CHAPTER THREE - I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
683 "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." [1 Cor 12:3] "God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' [Gal 4:6] This knowledge of faith is possible only in the Holy Spirit: to be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit. He comes to meet us and kindles faith in us. By virtue of our Baptism, the first sacrament of the faith, the Holy Spirit in the Church communicates to us, intimately and personally, the life that originates in the Father and is offered to us in the Son. [424, 2670, 152]
Baptism gives us the grace of new birth in God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit. For those who bear God's Spirit are led to the Word, that is, to the Son, and the Son presents them to the Father, and the Father confers incorruptibility on them. And it is impossible to see God's Son without the Spirit, and no one can approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of God's Son is obtained through the Holy Spirit. [St. Irenaeus, Dem. ap. 7: SCh 62, 41-42] 
684 Through his grace, the Holy Spirit is the first to awaken faith in us and to communicate to us the new life, which is to "know the Father and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ." [Jn 17:3] But the Spirit is the last of the persons of the Holy Trinity to be revealed. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, the Theologian, explains this progression in terms of the pedagogy of divine "condescension": 
The Old Testament proclaimed the Father clearly, but the Son more obscurely. The New Testament revealed the Son and gave us a glimpse of the divinity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit dwells among us and grants us a clearer vision of himself. It was not prudent, when the divinity of the Father had not yet been confessed, to proclaim the Son openly and, when the divinity of the Son was not yet admitted, to add the Holy Spirit as an extra burden, to speak somewhat daringly.... By advancing and progressing "from glory to glory," the light of the Trinity will shine in ever more brilliant rays. [St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio theol., 5, 26 (= Oratio 31, 26): PG 36, 161-163]
685 To believe in the Holy Spirit is to profess that the Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, consubstantial with the Father and the Son: "with the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified." [Nicene Creed; see above, par 465] For this reason, the divine mystery of the Holy Spirit was already treated in the context of Trinitarian "theology." Here, however, we have to do with the Holy Spirit only in the divine "economy." 
686 The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of the plan for our salvation. But in these "end times," ushered in by the Son's redeeming Incarnation, the Spirit is revealed and given, recognized and welcomed as a person. Now can this divine plan, accomplished in Christ, the firstborn and head of the new creation, be embodied in mankind by the outpouring of the Spirit: as the Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. 
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"
687 "No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." [1 Cor 2:11] Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who "has spoken through the prophets" makes us hear the Father's Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. The Spirit of truth who "unveils" Christ to us "will not speak on his own." [Jn. 16:13] Such properly divine self-effacement explains why "the world cannot receive [him], because it neither sees him nor knows him," while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them. [Jn 14:17] 
688 The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
- in the Scriptures he inspired;
- in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;
- in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists;
- in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;
- in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
- in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
- in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.
I. THE JOINT MISSION OF THE SON AND THE SPIRIT
689 The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is truly God. [Cf. Gal 4:6] Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial, and indivisible, the Church's faith also professes the distinction of persons. When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him. [245, 254, 485]
690 Jesus is Christ, "anointed," because the Spirit is his anointing, and everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this fullness. [Cf. Jn 3:34] When Christ is finally glorified, [Jn 7:39] he can in turn send the Spirit from his place with the Father to those who believe in him: he communicates to them his glory, [Cf. Jn 17:22] that is, the Holy Spirit who glorifies him. [Cf. Jn 16:14] From that time on, this joint mission will be manifested in the children adopted by the Father in the Body of his Son: the mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live in him: [436, 788]
The notion of anointing suggests... that there is no distance between the Son and the Spirit. Indeed, just as between the surface of the body and the anointing with oil neither reason nor sensation recognizes any intermediary, so the contact of the Son with the Spirit is immediate, so that anyone who would make contact with the Son by faith must first encounter the oil by contact. In fact there is no part that is not covered by the Holy Spirit. That is why the confession of the Son's Lordship is made in the Holy Spirit by those who receive him, the Spirit coming from all sides to those who approach the Son in faith. [St. Gregory of Nyssa, De Spiritu Sancto, 16: PG 45, 1321A-B] 
II. THE NAME, TITLES, AND SYMBOLS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The proper name of the Holy Spirit
691 "Holy Spirit" is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. The Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children. [Cf. Mt 28:19]
The term "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God's breath, the divine Spirit. [Jn 3:5-8] On the other hand, "Spirit" and "Holy" are divine attributes common to the three divine persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms "spirit" and "holy."
