On the doorstep of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec 11, an hour with you Jesus in the Holy Eucharist began with my mind still and my heart longing to know you, my usual morning stance. Thank you for getting me here.
I love praying with the Psalms and started with 103. My heart, though grateful for your kindness all these years, is constantly weak and needy, so I turn to you again and again.
Bless the Lord, my soul;
and do not forget all his gifts,
Who pardons all your sins,
and heals all your ills…
and crowns you with mercy
Who fills your days with good,
so your youth is renewed
like the eagle’s.
You compare your love to my love for my children. You know the depth of my cry for them, O Lord.
As a father has compassion
for his children,
so the Lord has compassion
on those who fear him.
For he knows how we are formed,
remembers that we are dust…
How consoling it is to know your mercy as I look to You in hope and trust. Though I deserve to be thrown into the dungeon as St Ambrose says, I cast my heart into the abyss of your goodness, healed over and over again by the truth revealed to me:
For as the heavens tower
over the earth,
so his mercy towers
over those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed
our sins from us.
I moved to a Psalm of praise, 104 another favourite because I love your creation, where all your creatures, though having no voice, continually praise you in silence and majesty.
Beside them the birds of heaven nest;
among the branches, they sing.
You water the mountains from your chambers;
from the fruit of your labour, the earth abounds.
Through the Psalm, “You” is written line after line to strengthen our awareness that your hand has done all this:
“You water the mountains
You have spread the heavens like a tent-cloth…
You make the winds your messengers…
You make the grass grow for the cattle
and plants for people’s work
to bring forth food from the earth,
wine to gladden their hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread to sustain the human heart.
In the closing moments of adoration, you were preparing a beautiful moment away from your Eucharistic presence. Unaware of what that was I only felt the urge to play, to be with you on a glassy sheet of lake ice.
Because of the consistently cold nights, I headed to the bay at the south end of Papineau Lake. Just a little snow was falling intermittently but the strong wind blowing across the bay kept sweeping most of it away. It wasn’t a sheet of black, glassy ice, but close. At minus 10 in the driving wind, I kept my hands protected close to me as I tied my skates quickly. The relentless wind made it feel much colder.
Oh, what intensity and sheer joy as my legs drove steel into the hard ice sending me across the wide bay. Thank you for this time with you, just with you. The intense wind pushing hard at me like a good coach stretched my heart with each driving stride.
Resting, I watched the wind rifle snow across the open bay. This ice sheet aggressively halted pounding waves racing toward me. I watched two personalities of water battling each other. How strange also to remember those hot summer days paddling to the islands from this very spot I now stood, the wind now cutting into my face instead of soothing it.
How varied are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all;
You cradled me there amid your powerful wonders all the while holding the entire cosmos in existence. Yet I remember kneeling before your glorious mysterious presence in Bread, the Bread of angels reflecting on the humbling words of Psalm 103:
For he knows how we are formed,
remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like the grass;
he blossoms like a flower in the field.
A wind sweeps over it and it is gone;
its place knows it no more.
I’m secure in your remembering, O Lord, because you knit me together in my mother’s womb, gave me a mind to know you and reflect on your goodness. The mystery of how I move on these skates in fluid delight is all yours. You skate and handle the puck in me. I love you.
You had one more thing to show me. In one section of the bay I glided across some strange ice art I had never seen before. It grabbed my attention sending me into a long gazing wonder. Your creative genius and playful touch created each one. Every branch seemed carefully placed, from the largest to the tiniest hair-like extensions. Were you trying to mimic the branches of some of my favourite trees? I love the dark centres, black ice, the best and most beautiful skating ice. From those centres, branches radiate like the rhythmic arms of a young ballerina.
Some would spend time studying and writing about the natural phenomena causing such beauty. There’s a place for that but I love to wonder, without science, how you do it. You love to just have some creative fun from time to time.
Thank you, Lord. Your gift of ice art sprang from the poverty of my heart this morning in Eucharistic silence.