Friday, 20 October 2006

At the End of All Things

At the end of all things,
when the world is consummated,
your soul will gather herself up,

and sing.

Her song will be her all
and the whole of her symphony
her total self-giving.

And you, if you listen
and reject what you hear,
recognizing not the root of your being,
will cast her out
and empty yourself of yourself,
leaving nothing, and less than nothing:
a presence of denial.

You will remain eternally in this suspension of nothingness
rejecting what is and He Who Is,
and achieve the work even the Fallen One could not:
you will rebel successfully,
for you would then desecrate fully
a Living Temple of the Infinite God.

And yet, if you listen
and embrace the song that your heart sings,
even though the rhythm is more than you can bear
and the melodies intertwine in a terrible counterpoint
so vast it would drown you,

He will say to your song: Be!
and it will be.

And I tell you,
the world as it is now
would not be able to encompass the breadth of that song,
and so it
will be changed.

Thursday, 19 October 2006

From Today's Lectionary

"Before the world was made,
[the Father] chose us,
chose us in Christ,
to be holy and spotless,
and to live through love in His Presence."
That this may be my only aim ... to live through love in His Presence! I am comforted by the fact that it is an ambition I dare even call predestined. Gratias, Domine.

Salva me, Fons Pietatis!

From the Holy Father's general audience today:

Today I conclude my series of reflections on the Apostles by speaking of Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus. Why did he do it? Some say he was too fond of money, and the offer of thirty pieces of silver was too much to resist. The Gnostic writers say he wanted to liberate Jesus from the shackles of mortality. But the Gospels tell us that Satan entered into the heart of Judas. He yielded to a temptation from the Evil one. It is a mistake to think that the great privilege of living in company with Jesus is enough to make a person holy. Jesus does not force our will when he invites us to follow him along the path of the Beatitudes. The only way to avoid the pitfalls that surround us is to give ourselves entirely to Jesus, to enter into full communion with him, so that we think and act as he did, in total obedience to the Father. God can turn everything to a good purpose. Even Judas’s betrayal became, through divine Providence, the occasion for Jesus’s supreme act of love, for the salvation of the world.

The passage I highlighted left me with a profound and healthy fear. How often do I not think (implicitly, to be sure) that if only God would grant me more of His Countenance, or His Presence, or His Grace, I would simply resist sin without fail and immediately grow in holiness. The Pope's words offer me the remedy for this error. Would it not be worse, I wonder, if we were granted a continual place of limitless Grace such that we would be aware of it, and then turn our wills against Him? Indeed, I need not wonder, for the example lived already: Judas.

Rex tremendae majestatis, qui salvandos salvas gratis, salva me, Fons Pietatis!

Thursday, 5 October 2006

Sanctity without Sensation

The Holy Father's catechesis on St. Bartholomew the Apostle yesterday:

"We do not have detailed news about Bartholomew's later apostolic activities. (...) The figure of Saint Bartholomew remains before us to tell us that deep adhesion to Jesus can be lived and witnessed even without the achievement of
sensational works".
Relinquishing a loud sanctity that requires continual affirmation and attention is a step without which one cannot progress very far in the inner life. I'm not quite sure I have learnt it yet. It would be a poor exchange indeed if I let go of the ceaseless pursuit of worldly fame merely to transpose it into an attachment to an awe-inspiring and unyielding "holy renown". A renown I denounce with great theatrical abandon, yes!, but nonetheless relish.

But there is hope! I must not trust in myself or despair of myself; either is madness.

Christ, make me yours, make me sane in the midst of so much useless commotion.