Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unattainable by reason

By means of art we are sometimes sent - dimly, briefly - revelations unattainable by reason. Like that little mirror in the fairy tales - look into it, and you will see not yourself but, for a moment, that which passeth understanding, a realm to which no man can ride or fly. And for which the soul begins to ache...

-- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scandalous immanence

For nearly a year, my friend DiDi has heard God directing her to tell me that I am "more". This message helped pave the way for releasing me into His dream, and has helped keep me on the path when gale force winds have tried to push me from it.

The message comes less often as I increasingly step out, and I hadn't heard it in a while. But yesterday morning He told her to say it again, and so, obediently, she did. She feels a little foolish repeating it, knowing that I've heard it before. We don't understand why she needs to say it over and over. But DiDi's faith is huge and she submits. And I listen, and am grateful for the affirmation.

Yesterday morning He told her to tell me again, and so she did. I listened, thought "Isn't that nice." and went about my business.

We'd attended Saturday evening mass the night before, and so decided to check out The Father's House church that day, based on some comments I'd heard earlier in the week. I've been interested in experiencing various forms of worship to better understand the breadth and variation of the Body, and to contemplate what our Lord would have me do to continue working toward unification.

It was a fascinating experience, potentially the topic of it's own post. For now I'll just say that it's a mega church which targets young people and very effectively makes use of societal trends and technology to preach the good news. But all that is not really the point of this post.

The point is that at the back of the long stage that stretched nearly the entire width of the auditorium (for lack of a better word) was a giant, 3-dimensional white word. Spelled out in 6 foot blocky white letters was the word:


At each end of the stage hung additional banners on which were projected the words "Made for More".

In His love, and in His typical style of potentially dismissible co-incidence, He lined things up to both underscore His message to me, and to reassure DiDi of her role.

At first she didn't get it. Even when I pointed out the sign to her it didn't click. There was so much sensory input that she was caught up in experiencing all that was going on around and in front of us. But then the lightbulb went on and I think she was even more floored than I.

We floated through the drive back home, marveling at how once again He lined up events to show us His favor. He sends bishops to bless our Catholic journey, and literal larger than life signs to encourage our obedience and build our trust.

It blows my mind how intimately He cares for us, and how closely He walks with us.

Such scandalous immanence.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet into sweet

Whipped cream melting
into cocoa
your touch dissolving
into me
the two distinct
then swirling
into one

--Chantelle Franc

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Forgive me Lord, that I did not

A haunting thing occurred at mass a few weeks ago.

As I approached the altar to recieve Him in most Holy communion, I watched the very blood of Christ leap up as if to greet me, spilling itself on the floor in an expectant pool. I watched as someone, not knowing, hurried forward with a paper towel to wipe up the precious spill.

The deacon of the mass stopped him before such a thing took place, praise God.

I hesitated for a moment and then lurched around the priest, rushing to the sacristy to find a suitable cloth. One of the altar guild appeared, knowing better where to look, and so I returned to recieve Him and to surreptitiously monitor the remainder of the cleanup.

The haunting comes from not following my instincts. I should have obeyed the urge to get down and drink Him directly from the floor.

Forgive me Lord, that I did not.

It was an opportunity to humble myself and lift Him from such an unworthy posture. A chance to receive Him in a way only few would have done throughout the ages. A moment of witness to those still waiting to drink what they thought was merely wine.

But I didn't do it. And the chance is gone, forever.

Forgive me Lord, that I did not.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Speak on

Let me listen to your voice
sounding deep thoughts or shallow
speak on throughout the years
and when it wavers and wanders
with the weariness of age
keep speaking
till my ears grow cold.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A blessing of departure, and of welcome

Today began my search for a church parish in which to complete the final leg of the journey to Rome.

Last Sunday our Lord made clear that the time to leave the CEC had come, and so this morning was bittersweet. A day of endings and beginnings, of sadness and excitement.

This morning was amazing.

It opened and closed with blessing. As we left the house, my dear friend, wife of my BP, drove past on her way to church to ask which parish would get to have us today. Her cheerfulness was like the embrace of a mother on the first day of kindergarten, giving me courage to step out, and reassuring me that her love and approval would always be there.

The Catholic church was pretty. Not small, not big. Not ostentatious, not casual. White walls, lovely stained glass, and frieze-style stations of the cross circling the sanctuary. A beautiful organ and brass prelude was played. I noticed a priest walking up the side aisle. His face looked familiar, and his pink zucchetto made me recognize that it was Bishop Matthew Clark (our bishop here in Rochester, NY).

The Right Reverend opened his homily by saying "Don't worry; nothing is wrong." His appearance as celebrant was clearly unusual, and the congregation must have wondered if the church was about to be closed. He had not celebrated there in over three years. The last time had been at the anniversary mass of one of the parish priests. Bishop Clark explained that he'd had no other commitments for this particular day, and just decided to come and pray with this communion because he hadn't done so in a while.

His homily focused on Luke 14:5-33; the cost of being a disciple. He spoke of having to leave family and friends and possessions. All the things I've been dealing with in the past 6 months, first within my nuclear family, then with my church family. He told us to be ready for God to call us to the newer, the deeper, and warned us that it would not always be easy.


At the conclusion of the mass, His Grace came slowly up the center aisle, greeting people as he went. When he reached us, I explained that it was our first day in the first church of our search for a new home, and asked for his blessing. He gave it, graciously.

Our God is lavishly, astonishingly, abundantly generous.

Before entering this season of disruption and heartache, He asked which road I would choose; the one that would be easier but which would save fewer souls, or the one which would be more difficult but which would save more.

I answered that His will should be done.

It has not been easy, and it will not be. There is much pain and disruption still to come. The cost is indeed family, friends, and possessions.

But the rewards.... The rewards are staggering. He is already pouring out joy and blessing more abundantly than I could ever have imagined. I did not ask to be compensated for obedience, but He rewards my desire to do His will in ways I could never have dared dream.

Today was a good day. A day of endings and beginnings. A day which began and ended with a blessing. A blessing of departure, and a blessing of welcome.

Our God is a great God.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Like blood from a wound

Love is not a tap. It flows and flows like blood from a wound, and you can die of it.

--Chitra Banerjee Divakuruni

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The throbbing heart of the New Testament

God desires and is pleased to communicate with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills, and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the souls of the redeemed men and women is the throbbing heart of the New Testament.

-- A. W. Tozer