Reflection: The Catholic Church, and Those who Love Her, Are Best Understood in Christ Crucified
God has given his children an indescribable and indispensable treasure in the fullness of truth that is contained in the Catholic Church alone. When a man, woman or child finds this truth and adheres to it, there is a wonderful, radiant security that rests in their heart.
The Catholic Church will continue to faithfully show forth that mystery of the Truth and the Way and the Life (Jn. 14:6) that is our Lord until the end of time. There is no amount of persecution which can put an end to what God has willed.
DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) - When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified True God and True Man, cruelly fixing his sacred Humanity upon a Roman Cross. As they looked upon the Crucified Son, the rulers "sneered" at Jesus and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." The soldiers, too, "jeered" at him, calling out, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself." (see Lk. 23:33-38).
It appears that the soldiers who mocked Jesus did not understand who he truly is. We could say that they failed to distinguish or recognize reality as it is; for it is reality that the Man they nailed to the cross was-is-the Son of God. In their misunderstanding, they jeered at him. "If you are who you say you are," said they, "save yourself." The soldiers had in mind that the Messiah of God should act differently than he indeed willed to act; they could not understand why he would not use his power in a way that they imagined it ought be used.
We see this same type of jeering and mocking continue on this very day in the way the Catholic Church, which Christ himself founded a short time before he hung on the cross, is persecuted. There are those today, in effect, who exclaim of the Church: "If you are who you say you are, then act as I imagine you would." But what type of Church is it that they imagine God would install in the midst of the world? One inhabited by sinless men completely removed from a fallen humankind who inhabit a fallen world? One that is not truly Mother Church but, rather, a distant and unknown stepmother?
It is unnecessary to go into detail concerning the scandals of abuse which periodically surface within the Church. Suffice it to say that every devout Catholic who sees the Church correctly and in the light of reality as it is, is saddened and disappointed and even angered at these tragic, sinful events. Yet precisely because these Catholics recognize the Catholic Church for what she is, they remain ever-faithfully in love with her; obedient to her words of truth, thirsting for her sacraments of life-especially the highest of all sacraments: the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in Eucharist.
It will come as a shock to the worldly, but there are Catholics who so clearly see the Catholic Church as she is, that they would rather die than part from her; they would rather suffer barbaric torture than willingly dissent from her words of truth; and they would rather be run through by sword than forsake the wondrous, life-giving sacraments her loving hands administer which Christ himself so selflessly instituted. In fact, should it appear that nearly every earthly member of clergy and laity alike were caught up in grave sin these pious Catholics would continue to participate in Mass, thirst for Eucharist, and enter the confessional in order to experience that brilliant grace of forgiveness received in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Why is this so? Simply because, unlike the Roman soldiers who jeered at Christ, devout, obedient and prayerful Catholics know the Catholic Church is both divine and human: when they look upon the Church they see Christ. They see the Church battered and wounded, as was Christ's sacred humanity on the cross, but they see beyond humanity and into the depths of truth where they recognize the divine presence of the Son of God who so lovingly gave of himself to his Bride. By their love, they are given a glimpse into that divine and indescribable Love whose delicate brilliance is beyond understanding.
Christ is the light of the world (Jn. 8:12) from which the Catholic Church receives its light, life, being, mission and truth (see Mt. 16:17-19; 28:18-20; Jn. 16:13). "The Church is not merely a society of men and women; it has a certain sacred dimension because of the inseparable union which Christ established between it and Himself. Only in the light of that union can the Church be seen in the proper perspective." (The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults,159).
The soldiers' failure-or inability-to discern that God Incarnate had clothed himself in flesh and blood and become Man allowed for their erroneous view of reality. They did not recognize Christ on the cross as he is. And, in a similar way, many today fail to comprehend the divine dimension of the Catholic Church whose body is the Mystical Body of Christ, which is a body of earthly members of flesh and blood as well as members who occupy the heavenly realm as saints. The Church therefore transcends what is merely visible, reaching beyond and into the completeness and totality of reality as it is, joining heaven and earth together in union with and through and in Christ.
Christ promised to be with his Church to the end of time (Mt. 28:20). We too should be with his Church until the very end. What are we actually saying to our Lord when we, on the one hand, claim we know ...
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