“Bruised. Derided. Cursed. Defiled.
She beheld her tender child…”
Many Catholics I know are wondering, “How do we come back from this level of corruption and evil?” Of course I am referencing the levels from Pennsylvania about all the sexual abuse and misconduct.
I am wondering it. I have voiced it.
Don’t each of the words used to describe Jesus in this sequence seem to also apply to our Church right now?
Bruised– The victims and families and all members of the Faithful bear the mark of this evil. It is going to get uglier before it heals. That’s how bruises work. The blood vessels broken raise to the top. Aren’t we taught “This is my blood, shed for you?”
Aren’t we expecting all the marks of sin to be brought into the light? We as a Church can’t let this evil against our innocents fester. But it is going to hurt.
It’s supposed to. Anything that separates us from God is supposed to hurt.
Derided– We as a Church and as people of Faith are facing much criticism over this matter. As we well should. The victims of these crimes deserve justice. These horrors are absolutely something critics of the Catholic faith will be ridiculing. How could they not? They are vile and contemptuous and it looks like evil got a home run on us with this. And yet, “Blessed are you when people insult and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:11)
Cursed- At the base definition of this word we see “Something used to cause harm or punish.” I’m making a conjecture that this is exactly what the Devil is trying to do. He wants to punish God. So he is using the evil deeds of men to further drive wedges in the relationships people have with God. Maybe I don’t fully understand how the Devil works, but these acts of evil will most definitely drive people away.
Defiled– Well that’s a doozy of a word in context is it not? Of course most of us know the common definition- “desecrate something sacred”. Is there anything more sacred in our Church than children? I don’t think so. It would take a lot of arguments to convince me otherwise. Jesus was sent to us as a child. The protection of each of them is supposed to be a high priority. When men in power abuse the innocent, yes, the word defile applies. But there is also another definition of this word I didn’t know- “A steep-sided narrow gorge or passage” This honestly looks like Sin Mountain. It goes up really high, seems impossible to get out of alone, and the marks are visible for all to see. And then I read that second line.
“She beheld her tender child”
But of course. We are not alone. Not now, not ever. Mother Mary feels these deep pains as much as any human. She is the first one to sob with us and the first one to intercede for all of the human race. Tomorrow is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. A day when we are asked to remember how deeply Mary feels the suffering of Jesus.
Which also means how deeply she feels the suffering of the Church.
Our Church is unique in many ways. To me the most unique aspect (after the Eucharist) is the way we believe the Church was established by Jesus himself. That each of these words can be used to describe the Lord and the current climate of the Church lends even more credibility in a time when we desperately need it. As we approach a day where a Mother’s love is expressed through blood and tears and no small amount of pain, let us remember all the things we love about the Church. If a person we love has been bruised, derided, cursed or defiled do we love her any less? I hope not. For me it means I love her more. I treat her more tenderly. Love doesn’t run, and neither will I.
Alicia Grumley enjoys the ways that this series gives her space to wonder about her faith life. During her day job, she herds cats by working as a full time Nanny in Indianapolis.