Friday, May 26, 2017

I had seen childbirth on television growing up. My mother was training to be a nurse and dinner was (Click the link to read more)

I had seen childbirth on television growing up.  My mother was training to be a nurse and dinner was often interspersed with videos of surgeries, deliveries, and many other things that didn’t go well with spaghetti sauce or hot dogs.  It was an interesting time for me to see things that I had no desire to see again, nor any inclination to have seen in the first place!   Seeing those things though didn’t even prepare me for the actuality of surgery and child-birthing.  I remember my wife laying on the table straining to push a camel through the eye of a needle.   She had been in labor for a what seemed an eternity when the nurse told her to push, two pushes later my daughter was on the table getting her first shot.  It was messy.   It was painful.   It was gross.   It was one of the most beautiful things I had seen.

The book of the Revelation of John describes a woman in the twelfth chapter who is straining to give birth.   Catholics have long viewed that woman as a two-fold image.   One, being the image of the Blessed Virgin who we take to be our own spiritual mother.   The other, the image of the Church as she struggles in the world to push forth and deliver children in the image of their God.  The Church has definitely struggled in forming its stock.   From the abuses of Indulgences to the child abuse scandals, we have seen what happens to all organizations when bad people pretend to be good.   There are men and women who have infiltrated all aspects of all organizations, especially those dealing with the lives of children, who betray our trust and harm the psychological and spiritual health of those whom they are supposed to be helping.   Not just religious people mind you, but coaches, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and blue collar workers.  The rich and the poor alike.

What do we do then?   We struggle.   We go through the pain of growth, of birth.  We start with changing ourselves.  Challenging our own prejudices, sins and vices.   Through prayer, we begin to grow closer to God and the Church.   Studying Sacred Scripture teaches us God’s will for humanity and His plan to redeem all of us.   We make a mess.   We experience pain.   We see the grossness of our fallen humanity, riddled with its concupiscence and inordinate desires.  Then we allow God to bring us into the light of the World, into the body of Christ.  Not just once.  Daily.   In each moment.  In each second.  Donald Trump actually said something I agree with on many levels.   He said that “No child in America should go to bed scared or in fear.”  Yes, but don’t stop there.  No child, born or unborn, should ever have to be scared for their lives.  That includes those of our ‘enemies’ politically, culturally, and even socially.  All life is sacred.  It’s time we work to give birth to that into the world, regardless of the cost to our own desires, wants, and needs.   Jesus reminds us today that being a Christian isn’t going to be easy, it’s gonna require sacrifice.  Just like childbirth though… our grief, our pain, our struggle… will be turned into joy.

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14

A reflection on the readings for the Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest: May 26th, 2017