Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Garments of Grace
In the classic fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” a vain ruler is tricked by two weavers into believing he has a set of new clothes. He parades before the people for their admiration. The people are afraid to say anything until a child blurts out: “But he’s naked!”
There is a similar deceptive force at work that tries to reclothe believers, and therefore the Church, in unbecoming ways. Here is one example:
Some circles hold that the Church has become feminized and that is the reason more men don’t participate. Pope St. John Paul II would surely be surprised by that assessment. He spent a great part of his pontificate trying to bring the authentic gifts of women more fully into the Church and the world. His call for the “feminine genius” was as much a call to women to wake up and recognize their real gifts, as it was to men to accept them. In a word, live the Marian dimension in the Church more deeply and it will go a long way toward sanctifying her. The call to men is similar. Live the Christ life heroically and the Church will flourish in a powerful and beautiful way.
The Church is neither patriarchal nor feminized in the negative sense of those words. What we struggle with today is secularism. Secularism wants to tell us who we are by clothing us in its own garments and dividing us from each other. It would reclothe the Church in rags before the masses who are dying for even a glimpse of the stunningly beautiful Garments of Grace that are her incomparable treasures.
“All of us who were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:26-28.
Our authentic shared identity is as brothers and sisters in Christ, beloved children of the Father! We cannot let the world “clothe” us in any other way. If we live out our identity in Christ our relationships become familial, not based in race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic levels, education, etc., but rather in “graced friendships” which should form the basis of all our interactions with each other.
There will always be attempts to refashion the Church. But the garb of Christ who is poor and glorious at the same time is our true raiment. We must remember that so we do not end up exchanging our eternal beauty for the glitter of false gold!
Questions for Reflection:
- What are the treasures, riches, jewels the Church offers that the world cannot give?
- One example is given in the reflection. What are some other ways the world tries to “reclothe” the Church, or believers?
- What is the meaning of worldly and what is the motivating vision of those who are worldly? And what is the motivating vision of those who follow Christ? How does one move in this world without becoming worldly?
- We are called to see every person in the goodness of the Father. This will ultimately heal the divisions we have between ourselves, between peoples and nations, and between generations. How do we concretely live that?