On the banks of the Tiber river lies the city of Rome, home and center of Catholicism.
For me, the title of this post refers to my crossing back to the faith of my childhood. For my wife, her first crossing.
Last night, she took on the confirmation name of Martha and received her first Holy Communion. My confirmation name is Justin, named after he who sought the truth desperately and found what he was looking for in Jesus and His teachings.
It's been quite the trip, one begun most hesitantly at first yet one that is ending (but really, beginning anew) with eagerness and trust.
We've come to learn things we did not know, we've come to see things we had not seen before, we've come to embrace things that we held at arm's length for a very long time. And honestly, there's more to embrace, more to see, much more to learn. This faith is rich and deep and is a faith I think even her long time adherents have not fully come to appreciate.
Yes her history has its darker moments and yes, this faith is much maligned, some of it perhaps with good reason. Yet there is a history of good and decency that is far too often overlooked, and much of that which passes as criticism is based in ignorance and folly, even duplicity.
What I know now and believe with fear and trembling is that I've returned to that which Jesus Christ and his apostles birthed, that which contains and represents the Truth, that which is the broken body of our Lord with its wounds and scars but also with its redemptive and forgiving powers, that which will withstand the gates of Hell.
The bottom line, in all its apparent simplicity, is that we're home. And it's very good to be home.
Very, very good.
I was made to think about that post after reading these words from Pope Francis at this morning's General Audience in St. Peter's Square:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catecheses, we have often noted that we do not become a Christian on our own, but by being born and nurtured in the faith in the midst of the People of God, that is the Church. She is a true mother who gives us life in Christ and, in the communion of the Holy Spirit, brings us into a common life with our brothers and sisters. The model of motherhood for the Church is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who in the fullness of time conceived through the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Son of God. Her motherhood continues through the Church, who brings forth sons and daughters through baptism, whom she nourishes through the Word of God. In fact, Jesus gave the Gospel to the Church to bring forth new life by generously proclaiming his word and winning other sons and daughters for God our Father. As a mother, the Church nurtures us throughout life by illuminating our path with the light of the Gospel and by sustaining us with the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. With this nourishment, we are able to choose the good and be vigilant against evil and deceit, and overcome the difficult moments of life with courage and hope. This is the Church: a mother who has at heart the good of her children. And since we are the Church, we are called to live this same spiritual, maternal attitude towards our brothers and sisters, by welcoming, forgiving and inspiring trust and hope.
I have grown to be extremely grateful for Mother Church and the words I intentionally bolded give solid reason for this personally experienced truth.
As I wrote back in March of 2011, I write again now, the bottom line, in all its apparent simplicity, is that we're home. And it's very good to be home.
Very, very good.