This is the will of God: Your sanctification. (I Thessalonians 4:3)
God wills our holiness. Our salvation. Our union with Him.
In the unfolding of this unimaginably kind divine will, God became man in the womb of the Virgin. She freely submitted to God’s will, to become God’s human mother. Her free submission echoed the free submission of the eternal Son, Who, becoming man, declared to His Father: ‘Behold, I come to the earth to do Your will.’ He said it again thirty-three years later. ‘Father, let this chalice of suffering pass from me! But not my will, but yours, be done.’
We had a parish-cluster discussion yesterday afternoon about Pope Francis’ ministry. We had various opinions among ourselves on a number of subjects. But we all agreed about the challenge we face:
One the one hand, we know that our membership in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church includes loyalty to St. Peter’s successor. There is no other sure way to belong to Christ’s Church, the family of faith founded on God’s incarnation in the Blessed Mother’s womb.
But on the other hand: From outside the Church, people see this very institutional loyalty of ours as morally unsound. How can you continue to associate yourselves with such a corrupt institution?
We cannot dismiss this question as anti-Catholic bigotry. To the contrary, human decency and genuine honesty motivate the question. Our institutional loyalty to the Church looks dishonest and indecent to non-Catholics, and we have no solid argument to offer them in rebuttal. Our only arguments involve appeals to realities of faith, which we cannot reasonably expect non-Catholics to accept.
We have to live here. We have to face this challenge. We will not blindly deny that the house is on fire, and that no competent firemen have yet arrived at the scene–at least as far as we can tell.
But we also will not abandon our faith in the unfathomably kind divine will, which Mary fulfilled on this holy day. And which Jesus fulfilled. And which is, simply: Our salvation.