Wednesday, September 24, 2008

“I recollect that wondrous meeting,
that instant I encountered you,
when like an apparition fleeting,
like beauty’s spirit, past you flew.”

I met my dearest friend when we were both in love with the same man. She was overwhelmingly beautiful and I felt instantly that all was lost. He must love her, and I must love her – the whole world must love her, how could they not? It was a devastating realization and a thrilling one – I had never met anyone like her. I didn’t realize until later that she had felt the same on meeting me.

She is out west now and I am here, on the grey eastern ocean, married and trying to remember that I am a writer. I wish I could write her a life full of answered prayers and living dreams; I wish I could write lovely lives for all those I love: My dear brothers – one running recklessly from God and his whispering call to holiness; the other putting every gift of God away to molder while he waits for God to give him joy; my sister whom I love, and who I wish would listen just once to her heart. My lonely, lovelorn friends in the Midwest and the far West; my lost, soul-starved friends in the East and South – I long to write joy into the lives of everyone I know. How is it that I can be so joyful, despite my as yet unreceived blessings? I wish I could give them that joy.

In adoration today I thought about them and I realized that God, too, longs to write lives replete with blessings. He is held back only because He chose first of all to give them free will and in that freedom lies the opportunity to reject Him, His love, His gifts, the goodness of living for Him. Not all gifts are given when we want them, as I am learning – as we all learn at some time in life. Sometimes the gift given is the gift of learning to love God for Himself alone, not for His gifts and blessings; it is the gift of learning to wait, to hope, and to believe.

Friday, September 12, 2008

“Where the mind is perhaps rather unwilling to be convinced, it will always find something to support its doubts.”
Jane Austen

The other day I read about the group “Call to Action,” which exists to bemoan the lack of priestesses in the Catholic Church. They have gone so far as to perform their own “ordinations.” I read their literature and even watched some priestess-performed “masses” online. They are so old, and so sad! They have the pinched, haunted look of those who are always searching for something to support their mistakes, to make them true. They are a dying breed and they must see it, when they look around and see only old faces, the same faces they’ve been looking at for years, while the old, sunken-eyed academic who is Pope has the love and joyful obedience of millions.

The churches too, that continue to abuse the liturgy with liturgical dance, costumes, skits, and other tackiness are dying. Their congregations are old, the children leave as soon as they’re grown; there is nothing to hold them to the Church, having never really experienced Catholicism they don’t know what they’re leaving behind. It is sad, but its hopeful as well, because the people coming into the Church are coming for Catholicism.

There was a wave of extreme liturgical abuses after Vatican II that - despite all the issues still worrying our Church – seems at last to be on its death-bed. I am not saying that the Church is free of liturgical abuses, we need only assist at mass to hear the inappropriate add-ons: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord and each other;” to see the lack of reverence when priests forget to bow during the creed when we proclaim our belief in the Incarnation. But these are remnants the overall trend is towards the holy, the good, and the reverently celebrated mass.

This optimistic view is somewhat new to me. I look at the attendees at parish, which generally keeps within the churches norms; we are a parish of young families - families that chose the parish for its beauty, its reverence, its orthodox-leanings. They are also families who would welcome a more traditional mass and who are working slowing and respectfully to bring this about. I look at the young priests I know, intelligent, artistic, passionately faithful young men devoted to Christ, to the Blessed Virgin, and the Pope. They are men who were born and raised under John Paul II, the poet-pope who reminded them simply by existing that the priesthood is a passionate pursuit of beauty, a love-affair of eternal proportions.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

“ be an artist meant: not to reckon and count, to ripen like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storm of spring without fear lest no summer might come after.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

It is a beautiful, stormy, dreary morning and I for one hope that it will continue throughout the day. Rainy days are so deliciously indulgent! I may spend the afternoon with Tolstoy and a bowl of popcorn or Dostoyevsky and a pot of tea. I have just the teapot for the occasion too, a small Polish, painted teapot, just large enough to refill my cup and not so large that I will feel the need to keep drinking and drinking.

Autumn has finally come! The air is full of the cold, leafy smell of fall; the rain is cold and when I go out in it I feel the need to hang my head over a mug of hot chai to drive away the chills. But it is only early September, I doubt the weather will last. I fully expect to experience a burst of Indian Summer before the end of the season.

There is Adoration today at St. Joseph’s; I love peaking in for a brief visit. He sits in gold and shines out at me while I can only be silently overwhelmed by His magnificence. I always leave Him wondering why is it I do so little for Him, why does life have me so distracted?