Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Saints and Intimacy

Since I've been at my parents' house for the summer and attending daily Mass in the parish I grew up in, St. Margaret Mary, I've been very impressed by the quality of the homilies there. They've been short and to-the-point, but also thoughtful and challenging.

During his homily Tuesday for the feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim, our priest remarked on the week of feasts honoring saints who were very close to Our Lord and who knew Him personally - St. Mary Magdalen last Friday, St. James on Monday, Sts. Anne and Joachim on Tuesday, and St. Martha tomorrow (July 29). He pointed out that in our honor as Catholics of the saints (these saints in particular, but not exclusively), we once more profess our belief in the two natures of Jesus - human and divine. We accept Him in his full humanity by embracing the relationships He embraced in His life on earth.

The word our priest used for these relationships was "intimacy." In these intimate relationships, we reaffirm Christ as man - vulnerable, patient, joyful, suffering, hopeful, kind. Those who wish to diminish or dismiss the saints, and especially the Virgin Mary, in doing so also turn their shoulder on the fullness of the reality of Christ.

That embrace of God as Man is the whole reason God became Man - so that through our encounter with Jesus we might surrender ourselves to the life of the Trinity and win our heavenly reward. He chased us from divinity into humanity. Essential to any and all human experience is friendship. When we honor those who were friends of Christ - whether they knew Him personally in the 33 years He walked this earth or whether they know him in the life of the Church and the sacraments - we discover more about the person of Christ and thereby draw ever closer to Him.