Saturday, June 21, 2008

what is the value of a gesture?

The question above is a more rhetorical this time - more to structure my thoughts than anything. I want first of all to thank Suzanne for her post, which I've read and re-read this week. She has reminded me of the essential thing: in every day, every moment, it's God who takes the initiative. Our gestures do not generate us: God does - and nowhere more strikingly than in the face of Christ and His people.

What are gestures then? They are consequences, responses, and reminders. They are signs that point us to what Christ is doing now. The great sign is the one that Christ invited us to do as a reminder: celebrate the Eucharist. Our gesture alone doesn't make Him present, but the power of God's will in Christ and at the entreaty of the Church for the Holy Spirit.

Somehow I showed up early to confession last week. I had to wait 5 or 10 minutes. I discovered again the value of waiting as a gesture. There's an anticipation that's greater than the one that I feel when I wait just as long, having arrived after the priest.

Over a week ago now, something happened to me. My daughter woke up early while I was leaving for work. And she wasn't cranky as she often is in the morning. Instead, she calmly asked me for each thing she needed and then left. She asked for breakfast. Then she came back and asked me to turn on the TV. And then she came back upstairs to ask me for a hug before leaving for work.

Usually I pray morning prayer in the parking lot at work. That day, however, the traffic was bad and I missed it. It occurred to me in the car that Christ had provided a better morning prayer for me through the eyes of my daughter. And that is the better prayer I desire for all my gestures...

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