A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Taking away the delight of your eyes

The prophecy of today's first reading (Ezekiel 24:15-23) is heartbreaking and doubly so.

The symbolic action of the prophecy is the death of Ezekiel's wife.

The immediate meaning of the prophecy is the destruction of the Temple: ripping out the very heart of Israel.

I will now desecrate my sanctuary,
the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes,
the desire of your soul.

Many of us, in different ways, can find resonance in this.

For some, it recalls the pain of losing a spouse (may they find comfort in the Lord).

For some, it resonates with changes in the Liturgy: the abrupt departure of elements of communal worship that had been so comforting and uplifting.

For others, it may be something even deeper: the desecration of one's interior sanctuary, that place deep within our consciousness where we used to feel the presence and the love of God and where now we do not.

Perhaps it was some catastrophic event that "by a sudden blow" seemed to break our faith.

Perhaps it was prolonged inattention and apathy that caused our interior sanctuaries to fall into dusty decay.

Perhaps we didn't even notice.

You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins
and groan one to another.

There is also a connection between this theme and today's Gospel (Matthew 19:16-22): the familiar account of the rich young man who is devoted to the Commandments.

The young man said to him,
"All of these I have observed.
What do I still lack?"

Jesus said to him,
"If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."

When the young man heard this statement,
he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

The young man's interior sanctuary had been overrun by materialism, leaving no more room for God.

So, what do we do?

"If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."

We must grow in detachment - never letting the tools that are given us cause harm to our relationship with God

Also, we must never take for granted what we have been given, for all things in this world must pass away. Rather we must use what we have when we have it for the good of others and for the glory of God.

Finally, our focus must be on following Christ
above all things
and in spite of all things.

The delight of our eyes
and the center of our lives
must be our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
who lives and reigns forever
in that imperishable sanctuary
not made by human hands.

Therefore, brothers,
since through the blood of Jesus
we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary
by the new and living way
he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh,
and since we have "a great priest over the house of God,"
let us approach with a sincere heart
and in absolute trust,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed in pure water.

Let us hold unwaveringly
to our confession that gives us hope,
for he who made the promise is trustworthy.

We must consider
how to rouse one another to love and good works.

We should not stay away from our assembly,
as is the custom of some,
but encourage one another,
and this all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:19-25)