Thursday, January 23, 2014

The…INCARNATION…IN...ORDINARY TIME

      We have now entered Ordinary Time, in the liturgical calendar, I guess one could say, in Kairos time. I must remind myself, "Joe this is your first time on this hike so be on the watch, be vigilant for the newnesses, the unforeseen, the unpredictable." In other words be alert for the advent of God. (We have Advent EVERY moment of every day. This is the reason for one to be alert.) This hike, through the various and challenging landscapes will stretch for 34 weeks. In chronos time this seems like ages but not so if one is dealing with The Infinite. For The Infinite, a thousand years is just like a day, so then, we are always adjusting to God's time, Kairos. God came to exist in time, yet transcends time. The entrance of The Infinite Word into the fleshliness of our humanity forever changes how we see all of reality. "By reason of creation, and still more by reason of The Incarnation, there is nothing profane for those who know how to see."(Chardin) These are words that offer us a great challenge, yet always contain a promise of something beyond that which we now see. The Word came to make His dwelling with all of His own creation. This is the very same Word, Who  created and now maintains all creation in an ongoing creative reality. We have been chosen, from eternity to be co-creators and co-perfectors of this ongoing creation. The Creator came and "pitched His tent" within the family of humankind. In having just a tent, He can move whenever and wherever. He is not boxed in, and can never be. We are told when we follow our natural human instincts and attempt to box God into a neat package, which we control, we are boxing in, a dead god, not The Living God. This Living God, which The Incarnation slowly reveals to us, exists beyond time and space, yet He has embraced the human condition to the point of extreme suffering, and death. For what purpose?

                   WE are told that "we live life looking forward, but understand it looking backward." How seldom do we ever get the full meaning of what is happening to us in the awe-full, wonder-full  sacrament of the present moment? Because it is a sacrament, with a small "s," it is of its nature sacred, no matter how profane (not sacred) we may think it is. What appears to be so "common," ordinary, "boring" "lifeless," "familiar" seen through the x-ray eye of faith is, in its DEEPEST reality, a revelation of This Living God. The living God, we are always seeking and searching for, as the result of Him already having found us. In time it will come to us that which is most taken for granted, is in reality The Transcendent's  way of reaching out to connect with us. We are slowly, through the process we call our journey of faith brought to the belief  that ,"He is all in all. " Nothing exists unless it finds its source of  existence in The Creative Word. Everything that exists  is used to hide and reveal The One Who is the subject of our endless seeking and searching. The ordinary is therefore, not ordinary but always extraordinary.  Always containing, beneath its apparent " blahness, " lies the buried treasure, the pearl of great price, about which the scriptures have much to say to us. What do we need to do? Follow the example of Mary, who is presented to us as the example of what a disciple is to be. We will all fall short of Mary, because she by her Immaculate Conception was never tainted by the effects of original sin. That did not come to her, as a freebie. This grace had to be won for her by her Son's death on the cross.

                       So, then, let us go back to Bethlehem and the visit of the shepherds to The Infant, newly born. I wonder what was Mary thinking, when she and Joseph saw the shepherds approaching? Were they hoping they were going to pass by, and not bother them. What could these uncouth, unwashed, strange men, who were looked on as being  outside the law, have to say to them? How surprised were they when these unlearned strange ones, spoke of their experience with the angels? How terrified they were? Mary could nod her head in agreement when they spoke of the fear that came with the appearance of angels. "Wow!! I was afraid with the appearance of one, what overwhelming fear must  be triggered by "a host of angels?" By the way I was told This Child would have the throne of David, this sure is no palace?" Was I really told the truth, or, was  I deceived? From the purely human standpoint I believe that Mary is one of the most deceived persons in the scriptures. She was promised so much and outwardly received so little.  Yet Mary from her first "Yes," her first "fiat" to her last breath, she was to remain ever faithful to the journey she committed herself to. That original Yes lead to so many other challenging fiats, she never faltered. Questioned Yes! Do you remember when Mary and the family went to get The Rabbi Jesus to take Him home because they thought He had lost it? The anguishes of Mary, how deep they went yet the scriptures are so silent, for the most part.

                             What kept Mary going? Do we get a clue from the scriptures when it tells us that "Mary treasured all these things and pondered on them in her heart." She treasured in her heart  and pondered  in her mind the good news trumpeted by the angels, and relayed to her and others by the shepherds.  All were amazed when they heard the good news, in other words, when they heard the gospel. How amazed were we, and how amazed are we right now at the gospel of the shepherds? As Advent-Christmas-Epiphany passes and there is nothing  that we are aware of left on the shores of our souls from this grace-filled wave that has just enveloped and showered us? What are the  new insights into what it means to be human? Are we growing in our belief in the sacramentality of all that is? What does it mean that we have been chosen, from eternity, to carry on The Mystery of The Incarnation within our bodies and reveal, proclaim it ,ever new, through the joy of our daily living?  The Glory of God, that glory revealed in The Christ Child, is today revealed in the human person that is fully alive. (St. Irenaeus) The cribs have disappeared from our homes and churches. They have not disappeared from our world. The crib must now to be found alive within the reality of our human journey. All those crib figures are they alive,  energizing, vitalizing, challenging us to live anew each and every moment of our daily lives. I remembering reading these challenging words many years ago. "If we do not give birth to the Christ child within, then Mary giving birth was a waste of time."  This spiritual journey is not for those who are looking for, "the easier, softer way." Mary gave birth in a matter of minutes, or hours. We give birth to the Christ Child over our whole lifetime. So all the pain that goes with becoming who we really are, is an essential part of the pain-full process  of becoming the person our Creator knows, and gazes  on us, with infinite love. "You are my beloved daughter/son. In you I am well pleased," are the words constantly, and endlessly spoke to us. Oh! to have the ears to hear, and the eyes to see.