Blessed Sacrament of the Other

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

… when was it we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?…
Matthew 25:37-39

Seeker,
Who would you alienate, cast out beyond the sweep of your concern?

Made to make connections—
thee and me becoming WE—
all of us yearn for unanimity.

Craving companionship,
we need to feel part of and are afraid of being torn apart from
our common-union.

The quality
of our humanity,
is calibrated by the breadth of this connectivity.

For none can find wholeness
when the threads of correlation
are systematically severed.

Otherwise, we claim our place in the seamless tapestry,
along with every other creature
embroidered into a garment called holiness.

… we live in the light and the love of those
who came before us, and who helped us to see
and celebrate and recognize ourselves …
David Whyte

Though it wreaks devastation—
torture unspeakable for profoundly relational beings—
pervasive alienation remains; sin of a sundered world.

When the layers of connective tissue
that link us are tattered,
Christ suffers torments unbearable—in minds and bodies shattered.

Isolation haunts homes, hallways and highways,
wherever we settle for hollow commodity—
a cheap substitute for more costly community.

Meanwhile, hanging around every corner,
Corpus Christi languishes;
denuded of dignity, devoid of friendship, fettered and famished.

The Holy One draws near to the brokenhearted,
saving those crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

But mercy tolerates neither exclusion nor exception.
Such exemptions lead only to
domination and desecration.

The warm glow of compassion permits no dark corners,
and no life lies beyond
its infinite, radiant range.

For we are already woven into every other life.
It is the same breath we all share;
free-gifted from forest and fresh ocean air.

We find belonging when we are blessed and broken together.
In such communion we really taste, touch, see, meet
Christ Presence, in the sacrament of one another.

Christ so close, Christ so dear.
How dare we not see you,
when you are so near?

Connection and care
unlock the tabernacle,
exposing a most blessed sacrament.

The scope of our love is not measured
merely by those we welcome,
but also by those from whom our care is willfully withheld.

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me. Matthew 25:40

May you become a daily communicant,
ready to reach out and receive that other
sacrament most blessed —Christ-present in every sister and brother.

joe 

Love Withstanding



Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

When he knew that all was now finished, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty’.
John 19:28

Seeker,
Have you ever been beside yourself, embraced by pain too big to hold?

In outward expression,
Universe appears as roiling chaos,
but at its core, it is swirling hunger and thirst for connection.

Unfolding into the void
with expansive energy,
reality radiates its longing for communion.

Such explosive outpouring
echoes an elemental ache;
the cosmic overflow of a sundered Heart.

This universal mirror,
visible to us only in darkness,
illustrates a paradox: in being broken-open we are brought together.

Mercy is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world.
A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just.
We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful (God) who is so patient.
Pope Francis

In complete contrast to control,
compassion is the release of love;
liberation that comes with loss and letting-go.

Thus, it becomes both a compass
and pathway into tenderheartedness—
misericordia that ripens consciousness from human into divine.

Behold then our Mysterious Maker,
who comes so close,
but does not condescend;

at-one with us,
electing to suffer, not because of us,
but beside us, inside us, and un-sided among us.

This love-so-wide
perforates every boundary,
leaving us open-mouthed—agape!

Screens of separation dissolve
before the solidarity of suffering-shared,
unleashing merciful lamentation that will not be stemmed.

God weeps at love withheld, at strength misused, at children’s innocence abused, and, till we change the way we love, God weeps.
God cries at hungry mouths, at running sores, at creatures dying without a cause, and, till we change the way we care, God cries.
God waits for stones to melt, for peace to seed, for hearts to hold each other’s need, and, till we understand the Christ, God waits.

Shirley Erena Murray

Nothing is below this God-most-low.
so deeply in love with all Creation
that every bit is destined not for desolation.

Embodiment of aching love,
Christ showed the way to deeper care,
through the cruciform door of suffering we share.

We lose our ‘self’ in the well of another’s pain
to become part of rather than apart from
God’s children and everything else under the sun.

And only those who have required and received mercy,
reclaiming their original likeness,
can savor and freely share it.

To a Creator bent
on the restoration of the rest of life,
it all matters:

boy and girl and undefined lives;
rich and poor and in-between lives;
me and you and every other life;

African, Asian and European lives too;
all animals, every vegetable and mineral.
Even humble matter matters.

Such sacred solidarity, in love withstanding,
sharing the one pain,
offers us the promise of full-heartedness.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
The Talmud

May we make a choice today
for love over condemnation, forgiveness over blame,
healing over hatred.

And with forbearance,
may you bear the burden of bearing witness,
standing with love at the foot of every cross and intersection.

joe