Monday, August 28, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Jacques Marquette left France likely knowing he would never return.
Marquette was a priest, a Jesuit, sent to ‘New France’ to proclaim the grace of Christ to peoples unknown to him before arriving in the new world. Now, his statue overlooks the harbor on Michigan’s Mackinac Island.
He stands on a grassy hillside beneath the fort whose cannons guarded the strait connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. His dates, 1637-1675, speak of a soul given away to a Love he couldn’t deny.
He died just short of 38 years old after starting several missions, founding the oldest town in Michigan and bringing the faith I hold dear to native peoples. During his short life, he also explored the Mississippi, the Wisconsin and the Illinois rivers with his native guides, once wintering in Chicago.
Towns, universities, rivers and many landmarks are named for him. But it is his dates and the fact that he left home not knowing if he’d ever return that moves me more than the morning sun on the rich, blue waters of the strait over which his iron eyes keep silent watch, day and night.
Today, vacationers sprawl on the grassy hillside around him, soaking in the beauty of this place as thick Belgian horses clop by pulling wagons of tourists. Ferries sound their horns as they leave the island, while others arrive disgorging their human cargo onto the main street where fudge shops and shirt stores are eager to receive them.
But the noise of trade fades on this green expanse where Marquette stands vigil.
All I can hear is his heart. All I can feel is the beauty of his soul, so taken by the mercy of God that he gave himself to this work and died an early death. He inspires devotion but also makes you question whether you have ever given yourself to anything more than your own comfort.
The forests and lakes are beautiful underneath Marquette’s ever-watchful eyes. The morning sun shimmers on gentle waves and makes me glad I have senses to drink it in and give thanks.
But it is not they that most move me. More lovely by far is the beauty of souls, the souls of those who know Love and in love give themselves away.
There is nothing more beautiful.
Pr. David L. Miller