Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By the Sea

Sometimes in our terrible rush towards those very important places or events or tasks we have to get to every day, we miss the wonder of the present moment. We know this. We all KNOW this... and we tell ourselves to slow down, and we say we will... soon. Because inside we know that when we slow down, we see more. When we walk rather than run, we notice things we didn't notice before. We catch our breath and that feels soooo GOOD. But there's so much to do! I have to get all this "stuff" done! So we get up and start running, and in the midst of the 130 billion e-mails that are sent worldwide every day (I'm not making that one up!), we often fail to recognize, receive, and take in like rich dark soil, the one richest of Words that will really give us PEACE. In the words of the late, great Pope John Paul II, we must learn to "chill out" (a loose translation from the Latin). We must learn to BE before giving in to so many temptations to DO; to rush, to run! I am writing this today, because I need to hear this myself. Today, I did hear the Word. It was in the gospel from today's mass. I got zapped by the Incarnation; that historical moment when the God of the universe pulled back the blue veil of Heaven and took on our flesh, et Verbum caro factum est. He learned to walk, and he spoke Aramaic, and he sang songs, and he worked under the same hot sun that we do, and "looked up in wonder at the same moon." The line that grabbed me was from Matthew 13: "On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea." That was it. Whoa. Jesus, the Eternal Son of the Father, sat down by the sea.... Jesus looked out on the very creation that tumbled forth from his own hands. He gazed upon that same movement of the waves that we love to lose ourselves in. He heard the cry of gulls that remind us of the great open expanse of the water, the womb of the world. Jesus sitting by the water, the sea that gushed right out from the Love in his heart, the Love that sang to Love in the very beginning when the world was newly made; he looked out upon it with human eyes. I believe that in our hurried lives, we often miss Jesus, this Incarnate Word, who shared our very soil and air. He can sometimes slip past us like a stranger on the street. Or perhaps we tell ourselves he is too far away to even see at all down here; he sits on the 100th floor while we scurry about our business in the alleys below. It's only afterwards, when we sense him, in grace, brushing past, that we are struck by the reality of the Incarnation, and we do the double-take... "Was that? Who? What the?" The passage from Matthew continued, "Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore." What a vision. The multitudes of humanity, the people coming to see him, standing there by the edge of the sea, and seeing him, in a boat, looking back at them... each of them, one by one. Looking at each other. God has become one of us. He has entered in, and forever he has wed himself to a body. Divinity has married humanity! Let me sit here awhile and look out at this mystery! Let me allow the wave of this love and this mercy and this absolute gift wash over me, still my frantic soul, and cleanse me from all my busyness. Let me be rest by the sea for awhile with Jesus.
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