Authority arises from intimacy. And intimacy is about spending time with the beloved, lovers lingering together until…
Who knows? How long the lockdown? Next week? Month? When will the roar of ‘normal’ goad us into frantic action and dull our ardor for Him?
Not inclined to rush these days, I am quieted by Love. Deeper than human need, no doubt provoked by it, my hunger welcomes Jesus. He apprehends the ache and surrounds it. He is my desire, the only One who holds my gaze and eases my grasp on lesser objects.
I’ve no planes to catch, no early morning deadlines to deplete me before breakfast. I awake in the dark, rested and expectant, ready for Love. I light candles on the family ‘altar.’ Heavenly bodies beckon to me—Joseph protecting Mary and Son, St. John Paul ll praying for all to conceive new life in Jesus, then the Man Himself, His open body (envisioned by both St. Francis and Faustina) releasing yet again that river of Life. Only His climactic gift can cleanse and restore me.
I remain there for a couple hours until sunrise. Sort of lost in Love. I know that no-one loves me like He does but I tend to forfeit that grace by limiting love to a few minutes, often spent in wordy devotions. Done, box checked. Not the way to live in love; any long-married person will tell you that. Why do we treat Jesus worse than a long-suffering spouse?
Will the way change when the walls to the world come down? Hope not. Maybe I will proceed like I am loved, not stumbling over the debris that derides me. Maybe. To be strong is to be lovesick, overcome in the watches of the night.
I close with lyrics of a simple song—’Draw Me Close to You’–one I sing constantly, quietly, to Jesus:
‘Draw me close to You, never let me go. I lay it all down again, to hear You say that I’m your friend. You are my desire; no-one else will do. For nothing else could take Your place, to feel the warmth of Your embrace. Help me find a way, lead me back to You.’
Last week, November 1st, the day the Church honors her members on earth and heaven, we buried my son Nick’s second child Elizabeth in a small plot next to her brother Luke. She outlived him by two weeks. Surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses? (Heb. 12:1) Light penetrated our dismal gathering only by faith.
We had lived with her death for three weeks: numb, uncomprehending. Lamenting for Luke two years earlier was easier; this was more of a dull ache. It remains unfathomable. Two parents should not be admitted to the hospital twice to experience life’s greatest miracle only to return home empty-handed. The dance became a dirge. Twice!
Yes Jesus smashed the head of sin and death. But evil still slithers and strikes. Such cruelty is senseless.
Annette and I longed to bear our kids’ burden. That makes sense: we have more cross-bearing experience. Yet their suffering is uniquely theirs. That is our pain: to walk with them, helpless to change anything. We can only come alongside and pray and hope that the snakebite does not destroy something precious in them.
I cannot describe how proud we are of Nick and Meg. They were awesome parents to both Luke and Elizabeth. The decision after Luke’s death to try again took guts. They gave it their all and endured with dignity the indignity of losing Elizabeth. Together. They share a quiet, profound reliance upon each other.
The All Saints Mass reminded me that the communion of saints is as earthy as the soil in which we interred Elizabeth. We may not have answers but we have each other. And we have help from heaven. Later that day I remembered my favorite saints fighting now for our endurance: Bruno, Francis, Faustina, John Paul II, Therese. I am grateful for their battles, their snakebites, the fires they endured for the joy set before them. They help us. I feel little but know that we are surrounded.
‘The help we receive from heaven is like an invisible yet mighty river of life.’