Posted October 04, 2010:
The Church: Sinner and Sinless

by Catherine Doherty.

As I grew up I began to understand the Christian idea of the Church. I began to realize who and what the Church was. I saw that the Church was the spotless bride of Christ.

I saw her clad in the King’s robes, beautiful and glorious. This vision stayed in my heart like a warm, consoling thought, and I applied to the Church that beautiful passage from the Psalms, The king’s daughter is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes: in many-colored robes she is led to the king (Psalm 45:13–14).

The Church was something holy, precious, something you should even give your life for.

Then in Canada, I discovered that the Church was the People of God. It took me a long time to understand that the People of God was the Mystical Body of Christ, and that Christ was the head of this Body.

Why didn’t I understand? Because of sin, the terrible sins of the People of God. I was torn by a contradiction: This sinless bride of Christ was also the sinful bride of Christ! How could that be?

It took me a long time to understand a very simple thing—that Jesus came to reconcile us sinners with his Father. As Dostoevsky wrote, "He loved man in his sin."

God had rescued us from our sin. The whole picture of the Church was now completed for me. I understood something else: the sin of one member of the church was the sin of all; that is, if I sin, I affect the whole Church.

From Grace in Every Season, (2001), p. 21, Sept. 21, available from Madonna House Publications


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