A PAUSE (13th SUNDAY P.P.)

Too much is swirling around in my life right now, so I needed to take a break.  I don’t want to  write too much, though I fear I will.

Karlskirche Austria

I took my break here today  (in a way);  Karlskirche, somewhere in Austria.  It was built for all of us, for everyone in the whole world.  That’s what “universal” means – for everyone.  You can enter freely, sit in the back, if you want,  let other people do their own “thing” in there too, while you enjoy the beauty and experience the immense space that quiets your mind and enlarges your own personal perspective.
So I didn’t exactly go to Austria today.   Not exactly.   I went down some steps into a “basement”   where the air was stuffy,  the carpeting was old, and the chairs were of the “folding”  variety.     But in the front, front and center,  the altar was beautiful, as beautiful as we could make it, because our attention would be focused on the exact same thing as that beautiful Austrian cathedral, front and center.

water  I went to my familiar place today and knelt while others were coming in and kneeling too.  I composed my mind.  I read a familiar Psalm,  Psalm 62 * and treasured these words:   “O God, thou art my God;  earnestly  I seek Thee;  my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh longs for Thee like a dry and parched land without water. . . .”

 

Then everyone had come and things began, and soft male voices rose gently in song,  prayers at the altar began,  and then the Asperges  for us –   cool water, fresh air comes our way,  but more than just a refreshment,  a spiritual presence, a spiritual cleansing;  not just “water” but water joined with Intention:  God’s intention to cleanse,  our intention to receive his cleansing.

“My soul thirsts for thee…like a dry and parched land….”    Things change with the cleansing Asperges, things change and become sharper and crisper, cleaner and brighter,  and as we continue, everyone there — on their knees, sometimes standing,  sometimes sitting —   is one in the same intention.

We were reminded today of the Ten Lepers who were cleansed  (healed)  by Jesus, when they sought Him (earnestly I seek Thee)  and He agreed:  they needed healing,  and He did heal them.    And then, as the familiar story goes,  they left to go find their priests who would declare them ritually clean.  But one came back.    That one had experienced the cleansing and was so full of gratitude that he came back to express his thanks to Jesus, the Great Physician.

Today,  amidst the sights and sounds, the young torch bearers walking in so solemnly, the incense,  the singing,  the bells, the intense silence,   the Elevation . .  .   I closed my eyes and saw that cathedral in Austria and felt myself become part of the universal Church, trying my best to give adequate thanks in the most beautiful way I could think of.

Those lepers of long ago, healed,  would return to their busy lives with all the cares and joys of living humans,  but first,  one of them  returned to give thanks.

Deo gratias.

 
*   (or Psalm 63 in the Jewish numbering used by Protestants)

 

 

 

 

 

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