Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Splendor of the Church

I had the opportunity to preach a day of recollection for the Poor Clares in Lemont yesterday. Quite a different group than the widows on Sunday! There are days when I am really struck by the grandeur of the Church and what She proclaims: a gospel broad enough to include vocations for the elderly, for the young, for the religious and for the laity, for men and women, and all temperaments. She tells a story in which there is always more to be heard and enrolls us in a school where we are always beginners.

Rather frequently in spiritual direction or casual conversation, I hear others refer to the 'Church' and mean only the public figures, particularly the bishops. What a mistake! It puts too much pressure on a handful of fallible men and misses out on the hidden life of the Church. As Pope John Paul II put it, the Marian dimension of the Church takes precedence over the Petrine: the praying Church over the governing Church, the contemplative over the institutional. She should always appear humble by the world's standards, and this being the case, one can ask the quetion if we are actually in a better place today in some ways than we were in the heyday of Christendom.

God's peace to you always!

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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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