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

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

All to all

Jesus Christ, the God-man, is present in all things, which is not to say that all things are Christ. All things are reflections of the revelation of God Who is the Word-made-Flesh. All things point to some divine reality, but it is only because He is the fullness of reality. Jesus Christ is the healer, the teacher, the king, the priest. He is an architect, a painter, a writer, a scholar, a scientist, a philosopher, a mathematician. He, in fact, whatever anyone and everyone needs. He is all to all.

He draws people to Himself so that they might be more like Him and that they might reject sin. He is a king, but He is a poor king born in a stable. The poor can come to Him and be one with Him; the rich are also called. He calls them to be rich like He is rich, poor like he is poor. If someone is seeking a king, He fulfills that desire. If someone is seeking a barefoot pilgrim, there He is too. If we fail to see Him as the proper object of our adoration, affection, and desire, it is because we do not recognize the inifinite-faceted nature of His divinity.

If we seek nourishment, He is bread and wine. If we seek intellectual stimulation, He is the Logos, the reason and logic behind all inquiry. If we desire to enact good in the world, He is the all-powerful source of good who wishes good on all of creation more than we do ourselves. If we are disposed to accept a glorious God, He is a glorious God. If we, however, are searching for a humble God, we will find Him humble. He is King and Servant, Father and Brother, Counselor, Friend. He is all to all.

But He will not manifest Himself merely based on our outward desires. We often do not understand our own needs and the true desires of our hearts. True, He is also the fulfillment of our outward desires for friend, ruler, or beautiful sensation, but more importantly he addresses our true needs. And this can often look like He cares not a jot for our desires.

We may say, "Oh, Lord, show us your majesty and we will believe!" but He merely appears to be a beggar on the street. We may say, "Oh, Lord, show me your presence in the poor!" but are greeted instead by the finery of the liturgy. We may say, "Oh, Lord, show the Logic of the Gospel and I will believe!" and He may say, "This is My Body." We may say, "Lord, if you truly care about us, we would live in a Christian state where our beliefs are respected and the common good is promoted!" but instead, He appears as one crucified and asks us to follow Him.

His Divine nature is hidden to us here on earth. We are not privy to His glory as the apostles were on Mount Tabor. We must have faith in His infinite goodness, knowledge, power, and love. If we do, we will be able to glimpse His working in our lives and by drawing closer to Him, allowing our desires to be fulfilled.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fearful and Overjoyed

I haven't blogged for a while here, not to mention anywhere else. Suffice it to say, my final semester at the University of Notre Dame has been filled with all sorts of things which prevented me for one reason or another from writing on what I have wanted to. Lots of fear, lots of joy. The paradoxes of life bring with them a lot of uncertainty. They wouldn't be very good paradoxes if they didn't. A life without apparent contradictions is a life giving into entropy, a necessarily apathetic, nihilistic existence. Flatlining is death. It is only in the ups and downs that we can see the life within us.

My experience is no different from that of any other Christian who stumbles after the cross to Calvary. Every period of our lives is a microcosm of the life of Christ: The brightness of a star, the excitement of new beginnings, the obscurity, the hard work, the miracles, the friends, the loss of friends, the suffering, even the death of a bit of ourselves...and a resurrection. The whole process starts over again as we are reborn again (forgive the redundancy.) Yet, though we live the life of Christ, we do so imperfectly and often live like his apostles did. We are the ones who abandon our friends, overcome by the fear which suppresses for a time our hope, our joy, our love. And when our fear is greatest, we hide in our apathy, we turn in on ourselves. Our "door being closed" (cf. John 20:25), we do not expect our King to find us. We may not even want him to find us. But we have an insistent King and he breaks through even our hardest hearts.

This reality is not one we always deal with well. The women who first heard the news of the Resurrection were fearful and overjoyed. Is it too much to hope that Christ returns to us again in the flesh? We are scared that it is not true, for how could it be true? How is death overcome? How is sin abolished? The Flatline seems to be the consistent reality. Betrayal is real in our lives as it was in Christ's. Our friends mess up, leave us, forget us, confuse us. Our Church struggles to continue its mission being crippled by scandal and the strong wave of secularism and modernism that has left it still reeling. When we grow up, we see our parents as the fallible human beings they are. We have something in common with them, they are no longer the strong distant authority that compels us to follow. So it is with the Church. As we grow up, we see our Mother the Church in all her sinfulness, all her confusion, all her ugliness. Her very clear truths are obscured by her members words and actions. Some, seeing this, leave her disillusioned. Hope is lost. The paradox is too much.

And yet, how can we account for the potent soul-socking presence of Christ in our lives? How can we account for the smell of lilacs, the strains of a solo cello arpeggiating the image of the Creator's love? The taste of wine, the majestic order of an architectural wonder, a reflection in stone of the heavenly Jerusalem? The laughter of friends, the wind over the lake, the shared moments of joy, sadness, contentment?

How can we account for the fact that Christ asks us to come and have a personal audience with him every week? The King IN THE FLESH invites us to his palace, to speak with him, to listen to his wisdom, to feast with him, to love him.

It is too powerful an idea for us to believe, and fear fills our hearts. But we must go back again and again to confirm our joy. And week in, week out, Christ comes through our locked doors and establishes the reality and calls us to overcome our fear with his joy.