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An Interview with Dr. Alveda King: A Message of Peace and Fear

A Message of Peace and Hope in a Time of Chaos and Fear - Dr. Alveda King Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

One only has to turn on her television set, listen to the radio, peruse social media, or even step outside her front door to be witness to the winds of change sweeping through the nation. Of course, with that wind we have also seen chaos and upheaval grip much of our nation as well. Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many have taken the opportunity to speak out against the inequality faced by people of color in our nation. And while this is a wonderful thing to do, others have used this platform to preach change through any means available, including violence. As Christians, what are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to react? How can we help implement change and civil discourse and yet dissuade those using violence?

A Message of Peace and Hope in a Time of Chaos and Fear - Dr. Alveda King Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

I was blessed to speak with pro-life leader and civil rights activist Dr. Alveda King, niece of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In a candid interview, we discussed the state of our country as well as what we, as Christians, can do to help our nation move forward.  In the eyes of many, the two of us are vastly different- she is an African American from a well-known family, engaged in activism since she was born. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives and has written numerous books. She is well-known, often giving interviews for news stations and other media. She has faced challenges that I will never face. She has lived a life that I cannot imagine.

A Message of Peace and Hope in a Time of Chaos and Fear - Dr. Alveda King Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

I, on the other hand, am a white woman who was born after the civil rights movement and grew up never truly knowing what it was like not to love everyone I met. Schools were not segregated, I had friends of every color and nationality, and I was never taught to hate those who are different from me. I am married to a police officer, who was raised the same, and together we have raised our children to also love everyone they meet. I am a homemaker and homeschooling parent. I practice what I preach and volunteer in many ways to help our community thrive and uplift those who need to be uplifted. I am currently the youth minister at my parish and I would venture to say my name is not known outside of my own little world. We have faced intense hate because of my husband’s chosen profession and for our faith, but our experiences are not the same.

In most people eyes, we are more different than alike… but as Dr. King points out, speaking sister to sister, we aren’t different, we are the same and this is the message we all need to hear but that we often fail to hear.

Beginning a Conversation of Peace

Opening our conversation, I asked Dr. King about her feelings regarding George Floyd, the police, the protests, and ultimately the riots. She began, “We are having this conversation in June of 2020. This particular year there is a new election, we will be reelecting our president I believe and some others will be elected; Covid 19 has just rocked America and the world. This is not new… elections are not new, pandemics are not new; and neither is the violence we are experiencing from the death of George Floyd- a man who was killed from a knee on his neck-of course him being African American and the officer being Caucasian.” Expanding on the public’s vastly different reactions to officer involved arrests by white officers versus black officers, she continued, “So we’re down to the argument of skin color, over and over again. That has happened throughout creation since the fall of humanity. People fight about skin color, class, who’s rich, who’s poor, who’s young, who’s old, and all types of things. The answer, the cure, of course, is always- come to the Lord and seek the Lord. And treat each other, regardless of skin color and socioeconomic conditions- treat each other as humans…”

This is where we most often fail. We only see a black man or a white officer. We fail to see that God has created us each in His image and likeness. We fail to see the inherent dignity in one another. Instead, we focus on skin color, wealth, social standing, age, and a myriad of other qualifiers that don’t necessary qualify but instead divide. And we are all guilty of this regardless of our color, status, pocketbook, etc. As humans, because we are sinful, because have experienced the fall, it is difficult for us to see each other through God’s eyes.

Dr. King quoted Acts 17:26, “He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and He fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their region” several times throughout our conversation. She lamented, “I was taught by my father, Reverend A.D. King, my mother Naomi King who is still living, my granddaddy Daddy King, Mama King his wife, and my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that Acts 17:26 “of one blood” means that we have to get along. Martin Luther King Jr said we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools. We’re not separate races.” She continued, “God created all people…. Our blood is red, our skin color- we can see it. We have to see it or we are colorblind.  It’s a sin to differentiate people by skin color or money or any of the human conditions that we have. The human race has been in the condition of being a fallen group of people in a fallen world. The answer to that is always Jesus Christ. So sin is sin. It is a sin to see our brothers and sisters as other races when we are all of one race- the human race. It is sin to say “my race needs to get along with your race” because there is one race. So, the issue of racism, socially engineered to divide us, is sinful.”

