There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
I am sure many of you are in a period of intense suffering, as these times seem to be increasing with velocity. Yesterday in my prayer I was lamenting to the Lord at how many times I fall. God made me to know that though He doesn’t want me to sin, it is my lack of trust in His greatness He is most concerned with. When I suffer, he doesn’t want me focused on my falling, but instead on His greatness. This is where He elevates you. It is a deeper surrender when you are made to know your weakness, but your expectation is in His power. He has a better plan.
It was here that I started thinking about our individual salvation, but also the larger picture of humanity. How God does will that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4); but how many are not (Luke 13:23-24). I felt like He pointed out to me the term “People of God,” that though this is a correct Scriptural term, it doesn’t go far enough. It seems when we use that term, in the context we use it, the focus is on the People. Whenever we focus on people instead of God chaos ensues. When we focus on God, we truly love people. When we use the term Mystical Body of Christ, the focus is actually on Christ.
I think using the terminology of “People of God”, more frequently than we use Mystical Body of Christ, came about in an effort to be more ecumenical as it is a biblical phrase; to be more inclusive of Protestants, and perhaps other religions. But instead of it making the other religions come to know Christ, it seems to have made us move further away from Him. It isn’t wrong to use, it just doesn’t convey the pilgrim path we are on. The path as a people, all of us, is to be incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Mystical Body of Christ is what we are to call people towards. The Protestants are a part of this body (Mark 9:38-40), but in an imperfect way, in the way a body might have an auto-immune disease where it’s attacked from the inside. The people are inside the body by virtue of baptism, but the lack of belief in parts of the Creed – that lack of belief is an antibody attack on the people. The more we don’t proclaim that truth, the more the body gets distorted. We don’t seem to trust God enough. We want to elevate the People of God without telling them of the Mystical Body of Christ. We rely on our own human efforts. The pilgrimage ends up walking away from the Tree of Life (See Synod logo).
Jesus is a Divine person. In His Divinity He wants to divinize us. We must then look at what He did with His human nature and will. He nailed it to a cross. Focusing on the Passion is primary in our pilgrimage on earth (Matthew 16:24-26). If we skip the Passion to play nice, we miss the total incorporation into the Mystical Body, which is unitive perfection. Mary did not skip the Passion. Whoever has ears to hear this, should. While Christ did “meet people where they were”, He didn’t leave them there. He revealed the truth of who He is, and sent them on the Way. In everything, He loved them. We too must love, we must always be understanding in our walk, but we should not get sidetracked or compromise truth because we will end up in a dialogue with the devil. Just ask Eve how that worked out.
The other religions, like Islam and Judaism, can be considered – People of God – but they are not part of the Mystical Body, because they are not baptized (Acts 19:13-15). We should want that they be baptized. In all we do, we should be inviting people into the Mystical Body, because it is here we can become Sacrament; an outward sign of God’s grace. The Church herself is Sacrament. But until we go back to being unafraid to proclaim truth, we will go down the autoimmune attack path – which eventually kills the body. Though, even in this, God is bigger and can resurrect. Again, we must think bigger. We as individuals can take up our cross and follow him, but as a church we can also do this. One way or another we end up on a Passion walk (CCC 675).
Which brings me to Mary who walked the walk from the Incarnation to the Crucifixion. It seems we have been afraid in the past to declare doctrines of Mediatrix of All Graces, or Co-Redemptrix. God willed human cooperation in His plan of redemption, and Mary’s fiat brought the mediator here. He came to us through her and her yes. Therefore she is Our Mother and Mother of the Church, which has been proclaimed.
By not recognizing fully the role Mary had in our redemption, we are not recognizing the healing power of Christ, who was the “keeper” of the garden of Mary. It is as if the church authority is putting a limit on the healing power of God in regards to the church herself. Blessed Duns Scotus said that God’s healing power goes beyond forgiveness and preveniently saved Mary. We must ask what will God’s healing power do for the church? It is a restoration of the wholeness created in the garden, but for Mary, unlike Adam and Eve, her cooperation led to perfection. God’s perfection. She cooperated to the full. Where Adam didn’t “keep” the garden because he let the serpent in to tempt Eve in the first place, Christ did keep the garden and Mary didn’t have original sin or concupiscence. Mary didn’t have the inclination to give into temptation. She didn’t dialogue with the devil. Christ Himself protected Mary. She, in turn cooperated in God’s total love, a vessel to be perfected. For us, this means, the more we recognize what God did for Mary and her cooperation with God, the more we recognize, “the woman”, the more that we become protected and filled by the Christ who protected and filled her; the more we become whole and healed, the more God’s glory descends.
The authority of the church recognizing Mary for all of who she is, all of what God made her, will help usher in the will of God on earth as it is in heaven. She is a house of prayer, and she did not allow her gifts to be stolen like a den of thieves. We seem to have taken, in recent years, in order to not offend, the reverse path almost ignoring Mary, so as to be more ecumenical. But here again, we rely on ourselves and our own understanding to save. If we proclaim God’s truth, will God Himself not save? Will God Himself not bring people to understanding? Will not our seeing and proclaiming the total truth elevate us as a church body because God is revealing truth and He is the one who elevates? Cooperation receives the gift.
This recognition of Mary lends itself to the sacramental church being the mediator of grace through those very sacraments we seek to embody. Because the truth is love, these things should be proclaimed from the rooftop as it would make disciples of all nations because it reveals God who wants to divinize us. Our society has so degraded the woman that we can’t even define it anymore. The church, in her authority, can elevate the woman, by declaring who Mary is completely, thereby elevating the church herself. When we fail to fully proclaim the truth, the autoimmune disease takes over, and the organs begin to shut down one by one, until, she looks dead, the church looks dead, but it is only the disease that dies, for the body, because it is Christ’s, will rise again and the gates of hell shall not prevail.
It is said in apparitions, like Fatima, that it is Mary’s hand that holds back the flaming sword that would scorch the earth. It is she who intercedes wanting us to recognize the truth of all that God is; which we know through Christ and which can be seen in her, a human person perfected. The proclaiming of doctrines about her – says more about God, than her. And God wants his church, his bride, to be perfected. Why do we think he keeps sending Mary to proclaim this in apparitions?
We should not be afraid to proclaim these things to the world. We should take heed of the angel’s words to Mary and apply them to the church…
Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:26-28
Do not be afraid church – for you have found favor with God. Let all generations call you Blessed.