Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Continuing some thoughts about "the Sacred" conjoined to the feast day celebrated by the Church today will end up something of a surprise. Stephanie Dowrick noted how a yoga teacher concluded the regular session with a simple invitation: "view through the mind's eye 'our whole selves'." For Dowrick this was "the invitation" that opened the door to "the Sacred." She realized that all she was was itself all sacred. (Seeking the Sacred: Transforming Our View of Ourselves and One Another[published 2010]
Reading through Dowrick's thoughts and entering my own efforts at seeking "the Sacred," I sense that this seeking is what Dowrick calls an "adventure." For her intellect is important but also consequence are "imagination and vision."
The feast of the Immaculate Conception relates to Mary in a particular way for me. It is this. As a young woman Mary was faced with a question, a decision, that would change her life as well as the course of human history. For God's will to be achieved Mary had to make her choice using her own free will. Like me and you, Mary could have been living in the consequences of Original Sin. However, this was the gift for her: she was free from the sin of our first parents.
We can consider this: because Mary was never subject to the consequences of Original Sin, she was able to be open to so many ways of experiencing "the Sacred." Unlike Mary, we were damaged by the actions of Adam and Eve. Yet we were not without salvation. Mary's choice to accept the invitation of God to bring His Son into our world to repair the garden damage.
Surely Mary knew how to bring herself into the presence of "the Sacred." Perhaps today we might take some time to imagine ourselves sitting near Mary in her prayer, her openness to "the Sacred." There we might consider how we attempt to drive sin from our lives to enable our own spirit to link itself with "the Sacred." The more often we do this, the "easier" will be our time in prayer. Now to the change in direction hinted in the opening paragraph.
Yours truly usually is awakened during the middle of the night or early morning by a whining and bark that is the signal: get me outside quickly. So, this morning, in my state of just being jolted from deep sleep, I jacketed myself and headed for the front door. When I opened the door and allow Hershey to step outside, the door slammed shut because of the wind! Guess what? You have it, I suspect. All keys were inside. Rush to the rectory where there is usually a key that would allow me entrance and a second key!!! Where was that key???? Removed from its usual "hiding place." So, at 4:14 AM, Hershey inside my jacket we went to the nearby gas station. At first the young man working behind the protection of locks and glass, would not allow me and my treasure to stand inside. Tried reaching two or three people who could help ... now answer. (There off my Christmas list!!!!) Likewise I tried 911 and am still waiting for an officer to come to assist me. (Wait 'til there next call for financial support!!!) After being out for about an hour plus, the young man invited me into his outer room where the candies and drinks were displayed. It led to a very interesting conversation about religion. Napal was his home. But he has switched from Hinduism to Christianity. He has studied the bible. He wanted to know about Catholicism. Maybe something said will impact him. Then at 6:45 AM a customer, seeing this old man and his dog, asked if we need a ride. So by 7 AM, rectory copy of the key in hand, I opened the front door and allowed one cold man with his quite warm dog back into the house. Having Hershey inside my jacket surely helped keep the two of us warm. You can be sure Hershey's halter will have a key attached! Even better, I may find a key pad lock!
But it gave me much time to think about the challenge to the homeless on cold nights. Several people just walked by as I stood next to one of the gas pumps that offered protection against the wind. God bless that lady and her needs. She was a God sent gift. So say a prayer today for a Kathy who helped Hershey and his sleepy-headed owner!