Sunday, September 2, 2012
The outside temperature was closer to 10 than 20, thinking in Celsius as Marian and I learned to do on the Camino de Santiago. It’s now 11 weeks past Father’s Day, when we attended a pilgrim Mass at the cathedral in the city of St. James. Tomorrow will be our last in Maine for the summer, then home—school beginning again for children, and the routines of daily work for me.
I have always loved this time of year—the sharp air that banishes summer’s last heat wave and keeps us lucid as we return to daily rounds to which we are happily accustomed, the colors turning here in New England, the sound of a football being punted in the back yard, trying doggedly to learn the spiral Dad taught me.
I expected the Camino to change me on the surface: to give me a new vocation, as in “quit the law firm and join the circus,” though I am no attorney. Admittedly, I was tempted by some broad changes, but instead I return home Tuesday with routines intact. The changes if any have been inside.
“Humbly welcome the word,” St. James tells us in this morning’s second reading, and I latched onto the phrase for a few moments of lectio divina, an art I have not studied formally but have been trying to work at anyway since returning home from Spain in June.
Daily readings from Scripture have also become a new habit of early-morning solitude, along with small reading portions from St. José Maria Escriva and now, with my new interest in The Lord, Romano Guardini. So I start my day, once morning prayers have been said and the first cup of coffee has activated the gray network.
I return to the same work—the same projects in fact—that were on my writing desk when I left for Europe in April. I am not joining any circus. I return to the same house and the same parish, which I have abandoned too long. Nothing outward is any different.
“Humbly welcome the word,” the Apostle tells me, and I will keep trying. This is not so easy, as Guardini notes in the chapter I am reading now: “Scandal in Nazareth.” Jesus’s home town was not necessarily a garden spot (“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”) and you might have expected the citizens to welcome his word, any word, humbly. Anything but.
Am I any different? “Interior life consists in beginning and beginning again,” Escriva writes in the passage I looked at this morning. It consists, he adds, “in divine grace, willingness, and love.”
“Humbly welcome the word.” I will try to hold onto those three simple words as Katie, Marian, and I drive the 30 minutes into Ellsworth for Mass.
Posted by Webster Bull at 7:19 AM