Friday, June 15, 2012

The Bride

My brother, John, was having a hard time being a military brat. He was in one of those pre-teen years that he resented everything our mother was doing. She just couldn’t do anything right in his estimation. 

“Dad wouldn’t have done it that way,” John was always complaining. 
It all really started with a list of chores dad sent to him to do “as man of the house.” After that, anything mom asked him to do that wasn’t on the list John would say she didn’t have the right to add anything to the list. (One of the ones he conveniently left out was that he was supposed to obey his mother, but being immature, he kinda skipped over that one.)
He was always arguing with her. Since dad said that he was supposed to mow the law each Sunday morning, John would throw a fit if mom changed it to Saturday when they had to go to mass earlier than usual. He claimed she couldn’t change dad’s rules. And when she said he had to eat his brussel sprouts he wouldn’t because it wasn’t on the list. Then when she hurt her back and needed John to change the baby for her, he said it wasn’t on the list, so he didn’t do it.
Our house was always in an uproar of debates because of him. 
Sometimes I think it would have been easier if dad hadn’t even written him and given John a list. 
One day he ran away.

You can’t imagine how that hurt my mother. There were six of us kids and she was struggling while dad was gone and at times she would get really cranky. I know she made mistakes. But the things he was calling her, the things he was saying about her, it was as if she had never, ever done anything right. Then, while a neighbor took him in for a while so he could cool off,  John started on our little brothers and sisters trying to get them to run away too.

Then he started saying that dad had been married before and that our mom was really not our real mom and so we didn’t have to obey her. I know it was stupid, but to say that to little kids! They started to believe him. Once I even slapped him for calling our mom a bad name.  
Then, one day dad came home on leave.

John found out and came over. When dad and mom pulled into the driveway, John ran up to dad and started in on mom. He really thought he had done what he should have. He had utterly convinced himself that because mom wasn’t perfect that he didn’t have to obey her. So, he went through a list of all the things she did wrong. He even told dad that he found out mom wasn’t his real mother.

Can you imagine what my dad did? My brother really, truly thought he was going to take his side.

Dad made John go get his stuff and move back in. Then he assembled the whole family in the den and then he told us something I will never forget.

“Do you know what I did in order to win your mother? She was a stubborn one to win over but I worked really hard to get her and she is my prize. When I put the ring on her finger,” and he showed us her beautiful gold band, “I promised her that I would love her always, through bad and good, in sickness and in health, forever. I promised that I would never leave her or forsake her.”

“But you did leave her dad!” My brother said.

“No I didn’t. Yes, I was physically gone, but I talked to your mother each night on the phone and we all sent emails and text messages when I could get them. She was always in my heart. We are one.” All of us kids didn’t know dad and mom had a special date each night on the phone. She would tells us that she had talked but I guess we just didn’t really pay that much attention--we had been too busy with our own young lives.

“When your mother spoke and gave you commands, it was the same as if I had--even if you hadn’t understood them. She was put in charge while I was gone. Even if she wasn’t right all the time, even if she made mistakes and even told you to do some things I would never have told you to do, don’t you know that I would have backed her up? I told you to obey her. If you had loved me, you would have obeyed your mom.”

My brother got into trouble for the way he treated our mom, but everything was forgiven. 
Analogy over.

This is how Catholics look at the church, the Bride, the Body of Christ. She is our mom. Many Protestant apologists give us a litany of all the bad stuff mom has done and claims she isn’t our authentic mother. Some Catholics, who are immature in their faith, will follow their brother out and believe that mom’s sins are so great that dad divorced her and just didn’t clearly tell us in any phone calls or letters (Bible).

Men like James White who spend their time trying to “convert” Catholics into real Biblical Christianity need to realize that the church came first. The Bible is a book of the people, we are not a people of a book. We are a Church. We are a family, a real, genuine family with God as our father and the Church, His Bride. We have been born into or adopted as His children. We are in a family covenant of love and respect.

White's and other anti-Catholics continual airing of our Mother’s past sins and never, ever seeing the beautiful things she did is not doing much for fairness or for the cause of Christ in the world.

You think it is your duty to say the Catholic church is preaching a false gospel because in your estimation she added to scripture or doesn’t correctly interpret it. You think when God handed Peter the keys and told him, “whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven” and when He went through the passion and crucifixion for His Church and promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against her and that he would never leave her or forsake her and that he would be with her to the end of the age that he is going to divorce or reject her over anything she does?

Please show that to me in the New Testament? Show me where Christ rejects His Bride. It doesn’t happen.

Just as a husband places his wife in charge of the children when he is gone and will back up even her mistakes and misunderstandings, so will God do for His Church, His Bride.

Even if you disagree with the analogy, this is how faithful Catholics see the church, so all your litany of her mistakes only scandalizes the family of God to the world. 

If you want to prove she isn't our mother, that is where you need to spend your time. But you will have to show us Biblically, historically and logically clearly when Christ rejected his Church. Give us a date, an event, something... 

If you can't find a specific event in the Bible which correlates exactly with some historical event in actual time--and prove it, then you need to realize that God's promise to His church is forever. He never did or will forsake her and He is with her to the end of the world.