Center of Gravity

Ray RiceWhen it comes to a running back, we hope for a very low center of gravity. Like ankle-level. But what about Jesus Christ’s Church? Where do we find Her center of gravity?

Certainly Her center of gravity is Jesus Himself. And His center of gravity is His Heart, since He is not a running back, but rather Divine Love made man.

So Holy Church has the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and the tabernacle, and the monstrance, for a center of gravity. She has the Sacred Scriptures for a center of gravity. Since, as the Catechism quotes St. Thomas Aquinas as putting it: The sacred text reveals Jesus’ Heart (CCC 112).

Anthony Trollope wrote a series of novels about English country church life in the 19th century. He captured the feeling that parishes had rhythms that would continue until Judgment Day. Church bells would ring. Birth and death, Sundays and holy days. The Christian gospel, communicated with quiet consistency, nourishing simple hearts with joy, resilience, and a sense of humor—all based on the hope of honest love and eternal life.

That could be us, too. I hope and pray that we find ourselves at Holy Church’s center of gravity. Or at least close to it.

Statue of St. Bartholomew in Milan Cathedral
St. Bartholomew, flayed alive, wearing his own skin as a toga, in the duomo in Milan

To stay there, we need to keep the Apostles’ feasts. We must commune intimately with our original forefathers. They are the running backs we want to imitate.

Forgive me for the metaphor. Imagining the indescribable jewel called “the deposit of faith” as a football. But the good Lord did hand that ball to the Twelve. And they did run into a barrage of crushing blows right at the line of scrimmage. And they did keep the ball tucked into the crooks of their arms.

At the Church’s center of gravity, we read the Scriptures, according to the rule of faith expressed at Nicaea. We celebrate the sacraments as enumerated at the Council of Trent. We pray the Our Father. We strive to obey the moral law that Moses held in his hands and that God has written into the very fibers of our hearts.

The super-human quality of a Hall-of-Fame running back is not raw speed, or even quickness, or versatility, or skill in reading defenses. The super-human quality that defines the Hall-of-Fame running backs is: Resilience. Come at me with what you will. I will come at you still.

As we often note on their feast days, the Apostles did not have extraordinary human qualities. Average intelligence. Average creativity. Average eloquence. Average charisma.

But supernatural resilience. Supernatural capacity to press forward with the ‘ball’—the deposit of faith given them by Christ.

Our heroes the Apostles had this supernatural resilience. The Church has this supernatural resilience. By heavenly grace, we can have this supernatural resilience.

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