Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Between Two Worlds

22 degrees this morning and snow on the ground.  This goose hesitated for the longest while, torn between two worlds, one cold, the other colder.
Today is the feast of St. Bernadette.  I am going soon to Lourdes, France, where she saw visions of Our Lady. The movie, The Song of Bernadette, had a big influence on my heart as a boy.  I will watch it again tonight.
I wonder if Lourdes will be one of those places where even the air seems holy.  The Irish are not the only ones who refer to such places as "thin places," where the "membrane" separating this world and the next world is so thin that sometimes the Divine breaks through.  If we think of the other world woven into and through this world, it's not such a stretch to think that there are places where we are more apt to sense the Presence.
The strongest experience of a Holy Place that I have had was Assisi.  I have often told people that I wasn't sure St Francis made the place holy or the place made him holy.  The first "thin place" I experienced was the shrine of the Holy Child (Santo Nino) in Chimayo, New Mexico.  A holy well in western Ireland and inside the passage grave of Newgrange were places where I felt God's presence.  Chichen Itza on the Yucatan and Stonehenge in England had a similar feel about them.
Matthew in his Gospel, especially in his account of the Passion and of the Resurrection, is focused on how the Divine breaks through into this world.  Earthquake and lightening and the Temple curtain torn in two and the dead seen all around the city.  Daily prayer sharpens our senses so we can experience the Divine when and where Holiness happens.

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