The Church I Love Despite the Hate

Typically participating in weekly Mass renews my soul, nourishes me spiritually, mentally, and strengthens me for the week. Being in the presence of and receiving the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist is like Pedialyte to my soul. However, today I felt the full weight of shame my Catholic, universal Church has caused. The sadness, betrayal, hurt and mistrust many have especially toward Catholicism is absolutely justified, but the purpose of this entry is not to defend what is abhorrent.

I was raised in the Catholic Church which sowed the seeds of faith into my soul and seems to be built into my DNA or something. I have willingly discarded the Church along with my faith in God for the ways of the world which eventually brought me back to where I began, the Church and the faith and Sacraments which were given to me at my birth. Anointing of the Sick after my premature birth, Baptism, penance, Holy Communion and Confirmation. No matter how far I distanced myself, no matter how angry with God I have been, no matter the alluring promises of our “you do you” culture, I must honestly ask myself why did you revert and choose to identify as a practicing Catholic and continue to be a member of such a broken flawed and hypocritical church?

The church leaders and laity around the world, in my state, and in my Diocese, who have knowingly caused and covered up their evil actions, choices and afflicted pain onto God’s most vulnerable, what do you say of that? How can you still profess such a faith?

This poem hopefully will summarize my answer.

“How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.

No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ. I am old enough to know that I am no better than anyone else. …)

The Church has the power to make me holy but it is made up, from the first to the last, only of sinners. And what sinners! It has the omnipotent and invincible power to renew the Miracle of the Eucharist, but is made up of men who are stumbling in the dark, who fight every day against the temptation of losing their faith. It brings a message of pure transparency but it is incarnated in slime, such is the substance of the world. It speaks of the sweetness of its Master, of its non-violence, but there was a time in history when it sent out its armies to disembowel the infidels and torture the heretics. It proclaims the message of evangelical poverty, and yet it does nothing but look for money and alliances with the powerful.

Those who dream of something different from this are wasting their time and have to rethink it all. And this proves that they do not understand humanity. Because this is humanity, made visible by the Church, with all its flaws and its invincible courage, with the Faith that Christ has given it and with the love that Christ showers on it.

When I was young, I did not understand why Jesus chose Peter as his successor, the first Pope, even though he abandoned Him. Now I am no longer surprised and I understand that by founding his church on the tomb of a traitor(…)He was warning each of us to remain humble, by making us aware of our fragility. (…)

And what are bricks worth anyway? What matters is the promise of Christ, what matters is the cement that unites the bricks, which is the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit is capable of building the church with such poorly moulded bricks as are we.

And that is where the mystery lies. This mixture of good and bad, of greatness and misery, of holiness and sin that makes up the church…this in reality am I .(…)

The deep bond between God and His Church, is an intimate part of each one of us. (…)To each of us God says, as he says to his Church, “And I will betroth you to me forever” (Hosea 2,21). But at the same time he reminds us of reality: ‘Your lewdness is like rust. I have tried to remove it in vain. There is so much that not even a flame will take it away’ (Ezechiel 24, 12).

But then there is even something more beautiful. The Holy Spirit who is Love, sees us as holy, immaculate, beautiful under our guises of thieves and adulterers. (…) It’s as if evil cannot touch the deepest part of mankind.

He re-establishes our virginity no matter how many times we have prostituted our bodies, spirits and hearts. In this, God is truly God, the only one who can ‘make everything new again’. It is not so important that He will renew heaven and earth. What is most important is that He will renew our hearts. This is Christ’s work. This is the divine Spirit of the Church.”

Carlo Carretto

Jesus is the foundation of my faith which has caused me to feel the anguish and pains of spirutal growth. This is why I will actively live out my Catholic faith on this side of heaven. In the end, to know, love and serve God in this world, and to be happy with him in the next is what it is to be a Christian.

Until next time,

Anjelina

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