Hellooooo, my dearest readers!!! I have missed the blogging world very much. We have just finished moving house, and moving eight people’s worth of stuff in two weeks is no mean feat, let me tell you. However, exhausted as I am, we are home, and I am once again at leisure to write down a thought or two.
First of all, I must share with you this gem from Neal Obstat. It is one of the most beautiful encapsulations of seeking holiness in everyday life, the very heart and soul of what Opus Dei is all about. Read and be inspired:
The uniquely secular character of the lay vocation and mission gives rise to a uniquelysecular spirituality; a spirituality whose heart and soul is tightly bound to the world. This is, in my mind, the undetonated theological bomb of the Council: What does a secular spirituality look like, and when will we see a new spiritual literature written that not only articulates such a spirituality, but one that is written by lay saints who strove to live by its earthy exigencies? As we have the treasure of an unimaginably vast spiritual literature written by sainted Consecrated religious and clerics, this new millennium will — please God! — give rise to a new body of literature written by secular mystics who speak of the dizzying heights of holiness achieved in board rooms, court rooms, house chambers, classrooms, showrooms, movie sets, construction sites, kitchens, ball fields and bedrooms. Of course, this literature has some history, is growing, but the best is yet to come.
The Council’s vision of the secular lay calling is rooted in a primal intuitions of faith. This world, even though it is fallen and broken, remains essentially good, was redeemed by Christ and is destined for the glory of the New Creation. In other words, all that is good and redeemable in this world will not be left behind in heaven. It will be “taken up” and transfigured, just as the dead body of Jesus was not left behind, but raised up in the glory of the resurrection.
That’s really amazing.
That said, if we say this world is destined for a glorious “transfiguration” in the next world, how does it “get there”? What’s the primary “vehicle of transition,” the means by which this world passes over from its present corrupted state to its future glorious form in the Age to Come?
The answer is, the laity who have been joined to Christ and made made royal priests in Baptism, sealed by the Spirit in Confirmation. Their vocation is to gather from this world, by means of their virtuous and sacrificial secular labors, the material of which the Kingdom to God is built. Just like the priest celebrating Mass, the laity have their own epiclesis by which they call down the Spirit to consecrate the world. Elijah-like, they call down, within their secular vocations, the divine Fire from heaven to consume the materials they have tirelessly gathered for sacrifice. Then every Sunday they bear up on their shoulders this igneous, Spirit-drenched treasury of sacrificial materials and, in the Offertory of the Mass, lift it on high, through the hands of the priest, into the all-consuming Eucharistic Fire. Therein, Christ makes our treasures his own in the imperishable glory of his eternal Father, where nothing worthy is ever lost or passes away, and makes them infinitely fruitful for the good of all.
We need earthy lay mystics who infuse the terrestrial with the celestial; who find their unspeakable intimacy with God mired in the unsung tedium of their worldly work, their nuptial love, their cubicles, their son’s ball game, their friend’s music recital, their rock climbing, their child’s needful cry. Who pray deepest while blessing their sleepy children, interceding for their sick parents, asking for the strength to sustain their two family-supporting jobs. Who cling to God in a father-daughter dance, in date night with their spouse, in their nonchalant generosity to a needy neighbor, in their grappling with loneliness in the evening of life, in their shouting enjoyment of football, in the daily grind of suffering or the moments of life-celebrating joy. Done well, this earth-bound mystic brew yields a spiced wine worthy of Christ’s everlasting Feast that celebrates the wedding of heaven and earth.
Truly amazing stuff.