Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Loving the Church

My monthly visits to St. Michael's parish in Wheaton, Illinois include a breakfast meetings the morning after the talk with a number of friends, most from the robust Evangelical community that has grown up around Wheaton College. This morning's discussion, which included an Episcopal friend from the philosophy department at Wheaton, was -- as usual -- stimulating and personally inspiring. In the course of the conversation, I made a stammering effort to express the affection that lies at the core of my ecclesiology. Driving to the airport after the morning meeting I realized that what I wanted to say had been said better than I could hope to say it by Henri de Lubac. So from lovely O'Hare airport I am sending along the de Lubac quote. It expresses my sentiments exactly.

Henri de Lubac:
“For myself,” said Origen, “I desire to be truly ecclesiastic.” He thought – and rightly – that there was no other way of being a Christian in the full sense. And anyone who is possessed by a similar desire will not find it enough to be loyal and obedient, to perform exactly everything demanded by his profession of the Catholic faith. Such a man will have fallen in love with the beauty of the House of God; the Church will have stolen his heart. She is his spiritual native country, his “mother and his brethren,” and nothing that concerns her will leave him indifferent or detached; he will root himself in her soil, form himself in her likeness, and make himself one with her experience. He will feel himself rich with her wealth; he will be aware that through her and her alone he participates in the unshakeableness of God. It will be from her that he learns how to live and die. Far from passing judgment on her, he will allow her to judge him, and he will agree gladly to all the sacrifices demanded by her unity. [The Splendor of the Church, 241-2]

No comments: