Monday, August 18, 2014

More Than the Scraps

Life feels like it is moving very fast since concluding a five-day private retreat at Glastonbury Abbey, the Benedictine monastery in Hingham, Mass. Whatever hill I was on, I'm coming down a slope getting steeper further in the descent! Whoa, gravity! I pray not to lose the good habits of meditation and prayer I assumed during my stay. Now, more than ever, if I want to be in the living present, unchained from energy-wasting thoughts of the past and the future, freed from illusory imaginings, let me breathe slowly, let me speak slowly, let me sing in a harmony of word and soul. The busier I become, the more prayerful I must be, the more I must be a pray-er.

Defying gravity is one thing. Denying self-absorption is another. The God who summoned me from the "beyond" amid the spacious serenity of the abbey also speaks from the urgency of the bodies pressing their cries to my ears. Will I let myself be moved by their need? Like Jesus, encountered by the Canaanite woman, will I let myself be moved by their faith, however their belief may describe it? "... even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." If a "lowly" creature like a dog is given life by such modest means, means of which it cannot be deprived, how much more worthy is the human person to receive her life, and with gifts more abundant? And it takes a woman to make it plain! She says this not to rebuke Jesus but because she loves Jesus and honors the gracious generosity of God that he animates. Her faith in who God is summons the very gratuity God is, not by way of command but by way of praise, and in that very moment what is, is made real. 

Indeed, God created no dogs among the peoples, for all are human, and all are the beloved children of God. The Gospel of Christ shows me there are only peoples, all of whom can be the people of God as shown by their faith, which is shown by their love.  

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