The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Simeon Says

The last two days of class, we've taken a look at Simeon's prophecy that Christ would be a "sign of contradiction" - that suffering is necessary for salvation, that our God humbled Himself in His incarnation, that to conquer sin, He who was sinless took on all sin, that death was defeated by the death of He who is Life and through that death, eternal life is offered.

I had looked at the verse mostly in the light of Terry Schiavo and the nature of redemptive suffering - but this morning, I am considering that verse in the light - not of the Holy Father's passing, but of the secular view of his passing. The Holy Father, the Church, the Cross, our God - are all in one combined, and all a sign of contradiction.

The secular media can only see John Paul II as a great historical figure - but when asked why, they flounder about with such words as, "He was modern; he was charismatic; but he never followed through on his promises to continue Vatican II." Essentially, we love him, we're drawn to him - but we don't understand him, because we don't understand Him.

What they were drawn to in John Paul II was Christ - but Christ is never convenient. We think that liberty equals libertine and then grow adolescent sulkish when our Father slaps us upside the head. We want modernism, we want the elusive will-o-wisp "progress" but have no idea where we're progressing to - then grow, again, adolescent sulkish when our Father guides us on the right path (aka, away from the gingerbread house).

Was John Paul II one of the greatest historical figures of this century? Yes, certainly. Was he charismatic, did he burst open the Church and remind her that she is truly Catholic (universal) - absolutely. Did he have a sense of humor, did he apologize for the sins of the people of the Church over the past two millenia - yup. But why? Because he was the vicar of Christ, because he united himself to Christ, so that if we loved John Paul II, it was because he so subsumed himself to Christ that we could love Him better and know Him better.

A good steward acts on behalf of the King and acts as mediator between the King and the people - John Paul II was a good steward. And a suffering steward. Because if you embrace the cross, you're bound to get a few splinters. I remember when I saw him from a very great distance in 1997 when I was in Rome with FUS-Austria, on a Wednesday audience (alas, within rather than in the square). All I could think, as I saw him progress painfully to his seat, was that I wished I could take on all his pains of body, mind and soul, and ease his burden for a time. But that I couldn't - nor should he have wished that for me. But I can pray for him, and pray for his soul, and for his intentions and thereby do some good in bearing his cross, and therefore the cross of Christ, and therefore the cross that Christ has given me.

Simeon prophesied that Christ would be a sign of contradiction; Simon the Cyrene helped Christ bear the cross; and the lineage of Simon Peter continues in a succession that the Holy Spirit Himself protects.

Lord, let this be a time of grace for our world. Praise You for once again defeating the culture of death, with death which is birth into true life. Lord, take the blindness from our eyes, the deafness from our ears, the darkness from our minds and the hardness from our hearts - and make our hearts anew, afire with love for You and You alone.

Mood: Bon, merci
Music: Oh, what is this? "Past the Point of No Return" from the original cast recording of Phantom of the Opera. Silliness.
Shallowness is: I am a blond now. Good grief.
Goodness is: DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY!!! YEEEEEEEE-HAW!

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