Thursday, April 7, 2016

Triduum Liturgical Catch Up & A Heart String

I love Holy Thursday. Every year I sit with an open heart and find that I am always surprised and in awe of our Lord's example as He breaks Bread and He washes feet.

I hear an invitation.

Every Good Friday...I am stilled and I can barely choke out a whisper, an acknowledgement, 

"For me?"

I awoke this morning to make my husband an egg sandwich and a travel mug of coffee. I have been convinced recently by a good friend to get up and serve him, to see him off so that he touches humanity, so that he knows he is KNOWN to me before he goes to serve our family. It is a bit sad I didn't think of this before...that he was leaving a silent home...but now he has his bed head and glasses wife to bid him adieu. Lucky him ;)

No, but really, I don't know how to help him with his work sometimes. I am not talking about his Coast Guard job work...I am talking about his inner work...his story that God has written for him. That God is asking him to say yes to. And so...I figure an egg sandwich might at least give him some energy for whatever is being asked of him.

So my littles are in bed and I come to this spot and all I have written about an NFP journey. I was pondering this morning about letting you all in on some of my own work that God has given me as part of this story. He is challenging what I thought was a done deal. It is the beauty of being a Catholic. To find yourself in a spot and to just about be settled and comfortable there when tugs on your heartstrings begin again.

And yet, it is a familiar tug, the kind of tug that I know can only be Gift and Good and Holy because I have followed the string before. I have put my fingers along the heart string, usually shaky doubting Thomas fingers, and like Princess Irene from The Princess and the Goblin, I have held onto that string from inside dark caves. I have trusted following the tug because of a confidence in Him that can only come from mercy and grace and years of seeing how HIS PLAN IS BEST. I have seen and held and kissed and loved what is at the end of the string.

I have been reading again.

I KNOW what you are thinking! We all have some book going on at any given moment! Like I just read about Alexander Hamilton's role in the Battle of Yorktown...and how fun that we just drove by there Monday to play by the river.

But the words I have been reading are ones that I am letting seep into cracked dry ground. There is a quiet surrender going on inside me and I see how beautiful the Holy Spirit is in introducing me to this particular work right now. I would not have been ready for it even a few months ago. For some reason, I am internalizing it now. That reason being only grace from a gentle Father.

The following is in Msgr Cormac Burkes Covenanted Happiness: Love and Commitment in Marriage, which can be read in its entirety here.

Why should the marital act be more significant than any other expression of affection between the spouses? Why should it be a more intense expression of love and union? Surely because of what happens in that marital encounter, which is not just a touch, not a mere sensation, however intense, but a communication, an offer and acceptance, an exchange of something that uniquely represents the gift of oneself and the union of two selves.

Here, of course, it should not be forgotten that while two persons in love want to give themselves to one another, to be united to one another, this desire of theirs remains, humanly speaking, on a purely volitional level. They can bind themselves to one another, but they cannot actually give themselves. 

The greatest expression of a person's desire to give himself is to give the seed of himself.

Giving one's seed is much more significant, and in particular is much more real, than giving one's heart. "I am yours, I give you my heart; here, take it", is mere poetry, to which no physical gesture can give full expression. 

But, "I am yours; I give you my seed; here, take it", is not poetry, it is love. It is conjugal love embodied in a unique and privileged physical action whereby intimacy is expressed - 

"I give you what I give no one else" - and union is achieved: 

"Take what I have to give. This will be a new me. 

United to you, to what you have to give - to your seed - 

this will be a new you-and-me, fruit of our mutual knowledge and love". 

In human terms, this is the closest one can come to giving one's self conjugally and to accepting the conjugal self-gift of another, and so achieving spousal union.

Therefore, what makes marital intercourse express a unique relationship and union is not the sharing of a sensation but the sharing of a power: of an extraordinary life-related, creative, physical, sexual power. In a truly conjugal relationship, each spouse says to the other: "I accept you as somebody like no one else in my life. You will be unique to me and I to you. You and you alone will be my husband; you alone will be my wife. And the proof of your uniqueness to me is the fact that with you - and with you alone - am I prepared to share this God-given, life-oriented power".

This is only a small part, a little tid bit from the entire book, but I chose to share with you because I have reread this small piece a few times...over the course of months...I think since Christmas. That is how SLOW I have been going through this book because I am holding on to a string and this writing is changing things and it is a slow work.

I have to be careful. I have to not use too many of my own words to explain because Msgr Burke has said it so well. I can't begin to put words to this quiet surrender, but I feel myself taking this string.

And I remember Princess Irene and her string, and so I remind myself that when Princess Irene is making her way out of the cave, she feels the string and she makes sure to grab the hand of her Curdie, so they can follow the string together.

And so I shared! I don't know what it means and I don't have to know but I have to TRUST!

I hope you have a very blessed day. Pray for me as I pray for you!


  1. I've been thinking about the story of Tamar, Genesis 38, a lot lately. And, I think that there is a strong argument to equating the man's "seed" with something akin to blood- which makes it the property of God. It adds a certain depth to things...

    1. Thank you Becky for the beautiful insight. I love how we are constantly challenged to go deeper.