Monday, 23 May 2011

One Big (Dysfunctional) Family

The Church Triumphant is perfect because the Church in Heaven is full of Saints. The Church on Earth, Militant, is imperfect because the Church on Earth is full of sinners.

The two Churches, however, are not separate - they are united spiritually in a communion that will be no longer visibly divided by time and space at the End of Time.

The family of God in Heaven are the happy family. The members of the family on Earth, joined mystically to the family in Heaven has, and always will have 'difficulties'.

Still, it is better to belong to this family than to not belong to it.  Loneliness and isolation is a great scourge of the modern World. It is easy to become cast off from the modern society, to be excluded, to feel like one doesn't quite fit into it, even if one would like to. While the Catholic Church is not a 'social club' by any means, though, of course, some parishes will be better at providing social functions than others, there is a sense in which the Holy Faith provides a sense of family to people, because it is a family, even without a great deal of social interaction.

The prayer that we have been given by the Divine Founder of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, instruct us that God is not merely a personal Father. God is not 'my' Father. God is Our Father. The prayers included in the liturgy of the Church constantly point towards a God who cares for us, that it is us who need redemption, and that the prayer of the Church is for the whole Church and also for the whole World.

Similarly, the prayers of the Rosary continue to emphasise 'us' rather than 'I' or 'me'...

"forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us"
"give us this day our daily bread"
"deliver us from evil"
"forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell"
"pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death"

The daily prayers of the Church and of the Church's recommended private prayers teach us that we do not live in isolation even if we experience that we do. We have a shared Communion not just with the Holy Trinity, but also with the Communion of Saints in Heaven, with the whole Church on Earth and the Suffering Souls in Purgatory. A good reason for this blog was to get Catholic bloggers (some of whom may live in isolation) together. The feeling at the bloggers meeting was that 'we are not alone' and it is good to meet others who care passionately about the Faith and who use the internet to communicate that passion. Some said that it can be a 'lonely pursuit' so it is nice to able to promote a blog in which many different blogs contribute to form a Body, a whole in which every member is important - that is one reason why it is a mortal sin to miss Mass. We do not belong to ourselves, but to the Mystical Body of Christ. We are His limbs on Earth.

The prayers of the Church, the one given to us by Christ and the ones given to us by the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit teach us constantly that we are incorporated into a mystical Body of believers - the Mystical Body of Christ. Even if we feel that we are, we are not alone, since we have Our Lady for Mother, the Church indeed for Mother, God for our Father, the Lord Jesus for our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit for our Sanctifier (for want of a better word), the Saints for our intercessory Brothers and Sisters in Heaven and the whole community of Catholics on Earth for our Brothers and Sisters on Earth.

The prayers recommended by the Church point us towards acknowledging constantly that, even if we wanted to be, we are not alone because of the Family of God that we have been incorporated into in our Baptism, as well as the very Life of the Blessed Trinity itself. Important to remember that while the true Head of the Church is Our Lord Jesus Christ, the visible head of the Body of Christ is the Vicar of Christ on Earth, Pope Benedict XVI, now gloriously reigning.

Therefore, if any Catholic should say, "That's not my Pope!" let it be said in reply, "You're right! He's our Sovereign Pontiff!"

Posted by Laurence of That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill


  1. Your recent post on the Rosary and this current piece are outstanding in quality and lucidity. You have spread a carpet of fleur-de-lys out under the feet of Christ and Our Blessed lady for all of us to contemplate and admire in the perfume of your words. God Bless You always.



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