Titles of the Holy Spirit
692 When he proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the "Paraclete," literally, "he who is called to one's side," ad-vocatus. [Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7] "Paraclete" is commonly translated by "consoler," and Jesus is the first consoler. [Cf. 1 Jn 2:1] The Lord also called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth." [Jn 16:13] 
693 Besides the proper name of "Holy Spirit," which is most frequently used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit of the promise, [Cf. Gal 3:14; Eph 1:13] the Spirit of adoption, [Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6] the Spirit of Christ, [Rom 8:9] the Spirit of the Lord, [2 Cor 3:17] and the Spirit of God [Rom 8:9, 14; 15:19; 1 Cor 6:11; 7:40] - and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of glory. [1 Pet 4:14]
Symbols of the Holy Spirit
694 Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit." [1 Cor 12:13] Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified [Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:8] as its source and welling up in us to eternal life. [Cf. Jn 4:10-14; 738; Ex 17:1-6; Isa 55:1; Zech 14:8; 1 Cor 10:4; Rev 21:6; 22:17] [1218, 2652]
695 Anointing. The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit, [Cf. 1 Jn 2:20:27; 2 Cor 1:21] to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called "chrismation" in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David. [Cf. Ex 30:22-32; 1 Sam 16:13] But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established him as "Christ." [Cf. Lk 418-19; Isa 61:1] The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord. [Cf. Lk 2:11,26-27] The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving. [Cf. Lk 4:1; 6:19; 8:46] Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. [Cf. Rom 1:4; 8:11] Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ": [Eph 4:13; cf. Acts 2:36] "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression. [1293, 436, 1504, 794]
696 Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose "word burned like a torch," brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. [Sir 48:1; cf. 1 Kings 18:38-39] This event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." [Lk 1:17; 3:16] Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!" [Lk 12:49] In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself [Acts 2:3-4] The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions. [Cf. St. John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love, in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh, OCD, and O. Rodriguez, OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 577 ff.] "Do not quench the Spirit." [1 Thess 5:19] [1127, 2586, 718]
697 Cloud and light. These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai, [Cf. Ex 24:15-18] at the tent of meeting, [Cf. Ex 33:9-10] and during the wandering in the desert, [Cf. Ex 40:36-38; 1 Cor 10:1-2] and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. [Cf. 1 Kings 8:10-12] In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. [Lk 1:35] On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'" [Lk 9:34-35] Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming. [Cf. Acts 1:9; cf. Lk 21:27] [484, 554, 659]
698 The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him. [Jn 6:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30] Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments. [1295-1296, 1121]
699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them. [Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16] In his name the apostles will do the same. [Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3] Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given. [Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6] The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the "fundamental elements" of its teaching. [Cf. Heb 6:2] The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses. [292, 1288, 1300, 1573, 1668]
700 The finger. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons." [Lk 11:20] If God's law was written on tablets of stone "by the finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts." [Ex 31:18; 2 Cor 3:3] The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand." [LH, Easter Season after Ascension, Hymn at Vespers: digitus paternae dexterae.] 
