Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vision for Sight, Presence for Passing

What I see is not what I know, except for those things that anyone can see.

What I know is nothing that can be seen.

The Catholic life is rife with a profusion of spirits, angels and saints, and the Lord, eternal and yet present in the here and now, even within ourselves, as we await eternal life.

These postings attest to visions of saints, and mission. Last night, my wife (who is wonderful) asked if I had heard recently from St. Petronius. I replied, no. No, I have had no specific communications or visions in the past few months, this is true. I said, I take that as a sign that I have been granted what I needed. And, perhaps, that I am doing okay with what I have been given.

I thank the Lord, of course, and also my church, especially our priest, Father Petrus, and our pastoral minister, Janis Roise, for giving me the opportunity to participate and serve, reading at service, leading the rosary, for being present in the life of a Christian. I feel radically connected to the Lord. Regular prayer helps too, and, obviously, Communion.

But I will say, that when the spirit is upon me, I feel that I sense and almost see spirits about me. Not for me personally, not inclined toward me in particular, but in the air, everywhere. Or, I know they are there, that God is with us, that the Blessed Virgin is at hand for our intentions.

What I see is the life of a world, blessed, coming and going, passing, succeeding other versions of itself, giving birth to new incarnations. My vision though is something more certain. It is sight from out of consciousness.

The only limiter in perception is me, the state of my soul, or my capabilities, as proscribed by the Lord. My human vision is not merely what an optical instrument might record in this place and time. It is attuned by an awareness of realities that supports the here and now.

I wonder, is this statement unique only to a Catholic, or religious sensibility?

I think perhaps not. We are all, as we should be willing to concede, pre-loaded, to see what we are prepared to see - or at least, one might say it this way, to acknowledge what we are trained to see. That is, we are capable of putting words only to that to which such words as we have at hand apply.

Then there is the much-lauded practice of seeing what is there, apart from one's preconceptions. Many people would say that this approach is concretely anti-religious. I disagree. What I know to see does not occur to me as a preconception. In fact, there is no reason any Catholic should see anything different from what a non-Catholic sees.

But, in the matter of visions, of receipts, of love and constancy, we are slaves. I would know nothing, see and know nothing, without having consigned my life and all its facilities to one source, one creator of the here and now, the then and there.

This is a point of understanding, hard-earned, not of preconception.

Such being the case - the lens cover of self having been discarded - what's to wonder, that as I work or ride the bus, and yes, at church, I might occasionally perceive at the edge of my vision movement, a figure passing beyond cognitive range, like a physical emotion, like a present recollection, but responsive, alive.

What I see even in passing - the world as it is - is ever so much more alive to me, now, than before I came into the church. The world's passing, my own aging and passing, strikes me as cause for joy.

This is not the cause of sight, but of vision, being open to what is seen from the perspective of a self-aware being.

It should be obvious that I claim no credit. It should be clear, there is no credit to claim.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Forever is Now

Be Catholic. Be entirely Catholic, and find freedom.

Love God and be free to love our life, to serve others.

Love the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will have an advocate for your life.

Love the Holy Spirit, the giver of Life, and you will be infused with the wisdom and strength you need to live your life and help others do the same.

As the sun and rain brings life to the world, so will love of God free you to live and love.

The Eucharist will strengthen and guide you. Prayer will bolster you and bring life to your dreams.

How close is God?

Now. Say, Lord I am yours.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Updates on the Here and Now, not to mention What's to Come

Briefly, the OpenCatholic website is setting up really well.

It's all content so far. No links. None. That is, I believe, kind of strange for a website. But I think it is a good way to set up - focusing on writing, original content. I have a home page that explains as much of the premise as I need to (I think), then a page that links this, the principle blog; then two "diary" blog pages for Prayer and Social Justice. I have set up the form of a Projects & Passions page, but I am undecided about what to put there or how to present it. Should I think in terms of "me" or what serves "OpenCatholic"?

Let's say, OpenCatholic. Okay, but it gets confusing! OpenCatholic is a personally derived mandate. It's "my" idea. So, let's say I put in references to projects or organizations in which I participate. But, do they all accord with the "OpenCatholic" project?

Ugh! Well, the joke's on me. I started this thing, and I need to figure it out.

Okay. Let's try these four.

  • Prayers on behalf of the souls in Purgatory. I have a strong inclination to support this act of faith.
  • Stations of the Cross. I feel a strong obligation to this form of devotion as well.
  • One's Parish. For me, this is St. Stephen, in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Again, I committed to supporting my parish and helping it to grow. This obligations includes evangelical efforts, to which I dedicate this blog and the OpenCatholic website, and other Parish-focused activities of course.
  • Helping the Poor. I have a couple organizations in mind. Sisters of the Road, and  Union Gospel Mission. Neither are "Catholic" in their point of origination, but both are, I strongly believe, representative of the best kind of help we can provide those who need our support.
Well, I will sit on these ideas for what to implement. Principally, I don't want to simply provide such information or links as reader can gather elsewhere.

I want OpenCatholic to be fresh, its focus on content that is alive to its mission.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Work that Works - and Immediate Grace

Being confirmed in the Catholic faith is a means of entering into an ongoing cornucopia of paradox of unseemly proportions. So, lately I have been working on the OpenCatholic website, linking it to this blog, and vice versa, all the while feeling overwhelmed with possibilities (what links? instruction? slide shows? a PopeCam [is there a PopeCam? - please], maybe a link to custom Holy Cards...etc., etc.)

That's the stuff of it, a natural modern noise, but the rub is the challenge of expressing what is utterly intimate without allowing it to be merely personal. The solution is to pray. Oh yes, every day. Pray like a wild man! That, and today I spent an hour or more with the Blessed Sacrament, after while - no surprise - I was able to make some clear choices, and actually made headway with all this design stuff. Ah, it's a relief, a blessing, simply to be able to put myself out there in the name of the Lord, in order to better fulfill my obligations and express my love.

Because of all this, I thought closely today on the rather astonishing fact that our Lord was crucified not alone - as we so often observe - but with two criminals, two mortals, who like us, on the one hand mocked the Lord, and, on the other - somehow immediately recognized him and was promptly guaranteed a place in heaven.

Imagine that! No baptism, no confirmation, no life of toil in the oaken pews - but simply his plea, Do not forget me. And...Bam! You're coming with me, pal.

{I'm sure everyone appreciates my careful attention to the exact word of scripture. Hey, it's the thought that counts, okay? And if you need the cite there're plenty of resources out there - and besides, you should know this by now! ;-)}

The more I read or think about or pray on the Bible, the more likely I see these people who are like you and me, and the graces conferred upon them, or the lessons they teach us. Ah! That we should, each one of us, prove as valuable to those who come after us!