Sunday, December 20, 2015

and now even human love

"Faith is not some hard, unchanging thing you cling to through the vicissitude of life. [...] faith is folded into change, is the mutable and messy process of our lives rather than any fixed, mental product."
--Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss

I started at the words on the screen, in awe of how normal they were.
They were simply a message: about a book, a thought, a particular beauty or a particular joke. And I was going to respond. The exchange would be rational, joyful, much like any other millions of exchanges.

But something had changed. Inside of me beat a new awe and wonder, a new posture of amazement towards a person who I knew so well and yet knew not at all. Not at all. Know a person? Know a cavern of mystery with endless passages to endless rooms of stories coiled upon stories? What audacity to lay claim to such beauty.

What can one do in the face of such glorious mystery, but smile, and let your heart beat several times too quickly, and feel blood burst inside of you, churning with warmth and heartache.

How can everything change so substantially, in an instant, with one word?
All the accidents remain the same, but the interior reality has been utterly transformed.

Christian Wiman writes: The most blinding illumination that strikes and perhaps radically changes your life will be so attenuated and obscured by doubts and dailiness that you may one day come to suspect the truth of that moment of all.

The daily consecrations would seem to obscure the miracle of transubstantiation that occurred between our hearts.
But they do not.
The daily consecrations illuminate the precious gift of love made available to us at the altar of our ego, that we bow before, subdued and kneeling, doffing our vestige of self.

I have never thought of the consecration as a dangerous moment.
But how terrible, to know that you have the power to usher into your very hands the Lord of Love, the Paschal Lamb Himself.
What human being would dare to speak those words?
To turn the bread--the conceivable, human, quotidian bread--into panis angelicus.
It would be safer to simply eat the bread.
The vulnerability of the Eucharist; the searing, shameful honesty of it just smotes my heart.

Once you say the words, you cannot take them back.
You cannot retract an ontological leap, a substantial shifting of the very nature of the bread.
Once you say the words, they become truth. And you must learn how you relate to this fresh new reality.

You must take up a posture towards the truth that is spoken. There is no life anymore pre-illumination. There is only forward, whatever that way means.

Wisdom is accepting the truth of this. Courage is persisting with life in spite of it. And faith is finding yourself, in the deepest part of your soul, in the very heart of who you are, moved to praise it.
--Christian Wiman

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