reconciling things

“Allow it all to happen: beauty and terror…” Rilke

The Liturgy during Lent in the Maronite tradition destroys and rebuilds me every week it seems.

It begins with the Wedding at Cana and Jesus’ first public miracle. The reality of the situation was that they were out of wine. The truth, however, was greater than that situation. Jesus was going to show that he was not confined to the boundaries of the material world.

The next week is the Healing of the Leper. The man begged for healing. The hymn in the Rite of Forgiveness says “Christ took away, by his passion and saving death, the burdens imposed on us by Mosiac law.” The Mosaic law that said he needed to be outside the camp, that he was unclean, and untouchable. The reality of the law had its limits, but the truth was that those Jesus says are clean, are clean. What Jesus says is true, is true.

The next week is the Healing of the Hemorrhaging Woman. I love this one because it shows Jesus’ default position being to heal. Despite whatever the reality of the situation and how long it has persisted, when Jesus is touched, his will is made manifest in our lives.

Today it is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. It’s such a familiar story that sometimes we forget how very remarkable it actually is. The Psalm of the Readings broke my heart today. I literally choked up and could barely chant it.

The true love of the father
far surpassed his son's great sin.
He ran out to embrace him
when at last his son came home.

"I have sinned against heaven
and before you," said the son.
"Though my heart now condemns me,
you are greater than my heart."

In a culture that steadily preaches “Trust yourself” and “Follow your heart” one wrestles with what to do when the heart condemns. But here in this beautiful line, “you are greater than my heart.”

That true love of the father is greater than the reality of the son’s sin and the heart’s condemnation. What a glorious truth. Such things are too wonderful for me.

Running Through The Lies

Nearly four years ago when my husband left for good I decided I would go running. I had never really run prior to this. In fact, my only other attempt had been when I was first married. I met up with my sister-in-law after our husbands had gone off to work. We were going to be fit. We didn’t stretch, hydrate, nor have any idea what we were doing. We ran full speed for one city block. We stopped, being sure we were dying. We had side cramps and were gasping for air. We walked back to her house, ate cinnamon toast crunch, and watched The Today Show.

But when my husband left I had this sudden inclination to run. I borrowed earbuds from my kids and put on some music. Five minutes into the run, this song in my ears, the tears poured down my cheeks, as all the lies I stored started to be released. Jesus spoke the truth of what he says of me. He showed himself greater than my heart, which was condemning me pretty hard in those days.

If the reality of your situation seems difficult, heavy, or just damn shitty, please remember, that there is a greater truth than the reality you are passing through. The true love of the father will run to meet you. I think this is the whole point of Lent. It is turning back to see the father there. He has his running shoes on.

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