Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Exurgat Deus

I've retreated into the Psalms.  Perhaps retreat is the wrong word, when I'm immersed in the Psalms it is like being in the most glorious churches in the world, illuminated by the most splendid of lights.  I feel no need to travel, I do not desire to be anywhere else. There is a deep connection to the Universal Church within the Psalms and our role within the Church is set out so clearly.  We are the repentant sinner, constantly reminding self to rely totally on God and striving for purity so that we can offer up a worthy and eternal sacrifice of praise.

The Psalm that is currently accompanying me is the rather mysterious Psalm 67 Let God Arise, and let his enemies be scattered (Vulgate numbering), I've been saying it with increasing joy and calm since the start of the year, it just gets more and more appropriate, more and more beautiful and more and more powerful.  It is a Psalm about the glories of the Church and the power therein that comes direct from God.

God in his holy place: God who maketh men of one manner to dwell in a house: Who bringeth out them that were bound in strength: in the like manner them that provoke, that dwell in sepulchres.

It is God that brings about unity in the Church because God is One.  We mustn't forget that.  Any division amongst members of the Church is NOT the work of God.  Should we not be looking for Christ amongst the most disgraced of Cardinals, the slackest of Catholic journalists, and even amongst the clandestine homosexual subculture within the Church.  God will bring them all out into the open, and unless they are Satan himself in disguise, Christ does live within them, albeit as a flickering light.  It is up to us (unworthy fellow sinners) to make sure that light doesn't go out completely.  This links nicely to Psalm 49 which talks of the sinners within the Church (you and me, folks) and what they have done, to which God replies:

These things thou has done, and I was silent.  Thou thoughtest unjustly that I should be like thee; but I will reprove thee, and set before thy face.  Understand these things, you that forget God; lest He snatch you away and there be none to deliver you.  The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me: and there is the way I will shew him the salvation of God.
So, shouldn't we be striving to offer up the most worthy sacrifice of praise, isn't that the only way to glorify God and live as the Bride of Christ, and hate sin?  We can make that sacrifice of praise in all humility, fully realising our own unworthyness and weakness, but we can't make it whilst we are seeking to blame, ridicule, intimidate, demonise or persecute our brothers within the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Of breasts and bosoms...

Ever since the Fall, we have been objectifying ourselves; noticing our bodies and turning them into objects rather than something more whole, more spiritual and God-given.  Young children are quick to point out the sexual differences they see around them and I have wondered if Adam and Eve had got round to procreating in Eden before the serpent showed up, whether their children would have done this "willies and boobies" nonsense. It is, of course, innocently done but it is surely a mark of our Original Sin as our first parents were unaware of their nakedness before they fell.

The cult of St Agatha is a good example of this objectification.  Her excessive torture at one stage involved the removal of her breasts and countless art works throughout the ages have depicted her proudly showing off her severed organs like cakes she has just baked.
We continue to objectify poor St Agatha, forever thinking of her breasts, as we objectify ourselves through our wounded sexuality and wounded sense of self.  However, there is no harm in this.  She is a martyr and as a member of the Church Triumphant she can rightly show off her sufferings for Christ. 

I do think, however, it is important to remember the rest of her story.  St Peter came to her in a vision and restored her breasts to her.  She did not die from this particular gross injury.

This fact is told us in several of today's antiphons and I find the language rather profound.

Benedico te, Pater Domini mei Iesu Christi, quie per Apostolum tuum mamillam meam meo pectori restiituisti.

I bless Thee, O Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, because by Thy Apostle Thou has restored my breast to my bosom.
Mamilla (breast) restored to pectus (bosom), BUT pectus is so much more than an anatomical region, it is the heart and it is also the soul.  In this restoration of her breasts to her body, she is made not just whole in body, but totally whole in body, soul and spirit.

Notice who does this restoration.  It is St Peter.  Wake up, people!!! It is the Church that can make us whole again, restore all our wounded natures, whether wounded through abuse, self-abuse, imperfect nature and or nurture.

I really don't think we pray hard enough to be healed and purified (victims and perpetrators), because surely if we did, we would be.

St Agatha and St Peter, Orate pro nobis.

What a day for the Magdalene laundry report in Ireland and the abominations happening in the House of Commons as I write...