Wisdom from three wise people
Something's nudging the back of my brain that these three gems go together, but I don't quite have that figured yet, watch this space, maybe, the next few days. They're just so good, though, I'll stick them up here now, and worry about the great synthesis later.
First, from Flannery O'Connor [the index card says I got this via Ut Unum Sint]:
Christ was crucified on earth and the Church is crucified by all of us, by her members most particularly, because she is a church of sinners. Christ never said that the Church would be operated in a sinless or intelligent way, but that it would not teach error. This does not mean that each and every priest won't teach error, but that the whole Church speaking through the Pope will not teach error in matters of faith. The Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn't walk on the water by himself. You are expecting his successors to walk on the water.
Second, from Venerable John Henry Newman in 1841:
....however great are the disorders of this present age, and though the unbelieving seek and find not, yet to the humble and lowly, the earnest-minded and pure in heart, the Lord God of Elijah still reveals Himself. The Presence of Christ is still among us, in spite of our many sins and the sins of our people.
Third, from Abraham Joshua Heschel:
A soul without regular prayer is a soul without a home. Weary, sobbing, the soul, after roaming through a world festering with aimlessness, falsehoods, and absurdities, seeks a moment in which to gather up its scattered life.....in which to call for help without being a coward. Such a home is prayer.