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My Love-Hate Relationship With “the” Church

Featured imageDevotional Thought of the Day:
1  Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. Isaiah 62:1 (NLT) 

489    A keen and living faith. A faith like Peter’s. When you have it—our Lord has said so—you will move mountains, humanly insuperable obstacles that rise up against your apostolic undertakings.  (1)

(Disclaimer:  This is not about my present congregation/parish, or any individual congregation or parish.  It is about the church at large)

There are times it is tempting to walk away, citing the quaint but blasphemous statement, “I love your Christ, but I hate your religion”.  There are times where the politics, the focus and dependence on theology and/or pragmatic theory, rather than on the Holy Spirit’s guidance drives me crazy.  There are days where people’s desire to divide the church rather than work for the unity Jesus prayed for leaves me feeling empty and depressed. There are times where leaders fight to gain control and power or to make the church in their image rather than Christ’s could give me just cause me to leave.

I hate “the” Church.

But I also love her. This Church. She is the bride of Christ; she is the body of Christ.  She is the joy in the dad’s face as he helps baptize his newborn baby.  Jesus’s love is reflected in the tear-filled eyes of the lady as she receives His body broken for her… His blood shed to cover all her sins.  I love the church s I see people, once adversaries, laughing together and sharing life because the Holy Spirit has become their Lord and Giver of life and reconciled the relationships that were thought to be shattered.  That when we strive to not only live according to God’s revealed plan, but quickly run to confess our trespasses, that He heals us, He heals His church.

It is because of all of this, the good, the bad and the ugly, that the words in red mean so much to me above.   I do yearn to see the church realize the presence of God that God’s kingdom is here, and now.  That He is heard to bring peace, that the means of grace, the sacraments and word of God (which we even argue about) are used by the Holy Spirit to transform us all into the image of Christ, to remind us of the promise we shall share in His glory.  It is that hope, that Jesus won’t abandon His church, that sustains us, even when things seem broken.

It takes the keen and living faith, quickened and sustained by Holy Spirit, to not only see what the church should be, what religion is, but to see that in the people of God. Our relationship with God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, not only empowers our mission, our apostolate, but gives us the desire to see it happen, to see the church grow in its faith, in its awareness of God’s presence, to depend on His love and mercy.

That same desire…can be momentarily frustrated when we look at our beloved Church.  Because we forgot what makes the church the Body of Christ, He does.

Let us look to Him! Let us watch the Holy Spirit transform us into His image, into people who naturally obey His law. the law He put into our hearts, and He drew us into His on the cross.

Lord Have Mercy!  Help us love the Church you love, and see her as you do!

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 1196-1197). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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