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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The household of God

The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. The mystical body of Christ. The household of God. The pillar and foundation of truth. Something came to my mind earlier as I was still digesting what Rod Dreher had said about his departure from the Roman Catholic Church towards the Orthodox Church: the picture of a huge mansion. Literally, a huge, sprawling house came to my mind, where all of God's children belong. Let's face it: it was never nor can it ever be the intention of God to have anything other than a single family, a household of faith among brothers and sisters, under the same roof and, beyond being in the same domicile, acting like, well, family.

The Church teaches that everyone who was baptized into the family of God are in. We're his children. We are in his family now, although whether or not we remain in communion with Him is another issue. Now if this is a SINGLE blessed family, then that has strong implications. That means that, no matter how far and how fast you run away from the west wing of the mansion, you remain in the same house. For there is one body, one Spirit.

But what of these divisions within that house? It seems to me that, while the two major camps have taken opposite wings of the house, still others hang back away from either wing. But they are moving away from the center, where Christ is, making up their own centers. However, it isn't up to us to set the center wherever we THINK it belongs. Christ built the house on top of a foundation that he chose: Peter, the rock. Those who deny this will hover at the edges of the house, still within its walls, but far from the center. In such a situation, I can only think of one word to describe what happens in the long run: attenuation, where the connection to the house diminishes, the farther one goes from the center. It becomes natural for the movement away from the center to gain momentum -- away from the center, and, at some point, away from the house. To me, that highlights a danger that is hardly even considered by too many. But taking a long view of things, I can't help but see it for what it is: a disintegration -- not of the house, for it was built to last until the end of time. But the inhabitants? They are always free to walk away -- but that is their peril: to one day find that they have moved too far beyond reach.

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