Wednesday, September 5, 2012

they with hope to bring

Their very voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off.
--Mere Christianity 

This woman.

It's Mama T's feast day today. So, obviously I wanted to base a blog post off a quote of hers. There were two roadblocks that cropped up and foiled my seemingly fool-proof plan:

I was attempting to write sans coffee. (I know. Sometimes I do foolish things.) I couldn't think straight, let alone try to write something thoughtful, until I got some rich, warm, caffeinated café pumping through my bloodstream. (Yes okay fine I might be addicted. But we'll save that conversation for another post.)

Who is more quotable than Mother Teresa? Each quote of hers is worthy of several dozen blog posts. I was caught in that rare gluttonous luxury of having too many options to choose from.

And so, I turned to the words of Cardinal Newman, a prayer of his that Mama T appropriated:
Lord, penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.

Things people sometimes say but shouldn't ever say: you'll never amount to much, or he'll never amount to much, or they'll never amount to much. All of which are utterly non-hopeful statements. The entire point of life is that we are constantly transcending the limits of what we thought we could accomplish. Life is the art of becoming more than we ever dreamed we could be. In my theology class today our professor made an analogy to the Cave (Cue flashbacks to reading The Republic in PLS Seminar II. I can't escape it.). His point was that humanity is living in the dark of the cave--we see the shadows on the wall, and are often content to accept that as reality.

But reality is actually out there in the sunlight.

And there exist in this world brave souls who have dared to leave the cave, to venture outside of the comfortable realm of shadows, and walk in the sunlight. When they return to us, they are on fire with reality. They carry with them a radiance, they shimmer with the glow of the sunlight from beyond the cave. More substantial than the shadows of the Cave, these sunlit souls give us a preview of reality. In them, we catch a glimpse of the sunlight that thirsts to flood us in his warmth.

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