It is All Good

We want our vacations to be constantly wonderful, unadulterated joy. We plan for them, anticipate them eagerly and expect that everything will be perfect.

This vacation has been a bit challenging thus far.  We have been this week in an area we picked so as to hike but the  extreme heat has made that not feasible. The maps of the area seem written for those who already know where they are going, so we get lost pretty much every time we take the car out. When I did go out for a long walk yesterday morning, I took a bad fall. (I won’t describe what my knee looks like.)

On the other hand, we had great visits to castles and caves and some wonderful meals. I got to see Elena perform in an opera. Most importantly, it is time with my husband and daughter.

And today we are off to Assisi, a place I love!

Not perfect, but it is all good.

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One thought on “It is All Good

  1. Morning arrived, Mass unfolded and the Scripture readings returned sadness to my heart and tears to my eyes. Since offering to donate my CAD services this spring for the major renovation and addition to St. Panteleimon Russian Orthodox Church hopefully to be built next year, I have struggled more intensely with the separation of our Roman faith with our Eastern brothers and sisters, and especially struggled with our inability to share in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

    Reading 1 2 Kgs 4:42-44
    A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
    twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
    and fresh grain in the ear.
    Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.”
    But his servant objected,
    “How can I set this before a hundred people?”
    Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.”
    “For thus says the LORD,
    ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’”
    And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
    as the LORD had said.

    Reading 2 Eph 4:1-6
    Brothers and sisters:
    I, a prisoner for the Lord,
    urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
    with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
    bearing with one another through love,
    striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
    one body and one Spirit,
    as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
    one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
    (Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States)

    And the Gospel reading preceding the first two is most familiar – the five barley loaves and two fish. “. . . when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.” The arrival of morning, especially this morning, returned memories of the past 16 months of prayer’s laments, reflections, discernments and the grace not granted (left over) through doctrinal indifference . . .

    The morning my mother sent her oldest outside alone to play for the first time was also the morning St. Perpetua introduced me to the presence of the Holy Spirit (it was the month after I turned four). Also returning were memories requested of a Catholic confirmation teacher that I address her 2012 class about the presence of the Holy Spirit during my faith journey – and the questions from a respected and revered elderly woman from Moscow who often asks, “How is it that your mind does not edit your heart?” «Как это что ваш разум не редактировать ваше сердце?» How can anyone respond to such requests and answer such questions?

    READING 2 ROM 8:26-27
    Brothers and sisters:
    The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
    for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
    but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
    And the one who searches hearts
    knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
    because he intercedes for the holy ones
    according to God’s will.

    I recall imploring the Lord for more than a week with many prayers and questions, and eventually, while working in my studio, the setting and message shared in what was envisioned as an orchard similar to Perpetua’s native Carthage – walled, gated, and the perfect sunny, picnic location for uninvited guests as we.

    Shortly after being settled, the master’s voice arrived both unexpected and welcoming, forgiving of his fruit we had sampled and calming as he mentioned the approaching harvest. As we became comfortable and settled in his presence, he continued and recounted the previous year’s harvest.

    He had sent his children to gather all of the ripe fruit. Upon their return, he thanked them for their efforts and posed a question, ‘Did you pick it all?’

    ‘Yes father. We picked it all.’

    ‘All?’ Only silence. . .

    Eventually, an older son answered, ‘Not all father, most of the ripe fruit at the edges of the orchard we did not pick.’

    ‘And why?’ he questioned.

    ‘You know how we have kept our trees pruned to ensure they produce the best fruit. Though we have not pruned our trees growing next to the walls of the neighboring orchards that have branches entangled with their branches, and that have grown across both sides of the walls.’

    ‘Why did that stop you from picking the fruit near the wall?’

    ‘The fruit all looked the same and unblemished, though before we picked any there, we reached back along the branches trying to determine if the fruit on our side of the wall was all ours or maybe it was their fruit growing on the entangled branches from their trees. Father, we wanted to ensure none of their fruit would be mixed with ours.’

    Their father smiled and then gently commented. ‘Many years ago my father planted all of the trees in all the orchards. He gave orchards to all the different families to tend, harvest, enjoy and pass on to their children, and their children, and their children. . .’

    ‘Your parents and their parents have become like the trunks of each tree and your ancestors and their ancestors have become like the roots through which life flows to nourish all.’

    ‘Know that all roots are intended to be entangled and drink of the one living water, and that all roots are nourished by the earth that remains filled with life and is warmed by the one constant source of love’s radiance.’

    ‘All of the fruit, unblemished and blemished, is my fathers and is intended to be part of the harvest and shared with all at our banquet table. . .’

    “Brothers and sisters:
    I, a prisoner for the Lord,
    urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
    with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
    bearing with one another through love,
    striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
    one body and one Spirit,
    as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
    one Lord, one faith, one baptism”

    Salvation ‘outside the church’ is not a concession of a merciful God as many in the Roman faith profess.

    From a Christian perspective, all of the world’s blood lines that have grown to become family trees, clans, communities, regions, territories, nations, believers and non-believers are all our Father’s children – all promised the gift of New Life and offered the gift of forgiveness of our transgressions through the Sacrifice and New Covenant of His Son.

    One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one bread, one wine and one ‘Table’ in Him – An abundance of grace and blessings unimaginable are offered.

    A promise that ‘when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.’

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