Today is special for me for two reasons. One of these is from my childhood, the other from my adult life.
I will start with a side note. Today is the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost things. I can remember the many times I called on Saint Anthony for his assistance in locating things I had misplaced before my mother noticed. I also recall with gratitude the number of times he came through. Although my faith has changed, there still are moments of desperation when I will intercede for help with finding my wallet or keys.
Today is also the eve of my wedding anniversary. Our relationship like my faith has gone through many changes over the years, but when I think of my wife and our time together I smile. Today’s first reading has a similar tone with the Spirit bringing life. Like Paul I work very hard, but much of it is driven by what is written on the heart. The joy in getting up every morning grows out of living out our mission. The transforming nature of a loving relationship is remarkable. I see my two college-age boys. Both are in healthy relationships. I remember being that age and experiencing the butterflies in my stomach and the feeling of an internal glow that a relationship brings. My anniversary and the associated thoughts bring back the glow (although not the butterflies). At the same time I feel sorry for my wife. In some ways she was the old covenant for my boys. Now it is time for them to emotionally move on; she is no longer the woman in their lives. I would not call her the ministry of death, but I do think “Indeed, what was endowed with glory has come to have no glory in this respect because of the glory that surpasses it.” may describe the situation. She remains the source of this glory to me (probably to my mother’s consternation). I have had the same kinds of moments on my faith journey, filled with the joy of the Spirit. There is the stress of separating from the past but there is also a burning joy in moving on along the path I am called. These encounters of glory (whether with my wife or with the Spirit) are not predictable, although I admit I wish my moments of consolation in my faith journey were as regular as these moments in my marriage.
The second reading introduces the reality check. It stresses the importance of correctly identifying these moments of consolation showing me the ways that I am lead and the ways I am leading.
My prayer today is first for my wife on our anniversary. I also pray in gratitude for the moments of glory which I have experienced. Finally I ask the grace in identifying what the Lord has written on my heart.
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