The Church is the people of God. The Latin word for “church,” ecclesia, comes from the Greek ek, which means “out,” and kaleo, which means “to call.” The Church is the people of God called out of slavery to freedom, sin to salvation, despair to hope, darkness to light, an existence centred on death to an existence focused on life.
When we think of Church we have to think of a body of people, travelling together. We have to envision women, men, and children of all ages, races, and societies supporting one another on their long and often tiresome journeys to their final home.
Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey
I think this is why any model for the Church other than Christ’s is bound to fail, and fail by causing the greatest misery to those who try to find God through it. We are called by Christ out of those bondages—how then can a church do Christ’s will that imposes them all over again?
This is why St. Francis was so insistent on poverty, chastity and, yes, obedience: only so can we be free from the chains of obsession the world puts about our feet. As Tertiaries we live, as The Principles state (Day 4), in the spirit of those Evangelical counsels, but if we do so we are no different really from any who follow Christ, who are called out of the bondage of wealth, lust and self-will that the world peddles as the greatest good, yet which the young man who came to Jesus seeking eternal life would not be liberated from… (Mark 10.17ff)