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Friday, August 23, 1996

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St. Rose of Lima

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 107
Matthew 22:34-40

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The Lord "set me in the center of the plain, which was now filled with bones. He made me walk among them in every direction so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain. How dry they were!" —Ezekiel 37:1-2

The Church has been, and still is in many places, like dry bones. Even "the Church of the living God" (1 Tm 3:15) may be dead in part for a long time because of sin. When we see the Church in all the ugliness of sin and death, we surely don't feel like loving her as Christ loved her (Eph 5:25). Dry bones are not very lovable. Nevertheless, dry bones never come to life unless someone prophesies over them with love (Ez 37:4), for without love even prophecy is worthless (1 Cor 13:2).

Jesus proclaimed that the whole law and the prophets are based on two commandments (Mt 22:40), the last of which is: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt 22:39). This love of neighbor certainly includes loving the Church no matter what her condition.

Leaving the Church is not loving the Church. Staying, suffering, praying, and prophesying is loving the Church. Pray to accept God's grace to love the Church as she is, so as to transform her into what she is called to be. "Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:8). "Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4:8). Love the Church as Christ does (Eph 5:25).

Prayer:  Father, may I love the Church, the body of Christ, more than I love my own body (see Eph 5:28-29).

Promise:  "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind." —Mt 22:37

Praise:  Rose received God's grace in a remarkable way through bodily penance.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, January 29, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 5, 1996