Unfortunately there are those who do not wish to see the world as one race. They hope to keep us separated. How are we to react then to those who wish to keep dividing us? Dr. King, like Martin Luther King Jr and her own father A.D. King, advocates peace. Communication is the key- truly listening to one another and then actively working with one another. But what about those who say that no one is listening and so violence is the only thing that will open the government’s and people’s eyes? When asked about the response of some justifying rioting and other violence she said that people are taking MLK Jr’s quote about “rioting is the language of the unheard” out of context. She states, “Martin Luther King Jr, in that same speech when he was speaking on riots and violence, went on to say that all violence is immoral and doesn’t make sense… we need to be heard, but not with violence. We have to quickly continue to say “we hear you” and now that we hear you, let us communicate in a peaceful, sensible manner. And so we have to NOT be violent and but to work together and learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not perish together as fools- because John 3:16 “for God so love the world…” God’s not colorblind, God’s colors are magnificent!”

Working for Peace

Peace is the key. But how do we teach peace? How do our religious communities take the lead? Dr. King emphatically states, “The leaders of all faiths who acknowledge that there is a God in heaven, need to come together to teach people not to be fearful and tearful and to not panic, but to have faith to pray… to pray instead of panic and to have faith instead of fear. And as leaders do that, (and every person is the leader of him or herself and if he’s not, he’s in serious bondage)- leaders of your homes, your churches, your communities, your work, our governments- all leaders should be encouraging and not stirring up fear.”

Don’t incite fear. Don’t encourage violence. Don’t panic. Instead, pray, have faith, work alongside one another to bring about true change. Encourage one another. Simple but powerful lessons for us all.

As a mother and a youth minister I was particularly interested in what we can do to help raise the next generation to avoid the mistakes of the past and to repair the damage that the past has inflicted. Dr. King spoke eloquently when she said, “Remind these young people of their purpose and their destiny- that they have a voice and their voice comes from God; they have breath that comes from God. And even though George Floyd’s voice had been taken from him, they still have their voices and can raise them for good and unity. We have to teach our young people about God- not to fear, not to panic, but to love and to communicate, to talk… use our breath that God gives us to speak truth.”

This, of course, is not just a message for the white community, but instead for all of us. If we are truly one human race then we must all reach out to one another speaking the words of truth in love… without fear, without panic, but instead with Christ guiding our words and actions.

Conquering Sin Together

As Dr. King and I ended our conversation, I asked her if she could relay one last message to the people reading, a message that she believes God wants all of us to hear, what would it be? She responded with so much love when she said, “The Lord has said in the book of Luke, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to set the captives free”- the little babies in the womb are captives, people in jail unjustly are captive, God wants this to be a time of repentance and to understand that we are all of one human race. We need to come back to God and God will help us solve these issues together.”  With God’s help, we can be the instruments to set the captives free.

What has happened to George Floyd is unquestionably wrong and horrifying. For any person to be treated as he was can’t be justified. It has shaken us all to our core. It has been a catalyst for change (and thankfully so!).  But as Dr. King agreed, this isn’t just a police officer problem; this isn’t just a black vs white problem; this isn’t just an American problem… this is a worldwide problem. It is a problem with sin. It is a problem with the condition of our hearts. Conquer sin and we will conquer racism and every other ailment of the heart and soul. But we cannot do this without God and we cannot do this without one another.

If you would like to visit Dr. Alveda King at her website you can find it here. Additionally, she works with Priests for Life as their Executive Director of their Civil Rights for the Unborn outreach program.

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Anni Current Events Fruits of the Holy Spirit Ink Slingers

Fostering Unity: The Lessons Begin At Home

FosteringUnityTheLessonsBeginatHome

I was remiss in meeting my deadline for this month’s article, and chose a rare lazy Sunday afternoon to get caught up. While drafting an entirely different article, my phone began blowing up with the most recent division causing a stir among Catholics in the United States. I noticed every. single. Catholic. group I belong to on Facebook had individuals posting about the seventeen year old young men and the Native American drummer during a Friday in January.

The thoughts I had spent days drafting about community and the importance of relationships began to unravel, as I watched people begin to launch into political tirades, name calling, and derogatory attacks. 

