Monday, 1 April 2013

Recent Must-Reads and a Must-Watch

I did not give up Facebook for Lent, but I ended up nearly abandoning it during Holy Week.   I only glanced at notifications and "liked" all the beautiful family Easter photos that I found on my news feed late Sunday evening.   This evening, I found a notification that Marc at BadCatholic on the Patheos Catholic Channel had finally gotten back to writing.   And what a return!   It seems there's constantly a post churning in the back of my mind about what drew me to the Catholic Church, despite my anti-Catholic upbringing.   I loved novels set amongst devout Jewish families, with their calendar centered around festivals that even dictated the use of their time and foodstuffs.   Why had that disappeared with Christianity?   Liturgy?   And then I attended my first mass and felt the draw and the first pull for me to find that which my heart so desperately sought.   Now, I've read this, though, and I don't know what else I could write.   This is beautiful.   This is what drew me to the Eternal Word, whom I now know where to seek in the Eucharist until I reside in Eternity with Him.

An excerpt from Ritual, Evidence of Eternity:

'Eternity demands repetition, a ritual of again-and-again played out by those seeking to kiss it, we whose limited physicality cannot handle the Unlimited, whose ending, fading bodies cannot wrap themselves around the unending and never-fading. If you are looking for Eternity, look where you find ritual. Ritual is repetition that seeks Eternity in the thing repeated.'

Ritual is repetition that seeks eternity in the thing repeated, and the Church overflows with ritual. I genuflect every time I enter a Catholic Church, because no number of genuflections could fully satisfy the desire I have to honor the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. I dip my finger in the holy water and stripe myself with the sign of the cross, because no amount of baptismal water could ever be enough to allow me to fully grasp the ever-depth of what it means to be an adopted son of God. The priest chants his Dominus vobiscum and I my et cum spiritu tuo, and we’ll be chanting it nunc et semper, in saecula saeculorum because no number of repetitions will allow me to comprehend the mystery of Christ truly present in his apostle, the priest. The feasts, the fasts, the holy days of obligations — the Calendar is enshrined repetition, the embrace of an everlasting life, which we cannot conceive of living once and for all, a life we can only live again and again. (This may only mean something to a few, but have it nonetheless: Nietzsche’s Eternal Return is fulfilled in the Julian and Roman Calendars.)

The Church survives her parodies. She calls them heresies and dances forward. She is unchanging, not because she is stuck in the mud, but because the mud cannot stick to her. I know that the incense will rise, the bells will ring, the people will bow, and I will consume the Body and Blood of Christ again and again, not to attain Eternity — how can I in the shadowlands? — but to pant after Eternity, to become Eternity, to dive into the ever-deeper Evermore, to sink my hands and teeth and heart into the Almighty God, tearing Him from Heaven into myself, by the grace that He does the same to me, again and again, until the veil of finitude is in tatters and I see Him — Goodness, Truth and Beauty Himself — face to ever-eager face.   
Now, go read it in its entirety.   Then, re-read.   Savor.   Repeat.

I look forward to King's pictures, like this one, captioned "Let's have coffee!"

Where to begin with Heather King's blog, Shirt of Flame?   Print out every post, tape them to a wall and just start throwing darts.   Trust me, you'll hit greatness every time.   This was a particularly powerful post for me to read as I headed into Holy Week.   It dovetails well with the radical example of our newly elected Pope Francis.   It was a much-needed kick in the rear.

(and no, she doesn't want women to be priests)

...Because “those people” are us: the people, the only people, suffering, struggling humans. Because if we’re going to be inviting people to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience, we sure as hell better be inviting each other into our homes, our tables, our hemorrhaging, conflicted hearts.
If you're afraid all that is going to "lower your standards," you're very much mistaken. There's no lower standard than self-righteous fear...
 ...You’ll realize: I actually let that guy who cut me off in traffic yesterday off the hook. I actually felt a stab of what felt suspiciously like affection toward my mother-in-law, my junkie son, my sex-worker neighbor, the Marine Corps soldier, the bleeding-heart liberal (depending on your stance, one of these is sure to be difficult), my boss (bonus points if you're self-employed), the young girl who, from a one-night-stand, is having a baby…
You’ll realize: Oh. THIS is what Christ meant! I don’t have to be boiled in oil or have my eyes gouged out. This is laying down my life: this sharing, this exchange, this richness, this mercy, this mystery.

You’ll realize that love is a way more tender--and way more exacting Master--than fear.

Again, read, savor, repeat.   This is how we are called to lay ourselves down and it's not easy.   Check out the comments on her post, also.   Then, hang out and read more of her blog.

Then, there was this treasure from the CBS Evening News.   I have never seen the anchor of a major news program cry like this.   Steve Pelley could not control the emotion any more than I could as he was in the presence of the beautiful witness of this Newtown family and the state trooper who has now become a member of their family.   This is faith in action and it is difficult to watch, but it is beautiful.   A glimpse of beauty in ugliness.   A part of the answer to those who ask "Where was God?"

Please take a moment to watch in its entirety.   A transcript is included in the link:

I just knew it. Mother's instinct, call it what you want. My belief is that God just wrapped me up and -- and held me tight knowing that what was to unfold in the coming hours and the coming days was just going to be horrific.

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