I Belong to a Church of Sinners
Is there any heavenly purpose served by me responding to it? I have been struggling lately with "foot in mouth" disease when responding quickly out of anger to things like this e mail and wonder if more is gained by prayerful silence. What do you think?
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
We are all members of one mystical body of Christ, Scripture tells us when one member suffers we all suffer. This suffering is not only persecution or illness, but also the suffering that occurs as a result of the sinful choices we make. The Catholic Church teaches that no sin is truly private and we injure the communion that is shared among believers when we sin and fall from grace. (Even when we sin privately, there are ramifications that affect the whole body of Christ through the mystical union we share through Him) "…there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…" (I Corinthians 12:25-26)
When a Christian brother or sister, or pastor or priest falls, it is an occasion for much sadness and intercessory prayer as we know the heart of God is saddened and the Spirit is grieved. Whether it be a mega- church pastor with SSA or a Catholic priest with ties to the Mob, the whole body suffers when a member chooses the path of sin and selfishness.
We all lose when we hear stories like this and clearly no one rejoices in the stumbling of another fellow brother in Christ. The world laughs in derision and is expectant in false hope of seeing the "gates prevail" when a Christian falls and makes the headlines of the morning paper.
It is only by the grace of God that we ourselves have not gone down these dark paths and we daily take much heed lest we do indeed fall, since all of our hearts are easily capable of such things and worse. (I know mine is. I have proven it over and over again and those closest to me know this is no exaggeration)
The church has been filled with scandal since the days when Christ was here on earth. On the night he was betrayed by one of his own, the other 11 also abandoned Him. Peter denied him thrice, yet Christ forgave Him. Not only did He forgive Him but later gave him the command to feed His sheep, (which he said not once, but thrice), entrusting him to lead this fledgling band of doubters, deniers and liars who became the 12 pillars of the Heavenly City of God as described by John in Revelation.
Please join me in prayer for our fallen brothers and sisters and let us all pray that we too will not be lead into temptation but be delivered from evil. (Even the evil we bring on ourselves.) The good news is that we are given a promise from Christ himself that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, despite the sinfulness of us who are a part of His body.
In the bonds of His love,