I’m not going to weigh in on this most recent controversy. But, as I drafted my article, trying to temper the anger and sadness welling within, the following message came to my head and heart.

Satan loves division. In fact, Satan thrives on division. As I’ve explained to my six year old before, Satan does a little happy dance any time we argue and fight with each other, and any time there are bad things occurring in the world. Satan would like nothing more than to have us throw our hands up in the air in exasperation with each other, sling mud and intolerance back and forth, and level our communities with hatred. 

I once had a military chaplain say during his homily, “Where there is the Holy Spirit, there is unity.” The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, repairs the ripped seams torn apart by God’s enemy. The Holy Spirit provides a strong barrier and fortress against wickedness and snares. The Holy Spirit provides comfort and draws people into community.

Oddly enough, my initial post for this month was going to be about community… and, a reminder that humans are made for relationships. Not necessarily romantic relationships, but we are made for community.

Scientific studies have indicated that those who live within community settings live longer than those who do not routinely interact with others. Married couples live longer than unmarried individuals.

At the end of the day, family is the most basic formation of communities. Family is the initial community of which one is exposed. As 2224 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) reminds readers, “The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.” It is in the family environment that every small human begins to learn the construct of how to be within a larger community. Behavior that is accepted at home will presumably be allowed within the larger community. What is not allowed at home will presumably not be encouraged within the larger community, or society.

And yet, almost daily, there is a new headline breaking which reports on the negative behavior of individuals and negative interactions between groups of people. Scrolling through Facebook feeds, we see calls to action – not advocating compassion, respect, love, and unity; rather, calls to action involving name-calling, derogatory commentary by news reporters and observers alike, and vitriol aimed at making another person feel devalued for their contribution to the matter at hand.

Section 2227 of the CCC reads, “Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents. Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.

The charity of Christ demands that, within families, “each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect.” Within a family structure, we are to learn how to forgive. But, we also learn how to coexist. Every person in a family has their own unique personality and approach to situations, and within that family structure, we are supposed to be learning how to interact with others who may have differing views and opinions.

Yet, somehow, there has been a disconnect. If these lessons are truly being taught within the walls of our homes, then how are we not seeing the wider community positively influenced as an outcome of these lessons?

In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul exhorts in Galatians 5:13-14, “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Furthermore, in Galatians 5:22-23, we find the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Where there is the Holy Spirit, there is unity. 

Where there is the Holy Spirit, we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

If we want to see our society grow together, then we must look first at our own homes. 

We must stamp out racism, anger, hatred, and ignorance beginning at home. We must not allow the adults within our walls to breed contempt, mistrust, or derision; and, we must not teach our children the error of those ways.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, we must become united in the fight against evil and the fight against Satan. 

We must stand united in the goal of reaching the eternal salvation of not just our souls, but the souls of our children.

This unity begins at home, within the family. It extends out of the walls to the greater community and society at large.

At the end of the day, we are not alone in this struggle. We have a legion of saints who provide the framework of the way ahead. We have a legion of angels backing us up and joining us in fighting the invisible war for our souls. 

Will you join me in playing your part? And, will you add the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel to your prayers today?

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. 

Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. 

And, do thou, o prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God,

Cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.

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Apologetics Brantly Millegan Doctrine Faith Formation Guest Posts Perspective from the Head

What Apostolic Succession Is and Why It’s Absolutely Essential

St Paul ordaining St TimothyCatholics believe that Jesus gave special authority to his Apostles to rule and guide the Church. These Apostles then ordained and passed on authority to others, called bishops (literally ‘overseers’ in Scripture, it’s the same word). These bishops have ordained and passed on authority to other bishops, and so on, all the way up to the Church’s current bishops.

This is called Apostolic Succession, and it is absolutely essential to the constitution and life of the Church. What makes a bishop a bishop is if they have been consecrated by a bishop who was consecrated a bishop, all the way back to the Apostles who received authority from Jesus. A priest is only a real priest if he has been ordained a priest by a real bishop. If there is a break at some point – if a bishop wasn’t consecrated properly, or was consecrated by a bishop who wasn’t properly consecrated himself – then the line of authority stops at that point. It only works if there is no break in the line going all the way back to Jesus, the ultimate source of all authority in the Church.

Of course, this only works if Jesus did in fact give authority to his Apostles in the first place, and if his Apostles did in fact consecrate bishops with the instructions to pass their authority on to others in perpetuity. If the idea of apostolic succession was made up at some later point, and so did not originate with Jesus, then apostolic authority and succession isn’t real.

Most Protestants deny apostolic succession exists or is necessary for the Church. But so what? Why does apostolic succession matter? Here three ways:

 

1) Doctrine: The entire basis of the bishops’ teaching authority in the Church is the apostolic authority they’ve received from apostolic succession. Christians are obliged to follow the teachings of the Magisterium (the college of bishops headed by the bishop of Rome, the Pope) not because the bishops are smart, educated, or holy (some bishops are, but certainly not all), but because they have authority that ultimately comes from Jesus to teach in the Church and definitively interpret the deposit of faith.

If the bishops are not really bishops and do not have authority from Jesus, then they are simply one voice among many – there’s no reason anyone has to listen to them any more than anyone has to listen to the opinions of other theologians or preachers. But if they do have authority from Jesus, as Catholics claim, then they really do have a special charism of the Holy Spirit to protect them from error when definitively teaching the faith, and all Christians would have a moral obligation to follow their teachings – or else be heretics.

 

2) Worship: Certain Sacraments can only be validly performed by a bishop or a priest (a priest has been ordained by a bishop and has some of the powers of a bishop). The Sacraments that can only be performed by bishops and priests are Confirmation, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Anointing of the Sick. Holy Orders can only be performed by a bishop. (Baptism can be performed by deacons as well under ordinary circumstances and laypeople in emergencies, and in Holy Matrimony the spouses marry each other.) So, for example, if a layperson tried to consecrate the Eucharist, nothing would happen: transubstantiation would not occur, the bread and the wine would remain simply bread and wine.

So the validity of those five Sacraments listed above rests entirely on the veracity of apostolic succession. If the priest at your parish is not really a priest (either because he wasn’t validly ordained or because apostolic succession is false), the Eucharist is just bread and wine and your sins are not being forgiven in Reconciliation. But if apostolic succession is true, and our bishops and priests are real bishops and priests with the indelible mark of Holy Orders on their souls, then those Sacraments are truly effective – and in fact, necessary to the Christian life.

 

3) Unity: Bishops not only have authority to teach and perform the Sacraments, they also have authority to govern the Church and they serve as visible markers of the Church for unity. In other words, you can know that you are fully a member of the Church is you are in communion with a bishop who is in communion with the bishop of Rome. The sin of schism is when a baptized person intentionally breaks from the bishop of Rome and the bishops in communion with him.

But again, this is only true if the bishops really are bishops and have apostolic authority from apostolic succession. If they are not, if apostolic succession is false, then there’s nothing special about them and you don’t have to follow them.

 

So you can see, if apostolic succession is false, then the Catholic Church is largely a sham and Protestants are right. Everything salient about the Catholic Church stands or falls on the reality of apostolic succession.

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A Community of Authentic Catholicism

Photo courtesy of Erika D.

“As Church we are a community.  We should celebrate our joys and share in our sorrows as community.”

Three years ago, sitting in my parish priest’s office, he said these words to me as we discussed how to remember a child I had recently lost.  These words have stuck with me these past three years and recently they have come to the forefront of my mind again.  Current events such as the HHS Mandate, other attacks on our religious freedoms, and groups of Catholics who openly dissent against the Church have caused me to think more deeply about the community that is our Catholic faith.

A community is any group of people that share something in common, have something that unites them.  The word literally means with unity.  As a Church we stand together and recite our common creed each Sunday:

I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

I believe.  Not, I think I believe or you over there, but not I, believe.  *I* believe.

One Church.  Not two or three.  Just one.

We all know people within the ranks of Catholicism who don’t agree with all of Church teaching.  Our Catholic teaching on when life begins, for example, is fuzzy in the minds of many people due to several decades of poor catechesis.  And there are many more issues too: female priests, contraception, abortion, and the list can go on and on.  Misunderstanding is one thing, outright dissention is another.  Dissention breaks up community, it creates disunity.

As Catholics we are called to be united in one purpose.  United as one body.  We come together to worship as one.  Yes, we are all still individuals, but we share in a common set of beliefs.  Or at least we hope we do.

