Friday, July 18, 2014

holy seasons and doubt


Our holy seasons always ought to be something special. They are really holy mysteries, and they should awaken a mystery as echo, as consideration, as prayer, in our minds and in our hearts.

The theme…is that, somehow man will be confronted with the Last Things *, will be placed in the final order, will face the definitive questions, and definitive answers will be expected of him.  Whenever the Church dons solemn purple vestments, it always means that serious questions are being set forth and we are facing the great connections, the principles of universal validity… This means that we think about man, about ourselves, from the perspective of the ultimate reality and, in so doing, become ready—really ready—to encounter and respond to Him, the Ultimate, in an appropriate way, as befits a creature encountering the [Absolute] Ultimate.”

* Note from the book’s editor: The term Last Things refers to death, particular judgment, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the General Judgment, the end of the world, and the establishment of God’s Kingdom.

~Alfred Delp, S.J. in

I am reading a collection of homilies and reflections on Advent. Yes, I said Advent—in July!

I ordered the book because its author, Jesuit priest and martyr Alfred Delp, is often quoted in the Magnificat Magazine reflections, and his insightful thoughts consistently speak to my heart.

This particular book, “Advent of the Heart,” is a collection of Father Delp’s homilies at his parish before being arrested by the Nazi, along with meditations that he wrote from prison.

I have a feeling you’ll hear me talk about this book again.

It’s a bit daring, maybe even dangerous, for me to blog about the themes I’m reading while I’m in the process of reflecting on them. I have many more questions than I have answers.!

Take the quote I cited above, for example. While the author’s statement regarding “holy seasons” is clearly meant in relation to the Church’s liturgical seasons, I am struck by the reality that the confrontation with “definitive questions” that he describes applies rather well to significant, major life events—be it the birth of a baby, a sudden crisis, or as is the case for me right now, the death of a parent.

Major life moments like these are our very own personal holy seasons, and they, too, confront us in a very private, personal way, with the ultimate questions on life and its meaning.

I would describe what I’m living right now as I mourn the death of my dad as a “holy season.” It seems a very appropriate label.

If I’m honest with myself, this “holy season” of mourning has also demanded that I confront deep questions and fears, even doubts, about death and about my certainty (or lack of?) about the meaning of life—both now and in the hereafter.

In other words, whether I admit it to myself or not, God knows that along with the sadness and grieving, my heart is full of questions. What do I really believe? Why are we here? Why death? How confident and certain am I about the “Absolute Ultimate”? Is it okay to acknowledge doubt?

More on that next time.

At the end of the day, at least today, all I can do is kneel humbly before God… right in the midst of this holy mystery that is my life.

to see original source click her
Note: 
I did manage to keep Michael’s garden alive while he traveled on back to back work trips. But I admit I had quite a bit of help from Nature…. We’ve had rain in Oklahoma... and temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Yes, in JULY!