701 The dove. At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable. [Cf. Gen 8:8-12] When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him. [Cf. Mt 3:16 and parallels] The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium) suspended above the altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit. [1219, 535]
III. GOD'S SPIRIT AND WORD IN THE TIME OF THE PROMISES
702 From the beginning until "the fullness of time," [Gal 4:4] the joint mission of the Father's Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work. God's Spirit prepares for the time of the Messiah. Neither is fully revealed but both are already promised, to be watched for and welcomed at their manifestation. So, for this reason, when the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches there for what the Spirit, "who has spoken through the prophets," wants to tell us about Christ. [Cf. 2 Cor 3:14; Jn 5:39, 46] [122, 107]
By "prophets" the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in living proclamation and in the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and the New Testaments. Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law (the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in particular the Psalms). [Cf. Lk 24:44] 
703 The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature: [Cf. Pss 33:6; 104:30; Gen 1:2; 2:7; Eccl 3:20-21; Ezek 37:10] 
It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son.... Power over life pertains to the Spirit, for being God he preserves creation in the Father through the Son. [Byzantine liturgy, Sundays of the second mode, Troparion of Morning Prayer] 
704 "God fashioned man with his own hands [that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit] and impressed his own form on the flesh he had fashioned, in such a way that even what was visible might bear the divine form." [St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 11: SCh 62, 48-49] 
The Spirit of the promise
705 Disfigured by sin and death, man remains "in the image of God," in the image of the Son, but is deprived "of the glory of God," [Rom 3:23] of his "likeness." The promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that "image" [Cf. Jn 1:14; Phil 2:7] and restore it in the Father's "likeness" by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is "the giver of life." [410, 2809]
706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit. [Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21] In Abraham's progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself, [Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16] in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad." [Cf. Jn 11:52] God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and "the promised Holy Spirit... [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it." [Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14] 
In Theophanies and the Law
707 Theophanies (manifestations of God) light up the way of the promise, from the patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the visions that inaugurated the missions of the great prophets. Christian tradition has always recognized that God's Word allowed himself to be seen and heard in these theophanies, in which the cloud of the Holy Spirit both revealed him and concealed him in its shadow. 708 This divine pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law. [Cf. Ex 19-20; Deut 1-11; 29-30] God gave the Law as a "pedagogue" to lead his people towards Christ. [Gal 3:24] But the Law's powerlessness to save man deprived of the divine "likeness," along with the growing awareness of sin that it imparts, [Cf. Rom 3:20] enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit. The lamentations of the Psalms bear witness to this. [1961-1964, 122, 2585]
In the Kingdom and the Exile
709 The Law, the sign of God's promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham's faith gave birth. "If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant,... you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." [Ex 19:5-6; Cf. 1 Pet 2:9] But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations. The Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David, [Cf. 2 Sam 7; Ps 89; Lk 1:32-33] would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit. [2579, 544]
710 The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the mysterious fidelity of the Savior God and the beginning of a promised restoration, but according to the Spirit. The People of God had to suffer this purification. [Cf. Lk 24:26] In God's plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church.
Expectation of the Messiah and his Spirit
711 "Behold, I am doing a new thing." [Isa 43:19] Two prophetic lines were to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing to the announcement of a new Spirit. They converge in the small Remnant, the people of the poor, who await in hope the "consolation of Israel" and "the redemption of Jerusalem." [Cf. Zeph 2:3; Lk 2:25, 38] [64, 522]
We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning himself. We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly.
712 The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the "Book of Emmanuel" ("Isaiah said this when he saw his glory," [Jn 12:41; cf. Isa 6-12] speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11: 
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. [Isa 11:1-2]
713 The Messiah's characteristics are revealed above all in the "Servant songs." [Cf. Isa 42:1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49:1-6; cf. Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52:13-53:12.] These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus' Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our "form as slave." [Phil 2:7] Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life. 
714 This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his own the following passage from Isaiah: [Isa 61:1-2; cf. Lk 4:18-19.]
The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted;
he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor.
715 The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the promise, with the accents of "love and fidelity." [Cf. Ezek 11:19; 36:25-28; 37:1-14; Jer 31:31-34; and cf. Joel 3:1-5] St. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost. [Cf. Acts 2:17-21] According to these promises, at the "end time" the Lord's Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace. [214, 1965]
716 The People of the "poor" [Cf. Zeph 2:3; Pss 22:27; 34:3; Isa 49:13; 61:1; etc] - those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God's mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah - are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit's hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ's coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready "a people prepared for the Lord." [Lk 1:17] 
IV. THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME
John, precursor, prophet, and baptist
717 "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." [Jn 1:6] John was "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb" [Lk 1:15, 41] by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary's visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people. [Cf. Lk 1:68] 
718 John is "Elijah [who] must come." [Mt 17:10-13; cf. Lk 1:78] The fire of the Spirit dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord. In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of "[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord." [Lk 1:17] 
719 John the Baptist is "more than a prophet." [Lk 7:26] In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. [Cf. Mt 11:13-14] He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the "voice" of the Consoler who is coming. [Jn 1:23; cf. Isa 40:1-3] As the Spirit of truth will also do, John "came to bear witness to the light." [Jn 1:7; cf. Jn 15:26; 5:35] In John's sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels. [Cf. 1 Pet 1:10-12] "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.... Behold, the Lamb of God." [Jn 1:33-36] [2684, 536]
720 Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of "the divine likeness," prefiguring what he would achieve with and in Christ. John's baptism was for repentance; baptism in water and the Spirit will be a new birth. [Cf Jn 3:5] 
"Rejoice, you who are full of grace"
721 Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. [Cf. Prov 8:1-9:6; Sir 24] Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." 
