0

ListenFr. Anthony DeMello, S.J. wrote a series of reflections on various stories and poems from eastern mysticism.  One of them went like this:

I used to be stone deaf. I would
see people stand up and go through
all kinds of gyrations. They called
it dancing. It looked absurd to me

– until one day I heard the music!

I don’t know if you and I will ever understand the decisions and choices of saints until we hear what they hear so plainly – the music of the Holy Spirit. They seem crazy. They seem almost incomprehensible – until you hear what they hear –until you hear the music of the Spirit.  So let me tell three quick stories about how people hear the Spirit.

At the end of our Newman Center legacy dinner, (where our graduating Seniors make a commitment to pay back to the center $1,000 over the course of the next 4-5 years) we invite our graduates to tell a story about what the Newman Center has meant to them.  Every year, I am blown away by what I hear.  One said: “I grew up catholic.  I was very involved in my parish and at the Newman center my freshman and sophomore years. Then I joined a sorority, and began to drift away.  There just was not time for both in my life.  Then Rachelle left, and the place was not quite the same without her.  So I let go of my faith.  And was okay for a year.  But then I realized that something was missing. [tears are now flowing from her eyes] So I called Rachelle. She said “Talk to Erin.” (our new Campus Minister then)  So I did.  And bit by bit, Erin helped me to see what I was missing.  So I came back.  SOOO glad I came back.  Because I know life here that I don’t know anyplace else.”  She is someone who heard the music of the spirit – who let that emptiness lead her step by step back ‘home’ to the church..

Saturday morning, 109 lay ministers were commissioned by the Archbishop to serve the Archdiocese in their parishes.  Many said yes to the three year preparation process out of friendship with their pastor (Gary Uthoff, is one of them)  But something happened along the way.  To a man or woman, they fell in love with God all over again.  And because of that, they will give the next three years of their lives back in service to the church – “as messengers of the gospel.”  110 more people heard the music of the spirit and learned how to dance.

And even though you may not trust it now, I too, heard that music of the spirit in the move that is upon me.  When Msgr. Shamleffer asked me at the luncheon back in February, if I was interested in a move, my initial reaction was: No way!  I love it here.  Why on earth would I even think of moving?  “Precisely!” came the voice in my prayer.  There is no reason on EARTH why I would.  But something started happening in my prayer -this little tickle, in the back of my heart, started going off.  It is the same one that I sense when the ‘homily idea’ suddenly clicks into place.  “Ahh, here is what I need you to speak about today.”

And there it was, but only when we talked about St. Justin.  Not when we talked about a few other options. I tried to ignore it.  I tried to pretend it was not there.  I would wake up at 4 O’clock in the morning, and there it was.  “Really, Spirit? You want me to go there?  Don’t you know what that means?  It means I have to let go of the place where I have spent half of my priesthood.”  “No,” came the reply.  “It is not about what you are holding on to.  It is all about what I am calling you to.”  And it did not go away. For two months, it did not go away.  And even when I had already said yes to St. Justin, and then Archbishop called me a day later and offered me the choice to go to a DIFFERENT, west county parish – it did not go away!  So, though I have no idea what is in store for me there, I hear that music of the spirit.  And I choose to dance with that music, because I know that the Spirit has life for me.

I used to be stone deaf. I would
see people stand up and go through
all kinds of gyrations. They called
it dancing. It looked absurd to me

– until one day I heard the music!

Anthony DeMello concludes his little reflection this way:  “I fail to understand why saints – and lovers – behave the way they do.  So I am waiting for my heart to come alive.” I’ll add: “So I am waiting to hear the music of the Spirit.”

If you wonder why priests can say yes to uprooting their lives, why saints and holy men and women throughout the ages have been able to choose and do heroic things – then pray that most ancient prayer of the church with me:  Come, Holy Spirit.  Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Comments are closed.