Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Written in love to a hurting Mom I give Spiritual helps to as we enter Holy Week—I share with you as a small reflection for part of your Holy Week.

You have been in my heart since I first read your email--but I have needed to find some time to really respond. I was gone for one week to Orlando on business with bad connections to the Internet and then have been feeling poorly with travelers cough since returning home. But, my prayers are intact for those I carry deep in my heart and your family is always safely tucked there.

So often for us as parents it is two steps forward and one step backwards--particularly if there is more than one child in our heart. We cannot really ever chose--we have to love them all, and yet we love the lost more deeply it seems. And we so want to see them walk in success--and more than all we want to see them overcome our defects. And harder still is when we see them wallow in excess in the very slight things we took as hardly worth working on in our own lives. But, hardest is to see them cling so desperately to a world we were so easily able to reject and we cannot for the life of ourselves understand how they find the allure so appeal ling for so long. The truth is that all of this world and its passing glory is nothing more than lipstick on a pig--and as long as the piglet has the least bit allure to the shinny objects, or the reflecting objects, or the wallowing holes of emptiness--they will not long for the comfort and real warmth that HOME has to offer.

This is why there is such comfort in the Church--and in her liturgical year, her seasons, and her Traditions--she is HOME--and she ever calls us HOME--like a Mother--like THE MOTHER of us all that she always is. I have always taken great comfort in the fact that the Catholic Church alone, as in so many of Her Truths--is the Church that has never definitively pronounced that Judas is in Hell--we leave as Jesus Commands the judgment of hell to only ONE and HE alone makes those definitive judgments. More the Catholic Church in Jesuit like sensibilities continues to call out the tenuous Truth--as long as you are alive--there is Time--and yet, it is later than you think...Like the two thump heart-beat of humanity:
save the lost, strengthen the believer
there is time, it is later than you think
evangelize the world, build the Church
all may enter, narrow is the way
today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart
Come unto me, I will give you rest
and yet the bottom echo of that two heart-beat of all humanity is the resounding Choirs of HOPE in the Beatific Vision:
You Have Not Seen The End of All Things YET.

So having been comforted from the time of a small boy that Judas and his fate belongs to God Alone, I have often had the story book like dream of two women in Heaven--one comforting the other--the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, Mary the Mother of us All--with her arms of love holding tightly and giving comfort to the mother of Judas...I can only Imagine....such love, such forgiveness, such HOPE. If my small boy dream could be true---how much more love and compassion does the most loving Queen of Heaven have not only for us, but for those we hold up to her for aid when we are almost without hope to pray for them?

I suspect you are very much like me-- I believe the Word of God and the Doctrines of the Church-I believe in the three theological virtues and I accept that of this faith, hope, and love that the greatest is LOVE. And I find more and more, that I am lacking in the greatest of these--look forward to the Day that it alone remains and us hopefully with it-- world without end in the Beatific Vision of Heaven with the Holy Family and the Saints of God--including all those we love, hold dear, and live and breathe to get to Heaven.

For now--in what I so often in the Sighs of my heart refer to as the "until" --this in our understanding of time--undetermined, but from Eternities side all so very determined--this very real Valley of Tears...Until..."Until the Son of God be Revealed"...."Mary, kept all these things and pondered them in her heart Until"...

I take such comfort that even the FATHER says to Our Lord Jesus after HE has done so much--can you Imagine as we enter into this lovely Holy Week and we re-experience again that beautiful gift of Saving Grace--the Life, Suffering, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and now He has established the Church and He has breathed the Breath of the Holy Spirit and He has finally gone back to the Father--gone back to Heaven and what does the Father say to Him?

Psalm 110:1 “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

We think of Heaven as a wonderful and Beautiful place and of course it is more lovely than we can IMAGINE, and we think of the WORK of CHRIST as being Done on the CROSS. Did HE not say It is Finished? And yet, we have this tear in Heavenly history where we are allowed to see a vignette that happened in TIME where the Father speaks to the Son.... Sit...UNTIL...Do you not see that ALL of Heaven is busy with the one DESIRE of the FATHER and the SON--all of the Focus of HEAVEN is "us-ward to those who believe" Heaven is busy praying the will of the FATHER....Until.

