Saturday, July 28, 2012

SURRENDER AND DESIRE

IL SOPOLCRO (THE SEPULCHER)
WILLIAM CONGDON, 1974
On the night before He died Christ took bread into His hands, blessed and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: "This is my Body."

The Blessed Sacrament is Christ, the whole Christ. He was giving us Himself.

In so many other things He liad the stress on the invisible, the immaterial; His kingdom, He said, is not of this earth: His peace is not of this world.

Yet, in giving Himself to the world, He deliberately chose to emphasise the body.

Why?

The body is, for us, the means by which we can give ourselves wholly.

We say: "Go, my thoughts are with you," or "My soul goes with you." And we know that, though something of ourself is with the traveller, essentially we remain separate from him.

We can give someone devoted care, unfailing kindness, and all our worldly possessions, but still we have kept ourselves.

But when we give our body willingly to another as the means of deliberate self-donation, then our union with the other is complete.

We surrender our intimacy, the secret of ourselves, with the giving of our body; and we cannot give it without;our will, our thoughts, our minds, and our souls.

Christ surrendered the secret of Himself to each one of us when He gave us His Body. In Holy Communion this surrender of the secret of Himself goes on.

"With desire" He said, "have I desired this hour."

--Caryll Houselander, from The Reed of God

4 comments:

  1. When I started reading your books, I had just read tons of Caryll Houselander, and when I got to Redeemed, I found myself thinking how often you reminded me of her. That's probably about the highest compliment I could pay someone.

    She also reminds me a lot of the Little Flower. They both had those neurotic illnesses and miraculous healings when they were young, and even though their lives followed such different paths, they seemed to have a very similar way of looking at things, for instance, the redeeming work of our own hidden suffering.

    The first time I read something where she mentioned that scripture about Jesus desiring to give us the Eucharist with a great desire, it just floored me. I don't think I thought about much else for a couple of weeks.

    AMDG
    Janet

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  2. I love the inner light that shines from the Congdon painting. Imagine seeing it in person!

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  3. Your post today goes pretty much to the core of our faith as could be articulated. It is the most amazing gift to the human race from God. He has revealed himself to mankind through His Son and offered us His gift of redemption.

    Joseph Langford in his book about Mother Teresa illuminates another aspect of the crucifixion when Jesus utters " I thirst" Her private revelation on a train in India in 1946 is that Jesus actually meant He thirsts for our love. He loves us much as much a man or woman longs for the love another human being.

    Amazing grace!

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  4. oh sister, how I enjoy a Reed of God quote-a-thon. That little gem of a book has dragged me through more spiritual marshes than I can count. I even sort of quoted my favorite passage (from the Advent chapter, on the Visitation) when I commented on your Litany of Humility post. On the impact of being a Christ-bearer:

    "It is only necessary to give ourselves to that life, all that we are, to pray without ceasing, not by a continual effort to concentrate our minds but by a growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are. We must trust Him for this, because it is not a time to see His face, we must possess Him secretly and in darkness, as the earth possesses the seed. We must not try to force Christ's growth in us, but with a deep gratitude for the light burning secretly in our darkness, we must fold our concentrated love upon Him like earth, surrounding, holding, and nourishing the seed.

    "We must be swift to obey the winged impulses of His Love, carrying Him to wherever He longs to be; and those who recognize His presence will be stirred, like Elizabeth, with new life. They will know His presence, not by any special beauty or power shown by us, but in the way that the bud knows the presence of the light, by an unfolding in themselves, a putting forth of their own beauty."

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