Ordinary Time 15 – Sunday
My oh my, things have moved quickly. At the beginning of the 2011, I started off the year (re-)finding a special someone who I had neglected and treated horribly over the last few years. By God’s grace she forgave me and gave me a shot at being her boyfriend and her fiancée. She’s is someone who blew my mind and blew my heart away the first time I met her 9 years ago (it’s almost the beginning of the 10th year since I’ve known her). And in less than a week, I will be united with her as husband and wife. The beginning of a new family with Christ as the head.
My time dabbling in the monastic world is something I treasure deeply. I learnt more about myself during the four years where I was seriously contemplating being a monk given what was going on in my life at the time. And those four years weren’t easy. But during those four years, I have learnt tools that will serve me a lifetime in my spiritual walk with God (the LoTH, centering prayer, Ignatian reflection, ascesis, rule of life, etc, etc).
And not only in my own walk with God, but as a partner with my soon-to-be wife in our walk with the Lord together. I know she and I come from different viewpoints regarding the Christian faith (she more evangelical, I more from the ancient-future and “catholic” world). But this will be an exciting ride full of challenges (that we will overcome), the bad times (which I hope and pray we don’t have too many of) and the good times (which I hope and pray we have more of).
As for blogging, it’s becoming ever more infrequent now. Last year I was having some serious thoughts about shuttering this blog down after almost 10 years of blogging: starting out with Xanga, then LiveJournal, a failed attempt on Blogger and where I am now here on WordPress.com
After married life, I’m not foreseeing any spare time for me to add extra posts on any regular basis. I’ll keep this blog open and who knows, I might pop in once and a while, but dear readers take this post to be my final hurrah. It’s been fun writing about the thoughts on my mind and the theological struggles that I’ve gone through, but a new chapter of my life is beginning and with that it’s time to move on.
Pax Christi sit semper vobiscum.
Wednesday after Whit Sunday (aka Pentecost)
In about a month’s time my life will irrevocably change. I get glimpses of this each and everyday before my big day with E, but on that day itself, her life and mine will be bound together even more tightly than how our lives are intertwined now.
Married life is something that I once wondered whether or not it was going to form part of my vocational makeup. At the beginning of last year, thoughts about giving my life utterly and indisposedly to the Lord in the monastic way was a serious thought. Was it escapism? I don’t know, but like Andrew Krivak (who was once a novice Jesuit only to leave the Society for married life in the “secular” world) I’m finding that married life is going to be a part of my vocational makeup.
The monastic heritage (Benedictine, Cistercian, Carmelite, Carthusian charisms) that attracted me 6-7 years ago still plays a very important part of my Christian walk. I’ve found something quite freeing in embracing the Catholic heritage of the Christian faith that has added to the pre-existing deposit of faith that my forebears passed on to me as a Protestant. And the Catholic view of what a family should be is something that I’ve never really heard much about in Protestant circles (even though I know that there is this line of thinking in Protestantism).
So I will still get up and pray the Offices of the catholic Church. I will still attend and help serve at Mass during weekday lunchtimes whenever possible. I will still serve in some way in the local congregation of the Body of Christ (however imperfect she may be) that I am a member of on Sundays and other days. But more importantly, I will do this all as a married man and be open to the varied, myriad ways that the Spirit of God works in my life and in E’s life so as to fulfil the mission of the Church (that is, to play my part in the only truly global group that exists for the benefit of those who are outside of her).
And it will be a long while in between posts.
My life has changed quite substantially over the last 7 months. And there is precious little time for blog entries now. Priorities have shifted and life has so many lessons to be learned and experienced carne rather than from behind a book cover or even, heaven forbid, a keyboard and computer screen.
Mistakes have been made but they are points of learning, reflection, goalsetting and mindsetting for future endeavours. And there has been some good experiences too (since when does life consist only ever of one of these types of events?).
And so I journey on, with the Lord at the front of me and with my loved one on my right hand side and others who love and care about us surrounding us.
Time for a shower followed by sleep. A new day and week beckons in the morning. Deo gratias.
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
Lord almighty and God of our ancestors, you who made heaven and earth in all their glory: All things tremble with awe at your presence, before your great and mighty power. Immeasurable and unsearchable is your promised mercy, for you are God, Most High. You are full of compassion, long-suffering and very merciful, and you relent at human suffering. O God, according to your great goodness, you have promised forgiveness for repentance to those who have sinned against you. The sins I have committed against you are more in number than the sands of the sea. I am not worthy to look up to the height of heaven, because of the multitude of my iniquities. And now I bend the knee of my heart before you, imploring your kindness upon me. I have sinned, O God, I have sinned, and I acknowledge my transgressions. Unworthy as I am, you will save me, according to your great mercy. For all the host of heaven sings your praise, and your glory is for ever and ever.
– The Prayer of Manasseh 1a, 2, 4, 6, 7a, b, 9a, c, 11, 12, 14b, 15b
Collect for Ash Wednesday (from the CoE’s Common Worship)
Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Collect for New Zealand from A New Zealand Prayer Book (He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa)
E te Atua o te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa,
me enei motu, o te iwi Maori, te iwi Pakeha,
me ratou katoa e noho nei i tenei wahi.
ka whakawhetai ki a koe mo tenei whenua o matou;
mo nga mea pai katoa kua whiwhi tahi nei matou.
Whakanuia to matou aroha tetahi ki tetahi,
whakakahangia to matou whai i te tika
kia kotahi ai matou i runga i te whakaaro kotahi.
Kua hanga matou e koe hei toto kotahi;
i raro i tenei whakaaro kotahi.
Seeing the devastation in Christchurch today on the news was heartbreaking.
The photos of ChristChurch Cathedral (and its devastated spire), a beautiful Gothic-designed cathedral, spoke volumes about how devastating this earthquake was. Other coverage I saw on Channel Ten’s evening news coverage while I was having dinner made the impact on individuals, families, communities and the economy even more shocking and clear to me.
Apart from my prayers for Bp. Victoria Matthews and the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Christchurch (her cathedra is in ChristChurch Cathedral) my prayers are with Prime Minister John Key and his government as they go through rescue, recovery and rebuilding operations yet again in Christchurch after the earthquake that hit the city just only last year, in 2010. And last but not least, with the people of Christchurch and the surrounding regions. You Kiwis are made of strong stuff and you will get through this. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and those in the emergency and disaster relief services.
E te Ariki, kia aroha mai.
E te Karaiti, kia aroha mai.
E te Ariki, kia aroha mai.