Let me tell you some things I’ve read in Aquinas so far his year. Christ’s Passion is the sufficient cause of Man’s salvation. Christ is the only mediator between God and Man. He was the sacrifice, He was the Priest who offered the sacrifice, He was one with Him to whom it was sacrificed, and He united those for whom it was sacrificed. The daily offering of the Eucharist in the Church is not a further atoning sacrifice but a commemoration of the sacrifice made once for all time. God has chosen to use sacraments as instruments in conferring his grace because it is befitting that human beings have spiritual truths communicated through material objects. The sacraments are signs of God’s grace. They are causes of grace only in an instrumental way, as a hammer is a cause of a chair or as a voice has the power to arouse a listener.
I started out writing thinking that I would say what this sounds like to me. But now that it’s come down to it, I don’t know if this sounds Catholic or Protestant. It just sounds Christian to me. I know the Church is split in several ways, but I try to act as if the split doesn’t exist. I regularly confess my faith in the holy catholic Church, but I’m not a Roman Catholic. I attend a Protestant church, but I’m not protesting anything. To declare myself loyal to one side or another would – in my view, at least – violate I Corinthians 1. (But, mind you, I don’t want separate myself from any Christian who does confess allegiance to one party or the other.) Paul scolds those Christians for proclaiming “I am of Paul” or “I am of Peter.” These, in fact, almost exactly represent my two main options in America; I certainly don’t want to say either of those things, so I can’t declare myself either a Protestant or a Roman Catholic.
But Paul goes on to scold also those who say, “I am of Christ.” Now what in the world could be wrong with that? Paul himself, in fact, says in other places that he belongs to Christ, so how can he condemn the statement here? It must be the context. With everyone claiming separate circles, saying “I’m of Christ” just creates one more circle: the circle of people who don’t say, “I’m of Paul” or “I’m of Peter.” It’s just as exclusive as the other statements. So what should a good Corinthian Christian have said? The problem is in the word “I.” “We are of Christ,” Paul could have accepted. “We are of Christ,” I’m comfortable with.