Breaching the Resistance of the World

I’ve written many times, albeit rather clumsily, on the notion that abortion prevents the absolute love of God, ever ancient, ever new, from entering into the world, and thus serves darkness, not light. I feel compelled to write more about that, in the coming days, but for now I must share this incredible insight by the servant of God Madeleine Delbrêl, a French laywoman and writer who died in 1964, and who manages -at the end of this excerpt- to say what I have meant, so succinctly, albeit, coming from a different direction. This is so good -every line is so good- that it utterly humbles me, as a writer and as a Catholic:


Madeleine Delbrêl

What we are trying to do is realize that, while we are on earth, faith places us in the heat of battle, a permanent struggle, a constant choice between Jesus Christ and that which in the world remains hostile to God; to do so is to accomplish within ourselves the Church’s own vocation.

On the earth, the Church is made for fighting; by vocation, she wages war against evil; by mission, she stands on the front lines of evil; by office, she delivers from evil.

The Church’s combat will never cease to be bloody: the frontiers she defends will never cease being attacked and the liberation she fights for is always violent. A realistic love for the Church necessarily entails taking your blows and living with bruises. Now, what gives the Church’s combat meaning, what outlines the meaning of her history is hope.

To march ahead, to multiply, to liberate, the Church must fight, with her eyes and her heart set on God’s promises. Locally -or we could say physically- the frontier of the Church passes directly through each one of us. This is the line that divides good and evil; it si the line that separates the “with God” from the “without God,” the “for God” from the “against God.”

The place that Christian hope assigns to us is that narrow ridge, that borderline, at which our vocation requires that we choose, every day and every hour, to be faithful to God’s faithfulness to us. While we are on earth, this choice cannot help but tear us in two. But hope never allows us therefore to fall to self-pitying. It is the suffering of the woman who is bringing a child into the world. Each time we are thus torn apart, we become as it were breaches in the world’s resistance. We open up space for God’s life to pass through. Nothing can carry us more deeply into the inner reality of the Church.


It’s what I’ve been trying to say
, in all of my deplorable shortcomings. Madeleine Delbrêl says it so much better, and effortlessly. All of it is about the fundamental cultures of life, and of death.

And that was found -this will come as no surprise to you- via the invaluable Magnificat Magazine. If you’re not subscribing to it, you’re missing a monthly wondercache.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jennifer

    You are right. That was magnificent. I love writing that is direct, unflinching and profound — that was all three. I’m so glad you shared that with us.

    I gotta get a subscription to Magnificat.

  • Pingback: The Anchoress | A First Things Blog

  • http://annebender.blogspot.com Anne

    Wow! Fabulous insight! I love this: “A realistic love for the Church necessarily entails taking your blows and living with bruises.” I echo Jennifer, I’ve got to get a subscription to Magnificat!

  • Pingback: Catholic News Headlines Mar. 8, 2010 « Catholic News

  • Manny L.

    I’ve been tempted to subscribe to Magnificat as well. A priest at my church has been a contributoer, so i’m told. He gives the best homilies. Before i subscribe I was hoping to buy a single issue, just to see if I would like it. I get magazines I never wind up reading, and Magnificat is on the pricey side.

    That is a great quote, especially that last paragraph. Thanks.

  • Myssi

    It reminds me again that my friend’s daughter stood in that breach, not immediately treating her cancer for the good of the life that her son now has. She crossed to the promised Rest in Christ a couple of weeks ago, but the love that she and her son have brought into the world and witnessed to the world, can NEVER, NEVER be put out.

  • http://www.Magnificat.com Paul Snatchko

    Dear Manny L.,

    You can request a sample issue at the Magnificat Website. (From our home page, go to the English section. It will be in the column on your left.)

    Dear Anchoress,

    Thank you for spreading the good word about Magnificat!!

    May God bless you and all of your readers!

    – Paul Snatchko from Magnificat

  • Manny L.

    Thank you Paul. I will do so. :)

  • http://theanchoress Barbara

    What you’ve got right there is a call for Jihad.

    [Only if one is intellectually dishonest, willfully misreading it, very, very confused or in the mood to be a passive-aggressive troll -admin]

  • Pingback: Madeleine Delbrêl « Lucia Europa