Wednesday, November 4, 2015


A recent prayer of reminiscence carried me back to my grade school years at a parochial school in the Midwest that is now over a hundred years old.  While I had many good friends there, I am also an introvert, and I was often just as happy to play alone and invent elaborate adventures with my imaginary family, which included Sir Lancelot and Squire Brian from a television series popular at the time, and Honey from the Trixie Belden books.

But one of my other solitary activities was to climb on one of the swings and swing as high as my legs could pump; on a good day my toes might even just touch the leaves of a tall tree nearby.  These swings were the institutional sort, with huge metal poles on either end, and another pole suspended between them, and the swings hung from that pole with metal chains that ended in rubber seats. These swings were never subject to the bump and sway familiar to those who have swung on swing sets not securely cemented in the ground. When I started to swing at school, I was transported to another world, where I could fly through the air at dizzying speed, hoping I might reach the leaves, delighted in the sheer freedom of swinging, with a firm clasp on the chains but my feet soaring.  When the recess bell rang, I felt as if I had returned from another planet, or at least from touring the skies.

Reflecting on this from a spiritual vantage point, I can see my swinging as a reflection of living in the state of grace--and love.  The homily this morning, on the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, who was the patron saint of Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II), was on the last section of the Prologue to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, called "Above All - Charity," which quotes from the Roman Catechism
The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends.  Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.

I think of swinging as living in that divine love, and springing from love into the arms of the Father, who then sets us on the way he has fashioned for us to carry his love into the world. The recess bell has rung, but the buoyancy of grace can carry us back into the classroom of life with a fresh air glow we can share with everyone who surrounds us.

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