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Friday, March 11, 2011

Mother Church

It is in this season of repentance, especially, that our mind turns to issues of fasting and mortification as directed by the Church in her wisdom, applying for us the great inheritance of the fasts and feast of the Old Covenant.  We have in Her teaching the width and breadth of Natural law and Philosophy applied to our souls.  Her prescribed penance is medicine not for the making ill but for the curing.  Our Lord has made sure in His faithfulness to give us good things, meant for our Joy not our sorrow.  I am reminded three days into Lent, on my own Mother’s birthday, that one of the greatest Gifts we have been given for our life and sanctification is the Church.  The Church is second only to the gift of Himself that God has made, every way manifest in Christ.  She is our best Joy and Penance in this life.  We nurse at her Breast.  We find comfort in her arms.  We are disciplined in our excess.  We are opposed in our pride.  She is Mother.  She is Family. She is Body. She is Bride. She is Ark.  She is Salvation.  Because She is of Christ. 
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” In the Scriptures we are instructed by the Poetry of God.  He has pictured for us in this verse the tender nurturing of His great heart.   It was from this place that Man was birthed into the world.  He made the picture and metaphor complete when he took a rib from near man's heart to make woman.  Eve is the living metaphor, a natural extension of the Heart of God. 

Even though through this Eve humanity would be marred and motherhood equated with pain, God's will in manifesting him self cannot be thwarted.  The picture stands redeemed in Mary.  It is she who faithful and humble, receives from God the gift of fellowship with Christ.  As living metaphor she recieves Christ into her by faith; in this she is Proto-Christian and the example of Salvation by faith in Christ to all.  She is the example of redeemed femininity and the model of womanliness, for all humanity.  All faithful Mothers remind us of her as she points to God.  She is as the Early Fathers teach us “the new Eve” and the fulfillment of God’s manifestation of His nurturing Heart.   We united in Christ’s body partake with her in the redemption of ‘Jerusalem’ the City and Family of God.  Born anew in Christ’s Righteousness we are the Church:  Mother and Family to all who call on His name.  God promises us this new Mother and community in Isaiah 66:
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
   all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
   all you who mourn over her.
 For you will nurse and be satisfied
   at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
   and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
 For this is what the LORD says:
   “I will extend peace to her like a river,
   and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
   and dandled on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
   so will I comfort you;
   and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
The genius of God’s poetry does not stop there.  The Church is the Body of Christ.  We find by His wounds access into a new life, in His One Body.  “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph:5:30)” Entering into Him by faith, we will be carried unto our salvation. We are baptized into the flood that purifies, and the Ark that saves. We drink from One Cup the blood that was shed and eat from One Tree.  The cross is the fulfillment of the tree of life-- the fruit, one Body that gives eternal life.  This tree is the wood of Elisha, that cast away was able to resurrect our hearts of iron from the depths (2Kings 6). 
How then should we relate to Her then? Surely as He requires, for this all comes and flows through Him, but this is not as though it is contrary to nature…We should acknowledge her and care for her as our own body.  She is all around you: your fathers and husbands, your wives and mothers, your children, your friends, and through repentance and grace likely even your enemies.  We must live with her and learn from her.   And let us trouble her only a little.  We should commit ourselves to her when she troubles us.  She is our penance and the means of our purification and on occasion our mortification --As when she rebukes us.   We must submit faithfully, trusting God our Father to right Her when She is wrong.  We should go to her for succor and sacrament.  We should work for Her life and purity.  We should die for Her and for Her “little ones” for we are the very same.   We are the little ones.  My best fast is to live for Him by living for Her -- First in my own family then the rest of the family of God.  I thank the women in that Family for reminding me of Her and communicating Her, and therefore Him, to me.  I love you dear Lissa and Happy birthday Mum! 

1 comment:

  1. I never realized the analogy of the ark to femininity. Powerful. I also love Mary as the proto-Christian, carrying first, the "Christ in you, the hope of glory."