Sunday, July 20, 2014

entrusts the Word as guest

But her works could only have existed, sprung out of, stemmed deeply out of a Faith so alive, so on fire, so full of love. 
--Malcolm Muggeridge, on Mama T 

 If you want the world to change, be God's love. //Use your gifts to bless this day, be God's love.
Be God's. This past Friday, the mentors of Notre Dame Vision 2014 sang those words for the last time to some 300 plus high schoolers who have hopefully learned that at the heart of the Christian vocation is the Eucharist--is the self-giving sacrificial love that continues to nourish the world--and through our own imitation of the love of Christ, sets the world on fire.
We sing to them: Be God's. Be God's love, be God's mercy, be God's light.
We sing to remind them the constant task of sainthood.
Because to be a saint is not a feat.
It is not a testament to our own holiness, our own fullness of light or mercy or love.

A saint is a person who has managed to be fully alive in their beloved.
A saint is not someone who only "does holy things"
A saint is a person who has learned to love well; a hero is not a saint--unless he has love.
A hero that has not love is nothing; he is a noisy, clanging cymbal.
No greater love than this: to let our lives be a channel of love, to be God's love.
A saint does not always have to be a hero, rather, a saint is a person who has found how to love heroically.
It is possible to walk this path to holiness for any person, because that person simply must learn to love.
Which means that to be a saint does not mean to be filled with one's self, but to be self-emptying. To be  filled with not yourself but with God, to be no longer belonging to your Self, but to God.

As I spent last summer with nine girls who all had some form of physical or mental disability. But one ability they had in spades was the ability to love. To love freely, to love without thought of what I could give them. And I realized one day, when I lost my patience with one of them, that the love I have to offer them is fairly small. It is easily exhaustible. It is calculating. It is fairly meager.

So, each Friday of Vision, we sing: be God's love. Not our love, because our love is very small and exhaustible. And if we try to offer people only our love, that venture will fail very quickly. We do not have enough to give.
So, instead, we ought to offer them God's love.
Because His love is that fire that will set them ablaze. But, unlike ours, there is no limit to the power of that love. There is no limit to how recklessly and lavishly this love will be poured out.
So we set forward to be God's love.
Not our own version of love, but God's version.

So now we go. Go to attempt to begin to try to fulfill that task.
Because we did not come to Vision to stay, we came to leave.
Just as we did not come to Notre Dame to stay, we came to leave.
Just as we are not born to stay, we are born to one day leave this earth.
It's probably one of the most difficult truths of being human. But learning how to embrace being sent forth, to treasure needing to leave chapters of our stories behind is one of the sweetest gifts of our mortality.

What we call the beginning is often the end 
And to make an end is to make a beginning. 
The end is where we start from.
--T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets

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