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Here’s a prime example of how to present truth through invitation


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Fr. Alex Kirby Lancon - published on 04/17/23

A recent letter on human sexuality published by the Nordic Bishops’ Conference displays well the great mystery of Church as mother.

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is grand. To children it might as well be another world. 

I remember one example of a young boy lost in its beauty. He danced, wobbled around, and marveled at the endless space. Yet in his freedom, he would sometimes stop, look back at his mom, and then continue as he was. Mom was there watching and guiding. All was in order as long as he stayed close. 

The same can be said of the Church as mother. A recent letter on human sexuality published by the Nordic Bishops’ Conference displays this great mystery well. 

Holy Mother Church specializes in getting people to heaven and does this by offering the truth which sets free. She did not create this truth. She received it. She did not ask for this mission. It was given to her. This is her task, and it’s all God’s doing. “We were not ordained to preach little notions of our own,” the Nordic bishops state. They clearly understand their mission too.  

In an environment of “much confusion, much anguish,” the bishops instead offer hope and freedom. They offer the Gospel to their spiritual children. It is well worth the read and here’s why. 

Why the letter matters to everyone

Human sexuality is a reality that grips everyone. It’s in our bones, literally. Everyone that ever was or ever will be relates with the world through a body. Imagine trying to express yourself — your joy, suffering, or even boredom — without your body. It cannot be done. We are not angels. 

Our bodies are not a uniform to be put on and off but a gift to be given in love. It is your gift; it is my gift. We are our bodies, and it cannot be otherwise. “The yearning for love and the search for sexual wholeness touch human beings intimately,” the letter says. No one is exempt from this great, sometimes burdensome gift. We are all sexual beings. Yet that is not all we are. 

The world reduces people to their most wounded parts. The body and its sexual nature are easy targets. But the letter offers nothing less than the fullness of God’s great gift, namely “the unity of mind, soul, and body” that is “made to last forever.” This is the destiny of every person on the planet. 

What the letter gets right

Firstly, the Nordic bishops show authentic mercy, not just pity or false charity. What plagues their spiritual children is well-noted: “In all of us there are elements of chaos that need to be ordered.” Yet the remedy is equally noted. “Christ’s call and promise” is nothing if it does not answer every last desire of the human heart. Wounds to Jesus are “sources for healing.”

Secondly, the letter is a prime example of how to present the truth through invitation, not force. Would you rather hide your best friends or share them with anyone willing to listen? By “friendly counsel” the Nordic bishops do the latter. They introduce the world to the best of friends — Jesus Christ — with step-by-step instructions. The door is open wide, and it leads to the Lord.

Like Mother like Son 

The child in our example was free to be truly himself because he was rooted in where he came from. By releasing the letter on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the day Mary was given her mission as mother, the Nordic bishops make a bold statement.The letter offers “deep roots” in the bosom of Mother Church in hopes that souls will be led to Christ through it. In their words, “we would let you down if we offered less.” 

See more on the letter below:

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