Friday, August 17, 2012

Sacramental Way

I have a friend who left her life of vows after 30 years because she was “tired of living the lie.” I wish I knew which lie she had tired of, there are so many to choose from. It’s funny, where ones’ wrestling takes them. My friend wrestled with her faith for decades to leave religion… I wrestled with mine for decades to return to religion.

God, Irony is thy name!

I do know we give “the lie” many names and attributions, but no matter where we go, if untreated, it remains, whether in religion or outside it.

The truth is we all have lies we live. We all have secrets and the pain which rests in the heart of them. Whatever her lie is, I pray she will come to accept it and find healing. Perhaps this move will lead her to her truth, perhaps the absence of the convent’s shelter will allow her to see it and treat it face on; healing is never an easy thing to do. May she be granted the courage and grace to be healed.

Healing is God’s salvation. With our willing healing participation, in the shaping of the inescapable pain and sorrows of life we discover the source of love in the shared vulnerability of Jesus, in him we find and know mercy; his compassion now made alive in us. Here is a sacred act, the living act of our pain, even the pain of our transgression, now transformed into compassion.

More and more I realize, in my life at least, the calling is to be healed and in turn be healers. The more I’m healed, the more I’m able to heal: all by the grace of God, realized in the compassion of God for us in Jesus of Nazareth. This is love. This is real change.

This is restoration to our proper place and transformation of the holy space within us, our hearts, from a place of secret pain walled up with stone, into an open place where sits God on the mercy seat within, choosing to heal us rather than punish, choosing to cast out our demons rather than crush us. Here is our liberation from fear to be more fully engaged in our humanness, in our light and our shadows, in our sorrows and our joys. We all know suffering and we can all know love in it's receiving and more so in its giving.

Through all of it, Jesus shows us this way, calling us to witness to his way, the sacramental way of giving our love away. It doesn’t matter who we are, what we do, where we’re from or what we’ve done. Love is calling us. Life is calling us. God’s love is calling us to share in God’s way, to take our love, to be grateful for the blessing of it, and give it away in all its healing power, and likewise be healed.

This is life in the sacramental way.

This is more than just a promise from God; this is the reality we know, this in the fullness of God's compassion in the very human Jesus. We also know this truth in every tangible human act of justice, kindness and mercy, for ourselves and each other, all reflecting God's glory, grace and love. We know this truth because when we really take love’s risk, we are rewarded love’s joy.

We can feel it. We can see it and can know God’s joy in it.

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