I can sometimes be a little shrill in my posts. It is a great temptation to stand in the wilderness of modern life, put on our spiritual camel hair and shout to the sky. This is certainly needed at times. After all the first word of our Lord's public ministry was, "Repent." If we are to follow our Master, then we can not avoid the necessary task of calling our people to repentance. But underneath the call to change our lives and our souls was something deeper. It was not simply a moral adjustment, it was an invitation to something far more sweeping. It was an invitation to life.
Yesterday I felt absolutely awful. My lungs were still filled with plaster dust from working on a local Habitat for Humanity project and consequently my throat hurt and I could speak with difficulty. A burst and open blister in the palm of my right hand pained me, and the soreness of the rest of my body didn't help. And I got a stye on my right eye just to irritate me I suppose. (I would suggest to any younger reader to stop aging now before it's too late! I know a little gray hair is exotic and appealing, but don't do it! You'll regret it!) When I finished praying my final office I lay on my bed under the ceiling fan to try and get a little rest before beginning all over again today.
In spite of my discomfort, I remember having a wonderful warmth of heart. I love life. We can easily get down or irritated about what is going on around us that is wrong, but we ought not to forget how wonderful life is, how magnificent Christian life is. The life I enjoy is not simply to breathe and eat… all of the air I breathe gets burnt, and all that I eat goes out in the draft. That sort of life is simply the mechanics that allow me to continue existing. No, real life is being able to experience God in all that we do. It is to know his intimate presence with us and in us at every moment.
Real life allows me to see the sunrise and know that in it God is greeting me and painting a unique canvas to behold of his life. It allows me to see all creation as a gift and a love poem between Creator and creature. Real life drives all of my external sensual experiences into my heart as internal communion with God the Holy Trinity. Life is joy, because life is no longer divided into compartments and isolation. It makes all discomfort fade into little more than a little irritation because it is no longer central in our hearts.
This is why we repent, that we might have life. Part of repentance is moving ourselves out of our hearts and building a shrine, an altar, to God there, that he might dwell in it and we might receive him there. It is union, communion. It is this inward orientation that allows us to see the truth of the Eucharistic mystery. It is this sense of life that allowed the early martyrs to sing praises to God as they were being brutally tortured to death. They had found life--not as an escape from this world--but as the complete consummation of this world, the integration of things heavenly, earthly and divine. The hearts were filled with what the universe can not contain and it is Life, and Light.
I love Life! Lord, help me to constantly strip off this living death with which I so quickly clothe myself. Open my eyes to your never ending call to you in my heart. Allow me to see your handiwork and praise you. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."