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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Blood and Lightning: Living Christ Like Mary Did

So I can be Ambiguous at times... And Unmoving at times...

Honestly, a lot of beliefs I hold to like a clamped bear trap. But those are the one are ones that my questions couldn't shake down and make crumble; they didn't spontaneously start like that! They aren't going to just be the first ideas that pop into my head. I grasp, like most people at smoke before finding substance, then stick to it afterwards for fear of finding aught else in the fog. Sometimes, I talk up conflicting things, too. I don't always explain or offer explanations when I do that, (bad Helena! Be clearer!) and I encounter confusion at how I  could think both are true. But, very probably, I don't know what I think, yet!

I have to feel my way as best I can in both secular and religious arguments. Luckily, I have the immense pleasure of having friends with very striking opinions: Thunderbolts that illuminate the fog, that are intimidating to touch but clues in finding my way around. (I guess In my catholic circles, these tend to be the "rad trads.") They rock their zeal like James and John, the original Sons of Thunder!

Then come those people my brain calls "the Bleeding Hearts," thought of affectionately as being twins to that Sacred Heart that bleeds. Some use term to deride the compassionate. In compassion they look at the far-off ones as they coax, they admonish, they force you to chuckle at your own nail biting at the thought of unseen cliffs and bid: simply run through your fears. These Hearts are quick to remind me that the first substance I need is the one I'm already standing on: The Rock of our Salvation.

But these Hearts don't want to remember that falling off the Rock is so easy to do. A Rock can be hard, and the magnetism of Christ's love can repel the fearful and the wary. Would you be surprised if I told you that there's tension between my dear Hearts and my Thunderbolts? Right now, debates about spirit and letter are zinging across every screen I turn on. Canon and doctrine this, pastoral and merciful that!

The zealots, with their thunder, shake their heads and shrug and say they know that it's a God of Love, that we mustn't stray from 'but do you know where you shouldn't go? There's love in this admonition, too. They desire so badly that no one should fall away, and they scorn those who drag otherw with them.
'Do you know how close we're letting ourselves to that edge?' they say.
 And they lay out a terrifyingly jargon-laced manual for the fearful about  the dangers getting close to the Sacred Rock's cliff.

Mary is a Bleeding Heart, and a Bolt of Lightening

This "Bolt of Lightening" is a bizarre leap, I guess, since Mary was so meek. True, but I feel like the illumination of where we stand and where we must go is more essential to what the "Bolt" is than it's flamboyancy. She has the rigidity of the Lightening Bolts: What's more ridged than a life that never yielded to sin? And all the yielding of a Bleeding Heart: we all know of her mercy, and of how "Never was it known that anyone implores" her help "is ever left unaided." It was she who, for me, shined a light on where the love and the rule belong in Christian life.

 For those of us who have spent our lives in this Catholic Church, thinking and listening so hard for clues about how love and limits are connected, its time to realize we've at times let ourselves be colored by non-Catholics in our thinking.

The 'rote' prayer of the rosary is a unique illustration of the romantic devotion and exacting devotion of christian life and prayer. Often are we chided by protestants about "vain" repetition with many words and precise numbering. But It isn't superfluous, its rigorous and dutiful; It isn't vain, its ardor, and it's love. And its mirroring of those qualities only deepens when you consider the mysteries you meditate on.

My cradle-catholic confusion at the necessity of a tension, of a Spirit of Truth and a Body of Truth, is the same confusion our separated brethren feel about our rosaries and our mysteries: How do you embrace Jesus by embracing Mary? Why pray "Hail, Full of Grace!" to the Mother when our Savior is her Son?

Answer: She lived her Son, from His conception till His cross. These mysteries of the most holy rosary reflect that awesome life.

The need to focus on an individual life and individual instance makes sense when you remember we aren't bibles, we're bibliophiles who still need to internalize the Gospel. Sometimes, I think that Jesus's Divine nature veils His humanity almost as much as His humanity veiled the Divine. There is something about His motive and movements that is hard to pierce until you walk in his footsteps: Until you Love like Jesus the Savior; until you accept the edicts of Christ the King. The God-Man made Flesh is the embodiment of the Gospel. We cannot be "Other Christs" for our brothers as Paul demands of us until we live the whole Gospel.

Mary is a glass that can help us to see the substance of the Divine Thought and Word and Law, since she, his faithful satellite, loved and saw and knew as only Mother could.What we know of Mary, more than anything, is that she was there, more constantly than any other person in the life of Jesus. Yet, her contribution to our understanding of Christ is only two: Love and Obedience.

Mary was a thunderbolt: The seeker of light and direction who's first question was, "How can this be?" The mind of God might have been high above her, but she reached, even while on her knees. She obeyed and submitted to Gods will. And she called for the same of others! Her command to the wedding servants, loving but exacting, echos up from Cana: "Do whatever He tells you to do!"

...And she was a bleeding heart, who's famous command at Cana was a sign compassion, who pondered in her heart the mysteries of her Son, and how His presence grounded and transformed (quite literally,) her daily life. In the rosary, we find ourselves transported to his childhood, life, death, and glory through the eyes of one who abided.

I want to abide, forever, beside Our Lord. I want to know our Lord, and to know where to seek him. Where is my Rock and my Mountain, who loves me? Where is the path to His peak?

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