The other day this showed up in my Twitter feed.
And since BruvverEccles is one of the people that I highly respect, I followed the link, which led me here.
OK here goes (this is exactly as I’d say it to a 10 year old): Some people think that what we do at Mass is a bit like having a meal – a special meal – but still a meal. In some ways this is right, BUT it is the most special meal you can imagine. It is special because the person you love most in the world (Jesus, of course) is actually giving you himself as food. That sounds a bit gruesome doesn’t it? Well, that’s what’s special about Mass – Jesus gave us the way to eat his body and drink his blood in a non-gruesome way the night before he was raised up on a cross. This was called the Last Supper – or you could call it the First Mass! You see, the important thing is that Jesus died and was raised up again 3 days later. That’s what we have at Mass, not just a memory of something that happened in the past, but we’re actually there – we are there with Mary beside the cross, but also there 3 days later when Jesus rose from the dead. So to go back in time to the night BEFORE he died doesn’t make sense – why would we want to go back in time then? The most important bit hadn’t happened yet! Instead, on that night Jesus gave us the way, not to time travel, but to make present in our today what He did for us once and for all. […]
Here’s the link again wp.me/p2sOVi-np
And that explanation rang a bell with me. It is very reminiscent of what julian of Norwich wrote in her Revelation of Divine Love, which I wrote about last fall (on NEO) here and here. She is also T. S. Elliot’s source for the verse that I quote often from Little Gidding in The Four Quartets.
Sin is Behovely, but
All shall be well, and
All manner of thing shall be well.
If I think, again, of this place,
And of people, not wholly commendable,
Of no immediate kin or kindness,
But of some peculiar genius,
All touched by a common genius,
United in the strife which divided them;
If I think of a king at nightfall,
Of three men, and more, on the scaffold
And a few who died forgotten
In other places, here and abroad,
And of one who died blind and quiet
Why should we celebrate
These dead men more than the dying?
It is not to ring the bell backward
Nor is it an incantation
To summon the spectre of a Rose.
We cannot revive old factions
We cannot restore old policies
Or follow an antique drum.
These men, and those who opposed them
And those whom they opposed
Accept the constitution of silence
And are folded in a single party.
Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us—a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching
And so, we see in these two expressions spread over half a millenium, a deep and continuing strain of mysticism in the Mass, more specifically in the Eucharist, connecting us back to the little band of disciples who witnessed the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
I thought we might expand a bit on Julian’s writings to shed a bit more light on it. (Note that that my copy of her manuscript has some problems in transcription that I’m nowhere near competent to fix.)
For man, he holdeth some deeds well done, and some deeds evil – and our Lord beholdeth them not so, for as all that 34
hath being in kind of God’s making, so is all thing that is done, in property of God’s making. For it is easy to understand that the best deed is well done; and all in the property and order that our Lord hath ordeined to, fro without beginning. For their is no Door (doer) but he.
[…] and all his pains and passions bodily and ghostly, and the pains of all his creatures ghostly and bodily. and we shall be troubled following our master Jesu, till we are purged of our deadly flesh, and all our inward affectations, which be not very good. And the holding of this with all the pains that ever were, or ever shall be. And with all this I understood the passion of Christ, for the most pain and over passing.
I think we can see in even these short excerpts, one of the best explanations of why sometimes we seem to get crosswise with the Lord. It’s simply that we are not privy to all the information that He has. And so we come back to, “We see through a glass but darkly”. To be honest, in my experience, knowing this doesn’t necessarily ease the pain of something we desperately want but, it may at least help us to understand why the Father sometimes says , “No”.
And yes, Julian of Norwich’s book is fascinating, as is her story, there’s a link to where it can be downloaded here.
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