Recovery of the Ordinary

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Recovery of the Ordinary

His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light.   (Matthew 17:2)

A recent offhand remark prodded me into considering the possibility that our age is duplicating, in some cases down to the last detail, all the wickedness and horrifying atrocities described graphically in the book of Jeremiah several centuries ago.  If we are fortunate enough not to be victims of such in our streets or on our borders,  nevertheless we do not escape,  for they are blazoned day after day in stark reality on our TV screens.  All of this despite over two thousand years of Christianity!At times we might just like to settle into a simple way of life and forget it all.  That, however, is not possible,  for even simplicity has been swallowed up in complexity today.  For example, try buying a loaf of bread without getting caught in a long check-out line or meeting up with a broken computer which refuses to tally up the correct tax and so on.  Further,  even if it were possible to escape some of life’s everyday complexities, it is neither desirable nor Christian to do so entirely,  for we cannot ignore the brutality and injustice perpetrated against our brothers and sisters everywhere today.The Transfiguration of Jesus,  however,  may offer us a way out of the malaise.  True,  rarely do we experience in our prayer or in the events of our lives the blinding light which once shocked the apostles into speaking foolishly at the time of this extraordinary event. But with a little effort we may be able to see the “glory” shining within and without the ordinary things around us.  For example,  the bird on our window sill which,  scolding us in carping tone,  astonished us into realizing we just gave someone else the same kind of treatment.  Did we become more irritable or did we laugh ourselves out of a bad mood?  Or maybe our transfiguration came during the rituals of a warm, sudsy bath.  Whatever it is,  the minuses of our lives which have turned into pluses belong eventually to our own shining glory.

Please God, may we and others be graced with sneak previews of it in us today!

                                                                                                —Sister Mary E. Penrose, OSB

Posted in Reflections

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“Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life...all of our life.”
–Henri Nouwen