Sunday, March 17, 2013

The...Lens...That...Confer...Hope...

On vacation, when I attend Mass, I am made privy to a very familiar, yet a very sacred encounter. This has become so familiar it has lost its deep meaning for us. That old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" has become an unfortunate reality in our present way of being. How often do we look for the sacred Mystery in the everydayness of life. I fear we have got used to, even addicted to, seeking out the next "Big Event", that we lose sight of the mysterious gift we are gifted within, the familiar present. What is most familiar contains what we are most in need of at that particular time. Does not our gracious Father. God meets us where we are at, not where we would like to be? God is always present in our reality. Sometimes hidden, but always present. We have to have the lenses to be able see the reality behind the reality we see. All that we see in creation is sacred, "charged with the wonder of God". (Hopkins) It is for us to develop the gift of wonder which is innate in all human beings. Are we not always looking beyond where we are to a distant horizon? Every blessing can also be a curse. I do not know how often Joe has got himself in trouble because he wanted to see what was around the next corner!!!! On the other hand, I am always safe in the "here and now". In this here and now moment, God is pouring all that He/She is. On our part we must ask for the present gift of wonder to be enhanced so we are able to see, "as God sees, not as human beings see". My apologies to Robbie Burns, but I want to be able to see myself, and so all reality, not as other humans see me, but as God sees me. God sees me through the eyes of His/Her infinite, unconditioned, unlimited love. A love that is infinitely more than we will ever be able to understand, or comprehend. It is a prodigal love we can neither earn, deserve, or qualify for. It is pure gift. It is grace. God's gaze is the gaze of unlimited and unrestricted love. The personification of that love is the gaze of a mother and her child. Yes I have been blessed to witness this such sacred encounter. This event which is so ordinary that we just allow it to become a ho- hum moment. Ever really look at the faces involved in this encounter. The little one begins with a serious searching look at this reality before him/her. The mother is gazing with a serious, wonder-full look. Is this what I have waited for, for not only nine months, but my whole life long. I am always thrilled to hear that spontaneous cry of delight that breaks forth from the child that is triggered from the depths of it's being. There is no holding back of the joy of some new discovery. Mother's face lights up. Does life get any better than this? Of course, there are those who go tut, tut, but thank God not all. Some who have verdant memories join in with reminiscent smiles. Remembering what was. In reality this is not about what waist is about what is. Those of memory must be reminded that they are still see looked upon, in The Gaze of Love. That love incarnate and revealed in mother and child encounter is just a reminder of The Love which is each persons beginning. That is our first love. (Nouwen) All other manifestations of love are only a reflection, not the reality, of our Original Lover. That is why there is always a dissatisfaction with all we will ever receive on our journey through, as of now, a fully unredeemed humanity. We are participators in the process. We are co-creators of a new and more perfect creation. For that, we were created. That is our true purpose. To fulfill our destiny we have to see as God sees. We have to let go of our little agendas, and put on the mind of Christ. Is that easy? This is a great challenge, as we have to experience a complete reorientation of self. We have to turn 180 degrees and seek our happiness, our serenity in a place, as of now, we do not know. We will be lead to that place by The ever gentle Spirit. As the scriptures reminds us "will be lead by ways unknown". We enter the place of raw, naked fear, before we can ever know real serenity, and a deep sense of peace. We will always have the comforting, soothing, but so tiny voice of The Good Shepherd always calling, ever directing us safely, through the dark valleys. On our part we must sharpen our ability to hear and see. We must allow the old ways of hearing, and see to gently fade, and ultimately die away. This has to happen FIRST, before the new, and better way of seeing, and hearing may be ours. Today, we call that conversion. This is not, unfortunately, an event, it is a process. This is a necessary process for spiritual growth. That is why it is a journey we do not choose on our own. This is the work of The Spirit. We do have a choice as regards the lenses we choose to look through. John O'Donoghue lists the different ways of seeing, the different lenses with which our everyday reality is viewed. The ideal lens to have is the lens of love. In his spiritual classic, "Anam Cara" you will read the following, "To the loving eye everything is real.....Kathleen Raine.."unless you see a thing in the light of love,you do not see it at all"...Love is the light in which we see each thing in it's true origin, nature, and destiny...Look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise up before us full of invitation, possibility, and depth. The loving eye can even coax pain, hurt and violence towards transfiguration and renewal. It arises above the pathetic arithmetic of blame and judgment..(the loving eye) is creative and subversive." In another place he writes,"When love awakens in your life, in the night of the heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before the was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was there was awkwardness, now there is rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with yourself. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning. The human heart is never completely born. Though the human body is born complete in one moment, the birth of them human heart is an ongoing process. It is being birthed in every experience of your life." Birthing is a pain-full process. We must not make the mistake that we are on our own, or by ourselves as we constantly meet this life challenge. Because we are an Easter people we have been gifted with all that is necessary not only to meet the challenge, but to journey beyond, into a life way beyond our limited imagination. This is the ongoing miracle of birth, death and rebirth. Where is the miracle of Easter waiting to revealed anew, in this wonder-full journey we are on, as spiritual beings immersed in the human experience?