Monday, April 16, 2007

Cenacle: Church in the Birth Canal

Cenacle...... it's the place where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, First Eucharist and commissioned his disciples as Apostles/ Bishops.

Cenacle.... it's the place where the Twelve gathered with Mother Mary and where the Spirit borned them again on Pentecost. "You must be born again!" said Jesus to Nicodemus and through him to all disciples, and, sure enough, they were, and we are.

Cenacle... it's the place in the Book of Acts that was shaken again in today's First Reading ( Acts 4:23-31), the place to which the Apostles retreated to lick their wounds and be encouraged following the first persecution of their fledgling Jewish sect.

Cenacle... it's the place in both space and time where disciples gather during the 50 days of Easter and await the Spirit's outpouring. It's the place in our hearts and lives where God is birthed when we finally learn to trust Him because of the grace of faith, bestowed by the same Holy Spirit in Whom we are baptized.

It's a wet place, because we arrive there out of the waters of baptism.

It's a warm place, because the fire of tongues hovers over us as we are formed in God's womb.

It's an, inviting, home-like place, because we know the warmth of fellowship with the Divine Trinity there, and we are one with them in our very being.

Being in the Cenacle is so personal it may feel like it's just us and God, but it's not, and it's not private either, because we journey through Easter, through Church, through life to God with many others.

There is an intensely personal side to this birthing process, but that in turn does not make it private.

I like these words of reassurance and warning from Henri Nouwen (or as close to warning as this gentle prophet ever got):

"We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, "Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else's business." But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal.

What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.Jesus says, "No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house" (Matthew 5:14-15).

The most inner light is a light for the world. Let's not have "double lives"; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public."


Anonymous said...

"Geek" my foot. You're wonderful.

Phil B. said...

Thanks.... and to think I almost shut the blog down after Easter... thanks for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

*gasp! Nooo, please don't, unless it's interfering with spirituality/homelife.. you make very holy as well as very practical sense.

Phil B. said...

Thanks so much... the only time it interferes is when I neglect the quiet time which makes for fruitful prayer and blogging... and then God reminds me it's all from Him as well as for Him.