Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We Are Baptized Into One Body

By Beth DeCristofaro

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. … Now the body is not a single part, but many. Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it.  (1 Corinthians 12, 13-14, 27)

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain … a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. … When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her … and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. (Luke 7: 11, 12, 13, 14)

Wind of Inspiration, Creative Spirit of God, teach me not to forget that you come always as gift.
Remind me always to be ready to receive and romance and dance with joy wherever and whenever you visit, or risk that you may move one without me.
May I ever be sensitive to your gentle breezes and willing to soar with your wild winds.
(From “A Psalm to the Wind of Heaven” Fr. Edward Hayes)

When I was very young, after hearing the stories of the saints from family and teachers at St. Anthony’s elementary school, part of me longed to be a martyr.  Or, at least, my quixotic idea of what a martyr was:  a person able to look the bad guys right in the eye and say “I will never give up God!”  All the parts about knives, fire, teeth, and crosses were not part of the fantasy.  As I got older and (a very little bit wiser) I thought that perhaps the gifts which Paul speaks of were what I should aspire to.  Especially those at the “front” of the list such as prophet or mighty deeds. 

Today in reading Paul and the Gospel I see something much different.  I see that I and my brothers and sisters in humanity are of Christ’s Body.  It is a transcendent vision of wholeness and multiplicity.  In the Gospel we meet a bereaved parent and her child.  We don’t know anything about either of them.  Was she a shrewish nag or a nurturing mother?  Did he care for and respect her or was he a careless prankster?  We don’t know.  What we know is that their gifts were being family to each other and that Jesus was moved with pity for their heartbreak.  Today’s reflection in “Sisterhood of Saints”[i] focuses on Ludmila whose deep love and Christian influence over her grandson caused her martyrdom.  The boy went on to reign in a manner which benefitted his people in Bohemia and he too, became a saint.  

It is the work of God which quickens our gifts and God invites to open ourselves to the creative movement within us.  Give thanks for the gifts which God quickens, look closely for the gifts which others exhibit.  Rejoice for them rather than emphasizing your own.  

[i] Melanie Rigney, Franciscan Media, 2013

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