The Mystical Body of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen

Sheen explains that the Church “continues Christ, expresses Christ, develops all the virtualities, potentialities of Christ, makes it possible for Him to extend Himself beyond the space of Palestine and the space of thirty-three years to prolong his influence unto all times and to all men—in a word, it de-temporalizes and de-localizes Christ so that He belongs to all ages and all souls.”

Sheen puts it even more pithily later in his book:

“The Incarnate did not exhaust himself in the Incarnation.” (Col.1:24)

This is why the Scriptures describe the Church as the fullness of Christ. The Church is the new Body that Jesus assumed after his Ascension, the instrument he now uses to teach, govern, and sanctify the world. Why is this important? Because it affirms the Church isn’t a roadblock to encountering Christ, a barrier to pure Christianity. The Church is Christ.

As Sheen poetically observes, “The Church . . . no more stands between Christ and me than his feet stood between [Mary] Magdalene and his forgiveness, or his hand stood between the little children and his blessing, or his breast stood between John and the secrets of his Sacred Heart.”

Acts 1:14. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren“.

When we misunderstand the Church and her connection to Christ, we misunderstand Christ himself. That’s what has happened today among the “spiritual but not religious,” and that’s why it’s important we recommit ourselves to understanding who the Church is and why she matters. In other words, it’s important we rediscover the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.”

— From “The Mystical Body of Christ” by Fulton J. Sheen

C-Span: Fulton J. Sheen, America’s Bishop