Day 36 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast
Mercy for the Truthful Church
‘I will allow convents and churches to be destroyed…Souls without love and devotion, souls full of egoism and self-love, souls full of pride and arrogance, souls full of deceit and hypocrisy, lukewarm souls with just enough warmth to keep them alive. My Heart cannot bear this…I cannot stand them because they are neither good or bad…If they do not repent and become enkindled by their first love, I will deliver them over to the fate of this world.’ (1702)
If there is one thing worse than the worldly Church, it’s the truthful Church without Mercy.
Appalled at the sin around her, this Church strengthens her defenses and uses the truth for self-protection. She loses sight of lost and broken ones who need a way into the Church. In her defensiveness, she may also contribute to the divided hearts of clergy.
The Catholic Church and many fine Bible churches have a common commitment to marriage as the sole basis for sexual conduct. Alleluia! I rejoice in many eloquent and thoughtful nuances on this theme. Presented as God’s truth, it lays a narrow, inspired track for all humanity to weigh.
In an era where most grow up harassed on every side by vulgar, needy expressions of sex outside of marriage, the Church is wise to uphold its truth. But the truthful Church must beware of its tendency to merely raise a standard. Without acknowledging the devastation of lives in their midst, and providing a way forward for them to discover the Redeemer of their broken sexuality, the Church actually does a disservice to her own.
Truth without Mercy is not the face of Jesus. It is only another reason as to why sinners believe they have no real place in Church. Where is the Jesus who first defended the adulteress from the religious, the prostitute from the Pharisee? Where is the witness in the Church of Mary Magdalene, freed of demons and shame, now bearing witness of the Merciful Fount that raised her from the dead of sexual sin?
Instead the Church hands out another eloquent set of ethics. And what must this do to her leaders? These ones may buy into the system of ‘postcard’ saints who are only holy, not dimensional flesh and blood people who by Mercy alone have been freed to live out the truth. These truthful ones may well perpetuate the very ethic that shames and derides them for failing to live by it.
Those leaders who have not undergone a process of genuine sexual integration through Mercy and much engaging with His Merciful Church will fail; they go underground on the Internet, to gay bars in other cities, to vulnerable ones they serve then devour with their lusts. These are conservatives, imprisoned by the very truths they hold dear.
The priest in the Kansas City Diocese who abused little girls is a conservative, as is the bishop who allegedly failed to act promptly to stop his violence. And here we see the worst crime committed by the truthful Church: defending the ‘truth’ of the institution over the well-being of innocent ones. Threatened by the world and its judgment, smug in its authority, the Church uses the very truth God entrusted to her as a cover for secrets and lies.
Nothing has discredited the Church more in the last 50 years than its use of ‘truth’ to save face for fractured priests who provoked untold damage in little ones.
Those lost on that evil day will be vindicated by the God of Mercy and Justice. In the meantime, ‘let judgment begin in the house of God.’ (1P. 4:17)
“Because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, I am about to spit you out of My Mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Rev. 3: 16-18)
‘Jesus, test our truth with the power of Your Mercy. Cause us to repent if we who know and honor the truth dishonor it with our lives. Wash us clean. We are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. We repent unto Your Mercy. Let the truth of our failure to live by the truth shatter us; raise what pleases You.’
Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.