Rousing Her Radiance: Day 7
‘He who has not the Church as Mother cannot have God as Father.’- Henri DeLubac
My parish has two rather exquisite statues of Mary and Joseph aside the altar. They look straight out and up to God while sharing sacred space. Joseph’s quiet surety—angular and strong—shores up Mary’s loveliness and meek determination. Fullness. Greater than the sum of their parts. Binary beauty. The Church’s symbology makes me whole. I come early to gaze at the beauty of the Lord and His binary design for all people.
We need this more than ever in an age where the brightest souls cannot define their essence as male or female. Is it any wonder that youth wander like sexual vagrants looking for a ‘self’ other than their diseased one, unconfirmed and poisoned by porn and social media?
This flight from one’s own sexual dignity is a sure sign of the enemy’s successful desecration of a generation and the One who designed them. Non-binary ‘good news’ is diabolical. It is anti-person and anti-Christ.
We need the unifying, healing power of true imagery. That’s why I love the Church: her essence IS binary. Consider the beauty of Bridegroom Jesus and us the Bride, Joseph for Mary, Mary for Joseph, fathers and mothers bringing forth life and together empowering that life in this one house.
It may help to consider how the Catholic Church makes a big deal of Mary. As the Christ-bearer, she is recognized as the original ‘house’ of God, the living tabernacle through whom Jesus came to us all. In this way, she represents the Church extraordinaire.
One could say that the Church is both Marian and maternal—feminine in her reliance upon the Father through whom she brings forth the Son in myriad ways. I experience this in worship. It’s as if this Jesus whom I seek is being presented to me by a feminine vessel, the sanctuary itself. She enfolds us as we bow down and do business with Him.
Think of it: if all Mary wanted to do on earth was glorify the Son, then somehow that legacy continues mystically through the Church. It’s marvelous, this Church-inspired grace that enables stillness and trust in His Lordship. I may come agitated, but the altar draws me, and the place composes me ‘like a weaned child with its mother’ (Ps. 131:2).
Our hearts hunger for what is true and beautiful and binary, well-ordered to help order us. With Church as Mother, we can welcome the many fathers who seek to represent Him well to us. I experience this often in confession of sin with my priest. When I fail to live up to what I most love—loving people faithfully—this masculine but tender man hears my regret and shame and goes with me to the Cross. I make this exchange often with friends as we bear each other’s faults. But a focused and expectant confession with Father in Mother Church liberates me like no other transaction.
Amazing. I can see why the enemy blinds the eyes of good people to the riches of the Church. If sinners knew her loving authority and over-the-top generosity to sinners, they would run for refuge in this marvel of love, this healing bulwark in which we discover Father through the Son in the consoling and composing arms of Mother Church. Binary beauty in truth!
‘Thank You Jesus, for opening our hearts to the binary good news that heals us. We love that fullness in male/female relating and in how You have set up the Church. Envelope us in her maternal radiance, that we might encounter afresh the Father, Son, and Spirit, as well as those who represent both to us. Restore our binary thinking and being, O God. May our ordered lives declare binary good news to all people.’
‘Father, we thank You for Jesus who established the Church on a Rock against which hell will not prevail (Matt 16:18). We pray for every Christian leader to build on Her firm foundation of sexual clarity and integrity. Father, unmask the deceiver and divider of Christians and unite us in one Spirit. As weak members of Christ, we ask for truth to guide our pursuit of sexual wholeness, for grace to sustain it, and for spiritual power to transform us. May we reflect the chaste radiance of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) as we “shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16) to a lost and hurting world.’