Sunday, June 26, 2011


It is Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ – the sacrament of love, the sacrament which enables us to love one another, to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into Christ-bearers.
Do I love someone purely to love them, or because I am a human being, do I love because I too need love?
Frankly I leave such questions in the heart and hands of Our Blessed Mother, confident she does as mothers do: that if my face is dirty, if my hands hold tight something I am reluctant to share, if my motives are mixed, well mothers are rather good at cleaning dirty faces, unclenching little hands and hearts, teaching sharing, thereby purifying our intent.
In a famous Easter Homily St. John Chrysostom notes how some have spent Lent truly preparing for Easter and Holy Communion, some not so much, how some are purified and holy, some not so much, but he calls everyone forth because Christ IS Risen!
When Mel Gibson’s movie on the Passion came out John Everett ignored my reluctance to go with him to see it as I had already seen it and once was enough, but I went because it was important  to him and it was during the second viewing that a scene penetrated my heart: when Jesus meets His mother, battered and bloodied as He is, weighed down with His cross, steps from His execution, He looks at Mary with absolute peaceful, tender love and says to her: “See I am making all things new.”
It was after seeing that film my heart opened to Lucille’s urging, seconded by John, that I move to this city, near to them as family, to live this hermitical life.
St. Paul reminds us that because we participate in, share, the one bread and one cup, we thus are all one body.
Therefore, not just one as in members of the Mystical Body of Christ, but because it is Jesus Incarnate and Risen who, in Holy Communion is not food like ‘regular’ food that my body transforms into myself, rather Jesus as Bread of Life is the REAL food which transforms me into oneness with Him and therefore, like Jesus, I become more truly one with every human being.
Hence, as St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us about the purposeful reality of Holy Mass as the constancy of His love being given to us by Jesus  it is at the same time “…to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon…” our hearts.
Love is God and God gives and we become beloved and the Holy Eucharist is Love Himself gifting Himself to us and this divine love within us urges us to love one another.
In Holy Communion, in the monstrance during Adoration, Jesus is real, His presence is real.
This is His real sacramental presence.
However our Divine Lover likes disguises and makes Himself present to us, if we have heart eyes to see, in others, that is in other human beings, our brothers and sisters, in an old woman and the child.
Yes I met them again, the Grandmother and her little Granddaughter.
After Holy Mass and Holy Communion when I was out in the neighbourhood for some fresh air.
This time they were not in the alley, the little one not in bunny pj’s!
This time both had colour in their cheeks, both were radiant, Grandma had on clean and bright clothes, as did the little one who was carrying a small, bright yellow balloon.
We had a nice chat, the Grandmother and I, the little one just smiled.
Corpus Christi!
What a great mystery, what a great gift.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


                                                         OLD WOMAN AND CHILD

There is something so tender, peaceful, loving in the image of St. Anne and her daughter Mary.
Mother of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Anne is also the Grandmother of Jesus!
Grandmothers are supposed to be persons, indeed a place, of tenderness and peace.
In their old age, cared for and given the particular freedom of the elderly to simply be and love.
It is a reality throughout the world where children in their thousands are orphaned by AIDS, war, terrorism, oppression or the demands of survival which take both parents from home to field or factory, office or increasingly in this dangerous world into the military, more and more Grandmothers are in loco parentis.
Presidents and Prime Ministers, pundits and professional theorists of matters economic and social, wax on and on whenever oil spikes or gas prices force people to make choices, when unemployment increases, when food becomes expensive, invariably those with power and those who comment speak in dispassionate tones meant to convey sincere panic laced with hopeful clucks about how things will turn around.
Rarely do they speak in the voice or with the voice of, nor even for, the Grandmothers of the earth.
When John and Lucille Everett’s [ see: ] daughter was three she began a game where either she would go grocery shopping and any adult present would be the storekeeper or she’d reverse roles.
Either way the game was always announced as: “Let’s go shopping.”
In a home full of love and food, of course, money to the child was no big deal and in her imagination, housed in a little being well cared for, for whom hunger and cold were/are unknown, you could always ‘buy’ all the food you wanted.
So hearing through the open window a child’s voice saying: “I like shopping.” is normal enough.
Looking out the window and seeing a little girl in red bunny pj’s carrying a little blue shopping bag, holding the hand of an elderly woman, her Grandmother, seeing the child filled with joy as she and Grandma stopped at each of the dumpsters in the alley, and when there were no bottles or milk jugs to be had say plaintively to her Grandmother: “Well, no shopping here!”, is to observe not a child at play but the face of Jesus in the Old Woman and Child, Jesus hungry, Jesus worn out and tired yet loving and serving, Jesus in red pj’s.
That the wise Grandmother has made dumpster diving into a shopping spree shows the wisdom of love.
That in our overfed nation, spending billions on ways to get rid of our bloated tonnage, rather than being a game of pretend in the heart of a warm, safe from hunger home, a child should have to go shopping with Grandma by dumpster diving……………….