Monday, November 14, 2016
Parish Bulletin Article: "The Church Militant, the Church Suffering, the Church Triumphant": 11-13-16
Last weekend I spoke about the three levels of our family—us on earth, those in purgatory and those in heaven.
I would like to write this weekend about another name of the mystical body of Jesus Christ: the Church militant, the Church suffering and the Church of triumphant. While these words may be odd in our culture today, it is up and down the history of our Catholic Church.
How are they explained?
The militant is us on earth. We are challenged by the world, our flesh and evil. We must be militant to fight against our enemies to serve Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church he built.
I imagine that our lives are like a marathon runner. A runner challenging a 26.2 race has to work through the good times or bad times, perfect weather or brutal weather, hungry or full. The challenge is to keep going onward.
We must go forward in our journey with Jesus Christ on the way to the finish line of our lives.
The suffering describes our brothers and sisters who are being purified on the way to heaven: purgatory. These are in an experience in passive cleansing from God, saints and our own prayers. This is why we pray for the dead—all souls.
When I think about purgatory I remind when I have finished a marathon. Sometimes I needed a medical doctor to help me stand. Other times I received a massage for ached muscles, or water and food to cleanse my body with calories and liquids. My parents would find my bag so I can change, use deodorant and allow my disgusting shoes, shorts and singlet to go away. I could not do these without volunteers, medics or family and while I will be invited to the party tents, I needed some time to be cleansed.
After death (or the finish line of our life), we would be assisted from God, the saints and our family on earth as we are washed of our imperfection from sins.
The triumphant is in heaven and God Himself. These are saints. These are members of our family who pray both for us and those in purgatory.
One of the best times after a marathon is to be in the presence of friends, family and other runners that I do not even know. After the race the party begins! It is also a cool experience to cheer the next group of runners who are still going, or those who have just finished the race.
The Church militant, the Church suffering and the Church triumphant are some powerful beliefs for our Catholic family on earth, in purgatory and in heaven.