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

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