Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Family of Origin...Gift Givers!

As I read ,I sometimes like to write out a phrase that hits me as something new, or I have not seen life through that particular lens. I see a need to reflect on this truth some more. This usually starts a new way of thinking, leading to a new way of seeing. This in turn, brings about change. Some changes I fight. At my age, change is not something one easily embraces. There are enough changes I have no control of. This getting old sure leads to a great deal of change. Accepting and becoming reconciled with them is hard work. So when other sources of change surprise me I am not usually accepting of them. I know I do not like all of what is presented to me by life. It is very consoling to know I do not have to LIKE all this, I do however have to grow in ACCEPTANCE, and RECONCILIATION with this on going process. This process leads to a deepening understanding of the place that grace, in other words ,The Love of God, pays in bringing about an ever-deepening sense of unity, and wholeness. We are mystery. Why? We, after all, are created in the imagine and likeness of God. As God is THE MYSTERY, we, too, are mystery. God is Mystery with a capital "M". We are mystery with a small "m".
" After each journey, we take, into mystery we are enlightened, enlivened, refreshed,and renewed. There is a newness to life". That is what I wrote some time ago when reading a book. The title of the book, I do not remember. These word have sure left a mark, and are a great lens through which we can look back over the last three weeks. We have met a God who has moved from being a God who is for His people, Old Testament. In the New Testament, He is a God who is with His people, Emmanuel. Now, because of Pentecost, He is a God who dwells within us, the people of the New Covenant. We are led to the understanding of the great mysterious life that is within us and whose Presence we are consecrated to be.
Do we claim this weekend's celebration of, Corpus Christi, both as a communal and a personal celebration of who we are and who we have been called to be? The feast of The Body of Christ is a celebration of who it is we are, and who, by grace we are called to be both as individuals, and as a community of faith. Last week spoke to us of The Family of God, who is our family of origin. To know about ourselves we have to take a real close look at who it is, and where it is, we have come from. Our Family Of Origin is eternal. So we too are eternal. That is both good news, and bad news. As we have the eternal within the there is nothing, without, that will bring us any lasting peace, joy and love. We will ALWAYS be restless. The good news is,The Family of Origin, who live in a community of eternal love, is ever and always drawing us into an ever deepening relationship with them. Our Family of Origin is always communicating in love, so that where real, healthy, authentic love is there is The Family dwelling within. In Them we are only to really, live and move and have our being. They in turn depend on us to live and move and be a reality in their creation. The Creator is so humble, and vulnerable, He, makes Himself subject to our free will. The Family reveals to us their life sharing love. The Father's creative love, The Son's redeeming love, and The Holy Spirit whose love brings everything into a wholeness, a holiness. (The work of sanctification). As they spend themselves in eternal, everlasting love, so we are called to imitate their example. We imitate them by doing what They have modeled for us who it is we are to be, and what we are to do. Their continuous , strengthening presence is GUARANTEED, so we can be who we are called to be, and do what we are called to do. All we have to do is say, "YES".

That yes is why we come to mass and receive The Eucharist. In the reception of The Body of Christ we renew our "Yes" to the call, We are called to be HE, whom have received. We also recognize our human frailty. Accepting what St.Paul said, as our truth as well: "Of ourselves we can do nothing, but we can do all things in Him that strengthens me" I guess we can also say: "we can do all things in THEM that strengthens us." What a Family of Origin we have. A family who despite anything we do will never desert us. Will never abandon us. We are not always faithful to our "Yes", but the gracious and merciful Family is always faithful to It's YES to us. Nothing can change that. That is what it means to be, "members of the new covenant of grace" Pretty one sided, do you not think? Yet our Family dwells happily within us. Celebrating, not our love, but Their love. We are always invited to join them in, celebration. We can say 'Yes", which is the response of love to love, grace. We have however been given the freedom to answer, "no". Each and every moment demands of us a "YES" or a ,"NO". What great power and freedom is our Family's legacy. In this way we are going to be life givers or death dealers. First of all to ourselves, and as a consequence to those who will share our journey.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Gift of Triune Love....

Birthdays are times of gift giving. We, as the church, just had a birthday. That is contained in a fuller understanding of The Feast of Pentecost. Did you have a conscious celebration of this ever new event in your life, and in the continuing life of The Body of Christ ? When we do not have a conscious celebration of a significant event then we are not drawn into it's deeper meaning. When that is our modus operandi we will not see our lives through the lenses of awe, and wonder. We will never see or come to appreciate the life that is both hidden and revealed in the mystery we call daily living. We will then complain how dull and boring life is. There will nothing to trigger the awe and wonder that is essential to living life and living it to the fullest, which is our Father-God's dream for you and I. This is a dream we have to claim again, again, and again.

Religious celebrations allows us to celebrate the deepest reality within us. The purpose of religious practice is not to give us religion, rather it is intended to help us celebrate that which is already present. You do not put religion into a person, it is our challenge to provide the opportunity which allows the person to come to an awareness of what our Gracious God has already placed within each and every person. Regardless of how we see, or what we see in an individual, that is the reality hidden deep within all human beings. This is the in depth reality is hidden within human being. We have, at this time of year, three celebrations which provides us with an ever new awareness of this reality.

