Thursday, December 19, 2013

Make The Church Beautiful

This time of year, people understand that beauty helps us to celebrate.  They buy new dresses, they trim the house, they hang up festive lights and look for ways to dazzle the eyes.  We understand when we get a dozen roses, beauty brings with it, a joy.

If we are created in God's image, then we share in His Divine beauty, for we know via creation, our God loves beauty.  If every one of us is part of the Body of Christ, then we share something of His Divine luminous nature.  If this is so, then to the extent possible, we must radiate that loveliness, that light to others.  How? is the question.

It's easier to show than to tell, and telling doesn't work anyway.  Everyone knows we're called to feed the hungry, be the peacemaker, clothe the naked, hunger for justice, comfort the mourning, visit the imprisoned, care for the lonely, be merciful, turn the other cheek, offer our cloak, we know these words.  We know what they mean.   But then, we have the real world, where we have laundry and jobs, chores and homework, bills and meals and dishes and beds, cars and errands, computers and messages and appointments all which must be dealt with in the course of our day.  Where are we going to fit the beatitudes into that hot mess?

It is the how of living, that will bring about these opportunities.

When Jesus came to Capernaum, he drew a crowd. The people filled the house to hear his words.  They probably hoped for a miracle of some kind as well in a wouldn't it be cool kind of way.  Everyone wants to at some point, be in the right place at the right time to be a part of something important, something epic, something beyond the scope of everyday life.  Jesus did these things, he healed the sick, fed the five thousand, calmed the storms, cured blindness, leprosy, Simon's mother-in-law, you name it.   So they came.

But think about that town.  Probably, people knew Jesus was coming.  They walked by the paralyzed man all the time.  Someone probably said something like, "Jesus should come heal him." or "Why doesn't Jesus come heal him?"  and then went about their day, but they said it in earshot of the man's friends.  They decided to act.  They would bring their friend to Jesus.  So the first step, is to recognize that in every challenge, is the answer, how can we? If we are working, then we must listen to the souls about us, who might need to be carried, we must hear in the cries of discontent, what the Holy Spirit needs us to do. By acting, we will be cooperating with grace.  When we cooperate with grace, we lead others to grace, we make it easier for them to receive the gifts God has for them.  

When we pray for others, others engaged in sin, others trapped by sin, even those we really really really don't like or disagree with on a visceral level, we are one of those four men carrying the paralyzed person to the house.  They saw this man, they knew something needed to be done, and they acted.  It was not easy, it was not simple, but they persist.  They even break into the house roof.  This is nutty and at the same time, awesome, they aren't going to let anything get in the way of placing the man before Jesus.  Not reality, not crowds, not buildings, not distance, not logistics, nothing.  They will bring this soul as far as they can carry.  This is what we are all called to do, we are to be carrying people to lay before Christ.  That's the job of a friend.  That's the job of all of us.  Making the Church beautiful means not forgetting a single soul, bringing each person that is part of the whole of this Body to the feet of Jesus.

The healing, will be what is needed, and not necessarily the one we expected or visible. So today, when you feel vexed by life or the errands or the bills or time, remember we are called to make this Domestic Church beautiful, then act, persist, and lay whatever you have at the feet of Jesus.  One of the joys of Heaven, will be learning the stories which all end happily, of how a soul was moved from where they were, to where they are.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful reflection. This morning I watched the apricot and pale blue sky slowly give birth to the day.
I was struck by God's incredible morning presentation- and so thankful for this early morning gift. Love you-Mom

Robin E. said...

This is beautiful. Thank you! :)

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