Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vocation: Moving from Despair into Mercy

Coming to dwell upon a momentary despair, one of the minor ones that precipitate a temptation to fall into a selfish burst, a moment turned inward—the following comes to mind, as though inspiration breathed in and a cool answer to a heated breath of dismay:

If one is tempted to self or unpurposed love of self, make an act of love in opposite, a small sacrifice of love—a prayer, a thought, a physical act (if possible) according to the state in life and relation, especially for those in the budding of vocation. Make it a point to cut against the grain, to rouse the senses to cooperation under the same mission as the intellect that ascends to and accepts in word a faith towards such a state, that begins in proto-form the desire to say "I do" or be consecrated towards the Kingdom at hand but needs a small act or, if you will, "a kiss to build a dream on." Make an act of love in this direction and in such a concrete way, even if the Beloved sees not. Do this, and you will have placed a brick upon the structure, the abode of love that you are building for the Other. Brick by brick, even if the Beloved does not accept such a gift, builds the home in which the Father bestows and desires each to dwell within. It is then a structure, an abode of love. Festooned with the flowers that burst into bloom and then fade as youth does, this abode will not later fade. Rather, it will be strengthened by each sweet act of charity. The investment being made will then pay dividends, not for oneself alone but—as one holding everything in common—for the community of believers. In this end, that immutable crown of glory will be yours and, with it, a Communion given by the One who has given it all, even His dearly beloved Son.

This is why it is right to say: "Conversion is where obedience turns into love."

So it is in pursuit, in the Courtship of the Daughter of the King... So must a "yes" be in preparation, for love requires a soil prepared in due time if the fruits of love are to be those that remain. Without Him, we can do nothing.

"And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way." - John 14:3-4
These words strike me... they hold me in a great peace. What has He prepared? Much! And yet Thomas questions. It is enough to be with Him along the Way, peaceful with the great good given each in their own way. This is gratitude.

I am reminded of last Sunday morning, in preparation for Mass and entering into and serving in the Mass. Looking beyond my place towards the Altar—and this among other reasons is why I love 8 AM Mass so much—the light pierced through the east-facing windows before me with its light resting upon the chalice and purificator spent. It was for me, a profound and yet sublime example of love. It was love in the hidden—in the invisible made visible. That is what the Blessed Sacrament is. It is love spent for the good of the people, multiplied, and distributed. It is the wedding banquet, and my heart was glad.

It is in these moments I find great solace and remembrance of His love, "for his mercy endures forever." Not only this, I remember those whom I am so bound in prayer and affection that tears of joy are recalled. I pray even now not out of a desire of being seen—this is the warning of Christ about the locked room of prayer—but out of deep reverence for the love He has placed for me that I am called to give in turn in specific, tender ways. These are like wounds that are opened and then re-heal, only to open again. This is the nature of compassion and of self-gift and love.

It is an honor to serve in lectoring at Mass, especially regarding last Sunday's reading and the rejoinder by St. Peter to be like "living stones." The greater gift received is the mere opportunity to see the work of God at work in us and through us that the light shines through and shows through the darkness of our own hearts His marvelous love. Namely, it is itself the receiving of Him in the Eucharist. There can be no greater, no further complete union of God and Man other than on Judgement Day. We must avail of it often and never grow weary to our need for conversion before approaching. Yet, through it all, we remember that "his mercy endures forever."


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