Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Catholic Beauty: Living as the Mystical Body of Christ

I recently had a family friend ask me why I was so drawn to the parish of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston and the Ordinariate's Anglican Use Mass of the Latin Rite. I have no specific ties to Anglicanism and am cradle Catholic. However, it is precisely because I am Catholic that I am drawn to all of it, most especially the families wrapped in Our Lady's mantle for it. It is said from medieval times that England was—and still is—Mary's Dowry. To be Catholic is to be drawn in with anything that has that authentic beauty. It is imperative that we seek out authentic beauty and nurture it. Beauty is a compelling thing, but beauty also is most especially a person: Christ with His Mass through the Eucharist, in its varied reverent forms, are a reflection of Him, as His angels and saints are, as are those who show virtue in this life and extol the same.

The beauty of the holy ones and the holy places make all of the counterfeit examples dross in the same brilliant dazzling light. It makes the Mass, the prayers, and the devotionals all the more attractive. It furthers the desire to emulate and be near those who are "very members incorporate" of His Mystical Body, the Church.

Certainly, if I do all the good works He has prepared for me to enter into and avoid those near occasions of sin for the even nearer occasions of grace and endless beauty, I will not prosper for my own glory but His. It is all His after all, even if I am given the smallest amount for my use.

How can I be burdened with worry about what others have then? I speak of this as a projection; I am not even near this slightest perfection. How can I be even worried in the slightest when another is entrusted with something of great beauty or is entrusted with a beautiful love of another? I cannot question the heart of a cheerful giver, most especially the most cheerful of all givers and Father of all givers, the Almighty Himself.

So I cannot question, but I can still behold the beauty. Is this not the definition of a Christian? To behold the Beauty of Christ in all His forms? Love demands to be given, and we must give even when we are weary. The Beloved needs it, and He does not delay in giving us the love we need as our daily bread.

May we see this beauty as the Beloved and seek out to be Lovers in the ways God is generously calling us to be in our day to day movements of grace to one another. Let us not shy away from this Cross we are to bear with Him. Amen.

O the depths of His Presence... and the distance.

"Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee for that thou dost feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ: and dost assure us thereby of thy favor and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs, through hope, of thy everlasting kingdom. And we humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen." - The Post-Communion Prayer in the Anglican Use Liturgy of the Latin Rite

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