Paul Moore: Like those home renovators on television, Jesus sees our possibilities
Recently, I was sitting and thinking in a couple of different places that paradoxically got me to thinking along similar lines. One of these was in a dentist’s chair, while I was waiting after his assistant had settled me in and gone to get him. The chair was reclined comfortably, and the home renovation show on the monitor was a relaxing distraction. (Anyone who knows me might say I find it relaxing because I never plan on doing any of it — and that would be a fair statement.)
I was reflecting that part of the attraction for this type of show is that renovators look at properties that seem like total write-offs, and yet all they see are possibilities. To a certain extent it seems like a “love is blind” situation. Then it hit me — this is how the Lord looks at me: with the eyes of love, and no one is irredeemable.
Another situation where I had a moment to think while in a “place of pause” recently (perhaps he finds our waiting times useful for spiritual nudges?) was a little more probable. I was in church after reconciliation and before Mass. I find this is one of the holiest times in my world, and this Saturday afternoon was especially so.
“WHAT LIGHT THROUGH YONDER WINDOW BREAKS?”
I had arrived at church quite early, and I was first up to bat, so to speak, for confession. My shopping list wasn’t too long this time, and before I knew it, I was back in my pew in the hushed quiet of the church. (I’ve used the line in a previous column about confession that it’s so quiet you can hear a sin drop.)
My wife asked me later what I did in the 45 minutes or so in between the end of reconciliation and the beginning of the rosary. I had to confess — I didn’t really know.
Time slipped away as I sat in beautifully guiltless idleness after having said my penance under the forgiving gaze of Jesus and Mary’s statues. Behind me now, I could hear the soft shuffle of other penitents coming back into the main body of the church after their reconciliations. Their kneelers would come down, their prayers going up, and then it was time for me to mind my own spiritual business again.
I noticed the effect of the light coming in through the stained-glass windows, which is particularly noticeable early mornings and late afternoons in winter, when the sun is low in the sky and better angled to spill in the side windows. As well, moments of winter light and warmth are precious and few, and so they’re all the more appreciated.
At St. Mary Church in Metamora, the morning sun comes in through the stained-glass window of Mary to wash over the statue of her Son and the wall behind. It recalls the soliloquy in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” — “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.”
In this case, we speak not of an earthly lover but of him whom it is written, “We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
Furthermore, fair though Juliet might have been, her brightness would have been totally eclipsed by her of whom it is written, “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun. . . .” (Revelation 12:1)
RECONCILIATION REMODELS THE SOUL
I pondered on all that as I sat in church after confession, and thought back to the home renovation show, and how it always leads up to the end of the show with the “Big Reveal,” when we see the refurbished home, and there’s lots of oohing and ahhing.
I thought of how the Light of Christ makes us over from the inside out. Reconciliation remodels the soul. Perhaps myself and my fellow penitents in the church that day weren’t audibly “oohing,” but I’ll wager we were all in awe of the Lord’s mercy.
PAUL THOMAS MOORE is a Catholic commentator and singer-songwriter. He and wife Mary Louise attend St. Mary of Lourdes in Germantown Hills. He can be reached at email@example.com.