Incorporation in Christ
INCORPORATION IN CHRIST
For St. Paul the essential eschatological reality is the risen Christ in His glorified Body (Col 2.17). In Biblical thought "body" stands for the whole human being in one's concrete reality as a living person. Sinful human beings are freed from "the body of sin" and "death" (Rom 6.6; 7.24) through the Lord Jesus, who in His own Body-person has destroyed the body of sin (Rom 8.3; 2 Cor 5.21; Col 1.22) and who, risen to new life in the Spirit (Rom 1.4), is in His "spiritual body" (1 Cor 15.44–49) the bearer of new life to human beings (Eph 2.5–6; 1 Cor 15.20–23; 45–49; Col 2.12–3.4; Rom 8.11). It is through Baptism in faith (Col 2.11–12; Rom 6.3–14; 1 Cor 12.13; Eph 5.26) that the sinner, delivered from his own sin-and-death body, is attached to Christ and to the work wrought by Christ in His own Body, and is made one Body with Christ living now as "spiritual body" and "life-giving Spirit" (1 Cor 15.44–45). It is into Christ's Body that Christians are incorporated as members and made His Church-Body; for once embodied into Christ, they become "fellow-members of the same body" (Eph 3.6) and "members of one another" (4.25).
According to Pius XII in the encyclical mystici corporis, incorporation into Christ is realized only in and through the Church, His social Body (see encycl., pars. 11, 40, 67, 73, 81). Christ's "social Body" (44, 51, 58, 67, etc.) is so "conjoined" (1, 5, 11, 55, 67, etc.) and so "made like" (46, 51, 54) to its Head, who shares with it His most "intimately personal goods" (53), that He is become a quasi-person sustaining His Church-Body (51–53, 56, 77). "The divine Savior with His social Body constitutes only one mystical person" (67; see 56, 78). At the same time, however, the social Body of the Church is itself personified, and given not a detached but a distinct collective existence (78, 53, 85, 5, 12, etc.). Vatican II's Lumen Gentium (7–8) continues the line of thought put forth in Mystici Corporis, though it broadens significantly the ecumenical outreach found already in that encyclical.
Baptism in water and the Spirit (18, 21, 26, 29) incorporates the whole human being into Christ in His social Body, qualifying the baptized to live in the total inward-outward life (60) of the company of those who in Christ's one Spirit (54–5) are one with Christ and with each other in faith, hope, and love (70–74).
The grace of incorporation invests the whole social Body, inwardly and outwardly (61, 68–69, 63), and all its single members similarly. It is an embodied grace.
Among the points elaborated by theologians are the following: (1) the precise nature of the Headship of Christ; (2) the role of Christ's Spirit—merely appropriated or also proper? (see appropriation)— in uniting the Body to the Head; (3) the grace of incorporation, as an inward-outward grace, sacramental and social; (4) the Eucharist and incorporation; (5) the nature of the unity— merely dynamic or also entitative?— between Head and Body; and (6) the meaning of incorporation in relation to the growing realization of the real though imperfect communion among various Christian denominations and the Catholic Church (see membership in the church).
See Also: mystical body of christ.
Bibliography: r. schnackenburg, Das Heilsgeschehen bei der Taufe nach dem Apostel Paulus (Münchener theologische Studien 1; Munich 1950). a. wikenhauser, Pauline Mysticism, tr. j. cunningham (New York 1960). s. tromp, De Spiritu Christi Anima, v.3 of Corpus Christi Quod est Ecclesia, 3 v. (Rome 1960). v. branick, The House Church in the Writings of Paul (Wilmington, Del., 1989). m. root and r. saarinen, eds., Baptism and the Unity of the Church (Geneva 1998).
[f. x. lawlor/
d. m. doyle]
"Incorporation in Christ." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 13, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/incorporation-christ
"Incorporation in Christ." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/incorporation-christ
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.