Hey, I found this magazine article: The Wisdom of Mother Church
Originally Posted by Amadeus
Thank you CC. This will help. Without getting into who or what the Church is, I believe we may agree essentially in who the Mother is. I am hoping to get some insight myself from what others have gleaned or received or studied.
By Russell L. Ford SOURCE LINK
A mother is one of God’s most special creatures. In her is carried the seed of life. In the depths of the mother’s body—and in some sense in her soul—the child takes shape and grows. Although the mother has never seen or held her child, she loves him deeply. She will talk to him, contemplate him, make plans for him, and begin to hope for his future. When it is time for the child to pass from his mother’s deepest and warmest protection, it is an agonizing experience for the mother. Once the child is born the mother loves and nurtures him a new way, and she shares him now in a special way with his father.
When Jesus established his kingdom on earth, the Church, he gave us what is supernatural through natural means. Spiritual birth is given us with ordinary water. Confirmation is conferred with oil and a loving embrace from our priestly father’s hands. The justice and mercy of a good parent to an errant child is shown through words of forgiveness from the father in penance. The food that sustains our souls in the Eucharist begins as ordinary bread and wine that is transformed in substance to the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.
Whether our special vocation in life is direct and committed service to God through the ordination—the most sublime of vocations—or matrimony or religious vows, we embark on them with the tender blessings of a father. And when we are prepared to depart this life, we do so again at the hands of a father who uses ordinary oil that another father has lovingly blessed. All of what Christ gives us is both supernatural and natural, but perhaps his greatest gift is the Church itself.
Many Catholics grow up hearing the Catholic Church called Holy Mother Church. Many habitually refer to her by that name. I certainly do. But how many of us give conscious thought to that? Do we realize how true it is that the Church is our mother? For nearly fourteen years I have been permitted the privilege of evangelizing fellow prisoners as well as people in the free world whom I’ve never met except through correspondence. Watching the process of conversion for hundreds of souls has given me a great appreciation for how Holy Mother Church truly is the mother of us all.
In Holy Mother Church is the seed of spiritual life, given to her when Christ breathed on his apostles on Easter Sunday night, and through his commission to spread the gospel throughout the world. Think of each soul—regardless of race, color, intelligence level, or age—as a seed in the womb of Mother Church. When we do our job of sharing the faith, and those seeds are fertilized with tremendous actual graces (as a person accepts the faith), the seed begins as a new life, and the formation of the new child commences.
This is done through catechetical formation. During this period, although the developing child has not yet been born through baptism, Mother Church deeply loves the child. Then, after months of formation in Holy Mother’s spiritual womb, as it were, the child is born through water and spirit. Holy Mother Church loves this child as surely as a natural mother loves the child who comes from her own womb.
It is the development of the child in Mother Church’s spiritual womb that most fascinates me. Before a child can live independent of—yet desperately dependent on—its mother, it must grow and develop for months in her womb. The same is true of the convert to Catholicism. It is the wisdom of Holy Mother Church that demands this.
Most of the souls with whom I deal have had a least exposure to, if not participation in, some form of Christianity, mostly Fundamentalism. When the seed is fertilized with grace, when the person decides to convert, he often asks what he must do to join the Church. "Do I talk to the priest and tell him to make me a Catholic?" "Do I got forward at service?" Some will even simply begin telling others they are Catholic. It is their exposure to other Christian religions that make them think this way. At most non-Catholic Christian services, a fellow can simply make a public commitment and he’s in. They are often surprised when I tell them the wisdom of Mother Church will not allow that sort of "joining up."
When a person joins many Protestant groups, his membership is instantaneous. Then he is taught what to believe and what is expected of him. That is tantamount to extracting a newly formed zygote from its mother’s womb and expecting it to live independently of its mother’s body. That is an impossibility; the zygote will die.
When I became a Baptist in 1973, I knew absolutely nothing of Christianity. Those good Baptist people began to teach me what I was supposed to believe. The problem arose when I discovered that what I was being taught did not conform to what I was learning through Scripture or history. The zygote died; I became an agnostic.
The wisdom of Mother Church demands a gestation period for development and formation. A careful reading of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 makes it obvious that Luke was not necessarily quoting verbatim a sermon of the first pontiff, but rather hitting the highlights of Christ’s great catechism lesson at the birth of the Church. Peter was speaking to Jews. Therefore, there was no need for catechetical formation per se. The Jews were already formed essentially in liturgy, morality, and spirituality. What they needed was to learn that the old covenant had been fulfilled by the new and everlasting covenant. It was not until Mother Church began to have Gentile children that we saw the advent of catechetical formation much as we have it today.
When I was a Baptist, the zygote died. As a Catholic, I was allowed to gestate in the spiritual womb of Mother Church. Thanks to her wisdom in requiring that, I am still and will ever be a Catholic. Just like any postpartum child, I have grown and learned and been more greatly developed since having grown enough in Mother Church’s spiritual womb to live independent of—yet desperately dependent on—her.
After having taught the catechism evangelistically to many hundreds of souls, I long ago determined that the most important thing to teach a catechumen is the ninth article of the Creed. The ninth article states our belief in the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints. All of Christianity, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, hinges upon whether that article is true.
If we cannot definitively prove that the God-man did not leave us orphans, that he gave us a Mother Church to love and nurture us, then all of Christianity crumbles. How that is to be taught and what is to be most forcefully addressed is material for a future article. In the meantime, suffice it to say that the wisdom of holy Mother Church does indeed give us life through months of gestation after we have received the graces of our Father.
There is but one other point to address. When a mother gives birth, the child is passing from one place of existence to another. The mother groans and experiences great pain, yet she is filled with joy. When a son or daughter of the Church ends this pilgrimage on earth, all of Mother Church groans and mourns the painful loss. However, it is a joyful and hopeful mourning, just as the pangs of birth in a human mother.
Why? Because our Mother is not limited to existence on this mortal plane. She also exists with her suffering children in purgatory and her perfectly fulfilled children in heaven. In either case, Mother Church’s joy hails from being able to share her child in a very special way with the Father of us all.