June 18, 2017
Feast of Corpus Christi/ John 6: 51-58
Recently parents approached me suggesting that one of their two sons in our First Communion program not be permitted to receive the Eucharist. My heart sank. ‘Why’?, was my concerned question. ‘Misbehaving at home and the inability to sit still during Mass’ was the response. I wondered who among us at age 8 would not have been found guilty multiple times of the same transgression!
Immediately I plunged in, defending the student, commenting on how well he behaved when with us, but much more importantly trying to help the parents realize that receiving the Lord should never be considered a reward for good behavior, but a necessity for our lives.
We adults and children approach the table of the Lord not because we are flawless but rather because we need to be nourished by the Lord and gradually changed. Our greatest hope is that we ‘become what we eat’. And this takes a life time. Of ourselves we have no power to change our lives, to become another Christ for the world. Only Jesus accomplishes this. But it’s up to us to keep presenting ourselves time after time, communion after communion, extending our hands as we approach the altar and saying ‘yes’ to the promise of Jesus: ‘The one who feeds on me will have life because of me.’
And, by the way, our misbehaving 8yr. old did indeed receive Jesus for his first time and whenever I glanced over in his direction, he seemed to be sitting perfectly still during that special Mass.
Sister Ann Marie
June 11, 2017
Trinity Sunday Reflection
The feasts that follow the great Fifty-day celebration of Easter are wonderful. And, it seems fitting that the first one is of the Trinity. Though we know that our God is triune, the mystery is impenetrable and often I separate and divide the ways and activities of the three.
Father F. X. Durrwell’s writings have been a true gift to me in pursuing the importance of unity in God, in creation, within the ecclesial community and in a personal integration. This reflection, then can only be a sharing of what helped shed light for me in the darkness of the pursuit.
“The mystery of the Father, the Son and the Spirit is revealed where it emerges in the world and becomes a reality for us, in Christ’s Passover, where this begetting for us is expressed fully.”
The Scriptures today take us from the cloud of Sinai with the Lord proclaiming his name as he passed by Moses, to gospel John’s where God has answered the prayer of Moses, finding “favor” with him and with Israel indeed, by becoming flesh and one-with-us out of unimaginable love.
“Apart from Christ’s Passover, the Father is not known in his fatherhood, nor the Son as he truly is, nor the Spirit in whom the Father begets, and in whom the Son is begotten. In his Passover Jesus is the mediator both of the gift and the knowledge of the Spirit.
“Infinitely knowable in the Son, God is mystery in the Spirit. . . . He is the stark reminder of the divine mystery. . . The Spirit will never become incarnate: he will never become man or human thought or human word. Although he is at the origin of creation, of revelation and of the incarnation, he remains hidden, inviolate and inviolable, foundation of that apophatic theology which considers that knowledge of God is best expressed in a silence full of wonder.” (F. X. Durrwell)
Law and Grace
Worldview of Abundance
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The flow of grace through us is largely blocked when we are living inside a worldview of scarcity, a feeling that there’s just not enough: enough of God, enough of me, enough food, enough health care to go around, enough mercy to include and forgive all faults. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the human mind is actually incapable of imagining anything infinite or eternal. So it cannot imagine an infinite love or a God whose “love is everlasting,” as the Psalms continually shout. In other words, the mind of itself cannot know God.
The many “multiplication” of food stories in the Gospels—when Jesus feeds a crowd with very little (for example, Matthew 14:15-21)—clearly exemplify abundance as the foundation of reality. The spiritual point is grace, not some mere physical miracle. Notice in almost every case that the good apostles, who represent our worldview of scarcity, advise Jesus against feeding the crowd: “But how will two fish and five loaves be enough for so many?” Jesus is trying to move them from their worldview of scarcity to one of abundance, but does so with great difficulty. In the end, there is always much food left over, which should communicate the point: Reality, with its inherent overflowing, always has more than enough of itself to give. Just observe the seeds, spermatozoa, and pollen of the natural world.
Our unhealthy economics and politics persist because even Christians largely operate out of a worldview of scarcity: there is not enough land, water, money, and housing for all of us; and in America there are never enough guns to keep us safe. A saint always knows that there is more than enough for our need but never enough for our greed. In the midst of the structural stinginess and over-consumption of our present world, how do we possibly change consciousness and teach the mind to operate from mercy and graciousness? It will always be an uphill battle, and it will always depend upon a foundational and sustained conversion. Even the churches tend to be stingy with grace and mercy, as Pope Francis continues to point out.
Only our personal experiences of unconditional, unearned, and infinite love and forgiveness can move us from the normal worldview of scarcity to the divine world of infinite abundance. That’s when the doors of mercy blow wide open! That’s when we begin to understand the scale-breaking nature of the Gospel. Catholics and much of the world are now stunned to observe a pope who exemplifies this worldview in our time. We can no longer say it is impossible idealism.
Gateway to Silence:
By grace I am saved.