This morning at Mass, I was thinking about the different ways we can meet each other. The priest gave a very simple but profoundly true homily about how we need to encounter the Lord in the same way we encounter the people around us: we "rub elbows" with them, experience them, get to know the by the things we do together. He talked about how we can come to communion every single day and receive Jesus sacramentally, but he raised the question of whether we are really allowing Jesus into our private territory. Because Jesus doesn't just go there without being asked.
It was basic and profoundly true.
How often to we meet people in ways that actually allow them into our private territory? Do we even know how to do that? Do we even frequent our own private territory? I'm convinced that many people avoid their souls and seek distraction in order to keep avoiding their souls.
I wrote yesterday about our need to entrust our dignity to others and experience it being honored. We do this in ways big and small, and of course what we can control is not the response we get, but the ability to entrust ourselves. It takes some wisdom and learning how and when and how much to do that.
There are many different ways that hearts can range from closed to open, with a lot of thoughtlessness mixed in, and with emotions that range from fiery to dull to absent. When people are always dull or absent, engaging them is like pulling teeth. Fiery emotions meeting head-on can be extremely difficult in a different way, but at least there is something to work with.
But there is that moment where one heart can meet another and truly entrust its dignity to the other and experience being honored, appreciated, cared for, valued. When that happens, I think there is a permanent shift in the fabric of the universe, because God makes His mark. Ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est. To have this experience ruins one for life, you might say. It is not so much the experience of a person, because that same person might turn around and mar and betray, or die. But God speaks, God acts, and God transforms. Even if I then turn away from Him, that will stand for the rest of my life as evidence God has deposited with me. He will always call me by that truth, and I can always remember and choose again to believe.
To experience this is a gift and a grace. But there are so many hindrances to meeting others on this level, as I alluded to earlier. Thinking those through is for another time.