Who, Are We as Church?July 19, 2012 No Comments
July 19, 2012 / MariaNews.com
Who, Are We as Church?
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
When we lived in Kansas City, MO, almost every year, we drove across the State of Kansas to visit my parents in Colorado. Often we stopped at the Church which I attended as a child. I had very fond memories of that church. On the center back of the sanctuary was the golden tabernacle. In front of the tabernacle was a sturdy altar. From the perspective of the sanctuary, on the right, but outside of the sanctuary was the beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the corresponding position on the left side was the statue of St. Joseph. This arrangement was not really unique. Many churches built before the Second Vatican Council followed this pattern.
In retrospect, I think that the reason why the statue of Mary was always placed on the right side is, because in Israel during the era of kings, the queen was always the mother of the king, not the wife, and the queen always had her throne on the right of the king’s throne. The royal official who was second in importance to the queen would have to be on the left side. Today, the Church is the Kingdom of God, the King is our Eucharistic Lord, Mary is the Queen Mother, and St. Joseph, the Patron of the Church, is second in holiness only to Mary.
But this arrangement also reveals our own identity because we are the Church. In our relationship with Christ and our participation in the fulfillment of his mission we are the members of the Mystical Body of Christ. In our participation in giving birth to and caring for the members of the Mystical Body of Christ we are the spiritual members of Mary. In our providing for and protecting the Church we are the spiritual members of St. Joseph.
These ideas are not new, only forgotten by many. Hugo Rahner in his book, Our Lady and the Church (Zaccheus Press) documents with numerous citations the fact that the early Fathers of the Church considered Mary and the Church to be one.
In my opinion, the one who best expressed the identity of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph with the Church was St. Cyril of Alexandria, who at the end of his sermon at the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 said: “And so brethren, may it be granted to us to adore with deep humility the indivisible Trinity. And then let us praise with songs of joy Mary ever virgin, who herself is clearly the Holy Church, together with her Son and [her] most chaste spouse. To God be praise forever” (Hugo Rahner, Our lady and the Church, page 12)
Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical on Devotion to St. Joseph said: “Now the divine house which Joseph ruled with the authority of a father, contained within its limits the scarce-born Church.” By this expression I believe Pope Leo XIII meant that the Holy Family was the “seed” that germinated on the soil of faithful hearts and was watered by the Holy Spirit to become the Universal Catholic Church.
But a seed replicates itself in its progeny. Therefore, if we are authentic members of the Church, our perfection consists in being copies of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and the direct spiritual descendants of the Holy Family. As copies of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, permanently united with sacred love to the Originals, we have been commissioned to build the Kingdom of God on earth. Time is running out. Each day spent, we have one day less to labor in the vineyard for the Lord. Let us make haste to fulfill our sacred vocation as copies of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, as the Church whose faith we profess.
Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
Would you like to contribute an article or story to Maria News?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org – Together we can promote truth, culture and life!
Subscribe to MariaNews.com
Tags: Catholic Blog, catholic church, catholic news, Colorado Catholic, Deacon Antonio, Holy trinity, Hugo Rahner, Jesus Christ, kingdom of god, Maria News, Our Lady and the Church, St. CyrilCulture, Deacon Antonio, Featured Article, Reflections