Sunday, January 03, 2010

I listened to a homily that was blistering, amazingly descriptive of the last year of my life. Why was it blistering? I guess because it described the actual events my soul had experienced. The homily knew me. My experience is part of The Experience of Christ, and someone was testifying to that. And the person who had been so intimately connected with that experience of mine was sitting to my left, behind me. And I was surrounded by others of the community where this experience had become real. Deacon spoke of experiencing Christ in and with the others in our parish. And there I was, in the midst of my parish, in the midst of the people through whom I've experienced Christ, near especially that one person to whom I'd tried to describe what had happened over the last year. So real. Liturgy. This is where life happens.

At first I sat still with my eyes closed. Then, I opened them. I began to rub the back of my hand with my thumb. Then I began scraping the back of my hand with my nail to the point of breaking my skin. I tapped the kneeler with my shoe. One, then two tears ran down my cheek. Then maybe a half dozen more. I let them run. The homily was like being at the feet of Christ and listening to him say "Yes, I know who you are." My body was struggling to find a way to contain me as my heart also leapt toward Him in response.

Deacon talked about the need we have to risk. Man, I feel that risk, and I've felt it. Nothing abstract there. He talked about how we all help each other, regardless of where we are in our individual journeys. About how necessary it is that we bear witness to each other, and how essential it is for us to see the face of Christ in each other. What did I write in my letter: I've seen in you what I have desperately needed to see: the human face of Christ. I used the word desperately. That's a risky word. In between all of Deacon's words what struck me is how totally obvious it is, objectively speaking, that beholding the face of Christ is about beholding love. This is what Christians are to be known for; it is basic to who we are, it is basic to Christianity, yet it is like that water to the one dying in the desert, like food to the starving, it is the craving of every human heart, and isn't it incredibly risky to speak of it? I wonder if I speak of it only when and because I cannot really take it in. When I take it in, it becomes ineffable and majestic in its power and I cannot speak. It is like standing on the precipice of life and death, and knowing that I am safe in life. This is risky stuff. But I have spoken of it and there it is; now I have to grow into what I have spoken.

Yes, that's it; I have to grow into what I have spoken.

(Is this why in the Old Covenant, speaking the name of God was not done? It is so amazing to speak of a God Who has a name.)

And at the sign of peace, as those words were spoken to me, perhaps they never meant more: "Peace be with you, Marie." Christ's peace, extended to me through Christ's brothers.