Friday, August 30, 2013


I remember sitting on the front lawn of my hometown with kids from the neighborhood, each of whom when to another Church.  Of course the question on our minds was, “How can we know that we are in the right Church?”  Those innocent ponderings has always been on the mind of people of faith.  In fact, it was so wondered upon that a formula was developed – a four part litmus test – to see if a Church is the True Church founded by Christ.  You already know it though perhaps unwittingly.  Here it is: the True Church must be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.  (Which seems easy enough though one must then go through the process of defining one’s terms.)
One, to which we now turn in our journey through Lumen Gentium (39), is holiness.  The Church is called to be “holy.”  So holy, in fact, that Christ gave Himself up for His Bride, the Church, so that she might be sanctified and made perfect.

“But wait,” you might say, “I know plenty of stories about the Church where not so holy stuff has happened.  In fact, there is this pastor over at . . .  well that’s a little off topic but you get what I mean.”  That the Church is holy does not mean everyone claiming to be a part of her is holy or that it can institutionally not sin.  The Church is made up of sinners and as such things happen.  We are all at different spots on the journey.
But what are the fruits of those who follow her well?  They end up in glass and wood and stone.  Those who most conform themselves to her purifying will are called saints for they have striven to be more like their Creator.  We call them saints. 
A second means by which we judge something to be holy or of God is that they are also fruitful.  Do they lead others to God?  Look at a religious order that is taking off and sustains or grows in number.  Something is happening there.  There is a perfection in love.  A sign of growing in actual holiness is that it desires and assists others to grow likewise whether privately or in a Church recognized fashion.  It desires others to be holy.

1 comment:

Nan said...

This morning there were a bunch of stray nuns at Mass; I don't have a Field Guide to the Religious of North America, so can't identify them by their plumage which was black with something white over it and a white veil. It seems like something from the late 1800's; I just remember in children's literature that girls skirts were to be a uniform distance from the ground, so all the skirts ended in the same place. These nuns were different heights but their veils all ended in the same place, like they were required to be a certain place on their back.

Oh, and the usual nuns were there too; we have two Little Sisters of the Poor at Mass most mornings.