Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Of Dominicans, Dogs, Conspiracies, and Hide-and-Seek

This year, on the day after the memorial of Blessed Jane of Aza, the mother of one whose children would be nicknamed "Hounds of the Lord" (Domini-Canes), Holy Mother Church gives us a reading from Saint Matthew about Jesus' encounter with the Canaanite woman.


I think not!

More like a conspiracy!

A conspiracy of Love and Mercy?

Now you're talkin'!

Anyway, here is an excerpt from today's Gospel:

Jesus said to the woman, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs."                    
She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters."
Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her      daughter was cured from that very hour. (Matthew 15:26-28)

True to form, Erasmo Levia-Merikakis has a beautiful theory about this passage:
"Could it be that the Word is playing a sublime game of hide-and-seek with man, that for this once Jesus desires nothing more than to be found out as merciful Savior...? We have every reason to believe that this is the case and that in the present encounter the Lord has had recourse to the strategy of a lover who for a while plays hard to get only so as to reveal himself in the end to none but the most avid heart" (Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word II, 439).

He's right; Our Lord loves to play hide-and-seek. This is a little bit off-topic (just a little), but I'll never forget the way we played at this--so hard and wildly full of love and joy! when I was in Europe on a tour with my college choir. In every church we went to, one of the first things I always wanted to do was to locate the Tabernacle so that I could really say "Hello, Lord, I've found You here, and I adore You and love You forever!" Or something to that effect.

There were only two churches where He really played "hard to get". The first was in Brussels, Belgium. Unfortunately, I forget the name of it, but it wasn't very big, maybe just one of the local parish churches. But it was beautiful nonetheless. As I entered through a door in the right side of the back, I looked behind the main Tabernacle. On the left side, all along the Tabernacle. It was not until I turned back toward the door that I'd come in that I found Him. If only I had not been in such a hurry to look for Him, I would have found Him the instant I crossed over the threshold. The Tabernacle was right there, on the right side, toward the front. And I'd walked right past it! So I apologized and adored, and we had a good laugh at my silliness that day. If only I'd learned...

I will never, ever, forget the other encounter with my Lord. It happened like the first one, only I felt even sillier when He revealed Himself...

We were in Paris, France, the most beautiful city on earth, and it was our last night. Father said the last Mass of our tour for us in the Crypt of Sacre Coeur, and it was absolutely beautiful. We all sang straight from the heart, more than we had for any of our concerts earlier that week (though maybe not more than we had in our impromptu chant session in Rheims Cathedral, but that's another story). After Mass, we had a few minutes to spend in the Basilica before going down to a nearby restaurant for our send-off dinner. I walked around the outer perimeter of the great upper church, which is how I usually found the Tabernacle in larger churches that tended to double as tourist attractions. I think I found the Tabernacle and said some quick prayers, but I was running out of time before dinner and my memory of it is now overshadowed by what happened after I had finished my walk around the perimeter, as I was about to leave. I noticed there were a lot of people praying in the pews toward the middle of the church. I looked up (finally), and there He Was! Eucharistic Adoration! Nobody ever tells me anything. And I'd been wandering around the rest of the church like a lost soul (which maybe I was). It was not I who found You, Lord; it was You who found me!

But time was up; it was dinner time, party time. Much as I loved my choir friends, the people on tour with us, and our amazing tour guides, there was only one thing I could think of all throughout the festivities. And as soon as I was able, yes, before our ascent to the top of the Eiffel Tower by moonlight (or maybe it was cloudy that night), I ran back to Sacre Coure to pay my homage to the King of Kings and renounce the world forever. Or something like that. (Blush). Yes, I was head over heels that night after another wild game of Hide-and-Seek, and if they had let me, I might easily have skipped the Eiffel tower and stayed with my Lord all night. But as it was, I had about 5 or 10 minutes of pure Heaven, adoring His Eucharistic Face in that holy Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Enough to fortify me for the elevator ride up, a while spent gazing at the lights of the city and wondering where the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal was in relation to the Eiffel Tower (I'd been there earlier that day; it was one of my major goals to go there while in Paris), and the walk down the stairs. I should have counted the flights, but it was cold and I was tired and probably still pining for more time at Sacre Coeur.

That's enough memories for one post.

More than enough.

Let's go play Hide-and-seek!

"Of You my heart has spoken, seek His face. It is Your Face, o Lord that I seek, hide not Your Face from me!" (Psalm 27:8-9)

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