Friday, May 16, 2008

Magna Opera Domini

It’s raining this morning. The earth is happily soaking in its refreshment. It is supposed to be with us most of the day, unlike yesterday when a front blew through in an hour and was gone. That was a rough one. North and East of here some homes were destroyed. Poor people who were already hanging on by a thread. After seeing it on the evening news I felt ashamed. I had lamented because our few rows of corn had been knocked flat by gale force winds.

Shirli is on the road to south Florida to spend a long weekend with some of the family. And here I sit on the front porch with a myriad of thoughts traveling through my head. The weather has put plenty of outside work on hold, work that won’t get done unless I get it done, but for now I’m quite content to sit here for a while even if the air is a little tainted by that handful of rotting potatoes in a bucket a few feet away.

Her trip, in part, is to visit. It does however contain another element. When she pulled out just before seven she took with her a sewing machine and a lot of material to make curtains with. She’s also carrying with her the intention to shop the thrift stores for several important furniture items that are desperately needed there. She is, in a sense, on a mission of mercy, a deliverer on an errand to provide some forms of assistance for these young people in dire need of help.

It causes me to think about a few other deliverers while I watch and listen to the sub-tropical rain – Noah, Moses, Mary, and Jesus – all key players in the salvation of the world. The first two players built arks. Mary bore the Ark in her holy womb. Jesus is the Ark, fulfilling all the types and symbols that we see through Noah and Moses.

It’s dawned on me that Mockingbirds sing in the rain. I’ve never paid any particular attention to this in the past but it struck me a few minutes ago during a torrential downpour. Their song never let up. Even with the close lightening and thunder. They also rehearse their repertoire at night, with increasing volume, outside our window while we are trying to sleep.

That’s something that we have noticed on a number of occasions – something that we aren’t particularly thrilled about at two or three in the morning. I must admit that on more than one occasion I’ve considered a terminal approach to the problem of the singing bird. Maybe I should think of it as their participation in Matins, standing in vicariously for me, where I am so undisciplined and should be rising and taking my place as a member of the chorus of prayer.

Sing praise to our Creator,
O sons of Adam’s race,
God’s children by adoption,
Baptized into his grace.[1]

I do not think for a moment that by mere chance these inclement conditions and the readings in today’s office collide and coincide so well. It is more a mysterious gift. If, in all actuality, it has come about by chance, I still accept it as a gift, one that bears significance and personal meaning, if only to me – a reflection of the “wonderful and truly divine harmony” addressed by St. Athanasius.[2]

Magna opera Domini.[3]

[1] Omer Westendorf, Liturgy of the Hours, p. 937
[2] Liturgy of the Hours, p. 71
[3] Great are the works of the Lord.