In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:
722 The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" [Col 2:9] should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice." [Cf. Zeph 3:14; Zech 2:14] It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle [Cf. Lk 1:46-55] lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son. [489, 2676]
723 In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father's loving goodness. Through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit's power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful. [Cf. Lk 1:26-38; Rom 4:18-21; Gal 4:26-28] [485, 506]
724 In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin. She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh. It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes him known. [Cf. Lk 1:15-19; Mt 2:11] 
725 Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God's merciful love, [Cf. Lk 2:14] into communion with Christ. And the humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the first disciples. [208, 2619]
726 At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve ("mother of the living"), the mother of the "whole Christ." [Cf. Jn 19:25-27] As such, she was present with the Twelve, who "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer," [Acts 1:14] at the dawn of the "end time" which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church. [494, 2618]
727 The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father's Spirit since his Incarnation - Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. [438, 695, 536]
Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ's whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here, we shall mention only what has to do with Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit and the gift of him by the glorified Lord.
728 Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that his own flesh will be food for the life of the world. [Cf. Jn 6:27, 51, 62-63] He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus, [Cf. Jn 3:5-8] to the Samaritan woman, [Cf. Jn 4:10, 14, 23-24] and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles. [Cf. Jn 7:37-39] To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer [Cf. Lk 11:13] and with the witness they will have to bear. [Cf. Mt 10:19-20] 
729 Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the promise made to the fathers. [Cf. Jn 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 17:26] The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus' prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus' name; and Jesus will send him from the Father's side, since he comes from the Father. The Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. The Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. [388, 1433]
730 At last Jesus' hour arrives: [Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1] he commends his spirit into the Father's hands [Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30] at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father," [Rom 6:4] he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his disciples. [Cf. Jn 20:22] From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." [Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8] 
V. THE SPIRIT AND THE CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS
731 On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. [Cf. Acts 2:33-36] [2623, 767, 1302]
732 On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the "last days," the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated. [244, 672]
We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith: we adore the indivisible Trinity, who has saved us. [Byzantine liturgy, Pentecost Vespers, Troparion, repeated after communion]
The Holy Spirit - God's gift
733 "God is Love" [1 Jn 4:8, 16] and love is his first gift, containing all others. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." [Rom 5:5] 
734 Because we are dead or at least wounded through sin, the first effect of the gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. The communion of the Holy Spirit [2 Cor 13:14] in the Church restores to the baptized the divine likeness lost through sin. 
735 He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God [has] loved us." [1 Jn 4: 12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:21] This love (the "charity" of 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit. [Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13] 
736 By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit:... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." [Gal 5:22-23] "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit." [Gal 5:25; cf. Mt 16:24-26] 
Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory. [St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, 15,36: PG 32,132]
The Holy Spirit and the Church
737 The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit." [Jn 15:8, 16] [787-798, 1093-1109]
738 Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity (the topic of the next article): [850, 777]
All of us who have received one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the Father's and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many, still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each and every one of us,... and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the power of Christ's sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in all, leads all into spiritual unity. [St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Jo. ev., 11,11: PG 74, 561]
739 Because the Holy Spirit is the anointing of Christ, it is Christ who, as the head of the Body, pours out the Spirit among his members to nourish, heal, and organize them in their mutual functions, to give them life, send them to bear witness, and associate them to his self-offering to the Father and to his intercession for the whole world. Through the Church's sacraments, Christ communicates his Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the members of his Body. (This will be the topic of Part Two of the Catechism.) 
740 These "mighty works of God," offered to believers in the sacraments of the Church, bear their fruit in the new life in Christ, according to the Spirit. (This will be the topic of Part Three.)
741 "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words." [Rom 8:26] The Holy Spirit, the artisan of God's works, is the master of prayer. (This will be the topic of Part Four.)
742 "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' (Gal 4:6).
743 From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable.
744 In the fullness of time the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ's coming among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father gives the world Emmanuel "God-with-us" (Mt 1:23).
745 The Son of God was consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf. Ps 2:6-7).
746 By his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf. Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church.
