Consecration Renewal – Day 3

Day 3 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 2: Woman of Few Words

 No human language could have held as much meaning as Mary’s. It came in monosyllables as rapid as a “yes,” or in whispers as brief as a “fiat,” or in abandonment as complete as an “amen.” It came in biblical resonance bound together by the threads of ancient wisdom, nourished by fruitful silences….

Holy Mary, pray for us sinners on whose lips the word turns to dust in a whirlwind. It makes a sound, but never becomes flesh. It fills our mouths, but leaves our hearts empty. It gives us the illusion of communion, but never truly draws us to others. It leaves us with the pain of an inexpressible aridity, like the sculpted statues in fountains that no longer give water.

Mother Mary, as a contemplative I yearn for greater silence in my life; as a Catholic blogger, I must step out of the silence into the realm of words – often many words. Help me to find the perfect balance. Help me to never become, as Antonio Bello puts it, “verbose and uncontrolled, skilled in spinning cobwebs so that we often fall into the dark traps of the absurd, just like flies into the spider’s grasp.”

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6 Responses

  1. Well, I’d prefer a little more verbosity from you! I think verbose is in the eye of the beholder (i.e., Chesterton was a man of a bazillion words). I’m no longer a blogger (and that’s because I could not find a good balance of anything — if I am a contemplative sort, then I am basically a humanly mute contemplative and better left so), but as a Catholic woman whose life is filled with people at all hours, hence, from whom words are expected, I long for more quiet. l am one of those who’d pay big bucks for a 10-day silent retreat. Or even 1. Yesterday, my Kathleen had a meltdown over a packet of crackers filched by someone who was raised with dozens of kids, who simply can NOT recognize “Kathleen’s shelf.” All food is his food. We know this. She’s overtired and is studying for 3 mid-terms on summer classes while trying to hold down a very physical pt job and giving riding lessons. We have talked all about all of this AND the fiancee, etc., etc., so when she started crying and said, “Everything is just going so wrong”

  2. (er, continued, lol)

    and as she turned to leave the room, I opened my mouth to say the usual something, but just closed it and sighed and nodded. Later, she said it wasn’t the crackers nor the offender, it’s just everything, which she knows that I know, but it was one of those things that I turn to Mary for help with, now.

  3. “…we often fall into the dark traps of the absurd.” That sounds like my life right now. But I don’t feel like I have spun the entire web. Just a few strands.

    I actually feel compelled to talk. And talk. And talk. It is therapeutic for me though likely annoying for those around me. Contemplation is a little unnerving to me right now because it feels like I may be opening myself to wandering into “the dark traps of the absurd.”

    If I’m not mistaken, Teresa of Avila talks a lot about distractions during contemplation. I need a lot of work there.

    And, like Carol, I enjoy your verbosity. It is a reflection of your contemplative nature. After all, Teresa and John of the Cross were very “verbose” when it came to sharing their perspectives about the path to a contemplative lifestyle. And thank goodness they were. So you are in good company.

  4. Carol and Terry, well, I thank you for wanting me and encouraging me to talk a bit more – I’ve always been a little reticent to share too much of the personal online, but I know there is a difference between sharing personal things that are of no particular use in helping anyone, and in sharing enough of the personal in order to possibly help someone who may be struggling with something that you have also struggled with and may have received some light to share on the subject.

    Communication is good and necessary, just as silence is. I think finding the right balance is what’s most important, and also developing the true art of listening…

    Of course I couldn’t very well quote the whole chapter (though I’d have liked to!), but Antonio Bello was really talking about verbose in the sense of those who are “incurably ill” with “super eloquence”, those who are “convinced that asserting ourselves in life means we must always talk, even when we have nothing to say”, those who are verbally “uncontrolled”.

    But Terry, this definitely would not include the pouring out of what is necessary in therapeutic healing – you’ve got to “get it all out” and if it’s coming out now, go for it!

  5. Wise words, Gab. Don’t forget, Tonino Bello was italian, and he was definitely referring to the Italian bad habit of talking, for the sake of making noise. He was very much a social reformer, and a bit of a thorn in everyone’s side, including the Church’s. His pilgrimage to Sarajevo during the war as president of Pax Christi was an eloquent act of justice, a heads up for all. He did that when he already knew he was dying of cancer. Don Tonino was also a very poetic man, as you can see. But he knew how to “make up” for that with his equally eloquent concrete acts, like when he would take in drug addicts or families that had been kicked out by their landlords or folks who had lost their jobs.

    He knew how to move people with his words..They generated hope and goodwill, and often, the impossible was achieved thanks to this gift that God gave him. I hope they will generate hope in each and every one of us, in all of our situations and difficulties.

  6. Pia, I could see from the YouTubes that he was a man of action and social justice, but unfortunately they were all in Italian and I couldn’t understand the details. This is the first book I’ve read by him, and if anyone could afford only one book in the next several years, I would highly recommend this one!

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