Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two Roads Diverged in a Wounded World

Rebecca and I are in Hawley, PA, at the moment, staying at a beautiful
bed and breakfast called Settler's Inn. I was asked to speak at a
Knights of Columbus annual breakfast today, and they've been
incredibly gracious! The sun is peeking up and the coffee is hot and,
as usual, I can't sleep when there's a world to explore!

The picture here is a little garden path outside the front doors. Out
back there is a babbling river, and a stretch of ground covered with
tulips and dogwoods. The grass is cool and wet, and life is good! In
the words of my man H.D. Thoreau, "I have heard no bad news."

The talk today is called "Rekindling a Sense of Wonder: How a Catholic
Sees the World." It's a reflection on the sacramental vision we're
called to view the world with as people of faith. I can't stress
enough that this is not a "rose-colored glasses" kind of talk. It's
not like pouring glitter and butterflies on top of pain and sorrow and
saying "It's OK!" A sacramental vision is seeing every sorrow and pain
with eyes wide open, and crying out "It's redeemed!"

True Christians are the most real of realists; why else would we have
the figure of a Crucified Man Who soaked up all the pain of the world
hanging in every one of our churches? (well, most of our churches; but
that's a whole other post!) Catholics are invited to look pain and
sorrow in the eye at every Mass. We know it well, but we also hold
fast to the truth that death has not won.

So these two roads diverge in our wounded world: one despairs, or at
best doesn't care, and one hopes. One covers over the sorrow, with
pills or thrills or business or busyness, and the other road, less
travelled, walks in wonder.

So look, gaze in wonder at the Hand behind all things great and small,
sometimes placing, other times permitting, this or that to occur. See
through, like a kind of x-ray vision, that there is a "destiny that
shapes our ends."

No matter what the materialists tell us, no matter is dead. Everything
matters, every thing speaks to us. The created world is a great book
with the same Word on every page, and the same invitation: will you
walk this way? Down the prim-rose path with thorns, webs and the dank
wetness of mourning?

"Wait and see," whispers a Voice that once too was silenced by
suffering, "I make all things new!"

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