“How much I criticize you, my Church, yet how much I love you…”

This is getting wide circulation, thanks to Fr. James Martin, who posted it on his Facebook page. Cardinal Timothy Dolan quoted this in his homily for the Archdiocese of New York’s Chrism Mass earlier in the week. It’s known as the “Letter to the Church,” by Italian spiritual master Carlo Carretto (1910-1988).

The Concord Pastor has it up, and it’s worth sharing:

How much I must criticize you, my church,
and yet how much I love you!

You have made me suffer more than anyone
and yet I owe more to you than to anyone.

I should like to see you destroyed
and yet I need your presence.

You have given me much scandal
and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.

Never in this world have I seen anything
more compromised, more false,
yet never have I touched anything
more pure, more generous or more beautiful.

Countless times
I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face
– and yet, every night,
I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms!

No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you,
even if not completely.

Then too–where would I go? To build another church?
But I could not build one without the same defects,
for they are my defects.

And again, if I were to build another church,
it would be my church, not Christ’s church.

No, I am old enough, I know better.”


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