I Love the header on this page. It is a constant meditation on the final passion of Christ. The virgin pure untainted white sin free snow, the central pillar of wood the cross, and the berries Christ. If you look closely you will see the stems of berries make their own Cross, the berries are Christs blood spilled in Love. And yet somehow this photo is most beautiful and untainted. Every time that I write on here this is what I see. We know the snow will melt when the sun comes out, and that the seasons change. We know that the birds will eat the last few berries, else the berries will die and fall to the ground and wither away in their organic way. We know that the branches will bud and spring into new life with new shoots and fresh greenery, and we know that the branches will give birth to new fruits, and so the cycle will begin again and again and again. Death and new life, ever starting/over.
A month or so before Easter I was at a small sophisticated thanksgiving event in my small parish. It was a gentle evening, with food and wine, and a little thank you gift. A bookmark with an image and a few words about our two Saints whom the churches are named after, threaded with a little dark red or dark green ribbon. I didn’t want to be at this event and I had planned not to go, but I was asked to drive some aging guests who do not like to drive in the dark. The event was to say thank you to everybody that does anything in any way in the parish. The three people who do the most in the parish were laying on the event for all the people who do less in the parish. It was all quite a hushed affair and nobody was allowed to offer any help, which left me in a very awkward position. You see in my lack of grace I did not want to be thanked for anything. Frankly you just can not exclude somebody from being a full and equal part of their community and their diocese to every other Catholic in it, against their every will, and cause them the most gut-wrenching, sickening, hurting, visible, choking pain, and then thank them. It just doesn’t quite work.
I collected my three aging friends and took them to the party, I endured the humiliation whilst feeling like death, uncomfortable, sad, empty and downright bloody awkward, that everyone was enjoying themselves whilst I was standing in the middle of them all and dying in pain and sorrow. I tried to hover between conversations, so as not to dry up completely. For two hours I endured. Thank God the local homeless man had come in for some food and warmth, talking to him saved me. Such an intelligent and faithful man, living the life of a locally wandering hermit, how at times I could join him. Sometimes I just imagine never ever speaking again, just to be silent and allow the Love that I have to shine through my body, my smile, my touch, my actions, my persona, in my own little cloister, everyone else outside. Thats how it feels at times already.
Having tried my best to disguise my hurting and having managed to survive behind my gift of being warm and smiling and host-like on the outside to others, making them feel loved and special, the greatest sadness of all was when I was leaving. Me and one of the guests who was leaving with me, thanked one of the organisers for all of her hard work and effort, we said it was her that should be being treated. But in her blindness, without seeing my pain inside, and in her weakness, she subtly warned that it was her job to serve others and that she loved doing it, and that there would only be a problem if somebody tried to take her place! So many people, so many different lives all with their pain fighting its way. In my sorrow I just smiled kindly and warmly and said ‘nobody would try to take your place.’
Some of us are Martha’s . . . and some of us are Mary’s . . . and some of us have chosen the better part. Though I am not convinced for a moment it is the easier part.
At my last S.V.P meeting a beautiful Sister from the Congo spoke to us about the suffering of her people. Mainly the suffering is of the women and the children. They eat mainly root because it is the only thing they have to eat. They do not get enough protein to be healthy, and as a result they suffer from water retention, their hair becomes brittle and breaks, they have diabetes and eventually they die, tiny children, adults too. Nobody can afford the desperately needed insulin to keep them alive. Cesarian section is not socially acceptable in the Congo and so often under the pressure the women’s uterus will burst. The women cannot afford the operations they need, and so their babies are often at walking age before the women even manage to leave the hospitals, if they survive. This puts any of our sufferings into a completely different category, the Congo’s problems need ultimate selfless help, Love and practical help on a desperate level. Yet another way. A way where the Sisters say they look for Christ’s tears, and that is where their work is most needed. The difference between contemplative and active ministry is such a contradiction and yet this is where the body of Christ becomes ever One.
And yet with my whole heart, being and mind and in absolute contradiction, I feel that for me The Ultimate Union with God, whatever our ministry, can only be All fully powerful, fully realised, fully understood, and fully Lived out when experienced between two people in God. It is the highest possible Union that any being could Ever know, I know how high the physical and spiritual union was for me between two people when I was unconscious of God, on my part it felt so high but was missing and lacking at the crucial point because of the other. My previous partners were an angry unbeliever and a humanist, and over time ‘it’ all fell away. The closer I came to God the further away they became, and that’s where they have remained. Until they choose to move closer to God in their love there will be little progress in their intimate unions.
And then I became conscious of God, of Love encircled enwrapped and enclosed by His seal. Love bestowed in such a Miracle way . . . between me and another . . . when both God and We became fully present. It caused such a powerful endless conversion, it is akin to taking a big sheath knife to myself, lodging it deeply between my ribcage and turning it around and around for impossible maximum pain. To pull the knife out would be to die in agony and to leave it in is to die in agony. I keep thinking the only way to free myself is to walk away from the church. He and he will never leave me, He and he will be forever present, this I know.
My whole life is melting away before me, but I have a choice, I can neither in both ways embrace a way which denies Union with God. A Union which I believe with my whole being, God created for us to experience in all its regal perfection through Him with a God chosen other being. It is no mistake when two souls meet in the most undeniably mystical of ways because of His engineering it. To be denied this Love is to deny Him. I believe with my whole life and death that God wants us to master the total selfless giving of us each to the other, perfected in the Holiest Union of two becoming One in Him.
It is here where the ripples flow outward and bless the whole of His creation in the ultimate creation of Love . . . a ministry inspiring ministry inspiring ministry inspiring ministry inspiring †
And that today is where for now my Easter ramblings are at.