Choose a topic from Part 3a:

8. The Grace of Christ as Head of the Church

1. In the human body, the head holds the first place ofdignity, perfection, and control. So, in the body of the Church,Christ as man, by reason of the union with God, holds the highestplace, and is rightly called "The Head of theChurch."

2. The whole humanity of Christ, body and soul, influencesother human beings in body and soul. Therefore, Christ is the Headof men, not merely the Head of souls.

3. Christ is the Head of all mankind. St. Paul says (ITim. 4:10) that Christ "is the Savior of all men." And weread (I John 2:2) that Christ is "the propitiation for oursins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the wholeworld." Christ is the Head of all men, and principally of allwho are united to him by grace or glory.

4. Christ as man is Head of the angels. Men and angels aremade for the one purpose: the glory of God, and the enjoyment ofheaven. Hence, figuratively speaking, men and angels form one body;for the mystical body which is the Church consists not only of menbut of angels. And of this body Christ is the Head.

5. The grace of Christ as Head of the Church, calledcapital grace, is in reality the same sanctifying orhabitual grace which is in him as a human individual (that is,personal grace), and which constitutes that fullness ofgrace of which "we have all received."

6. Christ alone is the Head of the Church. On earth, thepope is his vicar, and the bishops as heads of their respectivedioceses are, as St. Paul says (II Cor. 5:20), "ambassadorsfor Christ."

7. As prince or prelate is head of the group thatconstitutes his realm or charge, so the devil is the head of allthe wicked. In Job (41:25) we read that the devil "is kingover all the children of pride."

8. Antichrist too is the head of the wicked, but not inthe same way as the devil is their head. The devil precedesAntichrist in time, and also exceeds him in the power ofinfluencing men to evil. Antichrist is head of the wicked in thesense that he is the worst of all who are influenced by thedevil.

"A man should keep himself down, and not busy himself in mirabilibus super se."
St Philip Neri

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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