I Choose to Drink of Your Cup

Chalice

The Called and Gifted workshop ended at 4 pm. Saturday Vigil Mass begins at 4 pm. There was no way that I could walk up the stairs from the Social Hall and not attend. I just couldn’t. Plus, I love Palm Sunday! Right before the homily, Fr. John exhorted us to pray that we give our imaginations and attention to God, so that we can truly take in what He would like to say to us today. He said that if we found ourselves lingering at a particular point during the retelling of the Lord’s Passion, that we are to stay there (since it’s probably the Holy Spirit’s work, right?) and not worry about “catching up” to where everyone else is. And to pay attention to this throughout Holy Week.

During the reading, I seemed to dwell on two images or points in the Gospel. The first was the image of the woman anointing the Lord’s head with the costly spikenard, and how this was a type of anointing for his burial.

3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted? 5 For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” And they reproached her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying. — Mark 14:3-8.

The second was at the Lord’s Supper where, “he said to them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,'” Mark 14:24.

Preparation for death and His cup.

As I am writing this, my mind is racing with all sorts of things related to this. But as I am to reflect upon this throughout Holy Week, I will take up some of those ideas at a later time and just relate what I was thinking during Mass, which has to do primarily with His cup.

The first thought was of the Father’s Will. Jesus said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt,” Mark 14:36. In so saying, Jesus is choosing to drink from the cup, if that is what the Father offers Him. Jesus chose to drink.

My second thought was of the disciples, squabbling about who among them would be “first,” and Jesus’ response: “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink…?” Mark 10:38. I take this to mean that by drinking His cup, you are asking to share in His Passion.

With both of these thoughts, it seemed to me that the Lord was asking me if I was willing to participate in Holy Week by sharing in His Passion. Would I drink from His cup?

The chalices on the altar called to me. My eyes were drawn to them. This was a serious question. There was only one way I felt I could respond, “I will, yet let not what I will, but what You will be done.”

I was sitting quite far back in the Church and thought that perhaps I wouldn’t actually get to make this choice. Perhaps the cup would pass me by (meaning that the Extraordinary Ministers would be all out of the Precious Blood by the time I got up there). I was actually worrying that this might be the case, because, for some odd reason, I wanted to do this! But God did not allow that to happen. When I got to the cup, there was more than enough for me.

So, I consumed His Blood and I united myself to whatever the Father had in store for me, whatever experience of the Lord’s Passion I am to have this week, with confidence, knowing that I would be bolstered by the Holy Spirit and loved by the entire Trinity throughout the week.

What, to all other eyes in the Church this afternoon, appeared to be just another parishioner receiving communion under both species … was probably the most important question and powerful decision that I have made so far during this Lent.

May I cooperate with His grace.

My Heart is in That Man

heart shaped cloud

It is rather a unique experience for me, but this man, for whom God has given me to pray and care, and by whom God has taught me so much about what it means to love another person (in a non-romantic way), has my heart.

I wrestle with this concept — I really do! On one hand, I keep questioning myself; is there something wrong with me? Is there something disordered here? Because I don’t want that. That would be “of me” and not “of God,” and I don’t want to have any part of something which is not “of God.” For His sake, my sake, and his sake. So, I triply denounce anything which is just my runaway emotions or imaginings.

But…

I don’t think this is disordered. I pray about it all the time. I discern myself and with my spiritual director, priest, and others. I think that it is just a unique way of loving which I am less familiar with, but with which God in increasingly making me familiar.

See, we are all meant to love outside of ourselves. We are all meant to see each other person as the most holy thing you will encounter with your senses outside of the Eucharist — Jesus Himself. We are all meant to pour our entire selves out for other people.

I know that I am an unfinished work, because although I am getting closer to understanding this with this one person, I don’t yet have this kind of love for ALL people. And I should. I really should.

I think it’s a process. Of softening my heart. Perhaps in a way, my heart was hardened. Oh, not in the sense that I was mean or uncaring for other people — that’s never been the case. But I think that I have been hurt before, and so I hide my heart within myself and only share parts of it with others.

For this one man, however, God has done something like take my heart outside of the place where I keep it hidden within me and placed it within him.

If this all sounds rather odd and unpolished, it’s because it is. These are new thoughts, and I’m hashing them all out here for you to see (and me to remember and be able to go back to later). What it comes from is from my experience last night. Whenever I’m around this person, I feel some sort of visceral connection. Like my senses are being tweaked. I’m kind of used to that by now. It helps me, I think, to “tune in.” Does he need more prayer than usual today? Does he seem sad, burdened, joyful? How can I help?

I was at that Called and Gifted workshop last night and he was there also. As I was leaving — driving away — I looked back at the place and the thought came to me (in a way different that my thinking it myself, if that makes any sense), “My heart is in that man.”

Last night, just before bed, I was reading from Peter Kreeft’s book, “Before I Go.” The last thing I read was “What Does ‘I Love You’ Mean?” He replies, “‘I love you’ means ‘I tie myself to you.'” I find this to be so true. I’ve written before about how I think that prayer binds you — in love, in Him — to another person. I think prayer is one of the most loving things you can do for another person. So, as I pray, I am binding myself, and I am loving. And I am finding that my heart is moving outside of me and is residing in others.

This morning, I woke up and continued reading. On the next page, he’s talking about family and another line jumped out at me. “So to give someone your time is to give him your life.”

A true gift of self. I am not my own. I belong to God. May I cooperate and go wherever He leads me, and continually seek after the pieces of my heart which He is placing in others.