In order to prepare our hearts for the World Meeting of Families and the anticipated visit from Pope Francis to the United States, we as a team are reflecting on a catechism on family life entitled, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. Each week we will reflect on one chapter from this catechism. You can learn more about the World Meeting of Families at WorldMeeting2015.org.
WEEK 9: Mother, Teacher, Family: The Nature and Role of the Church – Reflection by: Christine Rich
Outdoor mass in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Papal Audience, Rome
I was given the gift of experiencing the love and power of “Mother Church” in a very personal way this past week and it is my prayer that I am able to share the passionate love that I feel for ‘her’ at this very moment. I know she is not a real person, but she acts in a way that she fills me with a love and gratitude for bringing me closer and closer to Christ every day.
I do not have a degree in Theology or Philosophy, and hence would never claim to be a Theologian or a Philosopher, but through personal faith-filled experiences I have come to know some powerful truths about our faith and our Mother Church.
I believe that she was born the moment that Christ died at Calvary. She was born to raise a family in the faith of Jesus Christ. She is made up of very human people that make mistakes but have tried their best to follow the Holy Spirit to bring us where we are today. And today, because of the work of all of her children before me that have taken up the cross to follow Jesus, I am able to attend mass all over the world and be a part of her family.
Last weekend I attended mass in Eastern Europe in the small town of Medjugorje, where our My Saint My Hero bracelets are made. There were thousands of people in attendance. The mass was in Croatian, but with my daily readings in hand I was able to follow along with the mass and even participate in every part in my own language while listening to others participate in Italian, French, Dutch, German and Japanese. A few days later I attended mass in Rome and, again, felt at home with my family in faith even though I do not speak a word of Italian. As I traveled for work, I was able to stay completely immersed in my faith because of the ground work of many that have laid down their lives to preserve this faith. Not only am I able to start and end my day in personal prayer, I am able to begin and end business meetings in prayer and bring God into every aspect of my life.
Then, as if God knew I needed to experience the beauty of Mother Church at the height of her glory, He gave me the gift of sitting on the altar behind four Cardinals and 30 Bishops, just twenty yards away from the Holy Father as he spoke to us on the importance of the family and community. He emphasized that our own families must be a center for love sustained by the church… and that our church must be that welcoming center of love to work true miracles for a peaceful and humane future. His example of pure love and mercy towards every human being brings us into the presence of Christ and is a powerful reminder of what we are all called to be.
I know people sit with the lists in their heads of all the things that the Catholic Church has done wrong in the last 2,000 years…. but I like to live in what our beautiful Mother Church has done right. I invite everyone to follow Pope Francis’ visit to the United States next week. He is a product of this beautiful Mother Church, and stands strong in her roots while living with compassion and love. If you like what he is about, I invite you to learn more about where he came from and the faith that he lives and would die for.
Christine Rich is Co-Owner of My Saint My Hero
“I believe that people are hungry for more than the world is offering them. They know they are made for more, and it is our hope at My Saint My Hero that our ‘Gifts of a Blessing’ can be a spark of hope in more… that they can be the inspiration to remind people that God is REAL, prayer works and love heals.” – Christine Rich, catholicvote.org
Week 8 A Home for the Wounded Heart
Week 7 Light in a Dark World
Week 6 All Love Bears Fruit
Week 5 Creating the Future
Week 4 Two Become One
Week 2 The Mission of Love
Week 1 Created for Joy