Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Poem on remembering

To Remember

Glassy stillness was over the surface.

So I dropped a pebble into the pond.
Bloop. Bloop. Bloop.
Rhooo. Wooo. Rhooo. Wooo.
Shspeeer. Shspeeer.
Soft satin rolling onto the shores.

Then glass again.

Did I drop a pebble into the pond?
Was it bloop or blop, rhooo or wooo or wahhh to the bottom with bubbles?
Tish or shpeer against the shore?
Its only glass now.

I drop another pebble: only this time in my mind.
Blop. Blop. Blop.
Rhaaa. Whaaa. Rhaaa. Whaaa.
Shush. Shush.
Soft satin rolling onto the shores.

Then glass again.

Homily for Trinity Sunday composed as a take-home exam in class. It is based off of the theology of Richard of St. Victor.

We witness it in the high-schooler that longs to be asked out on just one date. We see it in the teenager waiting to be a friend with someone on Facebook. It’s deepened in a touch of the hand or a walk in the sunset. It’s glimpsed in the catch of an eye as he passes by on the street. It’s found in tears formed in front of the perfect diamond from the perfect man. It’s the response to a baby’s cry during the night with a comforting caress. It’s seen at the bedside when the tubes and wires flow across his body. It’s witnessed at the grave as the last prayers are spoken. It’s the love that has been given to us by the Holy Spirit that forever goes out seeking its home. It’s a love that has its source in God, and therefore our love can be a sign of God’s own eternal love.

This Love is perfected when it find its proper home.

John is 33. Standing on his shaky legs in the smoke-filled room tears began to fill up his eyes. Hardly able to utter the words, he begins to speak: “Most of my life has been a waste. I left home around 16 and completely abandoned my family. I didn’t need that hell any longer. I went from city to city searching out a home, longing for acceptance. Then I took my first hit. That was the beginning to the end. Nothing could be as good as that feeling, I thought. I had found my true love. The night it all came crashing down it took three doctors, four nurses, and a crash cart to bring me back. Only in almost losing my life did I lose the habit. I’ve been clean now for almost four months. I’m no longer running in life. I’ve learned to love myself, a few friends, and even God. I’ve even started going to Church. I think I’ve finally found my home.”

Love in John’s life longed to find its proper home. But abusive relationships, running, and drugs could not perfect the love in his heart. His love only found its proper place in healthy relationships, and ultimately in God. In a similar way to John, the love of God goes out searching for a resting place. God loves all of creation, from the trees to the flowers, to the birds and especially all of us here. Yet these objects cannot perfect God’s love. God needs another who is equal to him and deserving of his supreme love. Only in another divine person does God’s love find its perfection. Therefore, God the Father loves God the Son, and the Son loves the Father, and their love is made perfect in this eternal exchange.

Love is perfected when it finds its proper home.

This love that is perfected produces total happiness.

Nine months ago Jack heard Cindy shouting with joy from the bathroom. After trying for years, Cindy had finally become pregnant. Since then time was occupied with painting rooms, buying toys and clothing, and worrying about everything—even worrying about worrying. They were now in the hospital. Hours passed. Tears poured down. Cindy, covered in sweat and screaming from the top of her lungs continued to push. Then there was a silence. Jack’s heart nearly burst in anticipation. A cry broke through the deafening silence. A baby boy had been born. The doctor handed the boy to Jack. In that moment, if just for a moment, as he looked at his wife and held the boy he had helped to create, Jack’s heart overflowed with love, and time disappeared in a glimpse of total happiness.

In a similar way, just as Jack’s love for his wife and child produced a glimpse of total happiness, the embrace of love between God the Father and God the Son produces happiness. Only, this embrace is not momentary, it is eternal and everlasting. And this embrace does not produce just a glimpse of happiness; it produces pure, supreme and total happiness.

This love that is perfected produces total happiness.

The happiness of perfect love must be shared with others.

No one could understand the shame he had felt. The Apostle Peter looked out over the sea, hardly interested in his breakfast. There Jesus sat, across the fire from him. The same Jesus he had denied three times, the same Jesus he had thought was lost forever. Now he had risen; yet Peter could not confront his sorrow. And then Jesus spoke to him. In three simple statements of love the same man he denied at his darkest hour had forgiven him. It was almost as if Peter’s mistakes simply floated away with the smoke of the fire, off over the sea. The happiness that Peter experienced was indescribable. In fact, it would be this happiness that Peter would try share with others the rest of his life. This happiness would be made perfect in being received by the many people who would listen to Peter’s words about Jesus. It would be this happiness that would lead him to his own martyrdom.

Just as Peter had to share the happiness he experienced from the love of Christ, so too are the Father and the Son impelled to share their happiness with another. To complete the perfect exchange of love and perfect the happiness experienced, the Father and Son share this with God the Holy Spirit. In an eternal dance, embrace and exchange, love is perfected within God, this love produces happiness, and this happiness is fully shared.

The happiness of perfect love must be shared with others.

In our past, during this present, and in to the future, our love will always seek to finds its perfect home. In certain moments, when that love has found its home, we can experience a bliss that leaves us breathless. Regaining our breath, we are able to share this experience with others. As our lives journey in love, let us remember that we share in the love of a divine Trinity, whose love has been perfected in an eternal exchange, and whose happiness continues to be eternally available not only within the Trinity, but also to us.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Short Reflection on Simplicity of Life

There are teeth grinders, hair twirlers and nail biters. There are finger scratchers, cheek biters and leg shakers. Look around: when anxiety and stress go up, the funny, human habits appear.

Personally, I am a teeth grinder. I can easily tell when I have been under too much stress: my jaw is soar and my teeth hurt. Whether I am trying to make a deadline, worrying about whether-or-not I can make all of my appointments tomorrow, or simply just worrying about worrying, I can feel the tension build up in my jaw. I have begun to wonder whether this is what God has intended for me.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus invites his disciples to gaze upon creation and let their eyes rest upon the birds. These birds neither sow nor reap; they do not store up food in barns, or wonder where their next meal is going to come from. Yet, God takes care of all their needs.

As I look out my window at the birds that are slowly making their way from the warm south to the northern territories, I find myself wondering: do these birds fly around with clenched beaks worrying about every little thing in life? Yet, Jesus promises that as they are taken care of by God, in an even more abundant way, God is taking care of us all: despite the teeth grinding, the nail bighting and the leg shaking.

Perhaps the first step to living a simple life is learning how to let go. For starters, it is important to let go of the false idea that we can control everything that goes on in our life. Thinking that we can control everything is only going to give us a false sense of security. Jesus begs us not to worry about controlling our lives, because ultimately he is taking care of all that we need. What better person to care for our needs than our all loving Savior.

Perhaps this Spring as we hear the birds singing sweetly to each other, or view them soaring high above our heads, we can be reminded of just how much God loves us, and is taking care of us. And when we feel tempted to bite those nails, or shake those legs, or grind those teeth, we can catch ourselves and say a short little prayer: "God, thank you that you love me and are in control of my life."