Tuesday, December 12, 2017

tepeyac roses

How would Sufjan write a song about you? asked Evan, as we drove through the Michigan snow, gliding over the icy roads to the snowflake-crystal strums of "Tonya Harding (In Eb major)."
(Never one for understatement, Evan chose the Titanic as a motif. I imagined a single entitled:
"April 14, 1912.")

Instantly, my mind fixed on that moment of transubstantiation in West Bengal. The host lifted, the clear light, the din of AJC Bose road fading into this moment of pure happiness.

Snow begins to fall as I deposit my gift at the foot of the cross, baptizing the frozen world, sprinkling a blanket of grace on all the mud of November, the dead leaves, and the tired earth.

It is strangely fulfilling, I thought, as I ran to deliver the flowers to all the different shrines of what has just passed, to love even when one is not loved in return. If this strange doctrine of Trinity teaches us anything, then it is certainly that at the core of the divine life—which is the ultimate source of all our reality—is love for another. Only through loving another will we be able to become who we are—who we truly are, in our deepest heart of hearts. Only through loving another will we able to discover what it means to be real (an old story about a Velveteen Rabbit comes to mind). To respond to hurt with not mistrust or anger, but with love—that must be living in reality, must mean becoming truly real.

If heaven is sharing in the life of God, then it would follow that to love another and to be loved in return is indeed sharing in the life of God. For two others, loving one another with the love between them, is the divine life of God. I suppose, if we believe in a trinity, then it is not such a far cry to say that to love another person is to see the face of God. When that person sees God in our face, God is perhaps that much closer to being all-in-all, which, I'm told, is heaven. To participate in that, through loving an other and being loved by them—that must be heaven. Or at least, a taste of that heaven, the beginning of the kingdom here on earth.

I thought of that moment of transubstantiation, that moment that contained all other moments, as I knelt at the base of the foot-less statue of the most sorrowful of mothers.

I prayed here so much summer weather ago; and I knew, as I prayed, that this moment would happen.

For just a moment, I am at the center of the storm, the world melts into that peaceful snow-quiet, and I know that I am alright. Here is peace, amid a winter snow storm warning. I will leave this moment, and be hit with millions of doubts, because to be beset by doubts, insecurities, and fears is the plight of every human being. Peace beyond all understanding does not preclude our broken psyches plaguing us.

In this moment, though, I know with that sort of eucharistic clarity that this is the point of living. This is the real work of a lifetime, a permanent vocation. This is life lived to its fullness, lived in abundance—learning how to love generously, to love recklessly, without calculation, to love what is intimately and gloriously Not Me. Not yet able to love perfectly (God—and all other Thous—forgive me), I must learn to love fully. This is adventure enough for a lifetime, or eternity.

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