Saturday, October 27, 2012

Year...Of...Faith...A...Challenge

I have returned from my wanderings and hope my wonder-rings will continue. I have left behind, but carry in precious memory, the wonder-full sights. The sights and sounds of the fountains created by spouting of whales. Those awe-full, mystery filled moments, as I was privileged to walk among the redwood giants. To be almost overwhelmed with the crackling silence that is part and parcel of that experience. How great it is to be able to be immersed in the rain forests, and be caught up in the hidden mysteries their existence communicates. Then there is the symphonic sounds of the surf. There is the gentle adagio of lapping waves which lulls one to sleep. Then there is the majestic, thundering sounds of the angry, crashing surf. Two sides of the same reality. As with nature, so it is with you and I. Reminds one of what it means to be a spiritual being having a spiritual experience. The more we are drawn to the reverence of nature, the more we drawn into an ever deepening reverence for life as we are privileged to live it. We will no longer find ourselves just existing, but having life and "having it to the fullest". So spoke The God-Man, Jesus Christ. In this way, we are entering the life our God has intended us to live, as revealed by His Beloved Son. I have returned to the familiar, yet mysterious desert landscapes. As I return, I find myself more open to their uniqueness, and the new lessons to be learned. Are we ever too old to drawn into mystery? I am now more ready to be taught new lessons in a place which is so ancient and so new. As I hike ancient trails, both here and away from Arizona, I get caught up in a wondering that goes as follows. Who was the first to blaze this particular trail? Was it man, or was an animal? So many of the highways and byways we travel were first travelled by animals. Humans came and followed the trail they had worn from their everyday, and every season wanderings. Did they realize that what was common, and so ordinary for them, was a beginning of something that would have lasting effects. Many of those trails which were so common are now ways that allow thousands upon thousands, to experience places of great awe, and deep wonder. Most of those who have gone before, The Ancients, The First People, remain largely unknown, and so many, are long forgotten. The results of their labors nourish us, as they have nourished all those who followed them. We are the beneficiaries of their efforts and sacrifices. This is, ever and always, the story of all of creation, and in particular, the human race. Into this story has entered The Divine God, and so we now view all history as salvation history. A history story that is "ever ancient and ever new". A story that tells of, the easy it was, the way it is, and the excitement of looking forward to the future with greater hope for ourselves and for all of creation. Not just have humanity, but for all creation. This will only happen on the condition that we are always having our lenses of faith adjusted, so we are able to see The Real, God, The Divinity, revealed in all that is. You and are being asked, no, not asked, challenged, to enter “The Year of Faith” so as to rediscover the hidden beauty, and the rich meanings that are hidden from ordinary sight. We are asked to enter that which is "ever ancient and ever new" so as to find the trigger that will release a torrent of good news. This torrent good news will of itself trigger a new evangelization. A new outpouring of good, revitalizing, revivifying news which will bring new hope and confer deeper meaning to our wounded, and troubled world. We are the inhabitants of world that has lost its sense of the sacred, and its reverence for mystery. We constantly hear the prophets of doom preach their self originating message of hopelessness, and helplessness. To counteract theses efforts we are, not only this year but always, to deepen our sense of the sacredness of all that is. The seen and the unseen has The Creator as their source of being. (Hence, their sacredness.) We are being challenged to sharpen our lenses so the presence of mystery becomes more and more part of all that we do, and are. Where you stand is ALWAYS a holy place. Our ancestors in faith were deeply aware of the presence of the sacred in all of the so called "ordinary' people, places, and actions, of their day. In the deepest sense they were a sacramental people. That is sacrament with a small "s". I like to think that sacrament with a small "s"; Is each and every person, place, event, action that brings us closer to the realities of life, and ultimately to Reality Itself. That Reality is called God. I have always treasured the following prayer of St. Augustine. I hope you will find it to be a direction prayer for this Year of Faith. I read it first back in 1957, just after entering the seminary. "Late have I loved Thee, O beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you. For behold You were within me, and I was outside; and I sought you outside in my ugliness fell upon those lovely things You made. You were with me but I was not with You. I was kept from you by those things….You called out and cried to me and broke upon my deafness, and sent forth Your light and shone upon me and chased away my blindness….I tasted You and now I hunger for You and thirst for You; You touched, and I burned for Your peace. "As it was with St. Augustine so it has been with so many over the centuries, and is true in our world today. Augustine had St. Monica for his journey. We are all called to be beacons of light, bearers of good news. We are asked to respond to the Pope as he encourages us, "to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ”. (Porta Fidei)