Sunday, June 24, 2012
Usually I write and then come up with a heading. Well this week it is different. The heading came to me first and now I have a blog to write! Between Saturday and Sunday I celebrated five masses. There was a memorial mass Saturday morning. At the beginning of the evening mass we had the first anointing of the Sacrament of Baptism. Reminding us that we are all called to be the continuation of the revelation of our Father-God. In that Sacrament we are consecrated, made holy, to reveal the very Holiness of God. We are chosen, blessed, set apart so we can continue the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. He Who is, the fullness of the revelation of God, has chosen each one of us to continue the revelation of Mystery. In order for this to happen, we each have been gifted with a unique part of The Mysterious Presence. This unique part of the Infinite has been chosen for us from all of eternity, within. This is the foundation that leads us to believe in the essential goodness, (Godliness) dignity, and sanctity of each and every person. This sanctity, dignity, and innate holiness does not depend on any outside judgement. Our God sees into the depths of who we are. He sees what he has created, and "indeed it is very good." (He sees not the way we see,right?) We have come from His essence, which is infinite love, and we will, without interruption, be sustained with that creative love. We are, beloved daughter/son, and nothing can take that away from us. Even if, and we so often do, stray away, The Good Shepherd is there to hunt us down, and carry us back, on his shoulders, to the security of His sheepfold. There was the blessing for all those who have to face the daily challenge of "fatherhood". Those men and women who have such a mysterious role to play in lives of so many. In some unique, unseen and hence mysterious way our experience of earthly fatherhood has a direct impact on the relationship we have with, our heavenly Father. We are told, "we have with God what we have in our human experience". So our everyday experience, with that presence which is father to us, and for us, for us, plays an essential role in our journey of faith. In the same way, research has revealed, that what we have in the relationship with the mother presence, will have an impact on ourselves and the relationship we have with, mother church. By the time the fourth mass was over I was pretty tired. With the, "being tired", came a inner feeling of, wellbeing. Everything was not just okay, it was way beyond okay. There was a feeling of being full, or even better still, of being satiated. Then the thought came to me, “Joe , why would you not feel so blessed? You were fed at a Father's Day Spiritual Smorgasbord. It was "rich food, and choice wine" indeed.” The following parts of the prayer of blessing resonated with me; Blessed are you, Lord, and Father of all life, Who has given to us the gift of the father of our family.… We thank you for the numerous good things that are ours because of them. Their love……has been a sign of Your divine love and a sharing in Your holy love. Their continuous concern for our needs and welfare is a mirror of Your holy providence….. Bless them this day with your strength and holy power, that they may continue to be a sign of you, Our God, and a parent to our families. I am so well aware there is a dark side to fatherhood, just as there is the dark side of motherhood. I have journeyed, and still journey with those who have been hurt, used, and abused, by that person who was to be the protector. To have a healthy relationship with themselves, with others, and then with God, the tough journey healing must be embarked on. This is a difficult road, hence so very few dare to traverse it. Each person will have to meet head on the issues of anger, fear, and shame. They need to be surrounded by those who are going to "stand by” them, in their agony, and not come up with pious platitudes. “Recovery is a process, and cannot be short circuited.” You cannot rush the birthing of new life. To just,"stand by”, as Mary did with her crucified Son takes immense courage, and deep faith. It is all we can do, as the win is so great and we do not have the words to alleviate the pain. All we have is presence, and in being present we are now a channel through which The Great Healer channels Himself. Let us keep in our prayers all those who have the healing journey to travel that may be gifted with the gift of perseverance. To give up the quest is so easy. To endure to the promised land of health one traverses many deserts. In those deserts wild beasts and ministering angels WILL be encountered.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
We have been exposed to a spiritual tsunami over these last many, many, months. Come to think of it, they were not months, they were seasons. In those seasons, we celebrated the mystery of beginnings and endings. We found ourselves, as individuals, families and communities, blessed with new lenses. In this new "seeing", we are led to the acceptance that in every beginning, an ending that has begun and in every ending there is a new beginning that has begun to emerge. So, we are lead to see life is the continuous embrace of life, and, of death. We are in a constant state of “passing over”. In each and every present moment, there is a passing over from life to death, and death to life. All this happens within the great mysterious adventure we call human living. Our God has shown His desire to be with us on this journey. In doing, so He has transformed it into a mysterious adventure. In the fulfillment of this desire, He became Emmanuel. He, rather than be a distant spectator, is now totally and completely immersed into the reality we call the human condition. As a result, we are presented with and challenged to embrace the mystery of The Incarnation. In the continuous,f aith-filled, Spirit led, contemplation of this mystery wonder-full, awe-full, spiritual riches continuously flow into our hearts, souls, minds. This tsunami of grace brings about transformation, and transfiguration. A new reality takes root within the depths of who we really are. The spiritual journey is our descent into what we most fear and abhor. We are seeking life, a life that only comes to us through many ,many, deaths. In this searching and seeking, we are lead ever deeper into what we know is The Paschal Mystery. We seem to begin with the nonthreatening Baby Jesus and are forced to encounter Him, all grown up, as The Crucified One. We must continue to embrace both realities of our God within us. As a consequence, a new reality takes root within us. That which we have been Baptized into, The Paschal Mystery, is now being lived, revealed and seen within our everyday reality. We are led to believe the truth of St. Paul’s words; "I live, no, not I, but Christ lives within me". What God promised Ezekiel is now ours. We will discover a new heart within us. The old stony heart has been replaced. With this new heart came a new Spirit. When did all of this happen? Without our knowing or sensing it. Without knowing or sensing it, paschal death, and resurrection, happened and continues to happen. The creative work of The Spirit is always in secret. As it was, so it is, and ever shall be forever, and ever, amen. This death/resurrection process happens in the depths of who we are. In order to enliven, vivify, intensify this new life, and new way of living it is ESSENTIAL we bring that reality to each and every mass we are blessed to celebrate. Nothing happens apart from prayer. In this we make the connection between The Paschal Mystery, we encounter within the reality of our everyday experience, and it's celebration within the weekday and weekly liturgy. This does not happen automatically. It demands effort on our part. This is work. This is hard and at times, very difficult work. It is so much easier to be deny our deep, everyday, pain-filled reality. We want to gloss over the difficult and spiritually unsettling feelings and emotions. We are reminded of the warning of Fr. Rohr, "Whatever we do not feel, cannot be healed...Whatever is not transformed, is transferred". How often have we seen and experienced this pain-full reality? It does takes raw naked faith and deep courage to bring ourselves as we really are into The Presence. We must ever and always keep before us this reality we want to deny, is the only reality God knows. That is where He meets us and waits for us to greet Him there. Yes, He waits for us to welcome into the place we are at. When we are NOT honestly present , to His presence, nothing CAN happen. Maybe that is why liturgy is properly called, "THE WORK OF THE PEOPLE".