Sunday, April 05, 2015

Rejoice! Alleluia! Rejoice!

Every Easter Vigil is different because of the indelible mark left by those who have entered the Church, renewing Her like the waters of life-giving Baptism. It is also the same year after year because Christ is the same year after year—tearing asunder the veil of darkness and death, uniting hearts under His banner, renewing His Bride for service and love in this world. Such is the beauty of Christ—we see it in the face of the newly Baptized believer or the one who has returned to the font of every blessing... It is Christ who has risen from the dead, and it is He who continues His work through us!

It is a welcoming, a blessing, and ultimately an espousal that culminates in a wedding feast of God and His Church—of Heaven and earth. Happy Easter!

Beauty shines forth in the darkness...

"The God of gods, the LORD,
has spoken and summoned the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.

From Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.

Our God comes and will not be silent!
Devouring fire precedes him,
it rages strongly around him.

He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth to judge his people:

“Gather my loyal ones to me,
those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for God himself is the judge...

“...Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me;
I will let him whose way is steadfast
look upon the salvation of God.”"
- Psalm 50:1-6, 23

May He be ever praised!

St. Mary's Catholic Church, College Station, TX, Easter Vigil Mass, March 30, 2013. Photo by Ed Rhodes.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Contemplating Love

There must first be a dedication to profound and deep reflection and, thus, prayer before a contemplation of love may occur and even be possible. For in this time of love, we must be ready to go without, not particularly for our sake but for the sake of the Other.

Love is not always a close communion; often it is a waiting upon the Other and their return. We know not when nor how but for the reality of the return of Love. It has been promised, and He will do it.

On this day, we must first be dedicated not to one but to all, to the service of the Other. It may not produce the romantic feelings of cards or letters, but it is a profound reality of love. We must give of ourselves in totality exactly because that totality has been given to us. We must love because He first loved us.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Serving in the Divine Light

"Your word, O Lord, is truth: consecrate us in the truth." - John 17:17b,17a

Are there not days we wonder, "Does the Lord trust me too much?" Well, can He trust too much? No, for with trust, there is grace, and with grace there is much mercy, and with mercy there is much love—with much love, there truth rests.

Monday had startled me, immediately being thrust into an ongoing anxiety. Yet, it is the Lord who trusts imperfect instruments that we are. We can desire to delve deeper, to write more, and to share more, putting to paper with broad strokes of the pen the welling, the throbbing of our hearts. Within these lofty reflections, by God's grace, dwell His love and thus His truth. Yet, we are broken instruments, or, at least, flawed ones. Still, love must win out. We have been told this—no, SHOWN it!

Yes, it is so. He has shown it. Love has shown the Way. What other desirous act or thought should supplant it or surpass it? What human endeavor would increase the worth of life or existence if it was not first imbued with such grace? And these words today, "Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!" What searing words! We must let these words sink into our depths. It is not a competition with the Other. No, we are in competition in service to the Other!

We are a people called to service, to thinking of others more deserving the honor, the glory, the joy. Yet, He does fill our hearts with great joy, if we but let Him in.

We must let this golden light stream in each day, especially at the close. With our hearts open to this light, how can we not ourselves radiate this same joy to and for others? We are called to do it, and He himself has done it. He has promised it, if we but enter faithfully into this work.

Tuesday began a series of deepening introspection which gave even greater depth to this continuing gift of prayer and presence of the Beloved. He still trusts though imperfection. Through this imperfect response of ours, He trusts. This he does in a manifold series of ways, some more perceptible to our human eye or ear and others more sublimely.

One for me, as of late, are the dreamlike notes of the second movement of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto. They continue to resonate with me like a dream and, yet, here I am. It is no dream.

Like the Impressionist pieces by Claude Monet, such as the one above, Towing a Boat, Honfleur (1864), things focus at a distance and lose clarity up close. It is the paradox of the long distance view of joy. Pain seeps in as though points and sharp strokes of paint, yet the joyous picture is completed at a harmonious distance.

That is what I dwell upon recalling this week and the amber-lit evenings, as the sun drenched the church in those beautifully warm hues. I could not leave the place where I first beheld the beauty of the week nor the reminder of the Beloved as evening fell each day before the Presence of the Lord.

It felt as though the sunset of Creation, that dusk to darkness before the next day, the Renewal of our hearts before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. As every sunset shines, whether painted or seen, it shines back to the deathless sunset of the One who is our Light. We are called to reflect it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Epiphany: "Your Heart Shall Throb and Overflow..."

"Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow..."
- Isaiah 60:5a

My mind recalls that piercing glance of the young families this last week. They were all about in my travels; their presence was at once a blessing and—if turned inward—a blow against my own thought of timing and gift, as though there is no gift for me to give this Epiphany. And, yet, this was all very well enough for the Lord of me. And, yet, these words come through that time...

Oh, how my heart overflows, deep within what the Lord prepares. Where the passing material value is placed under the subject of the spiritual and every glance becomes a sign of love. This happens every day in the family... every day! ...And yet we miss it as clear as the sun at Noon.

In the family, we forgive passing blows and stored grievances... why? Because the value isn't in the passing... it is in the girded strength of the Eternal that gives the family its worth. No, it's not blood or water that is the end but the Spirit of the one who dwells in each of us to empower us to be ones who say "Yes" as Mary continues to say "Yes."

Simeon foretold the sword that should pierce her heart, and yet we think the road to family life is to be peaceful. It was not peaceful for the Holy Family! Yet they had peace.

We think that family life should be perfect and without any messes. It wasn't pristine for the Holy Family! Yet they had perfection.

We think that family life should be without trial. It was not so for the Holy Family. Yet they had joy and love, and peace. Why? Because of the Christ Child. Even when He could not speak, He spoke. Even when we cannot speak now, we speak by our own presence. Let us not delay our presence for one another but be materially and spiritually present to one another, for the sake of the Other and in the example of the One that did it all for love of His Holy Family.

"Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD."
- Isaiah 60:5-6