Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sweet Melancholy

O melancholy, sweet and bitter friend,
why have you returned again?

Speak, speak again, O dear friend...
What does it take for love's quiver
to be taken again from me?

What does it take for love's sad state to be neutralized again?
I have no need of love's arrows; they have hit their mark.
I have been hit in the heart.

Love's sad state is a blessing and a curse, but this way isn't meant to be.
Its purpose and goal must center itself on the Sacrifice.
It must be Love that it always sees.

O melancholy, sweet and bitter friend,
show me the Christ child... and your sweet and bitter end.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Archetypes and Models of Sexual Differences

The need for the Marian and Christ archetypes in modern times is ever the more present. It wouldn't be purely out of the sheer sociological necessity rationalized away by Joseph Campbell in his seminal work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, but there is a ring of truth in that purview into the human consciousness no matter the society or time.

The schools of thought as to how to explain the truth found in such works stretches back as far as the arguments of how to explain Faith either from a purely spiritual, religious standpoint to the notion that science can explain Faith away in a purely empirical way. This debate results in the classic chicken and the egg conundrum. What matters, however, is that such a correlation can be made and be accepted for what it is.

So the need is present for both Christ-like and Marian persons in our everyday life because they are underlying models for masculinity and femininity. What modern thought and design has gotten wrong in this arena is to assume that this is somehow "typecasting" the players on the stage, so to speak. I daresay, it would be dangerous to otherwise not assume these roles!

The hyper-roles of either masculine or feminine models and the perversions within, bespeak to the danger of Man to take either the testosterone-packed or estrogen-soaked emotional roller coaster of living by hormones alone, as if they were both merely just animals and not rational animals. Both are prominently present in modern day as any quick view of the cable lineup or a simple Internet search can testify. Both can be intermingled between the sexes and assigned to either at seemingly sheer will by the social scientist. This is the underlying mistake of living by and acting through hormones alone: no act of will exists and certainly no rationality to it whatsoever.

This then all leads to the response that is begged in light of the present-day situation. The framework on how to respond for such situations where hormones and biological tendencies cut one way and the prevailing social winds cut the other can very well leave a person stranded without any paddle, wind for the sails, or compass to guide. In short, the framework is no framework at all except to base itself off the fact that there is no structure to a response. The actors act simply because of sheer observations of their actions and declaration that this is indeed the new "normal," whatever that might mean to the observer upon circumspection.

In light of this new "normal," however, the archetypes come in to play for good to unsnarl the precarious mess before the precipice of so-called progress. If one knew and understood that "monomythic" truth to not be simply an observation of the societal underpinning but an overarching design, how would the approach to the given roles change? Would you question the reasons as to why such promptings and cultural refrains repeat without ceasing? Could it very well be that such prompts of the will are, dare we say in poetic form, written on the hearts of all? And, of course, the answer is an emphatic and strong yes.

With the two archetypes in place, the vocations are brought into focus and made clearer. The clarity that results lasers in the sight of both male and female to the beauty of the other and catapults the other into that image of the Divine, which is Love. Love, not out of our incompatibility or sheer difference, exists and even thrives in the sameness that can be found in an equality that does not equate the notion of equality of the physiological with the equality of freedom and God-given dignity before all. One exists to help the other, not to dominate the other. "Love conquers all" does not mean it dominates. Rather, Love allows the other to coexist even when the Lover consumes the Beloved. The Other does not cease to exist in the union of love, but rather it lives in union or completion of that end love. That is why martial love begs for a consummation—or, in other words, a completion. The union, and therefore the two sexes, are incomplete without it.

All of this funnels into the reality of the two models of Christ as the New Adam and Mary as the New Eve and the necessity of both. For if the two sexes are incomplete without total and complete union, then how will the imperfect union of Love ever suffice the Eternal? How does Love conquer death? Given such a model in Jesus and Mary, it does.

