Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Glorifying God with Christ and the Catholic Church

Reflection on Psalm 34: In the responsorial Psalm today (Tues 1st Wk of Lent), we hear Jesus and the Catholic Church--because it is the Body of Christ--saying, "Come, glorify the LORD with me; let us together extol His name." How is it that we glorify God with Jesus and His Church? Obedience. Paragraph 1850 of our Catechism says, "Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it." If sin is turning our hearts (minds) away from God, it is clear that we cannot glorify God while in a state of sin or apathy towards righteousness or apathy towards sin.

The Catholic Church is human. It's head is human, fully man and fully God. It's Mother is human. It's components are human. Everything about it is human. Therefore, it is only natural that it loves one another. Because it's Head is also God, it's Mother and components are also divine. Therefore, this necessitates that we love God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength. The three Persons of the Godhead love each other as themselves. This is evident by Jesus' actions and words, the Father's actions and words, and the actions of the Holy Spirit. Jesus shows His love of Father and neighbor, mankind, through His incarnation, passion, and death. Because He became man and loved man when humanity had turned its face and heart away from God, loved mankind when they persecuted and killed Him, it necessitates that we also must love our neighbor as ourselves, forgiving them, because they are also human and are fallen as we are. However, our least-liked commandments are those which deal with loving our neighbor as ourselves and those against pleasing ourselves.

When we can acknowledge that we do not like loving our neighbor as ourselves and do like pleasing ourselves, we have room to grow by leaps and bounds. We now can go to Christ, through a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, repenting, confessing, and asking for forgiveness and the grace to desire to love our neighbor as He does. We cannot do this on our own. It takes grace from God. This is why St. Augustine prayed, "Lord, give what You command, and then command as You will." This is why I think the word "come" is unspoken in our responsorial psalm. We must go to Him to glorify God, and we can only go to Him if He bids us to "come," and bid He does. Look at a crucifix: He bids everyone to come.

Because Jesus bids us, His Body, the Catholic Church also says, "Come, glorify the LORD with me." The Catholic Church says "me" and not "us" because of its unity, its singleness. It is a body, with singleness of mind. It is not a group of people doing "what is right in their own eyes."

In order to "come," we must seek Christ." How do we seek Christ? One might say, prayer. That is only partially true. Christ is present in His Church. We seek Him through the Catholic Church. We must seek Him for righteousness sake, for justice sake. On the Last Day, Jesus will be our Judge, but He will be for us a judge as in the Book of Judges, to deliver us. "From all their distress God rescues the just." Jesus is the Just One; therefore, His Body, the Catholic Church, is Just. Because we are in agreement, in communion, with Christ and His Body, we are just. Our "distress" is concupiscence . When we are constantly praying for an "easy life," for things of the world, we are "babbling." God's will is to sanctify us, to make us like His Son. Therefore, when we pray, we pray the "Our Father." Because Jesus is the Head of the Church, His Father is our Father. Because we cannot hallow our Father, we ask Him to hallow His name through the Catholic Church, through us the members. We pray that His kingdom come now by making His will be done in the Church militant, on Earth, as it is in the Church triumphant and the Church suffering. We ask for our daily bread, the Eucharist, in order that we may grow into the image of His Son, our Head, forgiving and loving our neighbor as ourselves so that we will be forgiven. Because we have no confidence in the flesh, we pray that He does not turn us over to our inordinate desires, that we do not do "what is right in our own eyes," but that He deliver us from the evil one. Then we glorify God with Christ and the Catholic Church.
--Tommy Turner