I have been asked this question more than once, "Are you going back to Ireland for your Golden Jubilee?" The answer is, a reluctant "no." That does not mean I will not be connected with land of my ancestors, The Celts. My Celtic heritage, and all the gifts it bestows, has become more and more of a presence over these last number of years. A presence that was absent, sad to say, for many of the previous years. I now have to admit, confession is good for the soul, that the lack of my understanding of Celtic Spirituality, resulted in unnecessary pain, and sorrow. My pain and sorrow was of necessity, felt by others as well. For that I am heartily sorry. Everything, at that time, was either black or white. There was no willingness to understand the baggage of personal journey, with all that it brought to each person. The imperative to see each person, as a person to be listened to, not some impersonal object to be judged, was a gift that was coming. Thank God, the new Spirit which came with the Second Vatican Council was The Spirit of kindness, understanding, and compassion. The reforms brought us back to a new, and a more vibrant, life giving, understanding of The Mystery. The Mystery revealed in the life, and ministry of Jesus, who became The Christ, was none other than, The Living Father-God of the same Jesus Christ. We were introduced to the historical en-fleshed, oh so human Jesus. In this human Jesus, it was revealed the fullness of The Divine One. If I was to know The Unknown, and Unknowable, all I had to do was to immerse myself in the reality of The Carpenter Shepherd from Nazareth. That was 50 years ago, and it is only now I am becoming more and more aware of what was being offered at that time. The proclamation of that Good News has continued over years, but not without opposition. The Gospel proclaimed in its purity, always finds opposition. The Gospel it appears, only thrives in opposition. The persecuted church is the spiritual healthy church. Look at history and see when the church has been most vibrant. A vibrant faith flowers in persecution. That is so true for our individual faith journey as well.
I got a little sidetracked, so back to what has happened and unfortunately is happening right now in our church. The Second Vatican Council did happen, even though there are well meaning members of the hierarchy and laity that act as if it never was a reality. Like all councils, called by the Pope in session, it had the guidance of The Holy Spirit. What happened was under the guidance of The Holy Spirit, no matter which way we may want to cut it. For those who deny, or actively work against those reforms, and the evolving theology are not "Building up The Body of Christ. They are, to put it bluntly, warring AGAINST the workings of The Holy Spirit. The fear-full actions of those who wish to "reform" the previous reforms are adding nothing to the well being of our church, The Mystical Body of Christ. They are, despite their good intentions, making the growth of The Body more difficult in a world that is so diametrically opposed to all that of the authentic teaching of the Gospel. The demands of the Gospel are such, we are always coming up short. We have to face our own limitations on a daily basis. Despite our best intentions we have to face the fact, The Real Gospel imperatives are too, too much. This is where the miracle of grace comes in. Thank God, our Gracious Father-God sees into our hearts, and at least sees our willingness to become, even though at present we are not, the best bearers of the Good News. This willingness is enough for God. Once we show our willingness, grace takes over, and we are in for the ride of a lifetime. We become what we desire, so be WARNED. We are setting ourselves up for hard, demanding, tough work. A work which by ourselves we cannot accomplish. On top of that we have to face the outside enemies, who are conspiring, with all likeminded forces, to oppose by any means necessary the coming of The Kingdom. With the coming of The Kingdom, their kingdoms of "power, property and prestige" will have to go, but not without a fight.
There will not be just a fight, there will be a war. A war that is being waged within the souls of each one of us, as well as in the world we are traveling through. So then, we are all caught up in a death struggle. We are not the first to experience such a death struggle, the death struggle of Jesus, through which He became The Christ Of God, carries with it this great hope. In the long run death will never be the victor. In His victory over death, The Christ has brought to you and I a new level of hope-full seeing. We now see that all death is, is the threshold over which we must all pass into a reality that words cannot describe. In our little every day death-resurrection experiences we
get a glimpse, just a taste of that "which eye as not seen, or ear heard, or it has not even dawned on us what is waiting for us in the fullness of life. We have the option to life in the freedom that The Resurrection brings us, or cower in fear. When we live out of fear we leave ourselves open to becoming fully fledged members of spite-full, fear-filled opposition. There are those who are actively opposing the workings of The Holy Spirit. We must remember, even if they do not, they are STILL being called each and every moment, and Who is doing this calling? The very same Holy Spirit, Whose works they are opposing, is STILL calling each one of us to be the living, life enhancing, presence of The Prodigal, Compassionate Father-God. A Lover Who is persistent. The Shepherd God Who is ALWAYS seeking out and searching for, the lost sheep which is you and I.
This was The Presence I was seeking. A Presence, I have come to believe that finds a dwelling place, not outside of me, but within the depths of my being, keeping me in being. It is within This Presence, "I live and move and have my being," I cannot exist apart, no one can. Like St. Augustine, I was looking outside, where it could not be found. Like Augustine, I was looking "in all the wrong places," for that which was dwelling in the depths of my being, keeping me in being. That reality I was able to give
lip service to, and that was all. I had not suffered enough. Now I see That Presence was there, all the time, calling in a gentle, tender, whisper. Why did I not hear The Call? For me and for so many more that gentle whisper drowned out by the cacophony of noises alien to Its will, and purposes. The ears of my heart, and soul, were deafened. It has taken a long time for the healing of my hearing to take place. This healing, like all regular healing, has been for me a very slow process. Yes it has taken a long time for my eyes to be truly opened so that the real "seeing," may take place. That "seeing" has gone hand in hand with the rediscovery of the richness, and gentleness of Celtic Spirituality. It is only now, after many, many years of wandering, and wondering, I seem to have found a home. A place where I can dwell in some peace and harmony. I get every now and then, a brief insight into what the dream, The Aisling of God, does have for each living person. His dream for all of us is that "We would have life and have it to
the fullest." To live life, and live it to the fullest fullness, is a great challenge for us who are "spiritual beings immersed in the human experience."
Will be continued, hopefully, in the next posting.