747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH"
748 "Christ is the light of humanity; and it is, accordingly, the heart-felt desire of this sacred Council, being gathered together in the Holy Spirit, that, by proclaiming his Gospel to every creature, it may bring to all men that light of Christ which shines out visibly from the Church." [LG 1; cf. Mk 16:15] These words open the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. By choosing this starting point, the Council demonstrates that the article of faith about the Church depends entirely on the articles concerning Christ Jesus. The Church has no other light than Christ's; according to a favorite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its light reflected from the sun.
749 The article concerning the Church also depends entirely on the article about the Holy Spirit, which immediately precedes it. "Indeed, having shown that the Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness, we now confess that it is he who has endowed the Church with holiness." [Roman Catechism I, 10, 1] The Church is, in a phrase used by the Fathers, the place "where the Spirit flourishes." [St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 35: SCh 11, 118]
750 To believe that the Church is "holy" and "catholic," and that she is "one" and "apostolic" (as the Nicene Creed adds), is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Apostles' Creed we profess "one Holy Church" (Credo... Ecclesiam), and not to believe in the Church, so as not to confuse God with his works and to attribute clearly to God's goodness all the gifts he has bestowed on his Church. [Roman Catechism I, 10, 22] [811, 169]
Paragraph 1. The Church in God's Plan
I. NAMES AND IMAGES OF THE CHURCH
751 The word "Church" (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to "call out of") means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose. [Cf. Acts 19:39] Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people. [Cf. Ex 19] By calling itself "Church," the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is "calling together" his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means "what belongs to the Lord."
752 In Christian usage, the word "church" designates the liturgical assembly, [Cf. 1 Cor 11:18; 14:19, 28, 34, 35] but also the local community [Cf. 1 Cor 1:2; 16:1] or the whole universal community of believers. [Cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6] These three meanings are inseparable. "The Church" is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body. [1140, 832, 830]
Symbols of the Church
753 In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body. [Cf. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; LG 9] Around this center are grouped images taken "from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage." [LG 6] [781, 789]
754 "The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep. [LG 6; Cf. Jn 10:1-10; Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:11-31; Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4; Jn 10:11-16] 
755 "The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing. [LG 6; Cf. 1 Cor 39; Rom 11:13-26; Mt 21:32-43 and parallels; Isa 51-7; Jn 15:1-5] 
756 "Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the cornerstone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. [LG 6; Cf. 1 Cor 3:9; Mt 21:42 and parallels; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:7; PS 118:22; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 Tim 3:15; Eph 2:19-22; Rev 21:3; 1 Pet 2:5; Rev 21:1-2] [797, 857, 1045]
757 "The Church, further, which is called 'that Jerusalem which is above' and 'our mother', is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ 'loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.' It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly 'nourishes and cherishes.'" [LG 6; Cf. Gal 4:26; Rev 12:17; 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17; Eph 5:25-26, 29] [507, 796, 1616]
II. THE CHURCH'S ORIGIN, FOUNDATION AND MISSION
758 We begin our investigation of the Church's mystery by meditating on her origin in the Holy Trinity's plan and her progressive realization in history. 
A plan born in the Father's heart
759 "The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life,"[LG 2] to which he calls all men in his Son. "The Father... determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ." [LG 2] This "family of God" is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father's plan. In fact, "already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvellous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time." [LG 2] [293, 1655]
The Church - foreshadowed from the world's beginning
760 Christians of the first centuries said, "The world was created for the sake of the Church." [Pastor Hermae, Vision 2, 4, 1: PG 2,899; cf. Aristides, Apol. 16, 6; St. Justin, Apol. 2,7: PG 6, 456; Tertullian, Apol. 31, 3; 32, 1: PL 1, 508-509] God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the "convocation" of men in Christ, and this "convocation" is the Church. The Church is the goal of all things, [Cf. St. Epiphanius, Panarion 1, 1, 5: PG 41, 181C] and God permitted such painful upheavals as the angels' fall and man's sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world: [294, 309]
Just as God's will is creation and is called "the world," so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called "the Church." [Clement of Alex., Paed. 1, 6, 27: PG 8, 281]
The Church - prepared for in the Old Covenant
761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. The gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God's reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: "In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable" to God. [Acts 10:35; cf. LG 9; 13; 16] 
762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people. [Cf. Gen 12:2; 15:5-6] Its immediate preparation begins with Israel's election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations. [Cf. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; Isa 2:2-5; Mic 4:1-4] But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant." [LG 9; cf. Hos 1; Isa 1:2-4; Jer 2; 31:31-34; Isa 55:3] [122, 522, 60, 64]
The Church - instituted by Christ Jesus