Both exist in the supernatural sense to help point the natural inclinations to the Eternal and to relate from the Eternal to the temporal. If we take their models into our everyday existence and experience, then when we do we naturally rise to lofty heights of both esteem and understanding that is the reality of the Eternal. Christ as the natural and perfect Bridegroom and Mary as the first member of Church, which is the Bride of Christ, shines the way to the Eternal and to the fulfillment of life itself, whether in marriage or in religious life.

Thus, in this present reality, the vocational "crisis" is made clear. It is not that we do not have enough priests, enough religious, or even enough faithful marriages that we must resort to some how "redefine" their definitions or somehow erase the original image of their definitions. It is that we do not have enough Christ-like or Marian examples living out their God-given natures fearlessly today.

We, too, can dare to live faithfully, fruitfully, fearlessly, and freely as New Adams and New Eves if we only accept that call. It is a call into the Darkness, but the Call still remains.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Love Is... And What It Is Not...

Love is not happiness. Love is joy.

Joy has an interesting quality to it. It doesn't just have a simple relational aspect, like emotions such as happiness. Joy lives outside of both the emotional and rational spheres. It speaks to heart and head simply because it can. It speaks because true joy has Hope wrapped in it. Yet, "Hope that sees is not hope at all," so, it must also has Faith contained therein. Even more, if Faith has not works—works of charity—then Faith is dead. Therefore, too, Joy has Love, True Love contained therein.

However, the interesting thing about Love is that it requires the depths of sacrifice and self-giving with purpose. It must have an ordered purpose, or else it flies off the tracks of life into ruin. It becomes a fiery chariot racing towards the Sun, only to make its fiery crash to the depths of the earth, a fiery demise. This demise is seen everyday as "normal" and acceptable. Nothing could be further from the Truth.

If there is anything that I can learn from this experience of witnessing fiery demises on a personal level, of being a product of a fiery demise, I would stress the need for authenticity of hearts. I pray for those entering the marital arena. How much do we need the Domestic Church!

And what about Marriage? Why should we be worried on how we define it?

Because our very existence as a People depend on it. We do not exist without it.

Love does not seek quick fixes, does not quit at the first at bat, does not throw in the towel when it gets uncomfortable. Love does not fail the Other. Authentic Love requires a vow. It cannot exist outside a vow. It must subsist in a vow because, without it, love is merely a shadow of its meaning. It is icing without the cake.

This is what is strange about our society today, from our secular to church society. It demands all these things: quick fixes, no-fault verdicts, dissoluble definitions, dissoluble unions, dissoluble meanings of what a vow is. It is not quick fix. Love is not a quick fix.

Love is not merely a promise, and therefore marriage is not just a promise. It is a lifetime choice. A vow gives the love its permanence, its value as a currency. "I love you until death do us part," has a lot more permanence than "I love you until I no longer feel love for you." That, my friends, is crackle of Confederate money, a false currency. It cannot subsist on itself. It dies a ignoble death in the dark, cold and alone. Love does not burn out. It sets the world afire.

The difference between a vow and a promise is just that, promises are made to broken. Vows, on the other hand, cannot. They are the bonds, the marks of the One who gives breath to us all. We cannot escape our vows when the going gets rough. We cannot escape True Love.

Why then do priests who are given strong crosses to bear become Black Sheep Dogs or abusive priests muddy the waters of the Priesthood? Why do men and women forsake their avowed Vocations? Why do husbands cheat on their wives? Because they know not the depth of the vows to which they previously assented to. They do not mean the Yes that they spoke at the Beginning.

We are told by Christ: "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything more is from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37) "Anything more" is what we have today. It is not love; it is an excuse for love.

It's saddening, but it is not the final answer. It is not the end.

The Domestic Church and the Priesthood both require a sacrifice that the World today doesn't recognize. The World would rather redefine both to a temporary nature, ones that live on whims. Whims do not last; they have no continence. They die.

True Love never dies.

Both marriage and the priesthood require sacrifice. Both require the Other in inseparable ways, one for the Witness of earthly union and the other of Divine. Neither can be divorced from the other. Both require True Love. Both require the Cross.

That is the meaning of "I do."

