To love Christ is to love the Church
"How is it possible to separate our love for Jesus Christ from the love we owe to His Church?
Jesus Christ mystically associated in Himself the sons of men so that they would form with Him one body, allowing however the individual personalities of those united with Him to subsist. And as in Jesus Christ there is only one Person, so all Christians must form with Him one single body. He is to be the Head, they the members.
The Church is the price of the Blood of Jesus Christ and the object of His infinite love for mankind. He loved the Church more than His life and, through Him, she is dear to God the Father who had loved her from all eternity, and who gave her His only Son:
‘For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son’ (John 3:16).
Also the Holy Spirit, promised by the Divine Saviour, came to join Himself to her, never to be separated from her, to be her soul, to inspire her, to illuminate her, to steer her, to sustain her and to perform in her the great works of God (cf. Acts 2:11).
All those who are members of the Church live in the spiritual house of God or, rather, are themselves that house: an immense temple in which the whole universe must enter, and whose stones are all living. (…) God Himself has built this house, with Divine mortar.
Now, dearly beloved brethren, let us ask ourselves a question: not to love with a filial love the Bride of Jesus Christ whom He has given us as our Mother, not to love the family of the Man-God, His living house, His holy temple, His earthly city, image of the eternal city, His kingdom, His flock, the society He founded, in a word the work which was the object of all His activities and is now the object of all His concern – is not this to fail to love oneself?
Is it not to misunderstand the plans of His mercy, the rights of His love and those of His power?
Is it not to misunderstand Himself as Saviour, as Redeemer of all men, as conqueror of Hell and of death, and as the Sovereign Lord to whom all the nations of the earth have been given for His inheritance? (cf. Psalm 2:8)."
From the “Pastoral Letter” of St Eugenius of Mazenod for Lent 1860.
O God, who in Thy mercy didst enrich the holy bishop Eugenius of Mazenbod with great apostolic virtues to proclaim the Gospel to the nations, grant, through his intercession, that we may burn with the same spirit and may strive solely for the service of the Church and the salvation of souls. (Collect of the feast.)
Prepared by the "Focolari Movement"