The sad thing is that we are currently seeing a growing group of dissenters within our beautiful Church.  It has had the effect, first of all, of showing us where people really stand, whether they are joined with us in true community or not.  And secondly it has brought greater unity among those who are continually seeking to be authentic Catholics.

We truly do want to be “one” Church in every respect.  But it can not happen while there are groups claiming to know better than the Church.  It does beg the question, why?  Why would those who are openly defiant of Holy Mother Church still claim to be a part of the Catholic Church?  Why stay in a community with whom you do not share a common set of beliefs?  Why not join the other 30,000+ Christian denominations that have broken off of the Catholic Church since the 1500s.  We would prefer that everyone remain Catholic, but it does require humility and a joining in the beliefs of our common Catholic faith.

An authentic Catholic seeks to learn why the Church teaches what it does.  An authentic Catholic asks questions for further understanding.  An authentic Catholic humbly submits to the wisdom of the Church, even when it is hard.  An authentic Catholic is not perfect, still makes mistakes, and still has questions.  But through the beauty of the sacraments of the Church, namely Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, a Catholic seeking to be an authentic Catholic can humbly admit imperfections and mistakes, seek forgiveness, and remain in unity with Holy Mother Church.

I often feel that Jesus’ heart breaks every time someone dissents from the Church, leaves the Church, or tries to start their own brand of Christianity.  How sad it must be for Him to watch His Church fracture and split in so many ways.  We must pray for those within our ranks who are trying to break us apart.  We must ask for the Holy Spirit to help them have a conversion of heart to live lives of more authentic Catholicism.

Most importantly we need to continue to build community within the Church, lovingly guide those who are struggling toward the beauty of being an authentic Catholic, and pray fervently for those who are openly defiant.

In closing, it is encouraging to see community building and faithful Catholics coming together to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom currently taking place.  As Catholics all around our country come together to pray, study, and take action we are showing the world that we are still a community who knows how to come together to work toward a common purpose, celebrate our joys, share in our sorrows, and worship together as a community with one common belief.

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Adrienne Apologetics Doctrine Ecumenism Faith Formation Ink Slingers Sacred Scripture

That They May All Be One

Jesus prays we would be one before He is arrested. John 17:20-24

Jesus prayed that we would be one, with the same singularity of the Trinity as three persons in one.  If this was a prayer of Jesus, then it must be what God truly desires.  Yet, how can us sinful people who make up the Church on Earth be One in the way Jesus prayed?

St. Paul, Ephesians 5:32

This kind of unity cannot be achieved through man, it can only be achieved through the power of our Lord God.  Jesus said He has given us the glory the Father gave to Him so that we may be one, and it is indeed a great mystery.  However, St. Paul gives us much insight into the nature of the Church.

St. Paul, Ephesians 5:21-29

Jesus prayed that we would be brought to perfection as one, and St. Paul explains that Jesus sanctifies the Church through His body, baptism and the word of God.  God unifies and perfects us in the Sacraments of the Church.  We are baptized into the body of Christ, into His Church through water, and this baptism cleanses us of our sin so that we are made holy and without blemish.

Jesus says to the disciples in his first appearance to them after His resurrection, John 20:21-23

However, baptism does not prevent us from the stain of future sins.  We are to be presented to God as holy and without blemish, and thankfully, our benevolent God provided for that too.  We can be made perfect again through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as provided by Jesus via the Holy Spirit upon the disciples in the Church.  Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, came back to life and His first order of business was to provide for the application of the remission of sins through the Church He established, so that we could be perfected as one.

St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Another great mystery in the Church is the Eucharist.  Not only did Christ give us His body for the atonement of our sins, He also gives Himself perpetually today.  Every time we partake of the Blessed Sacrament we are partaking of the same singular Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity that we did every time before, as has everyone who has partaken of the Holy Eucharist all the way back to the apostles.  The Eucharist is a timeless, miraculous Church unifier.

Hebrews 12:1-2

At the Holy Sacrifice of the mass heaven and earth are mystically united in time to Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.  If our senses fail to detect the miracle made present before us by transubstantiation, then they may also fail us in detecting how at mass each and every week we are united with all of the angels and saints worshiping Jesus by our side.  The Eucharist not only unites us among the Church Militant by participation in His singular body and blood, but it also unites us with the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant!  When we attend mass we are worshiping Jesus with all of our loved ones who have passed on, literally worshiping with the whole of the Body of Christ!  How is that for unity?

