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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love Poem

How much I must criticize you, my church,
and yet how much I love you!
You have made me suffer more than anyone
and yet I owe more to you than to anyone.
I should like to see you destroyed
and yet I need your presence.
You have given me much scandal
and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false,
yet never have I touched anything more pure,
more generous or more beautiful.

Countless times I have felt like slamming
the door of my soul in your face –
and yet, every night, I have prayed
that I might die in your sure arms!
No, I cannot be free of you,
for I am one with you,
even if not completely you.
Then too - where would I go?
To build another church?
But I could not build one without the same defects,
for they are my defects.
And again, if I were to build another church,
it would be my church, not Christ's church.
No, I am old enough, I know better.

From one of Ronald Rolheiser’s columns in November 2008 quoting Carlo Carretto, the Italian spiritual writer, who loved the church deeply but was honest enough to admit its faults. Late in his life, he wrote this ode to the church.

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