January 9, 2011

The Partying God

Praying over the texts for Mass today, I was struck especially by the beginning of the preface:

Father, all-powerful and ever living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.

You celebrated your new gift of baptism
by signs and wonders at the Jordan

It's a beautiful and brilliant image, to think of God celebrating. Perhaps we don't often think of God as joyful or happy, but of course He is, and infinitely so. And perhaps we don't often entertain an image of God as the host of a party, but there is a lot in the Scripture to justify such an idea. Jesus was infamous for his attendance at dinners, and he described the final fulfillment of creation in terms of a wedding reception.

At the Lord's baptism the Blessed Trinity celebrates the accomplishment of God's single purpose in creation and redemption alike: the inclusion of the creature in the flourishing communion of divine Love between Lover and Beloved, the Father and the Son.

(It seems that this vocabulary of celebration in today's preface is particular to the American English Sacramentary. It does not read quite that way in the 2002 Missale Romanum or in any other translations I have.)


Mark D. said...

As Brother Bill Short once said in a spirituality class I took from him at FST: "The Kingdom of God is a party!"

It was the way he said it, and the reality of what he was saying, that struck me so powerfully. It become one of the keystones of how I always viewed Franciscan spirituality. Francis, I think, always had a very joyful and festive approach to the religious life -- even when he was being penitential and austere.

Brother Charles said...

I'm always up for a good Bill Short quote!

Mark D. said...

When I was at FST, back in the day, some fellow students of mine (Servite Friars) wanted to compile a list of sayings by Bill Short, Kennan Osbourn, and Mike Guinan. Sort of like the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, only this time it would be Franciscan Professors at FST. Nothing came of it, unfortunately, but I do remember several choice saying by each of them that I have kept close at hand over the years!