Tuesday Two Words- Nominal and Numinous

N for Nominal

At the heart of Christianity is an invitation to the Lord’s feast. That was Pope Francis’ message at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope said that the Church is “not only for good people;” the invitation to be a part of it concerns everyone. And he added that, at the Lord’s feast we must “participate fully” and with everyone; we can’t pick and choose.

"Agape " by Ron Waddams Source Larren Art

 Christians, he said, can’t be content with simply being on the guest list – not participating fully is like not joining in. The readings of the day, the Pope said, the identity of the Christian. He emphasized that “first of all, the Christian essence is an invitation: we only become Christians if we are invited.” It is a “free invitation” from God to participate. You can’t pay to get into the feast, he warned: “either you are invited or you can’t come in.”

 If “in our conscience,” he said, “we don’t have this certainty of being invited” then “we haven’t understood what a Christian is”: “A Christian is one who is invited. Invited to what? To a shop? To take a walk? The Lord wants to tell us something more: You are invited to join in the feast, to the joy of being saved, to the joy of being redeemed, to the joy of sharing life with Christ. 

This is a joy! You are called to a party! A feast is a gathering of people who talk, laugh, celebrate, are happy together. I have never seen anyone party on their own. That would be boring, no? Opening the bottle of wine . . . That’s not a feast, it’s something else. You have to party with others, with the family, with friends, with those who’ve been invited, as I was invited. Being Christian means belonging, belonging to this body, to the people that have been invited to the feast: this is Christian belonging.”

 Turning to the Letter to the Romans, the Pope then affirmed that this feast is a “feast of unity.” He underlined the fact that all are invited, “the good and the bad.” And the first to be invited are the marginalized: “The Church is not the Church only for good people. Do we want to describe who belongs to the Church, to this feast? The sinners. All of us sinners are invited.
"Oneness of creation " by Ron Waddams

 At this point there is a community that has diverse gifts: one has the gift of prophecy, another of ministry, who teaching. . . We all have qualities and strengths. But each of us brings to the feast a common gift. Each of us is called to participate fully in the feast. Christian existence cannot be understood without this participation. ‘I go to the feast, but I don’t go beyond the antechamber, because I want to be only with the three or four people that I familiar with. . .’ You can’t do this in the Church! 

You either participate fully or you remain outside. You can’t pick and choose: the Church is for everyone, beginning with those I’ve already mentioned, the most marginalized. It is everyone’s Church!” Speaking about the parable in which Jesus said some who were invited began to make excuses, Pope Francis said: “They don’t accept the invitation! They say ‘yes,’ but their actions say ‘no.’” These people, he said, “are Christians who are content to be on the guest list: chosen Christians.” But, he warned, this is not sufficient, because if you don’t participate you are not a Christian. “You were on the list,” he said, but this isn’t enough for salvation! 

This is the Church: to enter into the Church is a grace; to enter into the Church is an invitation.” And this right, he added, cannot be purchased. “To enter into the Church,” he added, “is to become part of a community, the community of the Church. To enter into the Church is to participate in all the virtues, the qualities that the Lord has given us in our service of one for the other.” 

Pope Francis continued, “To enter into the Church means to be responsible for those things that the Lord asks of us.” Ultimately, he said, “to enter into the Church is to enter into this People of God, in its journey towards eternity.” No one, he warned, is the protagonist of the Church: but we have ONE,” who has done everything. God “is the protagonist!” We are his followers . . . and “he who does not follow Him is the one who excuses himself” and does not go to the feast: The Lord is very generous. 
The Lord opens all doors. The Lord also understands those who say to Him, ‘No, Lord, I don’t want to go to you.’ He understands and is waiting for them, because He is merciful. 

Universal and unresolved questions of existence - Ron Waddams
But the Lord does not like those who say ‘yes’ and do the opposite; who pretend to thank Him for all the good things; who have good manners, but go their own way and do not follow the way of the Lord: those who always excuse themselves, those who do not know joy, who don’t experience the joy of belonging. 
The Last Supper by Christina Saj Source

Let us ask the Lord for this grace of understanding: how beautiful it is to be invited to the feast, how beautiful it is to take part in it and to share one’s qualities, how beautiful it is to be with Him and how wrong it is to dither between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ to say ‘yes,’ but to be satisfied merely with being a nominal Christian."

N for Numinous

Mindfulness Ireland's photo.
Source Mindfulness Ireland FB Page

This week there is a beautiful reflection at the UK Jesuits site, Thinking Faith.

 Click here to read "A Dream About Heaven," written by Marc Vilarassau S.J. 

The article adds:

This text has taken on a new poignancy in recent weeks because Marc himself died last month, at the age of 45, following several years of struggle with lung cancer. In 2012 he published this slightly revised version, noting on his blog that the dream was becoming rather more real than anything else in his life. At his funeral mass, his brother read it out, written as it is in a street Catalan that no translation can really reproduce. May Marc rest in peace. He was what the Church’s wedding liturgy used to call a generous friend of the afflicted and needy . We can trust that indeed they welcomed him to the heavenly party. But as we imagine Marc waiting to be let in, we may perhaps see in a new way why in November the Church prays for the souls in purgatory.

Translation of the article is by Philip Endean SJ, from the revised original with help from the Spanish version and from Catalan friends. 

Food For Thought by Leroy Campbell Source

This is how people usually behave with numinosities, 
and rightly so, for in one respect they are true, in another untrue.
 Numinous experience elevates and humiliates simultaneously.

                                                                C.G. Jung

by Paola Zakimi Source

God bless this tiny little boat
And me who travels in it.
It stays afloat for years and years
And sinks within a minute.

And so the soul in which we sail,
Unknown by years of thinking,
Is deeply felt and understood
The minute that it’s sinking.”

Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You: A Cartoonist Talks to God


“ What we are looking for is what is looking.”

St Francis of Assisi

No Sooner

No sooner do you arrive than it’s time to leave.
How beautiful it is, how glorious, yet it’s nearly time to go. So you take it in, you take it in.

And you take a few small souvenirs, some leaves: lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus.
A few small pebbles, a few small secrets, a look you received, nine little notes of music,

and then it’s time to go.

You move towards the open door and the silent night beyond.
The few bright stars, a deep breath, and it really is time to go.

No sooner does it all begin to make sense, does it start to come true,
does it all open up, do you begin to see, does it enter into your heart… no sooner do you arrive than it’s time to leave.

Yes, it’s the truth.
And then you will have passed through it, and with mysterious consequence it will have passed through you.

Michael Leunig


A Garden Beyond Paradise

Everything you see has its roots
    in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
    yet the essence remains the same.

Every wondrous sight will vanish,
every sweet word will fade.
    But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal
growing, branching out,
    giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep?
That Source is within you,
and this whole world
    is springing up from it.


The Source is full,
its waters are ever-flowing;
    Do not grieve,
    drink your fill!
Don't think it will ever run dry
This is the endless Ocean!

Jelaluddin Rumi, Extract from "A Garden Beyond Paradise",
A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi 

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