Remembering

When the Holy Eucharist is celebrated there is a place in the Canon of the Mass where we recall our Lord’s words of Institution, “On the night before he died for us…….DO this in remembrance of me,” In theological language we use the Greek “Anemnesis,” to remember. Its essence is more than simply remembering something that occurred a long time ago. Rather, it is calling to the present an event from the past in such a way that we are enabled through the Holy Spirit, to participate in that event in the here and now. It is a dynamic remembering and it brings a deeper meaning to our experience in making our communion.

 We don’t do well in the modern age with remembering. It seems we live in and for the moment neglecting lessons learned in the past. We do this in relationships, politics, history, you name it - we just simply choose to forget. This in and of its-self is not so bad, but when it comes to our relationship with God it can become a disaster for us spiritually. It is no wonder many have lost their way, go astray from the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ - we forgot! We forget God!

In his book “Sacred Journey for a Peaceful Warrior,” Dan Millman recounts the story of a little girl and her special request of her parents. “Soon after her brother was born, little Sachi began to ask her parents to leave her alone with the new baby. They worried that, like most four-year-olds, she might feel jealous and want to hit or shake him, so they said no. But she showed no signs of jealously and she treated the baby with kindness-and her pleas to be left alone with him became more urgent. They decided to allow it.”

“Elated, she went into the baby’s room and shut the door, but it opened a crack- enough for her curious parents to peek in and listen. They saw little Sachi walk quietly up to her baby brother, put her face close to his, and say quietly, “Baby, tell me what God is like. I’m starting to forget.”

What a story, what a thing to ponder. Perhaps we can learn from Sachi’s quest to “know God.” If we believe that all life comes from God, that each of us has our beginning and end in and through God, then is it possible we had knowledge of him at birth. IF so, think of how much time we have spent in forgetting him, overcome by “the world, the flesh, and the devil.” Think of all the opportunities we have squandered to be with God, to be touched by him, to be reconnected to him because we have been pre-occupied by things in this world.

Beloved of the Lord, God desires for us to be with and in him, to know him! He created us with this in mind. It is supposed to be natural for us to know him in everyway that we are able. As we continue our journey through the liturgical year let us do so being mindful of our need for knowing God. Through our prayers, our worship, our study of Holy Scripture, let us be intentional in our desire for knowing God.

I think little Sachi was on to something, don’t you?   “Baby, tell me what God is like. I’m starting to forget.”

God bless and keep you,

 

Bishop Paul

Signs of God

This blog entry is in the form of a book report: I have recently completed Peter Leithart’s, Traces of the Trinity: Signs of God in Creation and Human Experience and I commend it to you.

Leithart thinks about his experience of a number of things such as language, time, music, and romantic relationships. What he sees is what he calls ‘mutual penetration’ or ‘mutual indwelling.’ (Here he reminds me of the Anglo-Catholic novelist Charles Williams, who is worth looking up). When you consider things deeply, the elements or persons are neither indivisibly one, nor are they separate and isolated. The mother and the fetus - they are separate and yet their lives are intertwined. Lovers come to see their life as inter-penetrated, and this is just what the marriage service affirms. The past is in our present in our memories, and you cannot separate one from another. Music is everywhere in us, and we feel our lives for a moment inside the music. Notes occupy the same ‘space’ at once in a chord. A story contains the world it tells about, but the world has stories in it. Leithart says each is like a Mobius strip where two things are interfolded into each other. We parents are not our children, but heaven knows we indwell their struggles. Each of these things is ‘within you and without you’, all at the same time. This state of affairs is not a misunderstanding to be ironed out, but a mystery to be noticed and pondered.

Leithart goes on to say that each of these intimate mysteries of our lives trace, a whisper, a reminder of the One who created them all, who is Father, Son, and Spirit, three and one, indwelling each other is a sense far fuller than we can experience in these human dimensions.      

But the author is not naïve. He is not saying that you could just look at parents and children, or lovers, or time, or music, and figure out that there is a God who is one and three! The revelation has to come first. But once you know of it, then the complexity and mystery of the world make better sense. God leaves, as it were, traces of His nature in His creation. Read this book, and the complex, both/and-ness of the world is illumined, and along the way our faith is strengthened as well.

GRS+

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