The Church of Sinners
In a quest to attract more members to their congregations, many church denominations advertise themselves, putting forward the best image they could conjure. But here is a Church who gains and loses at the same time, who seldom speaks for herself, and gets more bad publicity than what she deserves, or is it? After all, she is a Church of sinners.
I am proud and blessed to be Catholic. The thing that awes me in the Church are the many paradoxes that seem to decorate her. Unless one would see them with the eyes of faith, one would never understand. That is why the mystery is only revealed to the simple ones.
Again and again, the Church and her leaders are implicated in scandals. The faithful gets confused on how the moral guardian of society could err in such proportion. They start to ask, is the Church still relevant today when she cannot live up to her ideals? Is the Church relevant today when new and better promising streams of thought have come up the barren land of secular and pagan belief? Is her teaching still relevant when it is so uncomfortable and the alternative is so much better?
People begin to lose faith, and losing faith they lose hope until they fall into the spiral of confusion, then impiety and then apathy to all that is real, right, and true. The real truth of the Church is, she is a Church of sinners. Ever since her birth until this very day, she is a sinner. Her members fall day by day into the very things they speak against. She is tainted and she is weak and she forgets in the way her own members do. No, my Church is not perfect.
That is why is she an object of jeering, from a world that boasts of its own twisted values. She is looked upon as traditional, an old relic of the past that must be rid of in the post modern and accelerated times. People pick upon her for the smudges on her face. She is insulted as beast, ugly and contrary to progress. The people of the world treat her in such a way because they find in her their true faces reflected. They were so convinced of their own projected selves they forgot, and she reminds them in their reflection, of their own ugliness.
However dark the stories that haunt my Church, she remains beautiful. Not so much because of her own doing but because she was chosen. She did not come to existence by her own will nor by some machinations of twelve zealous but unlearned men. No matter how sinful she is, she was garbed in the purest and whitest of bridal garments, adorned as a celestial spouse. For although she was from mud and dirt, Christ picked her up to be His bride.
Yes, we are a Church of sinners. And yes, those we call Saints were sinners too and the rest of her are sinners, from the highest man in the hierarchy to the most unknown member. But here is a Church of sinners who was saved, is saved, and is being saved by a Lover who loved her until his last breath. For her sinfulness is nothing compared to the love He has for her.
By her imperfections she was made perfect. For if she was already perfect she would not have needed her Christ. She would not need Love but she needed it badly as the deepest human wound is hurting for its healing. So the Groom takes His bride from the wallows of her quandary and washes her. He sanctifies her by His own wishes and she is made beautiful. This undeserved privilege is unmatched and is the object of envy of the world who does not wish to be part of this union.
They call us sinners and rightly we are so. But do they see us struggle to rise up once more? Do they see the effort with which we do our best to reach out to the outstretched hand of Christ who wishes us back to our own two feet, to our former dignity? No, they only see us fall and they love to see us fall for it is sweet news to their parched lips. That is why the rejoice in our weakness. But they never know, that in our weakness we are made strong by Him who is our Strength. It is by our God that we are the chosen people, the bride of Christ.
I am a Catholic. I am not perfect but I strive to be perfect through Him who is my Strength.