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Friday, November 21, 2014

The scroll: sweet and not so sweet

In the readings from the Book of Revelations this week, a vision was recounted, of a scroll that John was told to eat, sweet to the mouth but sour in his belly. After eating, he is told to prophesy. One could receive the sweet promises of heavenly help, grace, mercy and forgiveness, but are nevertheless sobering instructions and warning of a daily cross. I would have thought prophesy, the word of God revealed, to be sour to the taste, from the receiving end of dire warnings, fearful, sobering. But on reflection, the same can be heard as helpful instructions on how to avoid disaster, and promises of reward for the steadfast. Today the Church celebrates the Presentation of Mary, whom St. Augustine extols (in the Office of Readings), as the gospels do, for her primary discipleship. It isn't that her physical motherhood was of little value, although motherhood is, after all, beyond the physical. She heard the word from day one, from the angel Gabriel, believed and lived by that faith. She heard more as the events unfolded, and continued. She pondered in her heart these treasures. She seemed to be a quiet master of discernment. She held on up to the cross and beyond. Her prophesy is her example in simple discipleship, just being there where she was, near her son. Sour during the Passion, the Word which was sweet to begin with -- just an infant -- was glorious in the end! I guess we'll just have to see for ourselves, continuing to consume the sweet Word of God throughout our lives.

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