The Second Vatican Council

I would like to begin a series of brief commentaries on some of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. John Paul II said in Tertio Millennio Adveniente, "The best preparation for the new millennium, therefore, can only be expressed in a renewed commitment to apply, as faithfully as possible, the teachings of Vatican II to the life of every individual and of the whole Church." It is my hope that this series of brief commentaries encourages you to not only live more faithfully the life of grace in the Church, but that it may encourage you to read the actual documents of the Second Vatican Council.

Today I would like to introduce a document entitled "Lumen Gentium", which means, "The Light of the Gentiles". This document is the Second Vatican Councils work on the Church.

"1. Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature, (Mk 16: 15) to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church. Since the Church... desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission. This it intends to do following faithfully the teaching of previous councils."

It is important to see in these opening words that Jesus is the center of the Church's life and foundation. Therefore the Church's very existence is ordered towards bringing us into union with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, and consequently giving us union with God the Father. Only in this communion of Divine Love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, do we humans have true union as brothers and sisters. Secondly the Church desires that Catholics proclaim the Good News of Jesus to everyone, without exception, by our actions and words. Finally everything that the Second Vatican Council proclaimed was taught, "... following faithfully the teachings of previous councils." There was no break or rupture in the Church during or after the Second Vatican Council; rather the Church, as she has throughout history, guided by the Holy Spirit, more clearly set forth the mystery of Jesus Christ.

I hope that you enjoy this small series. My next post will deal with the first chapter of "Lumen Gentium," entitled The Mystery of the Church.