Any good Gramps knows this is NOT the sort of behavior he should encourage in a little guy.
But doggone it, it’s so darn CUTE when Grandson #2 steals into the pantry – totally concealed from any prying Adult Eyes, until a joyful and inevitable giggle gives his hiding spot away.
Part of me is jealous, I suppose: Too many “trips to the pantry” through the years have rendered this an impossible maneuver. There’s simply no way I would fit into the slim space between those wire shelves and the sliding doors!
Another part of me is fascinated by this Grandson’s “growing-up” version of peek-a-boo. No longer a toddler, he’s now managed to fashion a big-kid way to experience the delight of discovery. He wants to be seen. He wants to be known. And yet, he wants to preserve some illusion of control over that whole process. It’s the Grandson’s World…and we’re just livin’ in it.
This is an essential grace, I’ve come to believe – this interplay between belovedness and surrender. If we know we are cherished, then we are able to tap into an inexhaustible Source. We are hardwired, in a way, to God – who is Love.
Untempered, though, such an understanding can quickly go awry. Immersed in our belovedness, Original Sin can rear its head…and perhaps try to convince us that we ARE God; that we are in control. So somehow, we must also encounter the flip-side of belovedness, which is surrender.
Even the apostles appear to struggle with this notion. In the first reading for the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, we find them clinging to their own ideas about how God ought to be operating:
When they had gathered together they asked [Jesus], “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.”
With the benefit of two millennia of hindsight, we can see just how much bigger was God’s plan than was the apostles’. It extended far beyond first-century Palestine:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
As we pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (and as we anticipate the unveiling of All Things New next week), perhaps we, too, could fashion our exhortation as fundamentally a prayer of surrender: “God’s will, not my will” – for my parish, for my Archdiocese, for my life.
And I know that as I pray, I will also be praying in thanksgiving for my brother-in-law, Father Bob Reiker – who today celebrates the 50th anniversary of his ordination. Bob has blessed many across those five decades of his priesthood, and I deeply grateful that he has blessed me in particular with the rich and fruitful witness of his life: Beloved, obedient, merciful and generous!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.
Hopefully all things new will unite us in our strengths as to give and receive those strengths, as we become as we profess one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.