Monday, January 21, 2013
The temperature was in the low thirties as I headed to the chapel late Saturday night. Calm, clear, crisp, the night didn’t feel as cold as it was, and had an almost warm feel to it. But that was about to change. Gentle swirls of wind greeted me when I reached my destination and opened the car door. Looking up as I walked, some of the stars had disappeared during the short trip. The only light was coming from the chapel. But that too was to change.
By the second hour the winds were howling; the strong windows and doors of the small room rattled softly. And the lights began to flicker. I concentrated on the wonderful book I was reading, a spiritual delight --- but I took my cell phone out, ready to call the deacon in charge of the chapel. But God’s light continued to burn brightly, on the altar and in my heart as I read and learned more about Him, and the time passed quickly, despite the screaming wind outside.
As I walked to my car, my adoration time completed, I think I might have flown if I had spread my arms out. Driving home the car was buffeted this way and that, and fallen branches rattled the undercarriage as I rode over them. And it was now cold, very cold. It indeed was a blustery, wintry, day (thanks to Poo for those fitting words).
And so it wasn’t a surprise, when I returned for morning mass that Sunday that I found a cold, dark church. No electronic organ or guitars were to accompany the choir, rather, the sounds of piano and violins filled the air. And for a change the congregation’s singing drowned out that of the un-amplified choir. And the opening word of Father’s homily was: “Brrr.”
The Sunday gospel was on the first of Jesus’ miracles, at Cana. Unlike oft-heard sermons on: “See! Listen to your mother” or “the first of many miracles,” or even explaining “why water into wine,” Father’s sermon stressed the “where” of this first miracle: at a wedding. The place of His first miracle showed the importance of the event --- but at my parish it seemed the good priest’s words were, as they say, “preaching to the choir,” as I looked around at the many large families present, some filling not one pew but two. And when, at the end, the deacon asked all married couples to stand and repeat their marriage vows to one another, as he did with his wife at the altar, all the children were silent, staring at their mothers and fathers, witnessing their love --- although when the deacon said “you may now kiss the bride,” they all giggled. Family: such a blessed thing. In the cold and dark church, there was warmth.
I read a book Sunday afternoon at mom’s house. Recommended by a friend, the writing was superb: the descriptions of the people and things caused you to see them in your mind. The writer’s descriptions of emotions caused you to experience them. And although the love scenes of the story were not in gross detail, as so many books (and television shows) seem to think mandatory these days, still, the love scenes spoiled the book for me. Perhaps it was all the things I had witnessed in these past 24 hours, the hand of God in nature, and the hand of His people loving one another and Him, together, in public witness in words, and in physical being --- their children. The book seemed to make love something which happens quickly, but true love is a long pathway, it moves along, it grows. Lust is a stop in life, not the start of anything, as love is. There is no love at first sight, only lust.
Love grows, as one knows. Whether a spouse or God, with the passing of time we know them more, and love grows. Even in the strongest winds, even on the coldest nights, love grows, as one knows.