Two Tables – One Story

Wisdom and love, Word and deed – each pair describes the same dynamic and are prevalent today in our closing prayer – prevalent in this Church.  In fact they have their own altars; and both are integral for our journey home – for our salvation.  If we lack one or other we are going to have rough time on this journey.

As humans, creatures, we are in need of guidance from our creator; we cannot comprehend reality without His help.  It would be like a character in the beginning of a novel trying to understand how they were to get to the end; they can’t. The author is only one who knows; the only one who has the power to move them to the end.

So, our creator has given us the Wisdom; has offered His words to help us move through the pages. Our journey is written in front of us; at least the end that the eternal author wishes us to attain.  We hear it every time we read scripture, every time a lector or clergy proclaim the Word from this ambo – this altar of God’s wisdom – this table of the Word.

As fallen creatures however, humanity has turned themselves from the truth to try to blaze their own story. We seem to have trouble appreciating God’s story.  But God, the author of life, in His infinite mercy, has given us the help we need to see the truth. He has acted to ensure that His storyline for us can still be attained; by His deeds He has opened our eyes, at least those who want to see.  He has come and has shown us that Love is the storyline – and He continues to show us that every time we come to Mass and participate at the altar of His son’s sacrifice – His table of Love.

In our Responsory this evening we proclaim:”The whole of creation proclaims the greatness of your glory.’ It seems to me that creation can do this because ‘these two tables proclaim greatness of His story.

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Putting Saint back into Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away I was struck with the quote for the day on EWTN.com for the mass readings:

To love God as He ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love. We must love nothing but Him, or if we love anything else, we must love it only for His sake.”  — St. Peter Claver

This ‘special’ day has come to epitomize the erosion of society’s understanding of love.  It has become sensualized, it has lost its altruistic importance – it is shallow.  That doesn’t mean that some individuals and couples don’t grasp the true meaning, but this is in spite of what our market-driven culture emphasizes.  Most of what we see on Valentine’s day is a self-centered understanding of love.  Society places an emphasis on self satisfaction to the point where many view their partner as a means to pleasure; and if the relationship doesn’t give the pleasure people feel they deserve then it is ok to move on.

When I read the quote from St. Peter Claver I am struck by the true understanding of love; it comes from God, as do we.  When we fall in love, truly fall in love, we are acknowledging God’s gift to us and our ability to share it with others.  We see God in those we befriend, and we see God in a most special way in our spouse.  We are driven to give our all for that person – we are called to sacrifice our chance for ‘worldly-pleasure’ so that our spouse can be truly happy and grow.  As Christ showed us, love is a joyful sacrifice.  A relationship built from God’s love is one that is reciprocated by each other.  When we give our all for each other we become one; one in Christ. This is the true meaning to Saint Valentine’s Day.

Satan Knew My Grandma Well

Driving to work this morning I heard a beautiful bluegrass song sung by The Grascals.  It was a great reminder to all of us to find those holy people and place them in our lives as mentors and protectors.  My prayer this day is that each of us find these people and grow to be them.

Satan Knew My Grandma Well
The Grascals
Songwriters: Monday, Craig Allen; Wallin, Chris Allen

Satan knew my grandma well
He could hear her prayers clear down in hell
He’d get so mad he’d burn hisself
Satan knew my grandma well

He tried his best to test her faith
He sent grandpa to his grave
And he talked her into blaming herself
Satan knew my grandma well

With a Bible for her sword and shield
She fought him on the battlefield
Kneeled down beside her bed
For hours on that tearstained floor
til he couldn’t take anymore
He even prayed to hear her say amen
Satan knew my grandma well

He could hear her prayers clear down in hell
She made him wish he never fell
Satan knew my grandma well

I was 6 years old in Sylvan Park
Satan tried to get me in his car
But he sped away when he heard her yell
Satan knew my grandma well

With a Bible for her sword and shield
She fought him on the battlefield
Kneeled down beside her bed
For hours on that tearstained floor
til he couldn’t take anymore
He even prayed to hear her say amen
Satan sighed with great relief

The day that grandma got her wings
And she’s somewhere she can finally rest
Satan knew my grandma well
Jesus knows my grandma best

De Colores!

This past weekend I had the blessing of being an assistant spiritual director for a women’s Cursillo Retreat. Seventy-two hours of spiritual reflection and growth, not only for the participants; but for the team that led the retreat as well.

I have been given a witness to the love of God by the group of women that organized, coordinated, and participated in this weekend. De Colores ‘the Colors’ is a Spanish Children’s song used by the Cursillo movement and it brings joy to the group when we sing it. No theological message in it; just a fun little song – or is there? I watched and listened as these beautiful women (and three clergy, including myself) got up and witnessed for the Lord to other women; witnessing with their words, their service, their concern, their love. Each of us (team and participants) a colored thread, woven by the Lord throughout our lives, being woven together by the master artist Himself into a beautiful tapestry of radiant color; the color of Love itself in the tapestry of God’s plan. Each of us, no more than one thin piece of material, spun and dyed by our individual experiences and strengthened by the grace of God put together and shining with colors like the rainbow symbol of the Cursillo movement.

It was an amazing, and humbling experience; and it once again proved to me how small I am, how big God is and much I can grow. I am small because I am just one sinful man, but I can grow because of the Love of God and the love of his faithful/pious servants. Words, like these can hardly express the gratitude and love I have for these women allowing me the chance to walk with them – so I will use our Mother’s words. ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me…’ De Colores!