Saturday, August 17, 2013

Meditation on the Sacramental Life

People sometimes quibble with the use of the term “direction” in the ministry of spiritual direction, yet in these words that draw us toward, if you will a spiritual “direction,” Caryll Houselander leads us into a surrendering to grace - to live fully the sacramental life.  

"We must grow in wisdom, as Christ did, by deepening our understanding of the sacramental life through the very substance of every day.  Until there is nothing we see or touch that is not charged with wonder for us, though it is something as familiar as the bread on the table.  And there is nothing that we do, though it be no more than filling a glass with water for a child, which does not sweep the loveliness of God's sacramental plan through our thoughts, like a great wave of grace washing them clean from sin and the sorrow that is inseparable from it.
Then we can increase joy through compassion, even where there is incurable suffering, for if we want to put on Christ's personality we shall radiate his light, and he is the light which shines in the darkness, which darkness cannot overcome.
In matrimony it is the bride and bridegroom who give one another the grace of the sacrament; and it goes on, as they grow together in one another's love, a gradual increase of JOY, which nothing, ultimately, can take away from them.  In a sense they are one another's priests, because their life is a lifelong giving and taking of Christ's life.  Everything in their lives has a quality of miracle; all their words of compassion or forgiveness are in a sense little absolutions; their union a communion with Christ.  Every breaking of bread at their table, a remembrance and more than a remembrance of him.
Human marriage is only a symbol, a shadow of the marriage of Christ with his Church, of the continual growing together in creative love, of the daily transformation of everything that so much touches the hem of his garment; it is we who are the Church!
By our baptism we are bidden to the marriage feast where water is changed to wine.  Cana is an image of our Christ-life on earth, but Christ is not only a guest; he is the Bridegroom with whom we must rejoice, who desires for everyone who loves him 'that my joy may be yours, and the measure of your joy be filled up’ (John 15:11).”  

- Caryll Houselander (1954) was a British mystic, poet & spiritual teacher. (Magnificat 8/13)

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