Saturday, December 18, 2004

much better now

Out of desolation, the worst since this Donec Formetur retreat began. Beginning to discern the spirits in the Ignatian/Alberione way. During my bleakest time I remember wanting to write to Sr. Kathryn and ask her why the only hint of consolation I could discern within myself was the sharp, intense pulse of something of color and brightness trying to break through the pall of evil, discouragement, self-doubt, self-loathing that had descended upon me. This intense pulse of color was not peaceful but fiery, and seemed a whirlwind that wanted to grab up all the evils and horrors --like the woman who was arrested for allowing her boyfriend to abuse her children and neglect one to death -- and punch them into a tornado of chaos that was the only bright aspect of my world of gray death and quiet.

The quiet of desolation is not peace. The only activity appears to be the whirlwind of evils punching color into a colorless world -- Christ seems to be inside the whirlwind, and that is the only place He seems to be in desolation.

In today's meditation I was directed to bring to memory the day of my own baptism. Being an infant at the time, I could only bring it to memory in imagination. I thought of Aunt Betty and Uncle Dominic, young and full of life and the excitement of being with Daddy and Mother as they welcomed another baby into the traditions of generations of past D'Orazios. Daddy, I know, would have been filled with faith and joy at my becoming part of the Catholic Christian world, with all the hope and help within it. Daddy was a man of faith. Mother would have felt, perhaps, once again an alien in a strange world of Italian Catholicism. On her deathbed, when the chaplain asked if she had any regrets about her life, she said no. Then she said one of the most unexpected things I ever thought to hear from her mouth, and this when talking to a chaplain about her life and upcoming death. She said, "I raised six good Catholic children, I have no regrets." Her promise to raise us as Catholics must have been very important for her, that she would bring it up on her deathbed in answer to a question about regrets. I love her so much. She brought me to Christ when she did not "feel" him herself, when she had "taken Jesus for her personal savior" on several occasions but "nothing happened." She was an agnostic whose faith, I believe, was stronger than many who think that they know Christ. "Religion is life", she said often when discussing her own inability to find a home within a church or faith community. "Religion is life", and she lived her blind faith. I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy. Thank you for the gift of my second life.

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