Reading today’s Office I come across Rahab, the prostitute of Jericho at the time of the seige. The story tells that she hid the Hebrew spies reconnoitering the city and was promised deliverance. Origen (Father of the Church) comments: “[Jesus our Lord] will save only the woman who received his spies , that is, hie apostles, in faith and obedience, and hid them on the roof of her house; and he will join this harlot to the House of Israel. But let us not bring up her past sins again or impute them to her. She was a harlot once, but now she is joined to Christ, chaste virgin to one chaste husband. Listen to what the Apostle says of her: He has determined to present you to Christ as a chaste virgin to her one and only husband. Indeed, Paul himslef had been born of her: Misled by our folly and disbelief, he said, we too were once slaves to our passions and to pleasures of every kind
“If you wish to learn more fully about how this harlot ceased to be a harlot, then listen to Paul once again: And such were you also, but you have been cleansed and made holy in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. To assure her escape when Jericho was destroyed, the harlot was given that most effective symbol of salvation, the scarlet cord. For it is by the blood of Christ [Blogger: self-gift] that the entire Church is saved, in the same Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom belongs glory and dominioin for ever and ever. Amen.” (Office of Readings,Thursday 10th week of Ordinary Time, Origen, Homily on Joshua, 6, 4.).
It’s hard not to think of the Samaritan woman who has been living with 6 men, none her husband, and becomes a great apostle of Christ converting the town of Sichar by her testimony about Christ – with the degraded reputation that she had. The key to it was her radical sincerity about self to Christ: “I have no husband,” which put her in the state of grace. The transformation takes place in conscience.
Consider the final remarks of Angel Rodriguez Luño, Rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross , in his “Amoris laetitia: Pautas doctrinales para un discernimiento pastoral:”
“The above mentioned doctrinal aspects, which belong to the millennial teaching of the Church and many of them to the ordinary and universal Magisterium, should not stop priests from entering with an open spirit into a cordial dialogue of discernment [blogger: “discernment” of what? Ans. Conscience]. As pope Francis writes: we are trying “avoid the grave risk of mistaken messages as the idea that some priest can rapidly grant ‘exceptions,’ or that there are some persons who have sacramental privileges in exchange for favors. When one finds a responsible and prudent person who does not try to impose his or her desires above the common good of the Church, with a pastor who knows how to recognize the seriousness of the business that he has in his hands, one avoids the risk, one avoids the discernment that could lead one to think that the Church has a double standard.” On the contrary, knowing that the variety of particular circumstances is very great as well as their complexity, the doctrinal principles mentioned above should be of help in discerning the way to help the interested person to undertake the way of conversion [Blogger: to what? The gift of oneself, in conscience, before God]: which may lead him/her to a greater integration in the life of the Church, and when possible to the reception of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist“ (Blogger’s translation).
Rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross