Our church, the Bride of Christ, is hurting, walking wounded throughout our world.
So many — too many — have left the church, their faith in God in tatters. Even worse are those who were never even introduced to Christ, those, who were never taught the basics of our faith in His divinity.
Too often these wounded ones, in their confusion, have concluded that the human sins of a relative few of our thousands of priests and religious throughout the country and world are failings of God and His Son, Jesus.
No conversation with them comes easily. They might ask us, with a certain justification born of their first-hand experience, ‘who are you to question or attempt to redefine the source of my pain?’
Indeed, who are we?
Those of us, blessed with idyllic upbringings and happy relationships with the authority figures in our lives, truly have no basis to understand. We’ve no real ability to relate to the devastation experienced by those who have fallen victim to abuse by and corruption of authority figures such as priests, parents, teachers, scout leaders, youth leaders, and other significant individuals to whom they were entrusted by our various institutions.
Still, in our happy bubble, even we share the wounds of these ones. In finally becoming aware through the grace of their pain, we carry around the guilt of knowing we were nearby, witnesses to their fall and often, their tears.
Could we have helped? Should we have intervened? Wasn’t there some portion of this burden that we might have carried?
And this belated guilt begs the question: Isn’t there something, even now, that we can do? Don’t we bear some responsibility to share the most precious gift we’ve been given in our lives?
How can we, who know God and His Son and who have been blessed with an intimate relationship with Him, sit by and watch as these children of God — children, whom God chooses and wants to reclaim as His Own — how can we not seek every way at our disposal to share God’s truth, the very source of their ultimate healing and joy.
And what is the truth here? Our correct understanding of the truth will be the firm foundation upon which other solutions are built: Human sin and failing — of priests and religious, in too many instances, of family members and teachers, too, unfortunately — are not God’s failings. They are the failings of weak and fallen humans. Full stop.
Human sin and failing … are not God’s failings. They are the failings of weak and fallen humans. Full stop.
Jesus, Our Lord, and God, Our Father, are not the problem, here. Nor is the religion He founded and the teachings He gave to us all, as a gift.
On the contrary, they hold the answer, the solution. And what’s The Solution?
Simply put, it’s His Love for each us. His Love heals every wound and repairs our broken hearts and offers new and eternal life with Him.
His Love alone is The Solution that these broken souls require to live life fully.
And, what about the human beings who damaged them? No matter how witting or unwitting the sins of these other corrupted ones, these are the ones who must carry the blame. Certainly, they, too, have been broken. Even they are likely able to point to their own scarred childhood, as layer upon layer of human corruption has left generations of God’s creatures damaged and ignorant of Him.
How do we, then — who long to share God’s truth with all these unfortunate ones, who know Him, who’ve experienced His love for each of us, who have a deep faith that He gave His life, His humanity for us, that we might gain our divinity through Him — how do we look these others broken ones in the eye and allow Jesus to describe His love for them?
I wish I had simple, certain answers — a list maybe: first do this, then second, say that, and so on.
I have several individuals in my own family, who qualify to greater and lesser degrees for being among the broken ones I’ve described here. I don’t know what to do for them except to love them as best I can, often from a distance.
For some of them, my love is rejected, if it doesn’t agree with their understanding of our corrupted world. My care and concern unwelcome, if I don’t approve of their choices. My words too often end up being simply fuel for the fires of their rage.
So I pray. It’s all I know to do. I pray that others in their lives will utter a word or provide a touch that opens their hearts at just the right moment.
I pray that God chooses them and calls them to Himself, as only He knows how to do.
I pray He tells me when and how I might help Him, as part of His Plan.
And then I lift it all up to Him — not unlike a child to a patient parent, when he makes a complete hash of his project and brings it to his parent crying and asking for them to fix everything and make it new again — I lift it to Him in full faith, knowing that He has heard me, and is working on His perfect answer, even as I thank Him,
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.