Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Interior Guide

In a couple days, we are going to celebrate in a very important way the Incarnation of Christ. God came to us in the flesh that we might be able to look on the Face of God and hear his Word in preparation for our final union with Him. Obviously the Incarnation is an amazing thing, but we know that ultimately, God's time here on earth in human form came to an end. It seems a strange thing that God would show us His Face only to leave us with bread, wine and the Spirit...hidden realities. One might want to think of this as a cruel joke, but I doubt that was God's intention. Instead, as usual, He has a more benign joke or paradox up His sleeve (if He has a right arm, He's bound to have a sleeve, no?) I was reading Newman last night (one of my favorite past times) and in one of his reflections, he mentioned that Christ left us so that we did not merely have a superficial relationship with God but also an interior one. The Joke is that God has to leave in order for him to come--we have to lose Him to gain Him. And the best part of it is that we gain so much more than we had. If Christ had stayed on earth, his apostles and the rest of us may have taken his physical presence for granted. They may have thought they had Him all figured out. They might have said "I know this guy. I hang out with him every day." But we know from the Gospels that even after three years of spending all their time with him, they were no closer to understanding His mission or theirs either. It took the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Interior Relationship for them to understand more fully what was expected of them.

The same could be said for the Eucharist. Christ did not stay with us in "human" form because then our union with him could not be both physical and spiritual whereas with the Eucharist we are able to have a physical outward communion and a spiritual interior communion and they are one and the same.

Thinking about marriage (cause when aren't I?), this is sort of the ideal. We can easily take for granted the physical communion in marriage (in different language, we can get "bored.") We need to be able to develop the spiritual communion necessary for marriage as well as the physical one. Does this mean we have to leave our beloved? Perhaps it is indeed healthy to part with your betrothed, your fiance, your girl/boyfriend for a time even while intending to remain in the relationship. Not to "take time apart" in the traditional sense, but to take the time apart together to grow in spiritual communion. Of course, I can't speak to within the marriage itself, but it seems to me that if marriage is a metaphor for our relationship with Christ then the same principles might apply.

In the end, it is about an interior connection. God is able to guide us from inside more easily if we do not have something exterior to cling to. This interior guidance, since it is not based on creation can not be as easily affected by the loss of created goods and is therefore more permanent. Hopefully the same can be said for marriage and perhaps we will see less divorces and broken families in the future.

Happy Christmas to all!

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