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G. K. Chesterton said of St. Francis of Assisi that he was eccentric, because he always faced the true Center. That thought was in my mind when I learned, at Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral, about the catenary arch.
The arch made by a simple chain (catena), held at its endpoints, is the shape of matter most perfectly ‘at rest’. (Extremely attractive concept for someone who writes constantly about ‘holy leisure!) Catholic architect Antoni Gaudi saw it over and over in the natural world, and then adapted it for use in the Cathedral, where it supports a structure that soars heavenward.
I think of it often, as I aim to allow whatever ‘load’ I bear to fall heavenward, and to resolve in Christ. I feel that, with St. Francis, I am most free when this ‘falling’ makes me most ‘upside down’ from the perspective of those ‘in the world,’ who face lesser centers.
When I pray the Divine Mercy chaplet, in the wee hours, I have the sense I am being allowed to help bless the world – moving through it with Christ in this joyous free-fall that entrusts all things to His care. Time doesn’t even seem to stop us. I can move, in a sense, through history – calling upon His mercy for the needs and suffering of those I know only through stories, or by a name.
The vanishing point, in a typical landscape painting, is the place where all the lines would seem to converge in the distance, from the person of the viewer. My sense of ranging with the Lord through time has a limit, and I am content to entrust that future to Him as I walk by faith and not by sight through my life.
We do often miss the beauty of the present moment by speeding past it, or by being inattentive, or uninterested in reality. Yet, much as I would encourage others to reclaim, attend to, even celebrate ‘now,’ its real power is to be a doorway into an eternal ‘now’ in which all moments are accessible through Christ. In that kairos, through His Divine Mercy, I have a vast, unfettered, free-falling freedom that is pure bliss.
Standing atop the earth,
eccentric, falling free,
all stress resolves to You
through my solidity.
In prayer we bless the world –
vast continents and seas –
like molded forms in clay,
from naïve memory.
As easily through time
we move in mysteries –
story made ever-fresh
by Your authority.
Only the future waits
to be unveiled to me
I vanish at the point
I put my trust in Thee.
All the poems are now in one volume, and I’d love for you to have a copy! Click on the cover to buy it, and click here for the recordings of all the poems.