Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pope Benedict XVI said, “The Scriptures can only be interpreted through the lives of the saints.”

There is a profound mystery here. The Scriptures are somehow fulfilled and brought to life through the whole communion of saints’ lives.

In the Old Testament stories of men finding their brides there is the hint of the bride-bridegroom symbolism. Then the OT prophets declare that God himself will be the bridegroom of his people Israel. Then Jesus speak repeatedly in parables about the bride and the bridegroom and speaks about the virgin bride being ready for the arrival of the bridegroom and he refers to himself repeatedly as the bridegroom. The liturgy for the day of resurrection refers back to the psalms and pictures the Lord rising from the tomb being like the sun which is like a “bridegroom emerging from his chamber.”

Then Saint Paul refers to the church as “the bride of Christ” and says the Church “is presented one day to the Lord as a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, as a bride adorned for her husband” Then in the Book of Revelation the life of heaven is likened to the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” In heaven the bride, the Church is at last one with the bridegroom in the consummation of the feast.

This is therefore why the Church honors female virgins as she does: because they picture the whole Church as the bride of Christ. They indicate a present and future reality and the reality that applies to each one of us as individuals and to the whole Church: that we are called to be finally made pure and spotless and ready for the bridegroom.

How can this be when so many of us are so wrapped up in sin, anger, violence and weakness?

This is the mysterious miracle: that through the working of grace and our cooperation with grace we are actually called to achieve this perfection. The destiny of each one of us is to be finally purified and made just as pure and clean and sparkling again as the virgin saints were in their mortal lives.

By being who they are they show us what we shall be.