We can define the church as the community where we are being healed from our addictions. In the church we become aware of our dependences and learn how to keep them at bay.
Saint Paul’s letter further enhances this definition. In this community, we imitate our Saviour. ‘Our one desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same earnestness to the end, to the perfect fulfilment of our hopes, never growing careless, but imitating those who have their faith and the perseverance to inherit the promises.’ (Hebrews 6:10-20) This imitation implies an almost unconscious attention to values and virtues in others of which source is the person of Jesus, the way in which he lived among us.
This is a special form of the ‘apostolic succession’. The loving deeds of our Lord, the gestures of his love were also passed on to the apostles, and later Christians. It is good to think of this ‘rich memory of the Gospel’, being present in each of us. When we recognise and imitate the goodness and Christian thinking of others, we imitate the source, our Lord.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..