Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Nativity of John the Baptist

La Vierge, L'Enfant Jesus et Saint Jean Baptiste,
William Bouguereau
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matthew 11:7-11)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thanks Be To God

Today I swam for the first time in five years—swam for the first time since withdrawing my foot from the pool five years ago, recoiling in pain from Lyme disease. With the onset of symptoms, my skin had become so sensitive that it hurt to be touched by the cool water, the ill-placed human hand, and the heat of the sun. But today, I swam.
As I kicked my feeble legs through the water, I remembered a summer when I used to swim every morning, play tennis each afternoon, and in the evening, I’d walk a few miles at the beach. For a moment, I dwelt on tennis, thought of beginning to teach my nephew and suddenly remembered that I am limited by my physical therapist at present to walking for only six minutes at a time because my legs and lower back are shot.
Regardless, I was pleased as punch to be in the water. To be relieved of the weight of my body, relieved of the awesome pull of gravity upon my limbs was exquisite. To live for a little while in no pain, was exquisite. To see the pie-eyed gaze of my cat follow me back and forth from one end of the pool to the other, no doubt pondering how I could be in the water and survive it, was exquisite.    

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Body of Christ

We know from Lanciano that this bread is the heart. The very heart of God is hidden within a simple disc of unleavened bread, the infinite God made small and palatable to the human tongue.

It is vulnerable and naked that Christ comes to us in the Eucharist. Within it is contained the Man who lived among us, who suffered with us and for us, who was tired, who thirsted, who wept, who bled.      

Because He has so desired this communion, He has been willing to entrust to us His heart as an object, a thing exposed before us and handled by human hands, a thing that we might gaze upon and long for, a thing that we might swallow and consume.

While many today will ponder the majesty of the Body of Christ encased and displayed in a glittering gold monstrance, admiring His simplicity and His power, I would like to recall His words to Saint Paul, “my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Fond Remembrance

For about a month, I’ve been stretching myself a bit farther than I am accustomed to, and I find myself feeling frayed and sort of wobbly. I haven’t rested or slept as much as I need to in order to maintain the state of Lyme health I’ve been enjoying for several months. Even after good sleep last night, I woke feeling an undertow… like the ground I had beneath me is being swept away.

At first, I was a little afraid. Not of falling ill again itself, but of how illness would delay my getting on with the future. Because I am already invested there, moving toward the completion of one project and the beginning of another.

But then I remembered. During Mass today, I was struck with remembering how it feels to be weak. And with that remembrance, I was enveloped by peace. I was returned to that most sublime of all places, returned to resting in the very arms of Jesus, which is also to say that I was reminded of the truth, the fact of my own frailty and the joy of it in delivering me to that divine embrace.

In that moment, all changed and I was no longer concerned about the future or any delay in its coming to fruition, because I was reminded that where I am and what has led me here has come about in and through grace.