On November 9th, I will be giving a talk at Christ the King with Joanne Hayak. I am available to answer questions, read my poetry, pray, listen, speak…basically I am there at your service. Joanne Hayak and I share faith, forgiveness and Christ’s love in common. We are recipients of His love and grace so we are happy to share our joy! on this journey.
Our lives, whether we acknowledge Him or not are part of God’s script, He is the Author and finisher of our faith. The interplay of good and evil interrupts our lives, but as Christians we can come to faith in Jesus. When we come to faith in Jesus, we come to know and experience Him in a special way, evil is overcome by Jesus in us, God with us. Good works follow conversion of the heart.
As a convert, and perhaps especially as a western American educated convert, I have experienced America, the Church and Christians differently from others. I lose and often was lost myself, in the cacophony of voices, duties and obligations that pull at me. Fear sometimes causes me to doubt and fear repercussions from those in authority over me. This, I believe ,is when I fall into sin, not because I go out and kill or lie or cheat or betray someone but because I fail to pause long enough to hear what Our Father is saying to me through this person before me, these circumstances, and scripture.
God’s faithfulness, love and protection, however has brought me to point that I try now to pause often to listen to Him before I speak. I forget sometimes because I am in a hurry to complete my thought, or conversation but…again, as Henri Nouwen puts it writing is a spiritual discipline, so as well prayer and conversation.
Writing is easy for me because I write only when I am alone , in silence and in solitude….so I can listen…but speaking, is a little more challenging because I have become mindful of how our words can wound or turn others away from God, instead of really pointing to Him because He is able, above all others to grant us the graces and help we stand in need of.
Jesus is word become flesh, and as my gift is words, I have to ask God to set a guard above my lips and anoint them with grace when I speak. I will not pretend before you to understand either God or my writing…but I do know that He is a God concerned with the oppressed, the poor, the alien, you and me. He promises us in the Bible that He will guide us into all truth by the power of the Holy Spirit.
My journey ,like yours ,is unique and equally, miraculously and mysteriously important. We all have in our lives moments of honor, of glory, of greatness, of wonderment, joy, deep, inconsolable sorrow or pain, guilt, shame, anger ….we experience this sometimes with family, friends, government officials, enemies…but what I find most satisfying is bring this to the Eucharist as the One who has my heart now, is the One above all others who will sit with me when I am most distressed, and weep with me, or love me and listen to my most inane conversations or thoughts, give me counsel…or simply, wisely teach me to “Be Still and Know that He is Lord.”
In scripture, He promises us a rose garden, but as anyone who has plucked a rose from a rose bush knows, life is not without its’ thorns. When we read the Bible, old testament and new, we discover some of the greatest human conflicts and drama, and yet through it all scattered like rose petals is virtue, saving graces. The embodiment of virtue in Mary, Joseph and Jesus is what gives us today the rich tradition of faith in the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In the Eucharist, Jesus, meets us, in silence, like a rose, He fills us. In silence, if we learn to turn our gaze wholly upon Him, we are healed and made whole, like the rose, each petal of our soul and consciousness is made perfect as we drink Him in. In silence, we can breathe in His fragrance. In silence, His kiss upon our lips, fills us with the mystery, the wonder, the hope, the joy, the miracles of our faith. In silence, we come to know Him.
So, I encourage you to yes, listen to me during my talk, but listen even the more to Him, the One who made you and loves you and shed His blood for you. He loves you, as He made you, and accompanies you on your soul’s journey, asking nothing of you but that you turn to Him and acknowledge Him, to whom we all inevitably return. It is only to Him that we are indebted for He has purchased our souls, not with gold or silver but His precious blood. 2000 years ago, before you or I were ever born.
Our Eternal Father, Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal one creates us in acts of love, He sustains us by numerous acts of mercy and blesses us. We live our lives oftentimes unaware of Him, as Oswald Chambers puts it, in his book, “My Utmost For His Highest,”
“We receive His blessings
and know His Word,
but do we know Him?”
The details of my life, matter little in the larger scheme of things. I do not understand the many tragedies and difficulties that have beset my life. I only know that God in His Silence knows, understands and loves me (and my persecutors, enemies, family members (living and dead) and friends, equally well). Who knows why He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”. I am not a theologian, merely a woman in Christ, a poet, a disciple, perhaps the woman who knelt at Jesus feet as He wrote in the sand…..journeying to the Eucharist, where Christ waits and greets me.
As a convert, born into a faith with many gods, I kneel at His feet , in anguish and in joy. He stays the hands of those who would stone me and looks deep into my eyes, and into my soul. His silent look, like that of Mary, His mother, who again, accompanied Him to the cross in silence, delivers my soul from all its’ troubles and
My journey to the Eucharist has involved falling, I fell sometimes due to to others who misled, wounded or harshly turned me away, I fell sometimes because I sinned through my own fault, tempted and distracted by people and things I desired, I fell sometimes because my cross and burden in a foreign land is too much, too heavy for me to bear alone and no one would bear it with me, so busy are they carrying their own cross, or so angry that indeed we do have crosses to bear……
It does not matter why I fell on my journey, what matters is that I continue on…..and lift His cup to my lips and drink His blood, and eat His body because He, Our Lord, said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
As we make our journey to the Eucharist, we must remember Jesus, His words, His Journey, and His Cross, borne for us. Then, we find, His yoke is indeed easy and His burden light. Jesus Christ is here today, present, God with us in the Eucharist. America is like my former faith, it is a land of many gods, so your journey, as mine will be fraught with many troubles and afflictions but do make that journey. Do what He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Holy Communion is done away with in many prosperity gospel churches and ministries. The focus is on what we can or should do for God rather than what God has done for us. In our journey to the Eucharist, our focus is on what God has done and continues to do for us today. When He has filled us, fed us, we have the strength to go out and do His will. And His will for us is never to go against His word, He has given us His commandments, if we call ourselves Christians we will read His word, spend time with Him, embrace our cross and experience Him at work in our lives…in the form of a conversion of heart, mind, body and soul. The journey for each one of us is different…yet there is One who walks with us…..
Isaiah 63:9 (New International Version)
9 In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.