Just a quick Saturday note before we move on to the Second Phase of Holiness Sunday…
In the illuminative phase we’ve meditated a lot on different types of sensory perception that foster “burning bush” moments in which we perceive God’s love direction us:
Direct interventions by God (e.g. St. Paul o the Damascus Road)
Relationships (e.g. Sts. Timothy and Titus)
The power of art to foster the good.
There is one more very primordial sensory experience that is critical to the illuminative way: the Sacraments. Radical experiences of revelation are infrequent. Relationships, as we all know, can go well or badly, and art… well it’s in rare a supply nowadays. These fonts are all too often unsure… but the sacraments are not.
When I prepare couples here on Captiol Hill for marriage one of the first homework assignments I give them is to secure their baptism certificates. At first it seems like a hoop to jump through… a bit of ecclesiastical bureaucracy… but, as I remind the couples, the documentation gives us confidence. It reminds us of an objective historical fact: “I was baptized”… and therefore “I am Christian.” No matter how one may feel at a given moment… no matter how our friendships are going or how inspired we may be by art or the weather or anything else, when the water hit your head and the priest said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” you became a Christian. That sensory experience establishes a cosmic truth… a rock you can stand on. And if over the course of a lifetime we obscure that truth by making bad choices (i.e. committing sins), there is another sensory experience available to us, which restores us: Confession. In that quiet space talking with our Father in Heaven we hear his words, “I absolve you of all your sins. Go in peace!” It actually happened. For more on the nature of the sacraments, consult the Catechism.
The point is this: when a sacrament is achieved it has a reality independent of us. Our own insecurities don’t affect the fact that the sacrament has happened; God has touched us. On that solid rock, we stand, assured that God is providing burning bush moments for us in the family of the Church giving all of us a chance at holiness! So when in doubt turn to the Sacraments as a great starting point for your journey.