Thursday, October 1, 2015

Childhood And The Church

Upon the birth of a newborn baby, the baby is placed into its mother’s arms to create a bond.  The mother nourishes and cares for the baby, and the baby grows in stature and wisdom.  I have seen toddlers try so hard to please its parents.  There is such joy on its face; its face beaming bright.  It breaks out into laughter when it sees its parents smile in return.  For what purpose is it trying to please its parents?  Love.  What return is it expecting?  Love.  On the other hand, you also see the flipside.  You see selfishness sometimes, greed, anger...  As they grow, you may see the “flipside” become more prevalent.  The parents’ love does not decrease; the child begins separating itself from the parents, becoming more interested in pleasing itself.  The more it attempts to please itself, the larger the separation from its parents become.   The pre-teen/teenager may begin to view its parents as restrictions to its freedom, restrictions to having a “good” time.

We see this scene playing out also when it comes to man and God.  In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are placed in Christ and Christ in us, and we are lovingly placed in the arms of our Blessed Mother, Mary—the Catholic Church.  As we grow, there may come a day when we begin to “eye the other side,” looking at the world.  It does not look bad at all.  There appears to be a lot of fun, an appearance of being carefree.  The grass does appear to be greener on the other side.  It may happen that we think we can “have” God and the world.  At this point, we do not have both; we have severed ourselves from God.  The separation is slight, but we have severed ourselves from God nonetheless.  We have begun drifting; however, we do not realized it because our eyes are on the water, not the boat.  We no longer see God’s commandments as love, but as restrictions to freedom, restrictions to pleasure.  It becomes our desire to determine what is good and what is evil; it becomes our desire to become our own god.  We may still “believe” in God; however, we will determine which of God’s laws are good, which are bad, and we will become the authority as to the interpretation.  We have become a myriad of individuals, not a community.

Let’s try to paint a more vivid picture.  Take a picture of a human body.  Let this represent the human race.  Cut a toe off, and set it aside.  Is that toe the representation of the human race?  No, it is a representation of a portion, a part.  Now, cut the rest of the picture into tiny pieces.  Now, take all those tiny pieces and jumble them together.  What do you have a picture of?

God created the human race in His image—Love and Justice.  You cannot have love without justice; you cannot have justice without love.  Through original sin, man began to “cut” the image into tiny pieces.  The different denominations and different religions are man’s feeble attempt to restore the picture while remaining the determining authority.  Jesus brought the image of God to earth in His Incarnation.  He also gives us the image of Man, how Man was created.  The Son of God took on humanity in order that humanity may take on divinity.  Jesus did not only take our sins upon Himself on the cross; He took our sins upon Himself in His Incarnation.  He grew in stature and wisdom, not only restoring the proper image of mankind but making it more glorious.  The picture has been painted.  It is more glorious than any Rembrandt, any Michael Angelo painting, any painting at all.  It is for the viewing of any who desire to see it.  It is Catholicism—the image of God and the image of Man.  Jesus put the picture back together, and then made it more beautiful.  It is a picture of Jesus; it is a picture of the Blessed Virgin; it is a picture of a bunch of pieces (individuals) put in the perfect place, make the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.

O Lord, give us the grace to see, hear, and obey.  As toddlers, may we desire to please you, with beaming joy on our faces.  Although our works may be frail and lacking, by your grace and mercy, give us love of God and love of Man that we may be pleasing in Your sight.
--Tommy Turner