Write In Between

Friday, August 17, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 35

Something old....

According to the Letter to the Ephesians [See Eph 5:21-33.], the bride is the Church, just as for the Prophets the bride was Israel. She is therefore a collective subject and not an individual person. This collective subject is the People of God, a community made up of many persons, both women and men. "Christ has loved the Church" precisely as a community, as the People of God. At the same time, in this Church, which in the same passage is also called his "body" (cf. Eph 5:23), he has loved every individual person. For Christ has redeemed all without exception, every man and woman. It is precisely this love of God which is expressed in the Redemption; the spousal character of this love reaches completion in the history of humanity and of the world.

Christ has entered this history and remains in it as the Bridegroom who "has given himself". "To give" means "to become a sincere gift" in the most complete and radical way: "Greater love has no man than this" (Jn 15:13). According to this conception, all human beings - both women and men - are called through the Church, to be the "Bride" of Christ, the Redeemer of the world. In this way "being the bride", and thus the "feminine" element, becomes a symbol of all that is "human", according to the words of Paul: "There is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28).

From a linguistic viewpoint we can say that the analogy of spousal love found in the Letter to the Ephesians links what is "masculine" to what is "feminine", since, as members of the Church, men too are included in the concept of "Bride". This should not surprise us, for Saint Paul, in order to express his mission in Christ and in the Church, speaks of the "little children with whom he is again in travail" (cf. Gal 4:19). In the sphere of what is "human" - of what is humanly personal - "masculinity" and "femininity" are distinct, yet at the same time they complete and explain each other. This is also present in the great analogy of the "Bride" in the Letter to the Ephesians. In the Church every human being - male and female - is the "Bride", in that he or she accepts the gift of the love of Christ the Redeemer, and seeks to respond to it with the gift of his or her own person.

----John Paul II's MULIERIS DIGNITATEM, The Dignity and Vocation of Women.

Something new....

Attention Women readers (and the men who love them!): Don't miss this chance to learn about a beautiful Apostolic Letter (from which the above quote is taken) from (who else?) John Paul II on the Dignity of Women as we approach the 20th anniversary of its proclamation in 2008. Here's a powerful salute to the document and a great line-up of women who are encouraging us to delve deeper into the joys of our feminine genius...-> Go HERE now! Hat tip to Genevieve Kineke for a great article to launch us all on this journey!

Something borrowed....

You can always learn something from Mike Aquilina's blog "Way of the Fathers." This week, he has a great post about some little-known history about "mothers" of the church>,--y'know, like the Church Fathers? Also don't miss his superb link about Benedict XVI's homily on the Feast of the Assumption.


As a cancer survivor myself, I know these special kids can really use your prayers. Thanks to Catholic.org for the story!

Something blue....

"When the time had fully come, God sent forth his son, born of woman". With these words of his Letter to the Galatians (4:4), the Apostle Paul links together the principal moments which essentially determine the fulfilment of the mystery "pre-determined in God" (cf. Eph 1:9). The Son, the Word one in substance with the Father, becomes man, born of a woman, at "the fullness of time". This event leads to the turning point of man's history on earth, understood as salvation history. It is significant that Saint Paul does not call the Mother of Christ by her own name "Mary", but calls her "woman": this coincides with the words of the Proto-evangelium in the Book of Genesis (cf. 3:15). She is that "woman" who is present in the central salvific event which marks the "fullness of time": this event is realized in her and through her.

---More from John Paul II's MULIERIS DIGNITATEM, The Dignity and Vocation of Women.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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