Origin - Foundation - Mission
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified
The Trinity's Plan for the Church (758)
We study here the Trinity's plan for the Church and her progressive realization in history.
The Father's Family (759)
The eternal Father chose to create the whole universe and to create men to share his own life. He determined to call into his holy Church those who believed in Christ. This "family of God" took shape in history according to the Father's plan. Present in figure from the beginning, the Church was prepared for by Israel and was established by the Spirit in this last age. She will be gloriously completed at the end of time.
The Goal of Creation (760)
"The world was created for the sake of the Church" (Shepherd of Hermas). God created man to have communion with him. This is the Church (God's convocation). God permitted the angels' fall and man's sin to show his love. "God's will is creation and is called the world' and God's intention to save us is called the Church'" (St. Clement of Alexandria).
Preparing for the Church (761-762)
As soon as man sinned, God began gathering mankind into communion. This reunification takes place in the hearts of anyone "who fears him and does what is right" (Acts 10:35).
The Church's remote preparation began with the call of Abraham to be the "father of many nations" (Gen 12:2, 15:5-6). The immediate preparation for the Church was God's election of Israel. However, the prophets accused Israel of breaking the Covenant and prophesied the new and eternal Covenant (Jn 31:31-34) instituted by Christ.
Jesus Ushers in the Kingdom (763-764)
By his preaching of the Reign of God, Jesus inaugurated the Church and ushered in the kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church is "the reign of Christ already present in mystery" (Second Vatican Council).
This kingdom shines out in Jesus' Word. To welcome his Word is to welcome the kingdom. The beginning of the kingdom is the little flock, whom Jesus gathered as their shepherd. They formed the "true family" of Jesus who taught them a new "way of acting" and their own prayer (the Our Father).
Gives the Church a Structure (765-766)
By choosing the twelve apostles, Jesus gave this community a structure which will last until the end of time. These twelve represent the twelve tribes of Israel and are the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12-14). The apostles and disciples share in Jesus' power, mission, and suffering.
The Church is born from Christ's total self-giving. The blood and water flowing from Christ's side symbolize the origin and the growth of the Church. Just as Eve came from the side of Adam, so the Church came from the side of Christ.
The Spirit Displays the Church (767-768)
After completing his work, Jesus sent the Spirit on Pentecost to sanctify the Church. The Church was openly displayed to the crowds and spread to the nations by preaching.
The Spirit gives the Church hierarchical and charismatic gifts. Endowed with these powers, the Church receives the mission to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God among all peoples._