Monday, April 23, 2007

The Wait of Glory

I didn't watch the news coverage last week, other than a 10 second blurb. I haven't clicked on a single video from www.cnn.org. I saw a picture of Choh, but I have yet to read a full article anywhere on the story of Virginia Tech. I don't want to hear about the "record" set, or find a scapegoat to blame for the mistakes made in the two hours between shootings. I want to look at people's faces. I stopped in a Wawa last Tuesday, and I found myself captivated by the tiny hands of the Russian girl in front of me, with her little pink purse. I was mystified by the big man with the tattoos and the dark greasy hair writing a check at the register. I was captured by the haltered step of an elderly man in a grey suit, making his way towards the soda machine, moving slowly through the noise and haste. Where did these people come from? Where were they going? Did they each have a person they could talk to, pour out their hearts to, share silences with in the wake of all this violence? As numbing as the horror of this past week has been, I've been trying to reflect on the beauty of people's faces. Trying to see into them a little bit more. I am convinced that the way back into sanity and peace and a sincere love for others is through the human face. Through a deep insearching, a contemplation of the gifts that surround us in the gift of each other. "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours." These words from C.S. Lewis' Weight of Glory essay have always captivated me. They are the natural fruit of our meditation on our creation in the image of God. Do we follow through with the logic? If so then what we see should be just this; walking miracles, moving and breathing monuments to the presence of God in the world. "This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses." (C.S.Lewis, Weight of Glory) In his letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, Pope John Paul II called us to this holy reverence for one another. It is the cure for this modern madness, for this isolation and fear, for this complete denial of the beauty and worth of the person. The healing must begin, the wait has been too long. May we come to see the light of God shining on the face of our brothers and sisters around us, light streaming from our Creator in Whose divine image we are all fashioned. Today let's treasure the gift of each other, the miracle of the human face in all it's many shades, moods, emotions and reactions. Let's not pass by these miracles, on the trains, roads, hallways, bus stations, or even in those fleeting moments before the mirror throughout the day. For the Word that is God has become flesh, and even now moves among us...
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The Sacramental Vision

With Christians, a poetical view of things is a duty. We are bid to color all things with hues of faith, to see a divine meaning in every ...