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LAITY IN THE CHURCH - page 15 / 21

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meaning of universalism began to be evident.

The Church of Antioch dispatched their leaders on a mission.

The Eucharist becomes for us as inspiration of universalism then.  Christ's mission is a tension that must be experienced with courage and lucidity, because it calls us to make our daily lives the arena of Good News of universal salvation that Antioch accom­plished.  The Maronite Christian, a pilgrim of the kingdom here below, is a member of the Father's family and the universal brotherhood which constitutes it.  Family is the only absolute that absorbs, at a high level, the decisive element in his life.  All his other associations are undertaken as something real, though secular, something which, as such, contributes nothing to his pursuit of eternal destiny.

The Church was and continues to be subjected to heresies.  The letters of Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 115) show us that emphasis was on the danger of heresy and the need to obey bishops.  His main themes are unity and charity, nurtured by the Eucharist:  "Come together in common, one and all without exception in charity, in one faith and in one Jesus Christ. . .so that with undivided mind you may obey the bishop and the presbyters, and break one bread that is the medicine of immortality and the antidote against death" (Eph. 20).  This

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