Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church - not Churches

The Body of Christ is fractured.  This cannot be, so what are we to do about it?

The Protestant Reformation proved very little, if anything.  I do not want to get into a theological discussion of it, the whys and wherefors, and the justifications.  They are fruitless.  The fact is that the Body of Christ is fractured.  Period.

The Catholic Church is the foundation that Christ made on Peter.  Pundits will claim that calling it the Catholic Church came later, and that seems to matter for some reason that eludes me, other than to justify one's own sin.  The reality is that those who followed Christ were called Catholic before they were called Christian.  Look it up.

The fracture that was and is the Reformation, has itself fractured so often on the theory of sola scriptura, that regardless of how Catholic apologists like Dave Armstrong, who has written tons on that topic and blogs over here about it and other Christian conflicts, prove it to be a false doctrine, the very continuing schism of Protestant Church after Protestant Church, with new ones popping up regularly, is itself sufficient proof that there must be more than sola scriptura for Christians to hang their hat on.

But, I read an interesting article by Ann Barnhardt this morning, over at Sancte Pater that gave me more food for thought on the sad state that is fractured Christianity today.  Her article was mainly about the schism that exists between the Society of St Pius the Tenth and the Catholic Church resulting from issues with Vatican II.

But, even more so, it was about the schisms that have occurred since the Church began over many issues, big and small, and she points to the problems within the Catholic Church itself that precipitated this particular schism, but form at least a sighnificant part of all schisms.  That comes as no surprise to me, since we know that all of us here on the earth are sinners.

But, what I appreciated most in her article was this analogy about a married couple and what schism says about the marriage:

Let's say your wife was diagnosed with cancer. Would you suddenly hate your wife? Would you argue that you didn't marry a body riddled with cancer, and therefore she was no longer the person you married, and then leave her in a smug huff?

Would you hate your wife's body, and thus hate your wife? No. You would love your wife and her body, perhaps even more than before, when you saw her under attack from the cancer. You would want to fight the cancer - chemotherapy, radiation, surgery - anything to get rid of the cancer and bring your wife back to full health and vigor.

This is exactly the situation in the Church today. The Church has cancer. Bad. Fully metastasized, all over-type cancer. It is called Marxist-homosexualism, and the cancer was first observed and diagnosed 45 years ago. Sadly, instead of clinging to the Bride of Christ and fighting the cancer, some people abandoned Her, claiming that the cancer WAS her body, instead of just an invading infection. Others left out of indifference. Others stayed and embraced the cancer as a "good thing" and "progress". A tiny, tiny contingent stayed, held Her hand, and have lovingly administered as much medicinal therapy to her as they possibly could.

What makes this analogy so fitting is the marriage component, because it fits so well into the way Christ describes our relationship to Him, and the relationship of the whole Church/Body of Christ to Him.

I have pretty first hand knowledge of this analogy.  For the past 10 years, MDW has had serious auto immune illnesses that have physically ravaged her body.  She most definitely does not look like the woman that I married.  But, honestly, the thought of leaving her because she does not fit the world concept of beauty the way she did before she was ill has never crossed my mind.  In the past decade, we have done all we can to find answers for the dis-ease that troubles her, and I cannot imagine standing by while she suffers on her own.

But, in the mean time, her faith has grown, as her personal inability to manage her own life has been impaired and she has had to lean on God for the strength that only He can give her.  Seeing her in her daily struggles, while she does her best to carry on with the things of life inspires me to grow myself.  That has drawn me deeper into my own faith in Jesus Christ.

So too, it is with these eyes that I view the Catholic Church.  I firmly believe that Jesus meant what He said to Peter about the Church He created, with Peter as its head; that it would prevail.  So I have watched painfully as reverence for the Eucharist has waned, while knowing personally that in it I receive Jesus Body and Blood.  I have watched as some priests have done dastardly things, and while people calling themselves faithful Catholics have pursued abortion as a right, among many evil things.

But, I have also watched as priests I have known over the years have grown in personal holiness, and draw those they encounter to that same holiness.  I have watched one priest, Father Gordon MacRae, of These Stone Walls blog, who has grown in personal holiness and witness to others, while spending the last 18 years in prison for crimes that were never committed.

I have watched Christians of all stripes drawn into life in the Holy Spirit, and a deeper devotion to Jesus Christ, even though we are separated from each other.

So, what are we to do to help make the Body of Christ one body?  I believe that our only option is to pray that we may be one, as Jesus and the Father are One, and to speak truth in love, not condemnation to all our brothers and sisters.  Our own personal sin is significant enough to take away any self righteousness that we might have in our positions on what is right and wrong in the Church today.

Lord, make us One.

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