The Table of Hours: Thoughts in the Days of Awe

Good Shabbas Everyone!

The previous post is on hold for a time, just feels like it wants to quietly "mull" a bit. Right now the focus is more on the feastdays we're are in the middle of. In the Old Testament/Jewish calender it's the "days of awe" right now...we are in the middle of Rosh Hasana/New Year and soon to come upon Yom Kipper/The Day of Atonement. In the New Testament/Christian world this Shabbat is both the feastday of the
Exaltation of the Cross (friday), and the feastday of Our Mother of Sorrows (saturday), both so deeply connected.

This time of year has always been deeply so special and precious, you can just feel it.

The feastday of the Exaltation of the Cross celebrates the day
St Helena (here) found the Cross, and more importantly the impact of the Cross itself upon the world. As many of you know, St Helena is a shared ancestor of both myself and my finace, and we feel a special love and devotion to her. I feel it was no random accident she was the one guided to unearth Christ's cross, God chooses who is to recieve certain callings for real reasons. For years she had sorrowed over the desecration of Our Lord's Cross being hidden away trampled somewhere, the further insult that this gave Him after all He poured out for us. She truly longed from her heart that this would heal somehow, that His Cross would be recovered and redeemed, not buried as if His Suffering and Redemption had never even happened. And she also i suspect understood the need folks have for the simple tangibility of the symbols of our faith, she understood just how important that Cross was. As Elena of Tea at Trianon put it here,

"Saint Helena was not merely collecting relics for posterity. Her discovery of the True Cross saved the Orthodox Catholic faith from being submerged in a sea of speculative philosophies that denied the true Flesh and Blood of Christ. Saint Helena’s discovery points to the God who became man and suffered death on a real cross in a particular place at a precise moment in history. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles was the herald of Christ’s resurrection; Saint Helena became the herald of the mystery of the Cross..."

And part of what really moves me is that when she was guided in a dream where to unearth it, she actually took her dreams seriously. She was also a pilgrim, in the deepest sense, a true guide for a life of sacred pilgrimage. St Helena is my kind of saint, i just love her : )

And i know in my gut it's a co-in-see-dance (God dancing with us) that the feastday of Our Mother of Sorrows follows right after this day. Though they are unique and distinct, there is still a profound connection between the sufferings of Our Savior and Our Blessed Mother. The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are here for all of us, guiding us through the suffering in our own lives. I was deeply moved today by a post Elena at
Tea at Trianon linked to, here. The author there, Heidi Hess Saxton, was describing how she had had great pain (from an inner pin out of place, with correcting surgury still days away) that was healed during being prayed over. She found herself ironically upset, upset that God healed some pain and not other pain. She later understands this more and goes on...

"God sometimes allows His children to suffer terribly ... in order to draw them as close as possible to Himself....

Through the years, I've come to recognize that this is the way God often operates. The mystery is part of His charm. He can handle our questions, though the answers are sometimes years in the telling. He has the answers, of course — and He knows when we will best be able to receive them.

It wasn't until years later, when I first heard of the Incarnation Principle (that God initiates contact with the human race through the sensible world) that I began to understand what had happened to me. God had not shifted that pin merely to spare me a few more days of physical pain. Rather, He wanted to remind me that I could trust Him to tend to me — on His terms, and not on mine — as a loving father cares for his children.

Whether our wounds are physical, emotional, or spiritual, the principle remains the same: God uses the painful consequences of our actions to draw us into deeper relationship with Himself. As we endure the pain and the scars begin to form, those marks can become a source of bitterness ... or thankfulness.

If in our pain we choose to pull away from God (either because we think He's abandoned us, or because we are trying to punish ourselves), our scars become a constant reminder of our own failings and weaknesses. However, if we let ourselves draw close to God — in prayer and through the sacraments — He tends to our wounds and teaches us important lessons that we could not learn any other way.

When this happens, He does not remove the scars entirely; the pain may stay with us for a lifetime. However, these marks no longer accuse us, no longer have any power to determine our future course. They have been transformed into reminders of God's providence and mercy. And with these scars, we are turned a little more perfectly into the image of the One who was wounded for our sins, and the sins of the whole world."

As has been explored in previous posts, it seems that for so long we have been bombarded with the horrific belief that our misfortunes and "weaknesses" and sufferings in life are a mark of Gods disfavor, leading us to judge another's pain rather than reach out to it. And it is high time for this stuff to heal. We can look to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary here, and what better time than now? Do we judge Christs pain and scars? Absolutely not, we cherish what is behind them. Why then should we judge our own pain and scars or those of our we really know what is behind them? I pray from the bottom of my heart that we all can come to accept and care for those suffering rather than detach and judge as we do so much.

As you'll see when the previous post gets completed later, I've really been exploring
Genevieve Kineke's stuff lately, it kind of fell into my lap co-in-see-dance-ally last night as i was exploring things that came to the fore last week. Something really struck me from an interview Genevieve gave (i believe it was from the one she linked to on this page, if not it was from one of the interviews on her blog sidebar, all her interviews are truly worth a listen). At any rate, this is one of the things that really resonated...They were talking about the feminine wound (from the lack of authentic masculinity in men today), and she was saying a woman's healing task there has two parts: to forgive the men that have neglected and hurt her there (fathers, partners...), and then to remind men of their noble and sacred calling (headship). Something about this just really moved me for some reason... too often we only focus on one side of that, either one or the other, when both are needed for healing.

Because forgiveness alone may not be enough of a wake up call to inspire change. Yet inspiration alone isnt enough without forgiveness either. We need to inspire/expect men to embrace the headship and chivarly that is their birthright (and our own birthright to recieve)...but only from a place of forgiveness rather than attack. That forgiveness makes all the difference in the world. Our suffering and pain is real indeed. But we can use our scars for healing somehow if we admit they are there and cease to hide them, while revealing them in a spirit of forgiveness and inspiration to change. Something about both forgiveness and reminding men of their higher calling comes from a place of real hope...and hope is an opening.

As Heidi said so beautifully, "the pain may stay with us for a lifetime. However, these marks... have been transformed into reminders of God's providence and mercy".

I also like how Lee Ann Womack put it in "
I Hope You Dance":

"Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance..."

Life truly is a dance. We hear that image so much that we've made it cliché and forget just how profound it actually is...that a dance truly takes two, the primalness of polarity, one leading, one responding, both trusting. I think the dance is well worth the pain along the way, if that pain is what deepens the dance....

Good Shabbas and Shabbat Everyone,
And Blessed Feastdays : )

(Images from
here, here, and here)

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