Central to our faith is our belief in ‘the Holy Catholic Church’. It was this that Pope Francis chose to emphasise in his closing remarks at the Synod of Bishops at the end of October. He pleaded with us never to forget or waiver in this belief. The Church is Holy. The Church is our Holy Mother. The Church gives birth to the holiness of life. This is the Church we are to love and protect.
Of course, we, her daughters and sons, are sinful. That is so obvious. But the Mother is not. We fall into sin; we parade our opinions as if they were a source of life; we are constantly drawn into bitter contestation, within the family of the one Holy Mother. But our sin does not destroy her holiness.
During Advent and on this Christmas Feast, let our eyes to be drawn to Mary, the one chosen by God to be, in the flesh, the Mother of his Son and therefore the Mother of all who draws life through that Son. She is Holy, without sin from her first moments. She alone stands as the first reality of the Holiness of the Church. This is why she alone already shares, body and soul, in the fullness of the Church, the fullness of life in heaven.
As we gaze on Mary, in her humility, love, and penetrating simplicity, let us resolve to protect her holiness, the holiness of the Church, at all times. Let us protect it within our families, the domestic Church, within our parishes, and wherever we speak and act. Holiness is not served by pretence. Holiness is served only by its own grace, most often seen in all its beauty in the service and joy we give to others.