.  
2.) Teaching in Holy Spirit of the divine word, and distribution of the holy gifts.  
3.) Judgment in Holy Spirit of the conduct and life of each one of the Christians. 

     We can readily see that without church government in Holy Spirit, the will of the Father cannot be accomplished.  For what if there is no one in the Church to celebrate the soul-nourishing mystery of the Eucharist. How will Christians eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Lord for sanctification of their souls?  If there be no one to interpret the law of God correctly and soundly, how are the Christians to behave in accordance with the will of the heavenly Father in order to be justified? If there be no one to point out the way of life, who will justly correct the misdeeds of each individual. How is each sure to arrive at the end he attended? It is evident therefore that without a clergy performing its duties in Holy Spirit, the will of the Father and the Son will be incapable of execution – the law will be a dead letter! Christian life and purpose will not be accomplished, and the Church of Christ will be a dead and lifeless Body, or a ship without a rudder carried out of its course. Just as the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the law of the Father and from the institution of the Son; the entire holy trinomy is inseparable from the holy Church. For wherever there is the single and indivisible trinomy of the single and indivisible Trinity, there is also the single catholic and apostolic Church of Christ, ruled over by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the one and only true God, to whom be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

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