Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 472

Hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, I do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers...

Somewhere in grade school I learned of the first, second and third cases: I, you and he/she/it. I know little of linguistics or philology but these three cases must surely be common to every language on Earth. 

I wonder if they're used in heaven. Perhaps in eternity there are only two, you and me. I notice how, in Islam they never speak of Allah without blessing his holy name and sacred presence. Devout Muslims, Christians and Jews know that God is always present; God is always a third party in any conversation and one must always defer to that Sacred Presence. 

In heaven, I suspect, there will be no theology for the knowledge of God will be universal, like the water that covers the sea. 

In heaven, perhaps, our presence to one another will also be constant and benevolent and delightful. 

As this summer of our discontent stretches into autumn, and we hear the cry of the oppressed -- "Black lives matter!" -- I am reminded of a complaint I heard several years ago. An African-American columnist asked, "You no longer use racial slurs in our presence, but how do you speak of us when we're not present?" 

The recent Wikileaks of email and texting have revealed a sordid undercurrent of racial insults that persist in white society -- and sexism among men, homophobia among straights, Islamophobia among Christians, suspicion between Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox, and so forth.  

We might try to seal the leaks and pull the shades tighter, or we might suppose that in God's universe we are continually present to one another. There is no he/she/it, there is only "you and me." 

We Catholics love our communion and we'd like to think everyone is welcome to commune with us. That communion begins at the altar and is planted in each one's heart. From there it reaches out in charity to every person at every moment of every day. 

Saint Paul assured his Ephesian disciples, "I do not cease giving thanks for you...." They were continually in his mind and heart and prayers. We hope that we are continually in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We pray that the Kingdom of God where everyone is welcome will begin in our own secret, innermost hearts.  

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.