Element of Indispensability
There is a wonderful little chapel with perpetual adoration in Providence, Rhode Island where I lived for some months. The neighborhood is very poor, mostly blacks and Hispanics. The crime rate is high, but perpetual adoration has gone uninterrupted for 27 yrs!!!. It’s not quiet. Traffic is noisy, across the street there is a popular someone that must not have a doorbell, and responds to car horns only. Down the street a dog barks day and night to summon his forever absent master. But adoration goes on undaunted.
There are no pews, only old folding chairs, for the most part in a messy alignment due to the many people that come and go. There are portable heaters and a little rack for books with well worn pages. Sometimes there are dirty tissues on the floor, on occasion gum on the side of a chair, candy wrappers and the reading material is left around. New pens show up periodically on the sign-up sheet, because someone takes the old one, as well as other items besides a pen.
There are always flowers decorating the altar and tabernacle, but without pattern to size of arraignment, type or number of offerings. But the continual presence of flowers at the foot of the altar is an illustration of how some think of Jesus while out and about. I find that very touching. Sometimes the arraignments are fit for a fancy
wedding, sometimes it’s a single carnation wrapped in a paper tower and lies on the floor, below the monstrance.
Then I thought…. Why do some people bring flowers and some not at all?
That is the point of my story. but I’ll come back to this.
The history of mankind is of failure and pleadings, failure and pleadings, over and over. In the old Testament, although it depicts the body of His people to act as one, only one prophet at a time rises apart, alone acting as an intercessor between God and that Israelite body. To this prophet is given access to stand before God, even at the risk of his or her life. The rest cannot stand to get that close to Him. They prefer a veil to obscure His presence.
Why do prophets risk loss of personal comfort, social status, friendships, and possessions, at the sight of their nation’s impending doom or for the sake of their salvation?
I’ll come back to this also, be patient.
In the book of Ephesians 2: 18, St Paul says: “… Every structure knit together in Him grows into a holy temple in the Lord, and you too, in Him, are being built up into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Christ leaves His Father, descends to take humanity as His bride, He cleaves to her, to ascend to Heaven once more, but this time with His bride in His Sacred Heart: The Church, as flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. Through the Eucharist, He transforms His bride onto Himself and by giving His flesh and Spirit to Her, from her depths, He and she become on flesh.
Then again, Christ tells us “…Love one another as I have loved you.” Jn 13:34
Back at the chapel, many people come. Some spend a while on their knees, some cry, at times out loud, some bring their coffee and a good holy book, many say a rosary, some with their eyes shut and head nodding. Some just sit and shut their eyes, I’m sure they all pray. They pray for their own petitions, needs wants urgencies of life and death importance, and I’m sure some pray in gratitude for graces received, as well as ask repeatedly what His will is for them.
But I wonder how many pray for what He wants, God that is. How many understand that we are predestined to go to Heaven, but that place with our name on it is intrinsically contingent upon how much of God’s love for our neighbor do we allow to flow through us. CHARITY in other words.
How many know that He calls us to join Him in this new excellent ministry at the right hand of the Father: “He has raised us up and seated us up with Him in the Heaves in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6 ) to do what He does, and what He does is indispensable to the salvation of His Spouse: The Church: us!!
What prompted all the heroes of the Bible, as well as those filled with God’s love that were compelled by the understanding of what God wanted so stepped forward to fill His wish. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ester, Blessed Mother, her husband St Joseph, Mother Teresa, Mother Cabrini, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, our holy popes and so many more understood that their relationship with God and God’s creation was not based on God’s need of them, nor the Church’s, but they did perceive their indispensability between God’s plan of Salvation and their brothers and sisters.
Filled with the Spirit of God, Christ illumines them. They feel in their hearts His urgency to go get those who need God, as well as to satiate His thirst for the love of mankind, for those souls indifferent to His ongoing sacrifice so that they may have access to Heaven.
Some may think of these people as filling a need, but I choose to think that beyond a need, they saw how, as a member of God’s chosen people, as well as of the bride of Christ, as part of His Body, they understood their indispensability as an extension of the Head, His Body, His bride, they accepted the Oneness with Him, praying for what He wants thus giving birth to the fruits of their union, building firmly the Kingdom of Christ.
At the chapel, they pray and pray, but no one tidies up the mess, some bring flowers, and the needs of the parish go on in need, the pastor and a small group of volunteers work irrationally long and hard hours, desperately needing more hands. But at the chapel, they pray and pray but no one tidies up the mess, some bring flowers……
Like the heroes of the Bible, and heroes of the Church, that do step forward and join the tiny legion of intercessors that stand shoulder to shoulder attempting to stop this overwhelming tidal wave of evil engulfing this planet. Who will join the white hats and plead not only for ourselves, but the Bride, our brothers and sisters through the wounds of Christ, Who remains on the cross until the last sheep of His flock comes home.
To you, overcome by feelings of rejection, victimized by unfriendliness, feelings that nobody loves-wants-needs you, take heart, take courage, Christ, Who lives in you, aches to use you , He longs to set ablaze a fire in that little temple of your heart where He dwells, and to help satisfy His thirst to ignite a fire in all hearts. He wishes to tell you that from before creation, you ARE, in His plans for our salvation, an indispensable element.
In my book, it may begin with straightening up the chairs when the Spirit draws your attention to their disarray, pick up debris where there is no one else to do it, give a tiny help, be part of the solution,
Lord, make me an instrument of You Peace
Where there is hatred, I may bring love
Where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
Where there is discord, I may bring harmony
Where there is error, I may bring truth
Where there is doubt, I may bring faith
Where there is despair I may bring hope,
Where there is sadness, I may bring joy
Where there is darkness, I may bring light.
Lord, grant that I may comfort, rather than to be comforted
To understand, that be understood
To love than to be loved
It is by forgetting that one finds
For it is by forgiving that we are forgiven
It is by dying, that we awaken to eternal life.
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