We had the previous post for today ready since early November. But on the night of December 19th I was at home doing what I ought on a Sunday night, God came to me, and I was terrified. I looked into His eyes, they reflected what He wanted me to see, and all I could get out was “Lo-Ammi.” The term echoed in response.
I wondered, “why show me this? It’s nothing new, as old as the golden calf. I already turned from them and deny all their works and minions, like I would the devil himself. I’ve made covenant with my senses to only look to You. There is no wisdom in their wasteland Utopia. I don’t listen either, because they tell nothing but lies… yada, yada, yada…” Then, I simply repeated the question, still no response but “Lo-Ammi.” I thought I might try describing the acts “blasphemy, stealing from You… yada, yada, yada…” Still nothing but “Lo-Ammi” now echoing about me loudly.
So, I spoke of the results of such idolatry, “they now claim that their fetish of You wrote their new version of the Constitution, and insist for some queer stupidity that You select their elected officials (who are not kings or heredity leaders, they’re intended to be the complete opposite). You’ve turned them over to their own hands. So, they are senseless, hostile to their own history, without memory, even without human reason, and refuse Your accountability or any responsibilty for their works. They have defiled Your earth, so even it will vomit them out. These bestials cast lots with Bishop Ludwig Müller and Hanns Kerrl under the feet of Your judgment … yada, yada, yada…” Still no new response, so I began to think “I’ve done everything except scream out in the street.”
During the last litany of “yada, yada, yada” flowing like a pearl-stringing Pentecostal barker in a tent on fire… I thought to myself not about He or they, because their train refuses to turn, and His never turns in the order of things… Then a weird thing happened. I stopped asking the question. I even went quiet in my head, which is no mean feat. The concept or word we glossed last year, “apatheia,” gently came to light in me. I don’t know a better definition now, but I know how it feels: dutiful serenity. It was resolved in me that they won’t change nor could God’s will, but I should and could. The Encounter turned out to be a classic case of “when I think it’s about someone else, it’s about me…” at least in part, my part.
It wasn’t even about what I said or thought for righteousness’ sake and lamenting lost hope for them, which are bang, dead-on, judging by my Lord’s responses. It was, apparently, about the way I said it, and more importantly, not letting the bellicosity of tensions that surround righteous offense affect me like it had in the past, or as their festival in the grave perverts them to this day. It wasn’t a Christmas-y feeling as gifts go in the traditional sense. But I look forward to a richer Lent.
Another result and one of His responses is that now the last post of our second course is rescheduled for April 6, and then we make a hard turn. Hopefully there won’t be too many rewrites in adjustment. All that aside, today is still a special day for some folks. So, I’ll share three of my favorite things related to this day, if only to balance out an unwanted review of perversions with a preview of some Holy positivity.
St. Agnes’ Eve
Deep on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon:
My breath to heaven like vapour goes;
May my soul follow soon!
The shadows of the convent-towers
Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with the creeping hours
That lead me to my Lord:
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear
As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year
That in my bosom lies.
As these white robes are soil’d and dark,
To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper’s earthly spark,
To yonder argent round;
So shows my soul before the Lamb,
My spirit before Thee;
So in mine earthly house I am,
To that I hope to be.
Break up the heavens, O Lord! and far,
Thro’ all yon starlight keen,
Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star,
In raiment white and clean.
He lifts me to the golden doors;
The flashes come and go;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,
And strows her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates
Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,
To make me pure of sin.
The sabbaths of Eternity,
One sabbath deep and wide—
A light upon the shining sea—
The Bridegroom with his bride!
– Alfred Tennyson
(next post sunset April 8th)