Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't Just Do Something! Sit There!

"Run, run, run" said the automobile, and we ran. "Run for your life. Take to your heels.... Foolish school of fish on wheels..."
- James Taylor

Hmm. I am guilty of this. I move too fast, even in the summa'time! I get up early, my mind swimming through a swarm of ideas. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, I "live too fast just as we eat too fast and do not savor the true taste of food." I am often awakened to the fact that I don't make enough time for prayer. Real prayer; the real crying out to God and opening up to God that makes us look like little birds in a big nest, wide mouthed and waiting for Him to feed us. I keep picking at the nest, milling around for scraps. My saving grace and the fuel for my soul is daily Mass (which I missed this morning, dang it). There's the most real prayer of all, the Perfect Prayer, as the saints and mystics tell us. They also say that all of life should be either a preparation for or a thanksgiving after Holy Mass. That's where Life becomes a rhythm around the Song of the Lord's Supper, a ring around the altar.

Fr. Paul Dressler (stationed in Rome for studies, and boy is he missed by the Philly crowd!) once said in a talk that when he was young he'd hear that famous phrase "Don't just sit there, do something!" But when it comes to Grace, it's best to flip that phrase around. "Don't just do something! Sit there!"

St. Dominic used to say (back when Latin was cool, and I think it still is):
"Contemplari et contemplata aliis tradere."

Contemplate and hand on to others the fruit of your contemplation.

Imagine if that well of prayer and meditation was the source and step from which we launched into every thought, word, and action of the day? Whoa, what a world it would be.

Moses answered the people, "Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

The answer God gives through Moses to these poor, unarmed, homeless, afraid People who are under attack is:

"Stand still!" Be Still... and Know that I am God. From the perspective of the world, this is INSANE. Imagine the initial reactions of the Israelites! Moses, what have you been smoking? And can we have some. All hell is breaking loose, the Egyptians are about to wash over us like a tidal wave, and you say.... Stand still?

I love this. I stink at this, but I love this.

This is our entrance into ABSOLUTE TRUST - into the Mystery of God and His Power - our entry into Eucharistic Adoration!

In the midst of our crazy culture, the Church says to us: Stand still! Now, some think that Eucharistic Adoration is akin to "doing nothing." I once met a priest (a priest God help us) who called Adoration "bread watching"... UGH. Does he believe in the Real Presence?

Moses reminded the Israelites that there was Another Presence with them, besides the rumbling charioteers who were about to mow them down. God was with them! And they needed to see Him, own their relationship with Him, BE with Him.

- to calm down and see things for what they are
- to let God be God
- to hear his Voice like Elijah in the cave

This is how we enter into His Stillness. This is how we enter Eucharistic Adoration. Our culture is nuts! There are 130 billion e-mail messages transmitted worldwide every day. We can't sit still. We need detox. We need to enter the White-Hot Furnace of Silence. But let's understand what this therapy of silence means. We don't mean silence as a vacuum, just the absence of sound... Silence is not an absence but a presence, your presence of mind & heart to Life and God and creation! My favorite quote from Scripture may well be Isaiah 30:15..... By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies.

We are living in a world that is starving for TRUE LOVE, and Love is tasted in silence, like a cool stream seeping into the heart through the eyes and ears. Love is an interior gaze. We MUST enter into this Mystery, give witness to the Real Love of the Eucharist through this silent, still gaze.

The presence of Jesus in the tabernacle must be a kind of magnetic pole attracting an ever greater number of souls enamoured of him, ready to wait patiently to hear his voice and, as it were, to sense the beating of his heart. "O taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Ps 34:8).
- Pope John Paul II, Mane Nobiscum Domine

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