the mystery and the demand—do not abandon ship!

“In her voyage across the ocean of this world,
the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses.
Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.”

St. Boniface


(The Britannic going down. (Painting by Ken Marschall)

“The Passion is described as the mystery of Christ’s suffering.
It was a mystery at the time because people could not reconcile it with what they had expected.
In the sense that we can never fully understand the idea of God suffering,
the Passion is still a mystery.
Now if our sufferings are somehow or other to fit into the Passion of Christ—
and this is no fiction because this is where they belong—there will surely
be an element of mystery about them.
They will make demands on our faith.”

Fr. Hubert van Zeller, OSB
An Excerpt From
The Mystery of Suffering

I love both of these thought provoking quotes!

St. Boniface is keen with his observation that The Church, as in big C,
is indeed like a ship.
She has criss-crossed this globe of ours now for the last 2000 plus years.

Her crew consists of both you and me, the family of Believers.

A crew of both past and present faithful believers…
and yet…we can’t help but wonder about her future crew.

How might a future crew tend to this most majestic of ships?

Next we read the words of Fr. van Zeller regarding suffering.
God’s suffering as well as ours, mankind.
Suffering.
The suffering of God the father and Christ the Son, along with the suffering of humanity.

The suffering of God made man is perplexing– in part because our earthly
minds and rationale cannot fully grasp the full scope of one who would submit to such
knowingly and willingly.

Firstly, there is no question that we mere mortals have wrestled with the thought of the
suffering of Christ since the day he was arrested, tried and executed.
The God of creation willingly subjecting himself to misery, brutality, deprivation,
suffering and a lingering death.
Why would the triune God submit to such a thing as “the Passion”?

Therein lies the mystery.

The lack of comprehension.

The inability to grasp the unconditional.

Man, it seems, will frustratingly struggle with the scope of such a free and willingly
given gift until the end of time.

Compound that dilemma with the dilemmas we now face in this precarious 21st century.

So is it any wonder there are those who are readily and rapidly jumping ship?
Fear is a powerful tool used by our ancient nemesis.

Jump, we drown.

There are great demands on our faith.
These are the days of separation…
Goats and sheep.

Stay on board…the surf is rough but a Calm will soon still the waters.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:
if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,
and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy,
God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city,
which are described in this book.

Revelation 22:18-19

fusion

“To join two things together there must be nothing between them or
there cannot be a perfect fusion.
Now realize that this is how God wants our soul to be,
without any selfish love of ourselves or of others in between,
just as God loves us without anything in between.”

St. Catherine of Siena


(image from the Passion of the Christ)

The word fusion, according to Merriam Webster, is defined as a union by or as if by melting:
such as a: a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole

A merging of diverse, distinct, separate elements—
Merging…as in combining, blending, joining together… a union…
the binding of two pieces in order to become one.

That is what God desires…a fusion of created to Creator.

But this is actually more of a re-union…a re-joining of two who were long ago separated…
for, in the beginning, there was a union… but with man having chosen to defy the Creator…
the union was torn asunder.

Yet as St Catherine of Siena reminds us, God longs to be reunited…He longs for the two to
be fused back together…

However, for the fusion to hold, there can be nothing which exists in between…
there must be nothing.

Not the thinnest, smallest, tiniest or slightest separation…
not any passion, nor desire, nor want…nothing that we think we simply must have
can exist because if it does, we remain separate and not one.

And so as we read below an excerpt from the Catholic Catechism…
whether we be Catholic or not, we read that it is by Christ’s passion…
his sacrifice, his willingness to offer himself in place of our own damned fate
that we are able to be reunited.
He has fused himself to us as we are re-united in “his redemptive Passion.”
As He joins the Father, we in turn re-join the Father…

“Often Jesus asks the sick to believe.
He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing.
The sick try to touch him, ‘for power came forth from him and healed them all’.
And so in the sacraments Christ continues to ‘touch’ us in order to heal us.
Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick,
but he makes their miseries his own:
‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases’.
But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover.
On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and
took away the ‘sin of the world’, of which illness is only a consequence.
By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering:
it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.”

Excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Chruch, pp.1504-05

Middle ground

“Will you be my disciple, or will you be my executioner?”
Henri Nouwen excerpt From Action to Passion
Bread and Wine Readings for Lent and Easter

DSCN2955
(a visiting dragonfly / Julie Cook / 2016)

Living in a time filled with…
the chronic pursuit of a middle ground,
the incessant scrambling of meeting half way,
the constant yearning for compromise…
the mindless steamrolling to level all playing fields….

Our society anguishes to create the equilibrium of the overt…
Striking any negative or counter thought or action into a thousand pieces…

Society screams that anything and everything is perfectly okay…by gosh by golly!…

Yet that’s the thing…

It’s not ok.

No matter how much the culture police shout.
There is no waffling or fence riding, not magic middle…

Despite being the culture of infinite choices…
the “that’s okay” while “that’s ok too…”
The time in which each individual may have what they want while doing what they want…
be it legal or illegal,
sinful or saintly,
of the norm or over the top…
Is waning..

We just want it all to be…
Copacetic,
Acceptable,
Non confrontational,
Happy
And by all means…
Peaceful…

Yet the question remains…

The same question asked ages past…
Just as it is asked today…

Will you be my disciple or my executioner…?

Will you pick up your cross and follow me?
Will you follow me on this journey to hell and back?

Or

Will you say you will follow only to…
abandon me
deny me
ridicule me
forsake me
beat me
nail my hands and feet to a tree…?

Will you honor me when it means to dishonor Caesar (your government, your culture, your status quo)
Will you acknowledge me when it means to ignore your peers, your entertainers, your athletes, your politicians, your friends…

The ultimate yes or no..
No maybe,
No let me think about it,
No can we just strike a balance…
It’s either
Yes
Or it is
No

“There is no middle ground here.
Jesus went to Jerusalem to put people in a situation where they had to say “Yes” or “No”
That is the great drama of Jesus’ passion”
he had to wait upon how people were going to respond.
How would they come?
To betray him or to follow him?
In a way, his agony is not simply the agony of approaching death.
It is the agony of having to wait…”

Henri Nouwen
From Action to Passion

The time for a decision is now
The time of waiting is finally over….
Will it be yes?
Or will it be no?

The April fool

A fool may be known by six things: anger without cause; speech without profit; change without progress; inquiry without object; putting trust in a stranger; and mistaking foes for friends.
Arabian Proverb

DSC00848
(cement putti riding a fish / Julie Cook / 2015)

Malevolence and betrayal walk the land this day, hand in hand, as Evil waits its due.
What was, now is and all that breathes hangs in a scaly hand.
The shape shifter stands in the shadows, biding his time
“Is it not yet the moment?” he hisses, as his giddiness is hard to contain.
“Crush the Light” tiny demons skip and sing with delight
“Hail oh darkness and death.”
Black clouds gather silently overhead as distant thunder rumbles.

Bets are made as the silver is counted.
The deed is nearly at hand.
This midweek day remains eerily calm,
Yet noted, it is claimed as the day of Fools,
With the biggest one waiting in the depths of darkness

He licks his lips in greedy anticipation.
The thought of finally winning is more than he can bare.
As the mole scampers about his blinding task
with words dripping from his mouth like honey,
Yet it is not bees that he gathers but the flies of death.

It is to this day that the earth hangs in the balance between Light and Dark
Events are coming that will change the outcome of all humankind.
Darkness falsely claims its gain and counts its fortunes far too soon
For this tale has been long foretold
Battles will wage
Powers will clash
The dead and the living must now decide.
Yet when the dust settles and the storm clouds pass,
The War will be long past
As a single April fool stands forever wondering how he lost. . .