Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Today’s reading

Philippians 2:14-18

“Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16).


I have seen you, O Gracious Vision. I have seen you shine in human faces alight with a glory beyond human capacity. Names and faces, manifestations of your eternal beauty, ever ancient, ever new, appear in the mind’s eye. They “shine like stars in the world.”

I see Magdalena praying at hospital beds, weathered hands folded, her brittle skin an ancient papyrus on which I can read every indignity she ever suffered, every child she mourned, every neighbor’s sorrow she absorbed as her own. It was never enough. Her folded hands and tender heart bore the weight of human woe until she had so completed your sufferings she could carry no more—and fell asleep in you. And we all rejoiced to have known her, silently giving thanks to have witnessed a glory more than human.

I see Eilert, dying with words of gratitude and blessing on his lips, blessing me and all he loved. I see George forgiving more than I can imagine, the glistening black eyes of his blessed and murdered Christina, shining from the little photo on his lapel. The love alight in those eyes shines, too, in George’s weary hope that violent death will claim no more, a hope he holds as a shield against all likelihood and despair.

There are so many more, O Ancient Beauty, in whose luster I have seen the light of eternity. Far too many to name. Each shines like the sun, some now in the intimacy of your eternal embrace, and all of them in me—exciting my heart and illumining my imagination to the beauty you are pleased to reveal in your saints, and in me.

For such stars in the world I give you thanks. Thanks, too, for eyes to see your beauty. Today, may I live so closely to you that the beauty you are may appear also in the contours of my face, in a way pleasing to your divine mercy. Amen.

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