Last month I revised and updated this website. It still has the same great design my daughter created five years ago, but it’s streamlined now to reflect the fact of my retirement and how things have shifted for me, and I’m really pleased with the results.
All I’m trying to say on my website and in my blogging and my preaching and in everything else is that God is with us.
There’s a beautiful prayer I get to say as I prepare the altar during mass that I think has meaning not just for deacons or for Catholics. I pour a little water into the pitcher of wine and I say to myself, “by the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
I’ve always thought these words were powerful, but until the other day I hadn’t thought about the meaning of the water and wine themselves, how, as Deacon James Keating says, the water so mingles with the wine that you can’t tell one from the other.
This is how it is. For all of us. Christ is everywhere in our lives.
Recently I had a conversation with a young faculty member who had asked my advice about how to be a person of faith on a university campus. It was a good conversation—I really admire this woman’s faith and commitment—but as usual I stumbled around and wasn’t clear. I said too much and not enough.
When I mentioned this conversation to a wise and experienced friend, he said the way to be a Christian on campus or anywhere else is this: spend the first five years loving everyone you meet unconditionally, as Christ did, accepting everyone without judgment. Then, when that five years is over, see what else you are called to do.
Though of course, those five years are never over, because we can never love others unconditionally, not on our own. All we can do is pray for the grace to love, pray to be open enough that now and then God’s love and God’s joy can flow through us despite all our baffles and walls.
In The Joy of the Gospel Pope Francis puts it this way, that other people should know we are Christians by our joy. It’s joy that persuades. It’s joy that converts. It should shine out of us. People should see it in us.
How to be a Christian on campus? Be joyful.
Or I think of this, of Teilhard de Chardin on the value of all our small acts—a conversation, a website, a kind word, a silent prayer.
I’ve blended this together from several passages from The Divine Milieu:
A thought, a material improvement, a harmony, a unique nuance of human love, the enchanting complexity of a smile or a glance, all these new beauties that appear for the first time, in me or around me, on the human face of the earth—the spiritual success of the universe is bound up with the release of every possible energy in it.
Our smallest tasks contribute infinitesimally, at least indirectly, to the building of something definitive.
That, ultimately, is the meaning and value of our acts.
Any increase that I can bring upon myself or upon things is translated into some increase
in my power to love and some progress in God’s blessed hold on the universe.
With every creative thought or action, a little more health is being spread in the human mass,
and in consequence, a little more liberty to act, to think, and to love.
We serve to complete the work of creation, even by the humblest work of our hands.
WordPress and Facebook and Mailchimp want to track how many clicks we get. The world wants to monetize us. It wants us to be continually in the act of presenting ourselves. But this is the world of the flesh, this is the culture of death, this is the world we are called to resist: by believing in the small. By believing in the hidden. By believing in the gentle.
By believing in Christ—no, by knowing Christ.