Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cantalamessa on the Church

I'm back from my annual post-Paschal vacation with some Priest-friends.  This is the fifth year we've done this and it's always a great time to both laugh and recharge the batteries.

This annual week away is a great time to catch up on things I wanted to read, but never got the chance to do.  I brought with me Pope Benedict's homilies for the Triduum (I got through the Chrism Mass and Holy Thursday) and Father Cantalamessa's book, "Loving the Church". Here's a passage that knocked me out:
"One can derive an important consequence from the words of St. Catherine [of Siena]: Christ has loved the Church, despite the iniquities that she was to commit, so who are we to find in the Church's weaknesses and misery a reason not to love her but to judge her instead?  We who also are filled with sin?

Do we actually think that Jesus doesn't know the sins of the Church as well as we do?  Did he not know for whom he was dying?  Did he not know that one of his disciples had betrayed him and that another was denying him and that the rest were fleeing?  He, however, loved this real Church, not an imaginary and ideal one.  He died to make her 'Holy and without blemish' (Eph 5:27), not because she was holy and without blemish.  He loves the Church 'in hope,' not just for what she is but also for what she is called to be and will be: the heavenly Jerusalem 'prepared as a bride adorned for her husband' (Rv 21:2).

Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her so that she would be 'without stain.'  And the Church would be without stain if we were not a part of it!  The Church would have one less wrinkle if I committed one less sin.  Martin Luther criticized Erasmus of Rotterdam for remaining in the Catholic Church despite its corruption, but Erasmus answered him: 'I put up with this Church, in the hope that one day it will become better, just as it is constrained to put up with me in the hope that one day I will become better.'"

1 comment:

Neuropoet said...

Fr. Jay - welcome back! I'm glad you had a good vacation, but it's great to have you posting again. :) I don't comment much, but I check your blog every day.
I love this excerpt you shared!