St. Paul to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:14-16

If the unity found in the Liturgy of the Eucharist isn’t uniting enough, we can also explore the unity found in the Liturgy of the Word.  Every mass, every day, around the world Catholics are unified daily by the lectionary because you can walk into any ordinary Catholic mass and hear the exact same scripture readings (Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament, and Gospel) as you would hear if you’d walked in to any other Catholic mass that day, even in another country.  If one attends mass daily for three years they will have heard the entire Bible!  Holy Mother Church makes sure all of her children have God’s Word made available to them as She understands the utmost importance of it for a believer’s journey.

1 Corinthians 1:17

St. Paul reminded Timothy to remain faithful to what he had been taught because, as St. Paul confesses to the Corinthians, what he teaches is from a source greater than his human self.  In the homily our priests combine Sacred Tradition, teachings not of their own but those handed down by the apostles and protected by the Holy Spirit, with Sacred Scripture for a powerful combination of God’s Word.

St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:10

By combining Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition in every homily, the Church ensures that the faithful may all be able to agree in what is said.  This works directly to fulfill Jesus’s prayer that others might be brought to salvation by the testament of unity amongst believers, especially by the unity of their words.

Matthew 18:14-17

Being Catholic means to give up your “right” to be right, which is the super glue of Church unity.  In today’s society we’ve developed a sense that relativism is correct.  Everyone has a right to believe whatever it is they feel is the truth.  No one has to or even should submit to someone else’s truth.  Yet Jesus tells us that the Church He built has the final say in all matters among the faithful.  One of the biggest ways a brother can sin against you is to try to convince you of a heresy.  It is of the upmost importance that we remain united in the teachings of Christ, and so Jesus provided a definitive source of answers for us fallen souls (because He knew full well we would disagree if left to our own devices).

Ephesians 6:1

St. Paul echoes this divine paradigm in his letter to the Ephesians.  Ephesians 5 contains a graceful passage which weaves teachings about marriage into an explanation of Christ’s relationship to the Church.  This profound creative genius elevates Christ’s relationship with the Church to that of the Sacrament of Marriage.  Simultaneously St. Paul depicts the elevation of marriage to a Sacrament by comparing it to the Christ and the Church.  As a result, St. Paul leads us to an illustration of Christ and the Church as our Father and Mother when he immediately presses into “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” (don’t be fooled by the chapter markings, St. Paul’s original letter did not contain chapter breaks!).  Both the laity and the clergy (even the Pope!) are to be subordinate to the Church.  All Catholics are to put aside their man made understandings on truth (say on life issues, contraception, fertility issues, women’s ordination, anything prefaced by “It’s between me and God”) and submit to the wisdom of God’s Word that the Holy Spirit protects within Jesus’s bride, the Church (remember two become one flesh!).  This view of the Church brings a whole new meaning to Jesus’s words, “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Lk 18:17) as well as  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Matt 5:3)

This takes an amazing amount of faith.  It takes much faith to believe that the bread and wine become the literal flesh and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist when it still looks like bread and wine.  It also takes an amazing amount of faith to believe that the Infallible Truth of God can be preserved amongst ordinary humans, when they are still ordinary sinful humans.  “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” (Jn 6:60) Well, so is accepting the actuality and Truth of the Trinity, believing that a man died for three days came back to life, and furthermore flew Himself up to Heaven forty days later.  Nothing in Christianity is easy to believe, that’s why it takes faith, a saving kind of faith.

(Yesterday’s Mass readings dovetail nicely with this topic!)

My Lord God, I pray not only for us the Church, but also for those who will believe in you through our word, so that we may all be one, as you, Father, are in Jesus and Jesus in you, that we also may be in You, that the world may believe that you sent Our Savior. And Jesus has given us the glory you gave Him, so that we may be one, as You and Your Son are one, He in us and you in Him, that we may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent the Son of Man, and that you loved the world even as you loved the Lamb of God, Your Son. Father, we are your gift to Jesus. I wish that where He is we also may be with Him, that we may see His glory that you gave Him, because you loved Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.  Amen.