Pentecost Sunday is the first of three celebrations that reveals to us our great calling, our deep mysterious reality. The celebration of Pentecost is followed by two celebrations of equal mystery and majesty. They are The Feast of The Blessed Trinity and The Feast of Corpus Christi. In the celebration of Pentecost we celebrated The Spirit that has descended, has come to bring the new Spirit leading to a new way of living for a community that was discouraged, and doubtful. They needed a new unique spirit to live the new life that was now theirs. This Spirit was to be the living, vitalizing presence of Him who loved His own, and loved them to the end. He left but promised not to abandon them or leave them orphans. That promise is directed toward you and I as we are their successors and the inheritors of that same promise. “As it was, so it is, and ever shall be”. This Spirit will lead us to all truth, as has been promised. We will not ALWAYS like or embrace the Truth. Real Truth will always challenge us, to reach beyond what is easy, and comfortable. I personally do not like this. Then I am told I do not have to LIKE it. I will however be led, in time, to the wonderful promised land of acceptance.

In the celebration of The Holy Trinity we are drawn into an ever deepening understanding who is The Family that has chosen our bodies, to be their dwelling place. The Family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have out of their Triune love for each one of us, have chosen us to live within, "the prisoner of our finiteness". We have within us here on earth, here in our earthly existence, what is present in the life of Heaven. We are temples of the living God. A God who is in reality, a family, living in loving unity. They live within us, so we can make our dwelling with them, as they dwell within us. In that way we can have here on earth a taste of the life of Heaven. Pretty neat ????? There is this Celtic prayer that has been around for many, many centuries:
'I arise to-day
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of
the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
of the Creator of Creation.
Can this, in time, and with grace, bring about the change necessary so we will have Guests to visit, rather than PRISONERS to be feared??

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The People ARE The Church...

"The people are the church." Eugene Kennedy

Happy Pentecost. Today is the birthday of YOUR church!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ascension...It Is Every Day!!!!

It was only after having read Fr. Rolheiser's book, “The Holy Longing" that I was able to have a more real practical understanding of The Feast of The Ascension. He points that the Ascension is another stop along the road to a fuller understanding of what the Paschal Mystery really means for you and I. I just love the way he describes the three days of The Tridium and beyond. He says .."the Paschal cycle might be diagrammed as follows;
I Good Friday....."the loss of life ---real death"
2. Easter Sunday.... "the reception of new life"
3. The Forty Days...... " a time for readjustment to the new and for grieving the old"
4. Pentecost..............." the reception of new spirit for the new life that one is already living"
Put into a more colloquial language and stated as a personal, paschal challenge for each of us, one might recast the diagram this way:
1... "Name your deaths"
2.....”Claim your births"
3.....”Grieve what you have lost and adjust to the new reality"
4......”Do not cling to the old, let it ascend and give you its blessings"
5......"Accept the spirit of the life you are in fact living.'

This cycle in NOT something that we must undergo just once, at moment of our deaths, when we lose our earthly lives as we know them. It is rather something we must undergo daily, in every aspect of our lives. ...The paschal mystery is the secret to life. Ultimately our happiness depends upon properly undergoing it. ...Our happiness, peace, and maturity depend upon appropriating properly this mystery in our lives. Unless we die in infancy, we will have many deaths in our lives and within each of these we must receive new life and new spirit."

What an awe-full, wonder-full concept those words are. They are so full of hope. There are also words of warning, our happiness depends on us embracing the reality of The Paschal Mystery, in the reality of our daily living. On this feast of The Ascension what are the things of yesterday, or of all the yesterdays, that we need to let go of. The risen Christ took with Him the wounds of His crucifixion. What are the wounds we are carrying that need to be united with the wounds of Christ ,and allowed to ascend into Heaven. WE must not hang on to what has been. We must take the time to grieve. This is not what we do very well grieve. We want it over and done with. We know now grieving is a PROCESS, and it does not only demand days and weeks, but months and years. Words are poor vehicles to describe the pain and sorrow I have seen in people’s lives because the process was not embraced. There is a horrible price to be paid, and I am sad to say, many have paid that price. It was not necessary, but it has happened and will happen to all who deny the this process.

Again the choice between life and death is placed before us. Fullness of life is guaranteed, to us, as we embrace the reality of the mystery, that our many, many deaths are our present day participation in the dying and rising of Christ. We have died, and are dying with Christ will rise with Him. We will experience a new way of seeing, new way of living. Why? We have allowed ourselves to name the deaths, and claim the births. Our wounds are now in the presence of Our God, in the person of His beloved son. In the naming of the death, the embracing of the pain of emptiness we are creating the space for the new spirit which is on the way. More about that next week.

"Every time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose ti live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression and resentment or you choose to let theses losses to be the passage to something new, something wider and deeper." (Henri Nouwen )