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Reflection on the Eternal

Something caught my attention one Sunday morning at Mass, and I found myself seeing a little more into a moment, as I am wont to do. My sightline during the consecration passed through two friends praying together as a couple. And I cannot stress how significant I say "as a couple."

As the Mass is the representation of His Sacrifice at Calvary, I have seen before St. John and the Blessed Mother at the Cross before as in a historical flash of vision. However, here, I had seen something unique to this graced view to extrapolate it to something equally relevant: to seeing it in our times. All of this, as though it is dramatizing the Word given to us and giving us a dramatization of Gospel through the representation of the Mass.

As I mentioned, "as a couple" for me brings a significance to this grace I was given to see. For in this grace, they were an unwitting witness to hope. And, though they might not have understood the personal significance of this to me, my gratitude for this moment is present even until now.

Furthermore, the scene even now speaks of something greater being intertwined in a synergy I cannot even fathom to fully describe on earth. Yet, this has a great significance, because even as the priest is in persona Christi, we are inasmuch "in persona" to others as well, and this is certainly very good.

Indeed, we can say "Lord, it is very good to be here"... and say we ought to set a tent here and never leave. Yet, we do leave... not out of lack of love but because of an even deeper love! And again, I rest on those words "as a couple" because it is important to see it not as a degradation of a better gift, but a unique one in itself to reflect His love "in persona" in other, but no less valuable, ways—through, with and in His Sacred Heart.

That grace given me is, in part, a prayer for both of them on their journey ahead. I pray that His grace remains present ahead, even in the struggle as much as the strength of building together a new life as one.

As iron sharpens iron, I pray for unceasingly for the blessed race ahead. It makes an unspoken "Yes" more present through a witness that is a reflection of the Eternal. Deo gratias.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

L'Angelus: Lac Bijou

I am wholly convinced if the world listened to and lived by this song, all of the world's problems would melt away. Then again, I am quite possibly a perennial optimist... or a melancholic who is a lazy perfectionist, a morning person if it weren't for morning. You see, since this song is, by definition, in music form I, a lazy perfectionist, would strive to put it simply to words alone, and still I would be up until morning (coffee-fueled jitters an all) trying to place each musical movement to words. Yet, this is the beauty of music... it means another whole world from one person to the next. It is the universal language.

And the strange thing is... I still try.

L'Angelus - Lac Bijou

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rush Upon Me

O distant dream, O rushing current,
Spirit of the Lord rush upon me...
That each of us do see the gifts given,
The Love in opening our eyes to see
The Vocation given to each of us to be.

We shared a dance or two that night before
With music of angels, of joy, of life below...
Awakening our hearts a joy from before,
Opening our hearts to wisdom, to joy, to love bestowed.

O distant dream, O rushing current,
Spirit of the Lord, rush upon me...
Let me see the Vocation to be given to me.
Spirit of the Lord, rush upon me.

Give me the strength to be;
Give me the strength I need.
Spirit of the Lord, rush upon me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Easter Joy

At every step He has given, to each of us a gift, a passion to share. We need only to uncover it, discover it, and recover what has been given to each of us. It is love, it is love, my dear friend, it is love. Indeed, we are an Easter people, one without fear if we do not take it to be. And how do we at times take it to be only darkness! It is not!

How then are we to care? If not with passion after the Sacred Heart of Jesus? He has risen! He has risen—for us He has risen! It is Easter morn, and all is as it should be! Find him on the Roadside, the Inn, the one in your midst! He is there among your brothers and sisters. He is there!

The Son has broached the Horizon; He has met the horizontal with the vertical. The Eternal He has given us. He has crossed the chasm we as a People have caused between God and Man. What joy, the Cross, the Holy Cross of Christ! The fault so happy as to result in receiving such a sweet Saviour as He! What cannot then impassion us with true love!

I implore you, dear friend, now is the time to let Love reign! He is King, King forever! True Love has come to reign, in hearts and homes. He has come to reign. What sweet words to come off of a pair of weary lips: "He has come; He has risen!"

Let us rejoice with the Angels and the Saints this day. He has risen!

Happy Easter!