Years ago some friends of ours were on a waiting list to adopt a child. Having already had children, they chose to open their hearts to a child in need of a family, to cherish the child God would bless them with. As sometimes happens, they conceived and gave birth parallel to the wonderful news that they would also be blessed with another child via adoption. The timing could not have been more perfect. You see, the beautiful child who would bring such joy to their home could not tolerate store-bought formulas and so could not receive much-needed nutrients necessary to thrive.
However, their next child was born just two months later, and this sweet mother had a milk supply in abundance. She was able to sufficiently feed both of her new babies. The child they adopted lacked for nothing. She received the much-needed colostrum all babies need. And, maybe even more miraculously, both babies would have received precisely what each needed according to their environment and anything they would have been exposed to. That is the beauty and miracle of mother’s milk.
As God designed, mothers instinctively pick up our child to nurse and sniff the tops of their head. When we do this, a chemical change takes place in our milk to address the specific needs of our child. This is a protection against sickness and disease in our environment; a defense for anything they are exposed to. As I ponder the beauty of God’s plan for nurturing, I can see a parallel with Mother Church and how God feeds us; His children by adoption.
Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. (Psalm 22:9)
How does Mother Church compare with a mother suckling her child? She knows her children and she knows their scent. She knows what they have been exposed to in the world and what harms them. Each of us needs those antibodies that would heal us of the dirt and grime of sin that makes our souls sick. Mother Church, at every Mass, is picking us up, smelling us, and feeding us at Her breast saying, ‘This is my body, take and eat’. She gives us the very heart of Her son and He knows us and heals wounds that are so deep, each of us differently according to whatever sin is making us sick. “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” This is the Mass. We are part of the Body, The Bride of Christ. We are His children and many of us are so very sick. Many are not thriving. Many no longer believe in the Eucharist and doubt His presence. Many have objectified the Mass as something to be had rather than the source and summit of our faith; of our lives. Women and their beauty in God’s design have been sadly objectified as well; their value lost amidst a morally corrupt world.
Four things happen when we feed our children. Nourishment, healing, contentment, and rest. These are also the very things that happen to us at the Mass. The Bride of Christ comes to the marriage feast with Her Groom. Heaven and Earth mystically come together and Christ in the Eucharist is conceived. The Bride then quite literally feeds us; brings healing, and we are content and at rest.
On the seventh day God rested. We are to remember this and keep it Holy. We keep it Holy by resting…resting in the Lord. Our prayers at Mass should take on the tone of love letters and our music that of a love sonnet, with soothing tones of a lullaby. The Mass is not a church service. The Mass is not a THING to be had, any more than a woman is a thing. The Mass is where Mother Church heals us and lets us rest in Her arms and we give thanks for that. As long as we don’t understand this simple truth, we will never be satisfied, never fed, never thrive. Let us come to the breast to be comforted, to be healed, to be of the same stuff, made into Christ’s likeness.
We are set apart from the world and we should look it. May we see women as the amazing, life-giving, nurturing, comforting being that she is, as God created her and may we see her as a dim reflection as we receive at the breast of Mother Church. God did not leave us orphaned. We have been adopted into the body of Christ.