"The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." —Revelation 21:14
The holy city, the Church in glory, is founded on the apostles (see also Eph 2:20). This gives us an objective criterion for recognizing the Church founded by Jesus. The Church founded by Jesus can historically trace herself back to the apostles through the ordination of its bishops.
By recognizing Jesus' Church, we know who to believe on such critical matters of faith and morals as:
Do we receive the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion?
Is Baptism necessary?
Is marriage a sacrament?
Is the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the Holy Spirit?
Do I have to be holy to go to heaven?
All of these matters are very important, as are many other important matters which are disputed by holy and intelligent Christian leaders. The Church is the only way out of human limitations, disagreements, and confusion. However, we must be able to recognize the Church Jesus founded. This makes the apostles and their successors especially important. Love the Church and her apostles.
Prayer: Father, may I love the Church and lay down my life for her (Eph 5:25).
Promise: "You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." —Jn 1:49
Praise: St. Bartholomew went from being an obscure Biblical figure to one who has his name written on the stones of foundation.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration
that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error.
It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur
agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.