As a cradle Catholic who has fallen in love with my faith more and more as I’ve grown older, breaking news of sin and scandal in the Church breaks my heart. It breaks even more when such acts are committed by people who minister in the name of Christ and of the Church. I weep for the evil that has slithered its way into what is good and holy.
Saint Paul tells us, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? … I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rm 8:35, 38-39). We humans that make up the Church are flawed and sinful, but God is greater than any sin or scandal. My love of the Church is not dependent on the actions of the people that make up the Church but on the God who loves me unconditionally and is faithful to me even when I am not faithful to him. Through the darkest times in my own life—and in the life of the Church—God is faithful, and Jesus remains with us.
I love the Church, because in the Church I find Jesus. Jesus present in the Eucharist, Jesus present in the forgiveness of my sins in Reconciliation, Jesus here among us in Scripture and the Tradition of thousands of years—encompassing more saints than I’ll ever know in this life, and countless sinners, to which history attests in sad detail.
The Lord continually reaches out to each one of us in merciful love, and this is the treasure that I hope never to turn away from, the reason we are sent as Church not just to remain—but to go out on mission! God’s great love for me and all his children compels me to pass on that knowledge to his little ones. As a children’s editor for our community’s publishing apostolate and as an author of children’s books, I do this through the books I write or edit. I pray each and every day for the children who will read a book I have worked on. A child who recognizes that he or she is loved by God will be able to handle all the ups and downs of daily life because they are rooted in God. More than handling any given situation, when children know they are loved, they are able to love. Their loving—and holy—lives will change the world for the better. It is up to us to lead our children to God through the Church and the sacraments and let them experience the love the Lord has for them. So as Jesus says, “Let the children come to me….”
Sr Marlyn Monge, FSP is the author of a number of books for children. Her newest book is Mary, Mother of Jesus.