Do not let Go of the Light at the end of the Road, we are stumbling Heavenward--two steps forward, and one step backward, but stumbling Heavenward...Until. My dear suffering mother of children here on earth, my friend of so long. We are in the UNTIL--and so longing as I do to get there one day with all I love--for now, Today while it is still called Today---I revel in the virtue of HOPE. Let us hold fast to our HOPE. Let us HOPE and not lose heart, pray and STAND praying and forgiving--pray like the woman in my favorite parable Jesus told on earth.

Let me remind you of my favorite parable--Luke 18: 1-8

“ And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming. And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. And shall not God avenge his elect that cry to him day and night and yet he is longsuffering over them? I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Amazing to me-- this is the only time that God promises to do something Speedily. My dear friend--with the Sorrows I myself have endured there is one thing for sure I have let fall to the Ground from my youth, and that is Exclamation points. I no longer believe in Exclamation points--and yet, when I read these words, I almost feel the shout of an Exclamation point in my heart. Can you imagine--Speedily!!! I often grouse to St Theresa of Avila that she was so right when she told Jesus, "Look is it any wonder how few friends you have? Just look how you treat them." And daily I complain to sweet St. Therese of the Little Flower about how Father likes to doll out to us in little bits and never all at once. My Lord and My God, help my belief--Jesus I Trust in YOU--Make me to do thy Will O, Lord---HOPE.

I pray the Psalms often. I learned this from the Early Church Fathers. In fact this is the thing from the very beginning that Christians kept from their Jewish roots--the praying of the Psalms. When I can do no other devotions, I remember to meditate on the Psalms. Here is one of my favorite in times of stress:
Psalms 73: 21-26 "When my heart was embittered And I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

One day when we are together, if you like I will sing it to you. But, until that day--open your heart and hear the Saints of God sing it over you. I always teach that Truth and sadly Error to are both Sung First--you know so well the importance of Song and good music. Fortify yourself with good music--music that causes that HOPE to spring fresh and anew--that allows you to whisper in faith one more day...we have not Yet seen the end of all things...Until the Son of God appear...Rejoice.

I can promise you--one who has seen the darkness of faith--I can promise you--Jesus will come--Speedily!!! In this blessed Holy Week as we offer our slight wounds and sufferings to His and allow HIM to bring us fresh and anew into that new Springtime of Faith where we Stand with the whole Church and say anew, He is Risen, Alleluia, He is Risen Indeed!
You remain ever in my heart, in my prayers, and in my Holy hours--and knowing that the Vinzant family is ever remembered on your HOPE bead of your rosary is always the great source of comfort to me. Yesterday, I celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary with many of these same thoughts--such as I have I give to you. We cannot change the past. We cannot change the ones we love. But we can live lives of quite HOPE that HE who holds tomorrow holds our hands and never leaves us alone. And that He can take even the broken dreams and scattered promises of our lives and bring Good out of Evil and Shine the Light of the FACE of LOVE even into the darkest darkness. He can bring Good out of our own willful wrongness and sins and bring us into the Love of His Forgiveness.

This is HOPE –that we can believe even from our wounded past that HE has a plan of Goodness and Mercy for our future. I love this old Swedish hymn and I will leave it with you as my prayer for you and yours:

Children of the Heavenly Father
Children of the heav’nly FatherSafely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in HeavenSuch a refuge e’er was given.
God His own doth tend and nourish;In His holy courts they flourish;From all evil things He spares them;In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall everFrom the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,And their sorrows all He knoweth.
Though He giveth or He taketh,God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solelyTo preserve them pure and holy.

Lo, their very hairs He numbers,And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessingAnd His help in woes distressing.
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your DefenderEv’ry foeman must surrender.

your friend,

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