I was talking with one of my students the other day about the mystery of the Roman Church. Has it ever struck you that we have here an institution that is older than Imperial Rome, yet it survives and thrives into the 21st century?

Wow! There is no other political, cultural or religious organization that has stood the test of time like this. Kingdoms and Empires come and go. Political ideologies last a few decades then wither. Psychological, scientific and philosophical theories flourish, then perish. Artistic and musical fashions fade. Even Christian sects and heresies come and go. They eventually die out. Don’t worry. Even Islam (which is a Christian heresy) will eventually die out. Like the grass, they all pass.

The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, stands firm. This simple fact of history turns history upside down. The secularists love to imagine that the church is ancient and failing. It’s an old lady in a nursing home gasping for her last. Then the world’s youth turn up for an old pope’s funeral and they are confounded. Turns out the Church is a young gal like Therese of Lisieux–proclaiming the gospel with the vigor, humor and revolutionary radical-ness of a teenager!

Here’s a community that is ever ancient, but also ever young. As B16 has said, “The Church is alive! The Church is young!”

Doesn’t that just make you want to kick up your heels? It does me, because if the Church is ever ancient and ever young, no matter how ancient I feel, (and have you seen my picture on this blog?) it means I’m ever young too because the church is in me and I am in the Church!

Geesh! That makes me excited! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!