Learning and seeing
In time, of course, they see that their parents are real human beings, with good qualities and also with flaws.
In time, they also see that their country and their Church are (and always have been) made up of real human beings, with good qualities and with flaws.
Some, when they see these things, become crippled by disillusionment. Many of them despair of seeking goodness and think only the worst of everyone.
Today’s first reading (Revelation 21:9b-14) begins with a vision of the Church as the beautiful bride of Christ: a truly wonderful image.
But this conception of Church is not the product of a childish faith not yet exposed to the weaknesses of faithful people. Indeed, the first chapters of the Book of Revelation make it clear that the writer is painfully aware of the imperfections of church people.
As I once heard a famous Scripture scholar say, the writer knew these imperfections very well and probably experienced many of them firsthand, yet with the eyes of faith he could still look at the Church and say that this was the beautiful bride of Christ.
That is not to say that the writer closed his eyes to problems in the Church. Indeed, the first chapters of the book were clearly directed at effecting change where these problems existed. Yet he never let go of the vision of faith: the glimpse of glory that helped him continue his work, even in the most difficult of times and circumstances.
May God give us this same grace: that we may always see the Church with the glorious eyes of faith even as we see and work to heal the flaws within her by the power of her Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ.