Awaiting a Rebirth: Weekly Message for 12-4-2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

The approaching solemnity of the Immaculate Conception reminds us that God works in mysterious ways.

The solemnity recalls how the Almighty through a special favor allowed Mary to be conceived without stain of original sin.

Theologians debated how Mary could be without original sin while the rest of us inherited it from Adam. Being human like the rest of us, Mary needed redemption, too. Correct?

Yes. But God redeemed Mary at conception by the anticipated merits of her Son, our Lord Jesus. Mary benefited from Jesus’ redemptive suffering ahead of time, so to speak.

That answer seems simple now. It wasn’t such a simple matter in centuries past. So baffling was the question that its answer eluded even as great a theologian as St. Thomas Aquinas.

That mix of the baffling and the simple appears many times throughout Church history. That’s helpful to keep in mind as the Church slogs through one of its greatest crises in modernity.

It’s a moment when trust in and among the hierarchy is frayed, when moves toward reform seem stalled, when the faithful are more than a little restless. What gives? What’s next?

This is where we do well to recall the words of Jesus. The Spirit will guide us “to all truth” (John 16:13), and the truth will set us free (see John 8:32).

However long it takes, whatever it takes, the Church will rebound. This hope ultimately rests not on the quality of its human members but on the power of the Spirit.

Perhaps someday we’ll look back on the Crisis of ’18 and marvel how the path of renewal turned out to be less elusive than we feared. We can hope.

For now, we do well to cultivate the art of waiting for the One who can make all things new.  You may enjoy our Advent Retreat Guide – The Art of Waiting.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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