Monday, February 06, 2006

Free-associating in the Holy Spirit

My weekly appointment at the Eucharistic Adoration chapel is at 7:00 pm on Sundays. (And, yes, it took some conscious sacrifice to be there during the Super Bowl. Not much, but some.) I prefer mid-day because I'm less inclined to get sleepy, but there's something good about closing out the Lord's Day with some one-on-one time with Jesus.

I almost always pray a Rosary at some time during the hour. It took me a long time to get into the rhythm of meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary while praying the decades. I didn't know them all by heart and for a while it seemed like an ancient form of stressful Windows multitasking. But it comes more easily now, and frequently the Lord bestows little insights about his nature out of nowhere while I'm praying.

So I had a couple of those delightful moments last night. The first arrived as I was hanging around thoughts of the resurrection. I realized that Jesus had been fully dead and, in the space of no time at all, became fully alive. I don't know whether I had harbored a secret mental image of one of those trick birthday candles that always have a hidden spark left that later bursts into flame to fool you. But I found it striking. There was absolutely nothing left of life in Jesus. Nothing at all. Until the power of the Holy Spirit restored not only his full human life but full divine life as well, it was gone. Done. And then, instantly, it was better than it had been before. I'm sure the application here to times of being bereft is worth lots of thought.

The second reflection relates to the interval between Jesus' ascension to heaven and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples.

A quick sidebar: At Mass yesterday, my fiancĂ© read the first reading from one of his favorite books, Job. In part, it read: "If in bed I say, 'When shall I arise?' then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again." When he returned to his seat, I remarked to him, "Thankfully, Job was mistaken." Henry's response was, "He was right."

I believe both Henry and I were correct. Job was telling the absolute truth. He was miserable through no fault of his own. Life was bleak, dark and full of misery. Yet he hadn't yet seen the end of his own story where "the Lord [will bless] the latter days of Job with more than he had at the beginning." (Jb 42: 12) Job was right about the present, but he wasn't in a position to see what God had in store.

It must have been like that for the disciples during the interval time. Jesus ascends to the Father. Period. The disciples have learned a lot about his divine nature, he has told them of plans to bless them, but at that moment there is nothing of Jesus that can be found anywhere in the world. I hope they waited in faith. But if they extrapolated from the present ("I pray but nothing happens," they might say, or "He said it would be better if he went away, but look around -- it's not!"), they would reach the wrong conclusion. Their facts are right. But their assumptions wouldn't take into account the tremendous generative power and love of God.

So much of anxiety stems from the inadequacy of our data. We have the concrete facts right, perhaps. But the part of the equation that will be supplied by the enormous loving kindness of God hasn't yet been made apparent. We can wait. Or we can do what seems more proactive -- we can fret.

Oh, dear. Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait.


Therese Z said...

I struggle with Mary's role in my life. I got it figured out in the life of the Church and in Jesus' life, but not in mine.

But I can easily weep when I can consider how she felt in those three days, the "interval." She must not have lost hope, but she must have been horribly tempted to.

If she (and you) can wait, so....can.....I.....

Henry Dieterich said...

And I added, "It's the perfect description of life in this world." Job said, "I will not see happiness again"--and he might not have. Even at that, he still trusted utterly in God and desired above all to see Him. When he humbled himself before God, acknowledging that he had no case at all, no right to demand anything from God, he did not say, "I'll do this if you bless my latter end." God's blessing of Job was as gratuitous as the suffering He had permitted, and Job recognized that his life was by right in the hands of God for good or for ill. We know, however, that beyond this world and its suffering and ultimate death there is a reward promised by Christ to those who believe and abide in Him. So regardless, we will see happiness again, however much our life here is a burden.

TS said...

Often I think: "Life is hell. At least if you're doing it right."

(i.e. along the lines of Christ's words that "you must lose your life in order to gain it".)

TS said...

Hey Roz, I was going thru my archives looking for something when I happened across something that mentioned you, so just in case you mentioned here it is:



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