12 December 2013

Hear Elizabeth say to you. . .

NB. I partially chickened-out. The first part of this homily will be improvised.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Notre Dame Seminary, NOLA

[Vocation story: encounter at the Altar of the Kings, National Cathedral in Mexico City, 1981.]

How do you hear God's Word spoken to you? When God sends word to you, when He calls out your name and picks you up to accomplish His will, how do you hear Him? Mary hears and sees an angel. Elizabeth hears and sees Mary. John, still in his mother's womb, leaps with joy at just being near the Lord. Mary, Elizabeth, John all respond viscerally to the Word; that is, not only are they moved spiritually—their souls lightened, hearts and minds brightened—their viscera, their guts are churned, stirred up. In the presence of the Word and at his approach, these servants of God are snared; they are toiled-up-in the embracing glory of their Savior. From her divine trap, Elizabeth prophesies to Mary: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” How do you hear the Word spoken to you? 
Now, it's highly unlikely that any of us will be visited by Gabriel, or run across a burning bush, or hear Christ speak to us from a crucifix. That these miraculous events are improbable shouldn't prevent us from waiting on the Word. Waiting requires patience; it requires silence. Waiting—especially waiting on the Word—also requires perseverance, a long, hard dedication to sticking with it, staying firmly balanced btw Doing the Will of the Lord Now and being prepared to leap into Doing His Will Next. But more than anything else, waiting on the Word demands that we surrender ourselves to the inevitable strangeness of God's ways; that is, if we decide beforehand how we will hear Him, we may never hear Him. Leave aside for the moment the need to forget what we think we ought to hear Him say and focus on the way we expect to hear. Mary, Elizabeth, John all hear and see the glory of their Savior in different ways. Abraham, Moses, Elijah hear and see the same Word spelled in radically different ways. What they all recognize in the Word is joy. Not simply an emotional elation or a fleeting thrill but the lightness and brightness, the pleasure of just being near the source of the Father's mercy. 

While you balance btw Now and What Comes Next, open yourself to joy, open yourself to the visceral punch of delight that our Lord will swing your way. Do this and you will hear Elizabeth say to you, “Blessed are you who believe that what is spoken to you by the Lord is fulfilled.”
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  1. I really liked this half-homily! I've read it a couple of times, and it has made me smile each time.

    Joy: "...the pleasure of just being near the source of the Father's mercy." Indeed - it is, isn't it?

    Appreciated your point that all responded viscerally...and the alliteration of "servants ... snared". And I just enjoyed reading the words: "toiled-up-in the embracing glory of their Savior." Nicely put together. Wish I could have heard the first part. I've read your vocation story, but one day it might be fun to actually hear it from your lips. Thanks!

  2. I really like it whereas i am Baptist but We have one God Jesus Christ.. and You must try it The Best Talent in The world