Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Banner of Love

There is great profundity in this thought: one's life is either spent day by day commiserating that it was another day lost OR another day growing towards one's Beloved—another day closer to being with one's Beloved.

Framing everything in this orientation leaves with it a perfume of profound grace, whether one is buried beneath the weightier concerns or rising above the fray to see the day of Communion, of Love, of Eternal Life. It is all work towards that daily wage; we must only realize we are on the Way.

Every desire must see this telos, and every movement of the heart towards the Other must have the Giver of all good gifts in mind and first beneath the Banner of Love. The quickest route is not the Banner of Success but rather the Banner of Love, which is where faithfulness and compassion reside.

One of the hardest things to avoid is that of envy, for at its heart is bitterness—the pride of being left out. Bitterness itself is the result of unripened fruit. It is fruit without the proper timing of maturation, of the rains and seasons in due time to produce the sweetness in life desired by all. This is why it is said, "one sows and another reaps" (cf. John 4:37).

It is also a process. Comparison of self can be a process of improvement—but never is this done by oneself alone. We are social beings. We are called to Communion. When one part suffers, all suffer. When one part rejoices, all rejoice. When one is exalted, all are exalted.

Let us rejoice with those in joy and endure with those who are suffering, so that all in the end, by God's good grace, may be exalted "for His mercy endures forever" (cf. Psalm 136).

"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." - Song of Songs 2:4

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Resounding Note

Saturday was like peering deep into a wishing well and faintly seeing a reflection of the future despite the ripples of distortion. I found much to be comforted with, much to be concerned with, but all to be overjoyed with as timing, even for that day, was exactly to the point and circumscribed within God's blessed design. There were little hints everywhere; if we but only search for these joyful notes in spite of the cacophony surrounding, we would find our dwelling place secure.

I feel somewhat exiled from a past mixed with a delayed longing for a complex future, a restructured bond that hasn't quite reset. Some is but a deep nostalgia misplaced. However, so much remains fluid and in flux, except my desire to return in earnest and concerted steps through faith.The city of my birth, the city I returned to, is not whitewashed or even clean. It has its bruises, its diversions, and its divisions, but it is found lived in and experienced. Even so, there was cause for great joy that day: weddings! Weddings can be messy affairs, the mixing of two parts not quite similar. In the case of the one I stumbled across at the Cathedral played to the contrasts of the City... Outside the Cathedral in front of Jackson Square, there was a woman playing a full-size piano moved into the midst of the fortune tellers at the steps of the Cathedral. The other side of the Cathedral contrasted greatly with a parade for St. Patrick's Day with much useless noise that overpowered much in the Square, from the people streaming in for the wedding, to the more subtle sights and sounds... but for a moment all melted away and the silence of her piece amid the hustle and bustle of a tourist-filled space was all that could be heard... Much like prayer in a tempest. Like a decisive stroke of a master artist's brush completing a masterpiece, this flashed before me in silhouette.

Communication doesn't win by being the loudest but, rather, by being the most heartfelt, the most direct. All the garishness passes away at once, and one sees clearly the outline of a city and of the soul itself. Let us not forget to nourish our souls through earnest prayer and moments of silence throughout the day to mark the gifts and the struggles the Lord gives us to complete through Him.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Imperfect Instruments of Love

One does not know fully how God will use you each day. Be ready for surprises; be ready to also give in kind surprises! These are both gifts of love if done with genuine hearts of devotion.

It has often been said to dress not for the job that you have but for the job you wish to obtain. So, too, we should not live only the state of life we have at present but, if we are able and ought, the state of which one wishes to obtain. We are to strive for that which is admirable and attainable through the grace. That is the grace with which the Virgin sought to obtain that state in life that she had wished upon and pondered, her Fiat. It was not that she obtained that new state of importance for herself or a state which she could announce her Fiat without question or trouble, but rather she made her Fiat and thus obtained that state. She lived the life she wished to obtain for the greater glory of God.

So too must we live out our Fiat.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Proclaiming the Word

In recalling the latest issues of communicating during these times of upheaval and questioning of morals and faith, face-to-face social interaction trumps online/social media interaction because it stings less when it is off-key. The bad word slips away never to be returned whence it came; it is still contained within the circle of speech surrounding the speaker. It may be carried again and again, yes, but as for the online world's interaction and its transmission... it is a wildfire without a firebreak, an echo chamber without dampeners, a cacophony in darkness, a canary in a coal mine.

Still, we are called to proclaim into the darkness to proclaim anew, "I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

These verses follow the other, and they should not be seen as disjointed or separate. They are in the same breath, and we shouldn't forget it:
"'This I command you: love one another.
If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.'" - John 17:17-18

We must still act with charity in our comments in person or online, but true charity never ignores the truth. No, it embraces truth with gusto and looks for the excuse of the other as ignorance of it. Then armed with no other weapon than the evidence before God and man, the one with true charity goes to meet the person where they are in fraternal correction and prays twice as long for him and his brother and the conversion of himself and his brother, for his brother is not the world but is in it.

"Have mercy on us, O Lord...
For we have sinned against you.

Show us, O Lord, your mercy....
And grant us your salvation."

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:5

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Three Roses

There are three roses in a vase, not a dozen.
Why not a dozen?
Should that somehow show how much greater is my love?
No! For the amount of my love is not shown in the number
but in something much deeper, much more real.

These three roses are a singularity.
They do not show the vast numbers of the others in vases elsewhere
or others in vases elsewhere for others.
The are themselves gifts and enough in themselves.

Not only all this, but the roses are only themselves a symbol of a gift
I could not create alone or simply from love of you.
No, so much more, they are a gift of Him Who Is to us both
and of the love that is Him.

They are signs of our children and His gift of Him.
They are but a gift—Pure Gift—of Him.

Dedicated to the memory of marriages damaged through the pains and difficulties of divorce and to the children of those bonds, February 16, 2014.