October 19, 2013

Shiny Muddy Puddle

In the dark chapel the brother sacristan begins to light the altar candles. From my place in choir towards the back of the chapel I see the smooth metal of the monstrance--in which we will soon adore the Blessed Sacrament--begin to glow in reflection.

Somewhere in the back of my mind St. Bonaventure reminds me that the power of these things--the light, the brother, the monstrance--to reproduce themselves as objects of reflection in my mind is the footprint from their origin, their faint imitation of the Word in which they are created, the Word who proceeds from the Unbegotten Source as perfect Image and Refulgence.

I take a moment to just appreciate the light; its dignity as the first of us creatures, the first of us to receive the original gaze of divine blessing, 'it was good.'

Seeing again the beautiful glow of the monstrance, I start to think that maybe it's good that we have shiny stuff in the practice of faith, for this too is our vocation, to become shiny, to become those from whom the light of God's overflowing love reflects to the people and situations around us.

Another teacher arrives from the back of my mind, certainly one my first teachers of the Franciscan tradition though I've forgotten which. I remember how he told us about a moment when he looked down and saw his reflection in a muddy puddle. He decided that the muddy puddle was his image for Franciscan spirituality. Even though the puddle was muddy, when the light was right he could see his reflection just fine.

And so that's our confession. The Light is right. The Light is right for the love of God to shine through us to the world, even though we aren't quite shiny, even in the poverty before God of being, at times, as shallow and dirty as a muddy puddle.


Judy Kallmeyer said...

Spot on, Father! Let us strive to be shiny, visible lights of the world and salt of the earth as He has called us to be. With His help, we can do this.

Louis M said...

Simply beautiful, Father.

My day is better for having read it. Just what I needed, when I needed it.

Grazie, fratello!