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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


After reading this, I started thinking, which is, I assume, what a good piece of writing is supposed to do. Now, I'm not a huge David Crowder Band fan, but I am a huge Marc Barnes fan in sort of a rival blogger sort of way.

Christianity is not doomed to become ever more vague, slowly sinking into more and more denominations, inevitably sliding into a washed-out non-denominationalism. Rather she is called to become ever more definite, and ever more one. Christians are called to seek and know one truth, not by mere personal decision, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. We Catholics believe that this power was given to the Universal Church, to the apostle Peter, the first Pope, when Christ gave him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven and told him, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). This is why we have confidence in our doctrines and in dogmas — it is confidence in the promise of Christ, that he meant what he said: What the Church binds is bound.

Now I have no idea whether Marc intended to make the point that I am about to make, but then again, what would be the use of a community of thinkers if we all thought of everything in the exact same way? The Catholic blogosphere would turn into quite a boring thing indeed. What that quote of his reminded me of though was the absolutely radical nature of the Christian Faith.

It's not that we believe that God exists, which I suppose is a little radical. I mean, why is there something rather than nothing? We may not fully understand it, but the fact that there is is...weird. It's not even that we believe that God works in our lives, something that certain Deists deny. It's sort of this thing where we think that God, a communion of persons, wanted to share that communion with creatures, loved us enough to make us with free will, saw us fall and decided to pick us back up again by becoming one of us. Of course, we Christians probably take all this historical stuff for granted, especially since we kind of have to focus on living our Christian lives in the current age where there are enough things about which to think. I want to recall some of the details of this radical history of salvation because if you ask me, the way that God went about doing it was possibly the most radical of all. And the most awesome. And the most fulfilling. Let me tell you a little bit about it:

According to the Jewish creation account found in Genesis, it was a woman who was tempted by a fallen angel to bring sin into the world. According to the New Creation account of the Christian, it was a woman who was told by an angel that she would bring salvation from sin into the world. When Abel offered the best of his flock, did he know that it looked forward to the sacrifice of the Perfect Victim? Did Abraham know that his sacrifice of Isaac (averted, of course) was going to be repeated by God Himself with His son, but this time to reverse death? When Moses and the Israelites ate manna, did they know that they would soon be given a Bread that would bring them not material sustenance, but spiritual? When the Israelites asked for a King, did they know that God would let them have it only to use this Royal Line to establish His own Kingdom through a descendant of David?

This is what is radical about Christianity: We believe that God is a poet who speaks his Word through the lives of His chosen people. History is infused with this Word. God cares enough about us to bring our mistakes into his Word. Have we faltered and missed a step? He will use these missing syllables to create such a profound effect that we refer to that "happy fault." We butchered His Word, mangled His language beyond recognition but when the next line is written, all is in perspective. He has decided to use our words to write His Word in scripture. He then decided to use our nature to express His nature. He did this to bring us to His Father. Just as the unused wine at Mass is then used to clean the chalice, He has decided to purify the human race by descending to us using our nature that we might "cling to him in love" and be brought up at His final Ascension. He has the most exquisite sense of metaphor, alliteration, parallelism, rhyme and rhythm.

There are so many beautiful examples of this radical nature of our Faith, the poetic nature, the artistic nature. As an artist, I do the opposite of God. I take the real and represent it. He makes the representation, and then in a strange twist makes it real....


Anonymous said...

hey nate, it's mom,dad,tim and christina. this is really splendid. I want to share it! Dad says it's almost Chestertonian, except not funny. Tim wonders how long it will be before you get a book published. love you- Mom

Nate said...

Hey, y'all! Go ahead and share, thought it's slightly rough around the edges. I certainly hope one of these days I'm as funny as Chesterton. I will write a book when I have more time apart from architecture to do writing. Which means like never.