763 It was the Son's task to accomplish the Father's plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent. [Cf. LG 3; AG 3] "The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures." [LG 5] To fulfill the Father's will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church "is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery." [LG 3] 
764 "This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ." [LG 5] To welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the Kingdom itself." [LG 5] The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is. [Lk 12:32; cf. Mt 10:16; 26:31; Jn 10:1-21] They form Jesus' true family. [Cf. Mt 12:49] To those whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new "way of acting" and a prayer of their own. [Cf. Mt 5-6] [543, 1691, 2558]
765 The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head. [Cf. Mk 3:14-15] Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem. [Cf. Mt 19:28; Lk 22:30; Rev 21:12-14] The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but also in his lot. [Cf. Mk 6:7; Lk 10:1-2; Mt 10:25; Jn 15:20] By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church. [610, 551]
766 The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. "The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus." [LG 3; cf. Jn 19:34] "For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the 'wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.'" [SC 5] As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross. [Cf. St. Ambrose, In Luc. 2, 85-89 PL 15,1666-1668] [813, 860, 1340, 617, 478]
The Church - revealed by the Holy Spirit
767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church." [LG 4; Cf. Jn 17:4] Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun." [AG 4] As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them. [Cf. Mt 28:19-20; AG 2; 5-6] [731, 849]
768 So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit "bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her." [LG 4] "Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom." [LG 5] 
The Church - perfected in glory
769 "The Church... will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven," [LG 48] at the time of Christ's glorious return. Until that day, "the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world's persecutions and God's consolations." [St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 18, 51: PL 41, 614; Cf. LG 8] Here below she knows that she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom, when she will "be united in glory with her king." [LG 5; Cf. 6; 2 Cor 5:6] The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials. Only then will "all the just from the time of Adam, 'from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,'... be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father's presence." [LG 2] [671, 2818, 675, 1045]
III. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH
770 The Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It is only "with the eyes of faith" [Roman Catechism 1, 10, 20] that one can see her in her visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as bearer of divine life. 
The Church - both visible and spiritual
771 "The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men." [LG 8 # 1] The Church is at the same time: 
- a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ; 
- the visible society and the spiritual community;
- the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches." [LG 8] 
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element": [LG 8]
The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest. [SC 2, Cf. Heb 13:14]
O humility! O sublimity! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discoloured her, yet heaven's beauty has adorned her. [St. Bernard of Clairvaux, In Cant. Sermo 27:14 PL 183:920D]
The Church - mystery of men's union with God
772 It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him." [Eph 1:10] St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn. [Eph 5:32; 3:9-11; 5:25-27] Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory." [Col 1:27] [518, 796]
773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. [1 Cor 13:8; cf. LG 48] "[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." [John Paul II, MD 27] Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." [Eph 5:27] This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine." [Cf. John Paul II, MD 27] [671, 972]
The universal Sacrament of Salvation
774 The Greek word mysterion was translated into Latin by two terms: mysterium and sacramentum. In later usage the term sacramentum emphasizes the visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation which was indicated by the term mysterium. In this sense, Christ himself is the mystery of salvation: "For there is no other mystery of God, except Christ." [St. Augustine, Ep. 187,11,34: PL 33, 846] The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church's sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call "the holy mysteries"). The seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. The Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a "sacrament." [1075, 515, 2014, 1116]
775 "The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men." [LG 1] The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. In her, this unity is already begun, since she gathers men "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues"; [Rev 7:9] at the same time, the Church is the "sign and instrument" of the full realization of the unity yet to come. 
776 As sacrament, the Church is Christ's instrument. "She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all," "the universal sacrament of salvation," by which Christ is "at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God's love for men." [LG 9 # 2, 48 # 2; GS 45 # 1] The Church "is the visible plan of God's love for humanity," because God desires "that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit." [Paul VI, June 22, 1973; AG 7 # 2; cf. LG 17] 
777 The word "Church" means "convocation." It designates the assembly of those whom God's Word "convokes," i.e., gathers together to form the People of God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ.
778 The Church is both the means and the goal of God's plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the earth (cf. Rev 14:4).
779 The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her mystery, which only faith can accept.
780 The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men.