Loving the Broken, or How the Church Becomes Real

I have a post up on The Jesuit Post entitled "Loving the Broken, or How the Church Becomes Real." It's a reflection using the story of the Velveteen Rabbit to frame reasons why many of us belong with, and remain, in the Church.

An excerpt, taken from the piece's conclusion:

Saint Ignatius, no stranger to the 16th century Church’s shortcomings, counseled the young Society of Jesus to have just such an attitude. We ought to be those, he wrote, “who love the Church, precisely because she is covered with wounds.” And this because Ignatius understood that the Church was not meant for the perfect, but for the struggling, for those who fall frequently, even scandalously. 
Ignatius’s words still ring across the centuries, they still challenge: have we strength enough to dwell within the real Church, the wounded Church? Have we desire enough to cultivate a real mysticism, one that’s able to abide the real rather than trying to flee into the non-existent perfect? Have we courage enough to say “I believe” in communion with fellow sinners, women and men who daily inflict wounds on the Church while still struggle to be conduits of grace in a broken world? Have we hope enough serve with joy? 
A real-istic mysticism does not dispel the Church’s wounds. No, a realistic mysticism peers into the heart of darkness and waits with joyful hope. A realistic mysticism sees the pain in the dismissive advice to “get a new one.”  A realistic mysticism works by pouring itself out in love not for the perfect, but for the broken. And this for a long, long time; until our pilgrim Church becomes real.
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