Ah, Lydia, dealer of purple cloth, you desired to be judged faithful to God. We share two loves obviously–God and the colour purple. I love that the colour purple has so much personality and a variety of hues to it. The same is true for my relationship with God and how being faithful has different takes on it too. Lydia, you invited Jesus to stay at your home. I do too–even when the relationship is tumultuous.
When we are in consolation, we feel close to God. Loving, honouring and serving the Creator comes easy then. Unless, of course, we are in what Ignatius calls hard consolation. This is a trying time, when being faithful is put to the test. We may feel the presence of the Divine and yet our world may feel as if it is crumbling. The desire to be found faithful still somehow burns within though. As my family faces this hard time, I stand on solid rock and though I am tired, I am at peace. I trust the One-Who-Knows. This is not desolation at all.
When I was on retreat this week and was given the contemplation of Mary meeting Jesus after his crucifixion, the image that I had was not a consoling one in the traditional meaning of the word. I heard Jesus call me by name, I turned and began to pound his chest until I started to cry. He gathered me in his arms. I have often said that God can handle our rage. Jesus took it that day from me and I have felt calmer since. When my earthly father called me by name yesterday for the first time in almost two weeks, I felt a relief and joy wash over me. I am sure that is what Mary felt too but even stronger.
Consolation means staying with God and not turning away or inward. The desert can be a lonely place; even Christ was tempted to take an easy way out but he remained faithful. Keeping your eyes on the Trinity and watching for small miracles along the way are key. Living out the Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises keeps me grounded–loving, honouring and serving God. The other night when out with a friend, we flipped over cards of random acts — her’s was to smile at someone; mine was to begin a dance party. I am asking you to join me in that dance. Many of you know my morning routine often entails a bit of kitchen dancing–or as my friend recently dubbed it the Smoothie Dance. Maybe I could get you all to join me in the Smoothie Spin or the Breakfast Boogie this week?
Here is a gift of a song from today from a new friend of mine who has been following the saga of my father’s health and my struggles via my blog. These are lyrics written by someone who knows hard consolation:
Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise You
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise You
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing Your praise
She has noticed my faithfulness as have many of you, and in seeing mine, yours has been strengthened. I will sing and dance even when it makes no sense –even when some believe it to be nonsense. I will dress in purple. I will be faithful to you. I will praise your name, Holy One, until my final breath.
When being faithful is put to the test, can you stay the course?
What random act of kindness might you do to spread some joy?
Dance Partner, let the world believe we are crazy, but I will be found faithful. I will stay the course, anchor myself to you, believe the best, and follow wherever you lead–through the fire, through the storm, and to the calm. I am yours. Amen.