Saturday, July 27, 2013

Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens...

"Speak, O Lord, your servant listens..."

May every consolation remind me of the desolation needed to be endured so that I may share in the everlasting crown of all true consolations and rest securely in Him.

When we fail and falter in our good works through Him, again these words are to come: "Jesus, repair what I have done badly; supply for what I have left undone."

May we never depart from Him all the while going out to the Other in need and to those whom we are called to love more deeply. We are called out to the world, not because we are better but because He is greater than us. Love demands nothing short of everything.

Let love be not confined to the churches or the home but sent to every place in between. Let love be not hidden in veiled words or complex settings but found in the direct and the straightforward and simple. Let love be not esoteric but the answer to everything. Let love be the answer to every question and every quest. Let Love be the One to rule day. Let Love be. Oh, let Love be.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Catholic Beauty: Living as the Mystical Body of Christ

I recently had a family friend ask me why I was so drawn to the parish of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston and the Ordinariate's Anglican Use Mass of the Latin Rite. I have no specific ties to Anglicanism and am cradle Catholic. However, it is precisely because I am Catholic that I am drawn to all of it, most especially the families wrapped in Our Lady's mantle for it. It is said from medieval times that England was—and still is—Mary's Dowry. To be Catholic is to be drawn in with anything that has that authentic beauty. It is imperative that we seek out authentic beauty and nurture it. Beauty is a compelling thing, but beauty also is most especially a person: Christ with His Mass through the Eucharist, in its varied reverent forms, are a reflection of Him, as His angels and saints are, as are those who show virtue in this life and extol the same.

The beauty of the holy ones and the holy places make all of the counterfeit examples dross in the same brilliant dazzling light. It makes the Mass, the prayers, and the devotionals all the more attractive. It furthers the desire to emulate and be near those who are "very members incorporate" of His Mystical Body, the Church.

Certainly, if I do all the good works He has prepared for me to enter into and avoid those near occasions of sin for the even nearer occasions of grace and endless beauty, I will not prosper for my own glory but His. It is all His after all, even if I am given the smallest amount for my use.

How can I be burdened with worry about what others have then? I speak of this as a projection; I am not even near this slightest perfection. How can I be even worried in the slightest when another is entrusted with something of great beauty or is entrusted with a beautiful love of another? I cannot question the heart of a cheerful giver, most especially the most cheerful of all givers and Father of all givers, the Almighty Himself.

So I cannot question, but I can still behold the beauty. Is this not the definition of a Christian? To behold the Beauty of Christ in all His forms? Love demands to be given, and we must give even when we are weary. The Beloved needs it, and He does not delay in giving us the love we need as our daily bread.

May we see this beauty as the Beloved and seek out to be Lovers in the ways God is generously calling us to be in our day to day movements of grace to one another. Let us not shy away from this Cross we are to bear with Him. Amen.

O the depths of His Presence... and the distance.

"Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee for that thou dost feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ: and dost assure us thereby of thy favor and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs, through hope, of thy everlasting kingdom. And we humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen." - The Post-Communion Prayer in the Anglican Use Liturgy of the Latin Rite

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Presence of the Lord: "Ite Missa Est"

Oh, this Presence! What shall I say of this? This is more than a binding of flesh and blood. It is submission to the greater Mission. It is an outward sign of an inward reality of Love. There is more to this than can be seen by our own eyes.

To be privileged to be given the opportunity to bring the Presence and to not betray Him or His love... It truly is the better portion and is given as a undeserved gift without any reward but His glory. This is Love.

This Presence remains with us even after we leave the Mass. We are "sent forth" ("ite missa est") to bring such a gift, such a pure gift. We become the outward sign of the inward reality. But why? Why do we leave this behind so easily? Why do we forget to love more purely? If we truly loved the Other more than words can describe and want what is ultimately the best for them, why do we hide such a profound gift as though it is a blemish instead of a blush? Is it because we are afraid of that Love's power? It is not without trial and rejection. No, His very love was rejected far worse! Is it that you do not believe because of others' human failures? Do not do this! For have you not seen with your own eyes His divine success?

To love is to be vulnerable, as C.S. Lewis once said, and that love is without question a test in trust. What if the beloved does not love? Love anyways. Love anyways but love in far more inventive ways. If by their rejection out of foolishness it becomes a game of responses out of shrewdness in love, do not be unlike the old widow before the judge and persist in seeking a just judgement. If such an incompetent judge can, out of sheer personal relief, issue a just judgement, how greater is the One who judges justly in Heaven? Love anyways! There are so many little rejections that must take place to say YES to HIM.

Do not grow weary of the endurance required for this Love if it is to be a seal set upon your heart (cf. Song of Songs 8:6). Do not betray the deep consolations He has given you in times of peace during those storms of desolation and half truths. They are greater than the storms we must traverse.

Let us not be like the foolish virgin who on the way ran dry of her oil and snuffed out her lamp waiting on the Bridegroom to pass by. We have all that we need for the way. Remain in Him.

If one loves another deeply with the depths the Lord has uniquely provided each to persist against all sorts of trials that image His trials born because of His love for us (cf. 1 John 4:18-19), then let us as that one do all the good works that He has prepared for us to enter into (cf. Ephesians 2:10) and do so without mental reservation. His sacrifice lacks nothing but our very own participation in it. Let us not stray from our cross but daily carry it after Him.

May He be present to each us and thus through the Church He established for Himself and washed in the water of His word "to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless" (cf. Ephesians 5:27).

May His love reign supreme.

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
- Ephesians 5:21-33

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

This Is the Eucharist

I do not deserve this. He has placed all the choicest gifts before me, has given me more than I need, has showered me with His mercy. All that I see before me, I do not deserve. He has given me His very self. However, He has given me His very self not to hoard or hide but to share and celebrate. This is when I recall what I saw months ago at Mass during the Eucharist: a father with his son proceeding forward and, before reaching the priest, genuflected in such a way that it echoed what every good father does—He knelt with his children before the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. He offered his son as an unbloody sacrifice. He sacrificed through the sweat and tears of the toil and labor he had to do to provide for his son. And there he was offering it before Him in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. I am not worthy of this. And, yet, these things do not come to me in a whisper of temptation from some loftier goal; rather, this is the loftier goal for me from Him. He is to come under my roof. This is the discernment of spirits: there remains no unease or disquiet from each revisit to this moment, only peace, only holy rapture. He has given me another gem along the Way. I do not deserve this, but He gives it to me ever the same. He has given His Word, and my soul has been healed. This is the Eucharist.