Halloween! Jonathan and Jane went Trick-or-Treating last night. And they were up very early this morning working on the toys they have traded their “loot” for with the Great Pumpkin. Leading up to the day itself, they had conversations with their Mom on who they wanted to be for this year’s Halloween, why they chose that character, what the character meant for them. Jonathan decided to be a Stormtrooper and Jane went as a Prairie Girl. After Trick-or-treating, they sorted their loot with Mommy and set aside what they would want to keep (a few items), what they would give away for kids who may have none ( quite a pile), what should be thrown away as trash (a smidgen) and what they would trade with the Great Pumpkin (the bulk). It was a great conversation on decision-making, based on values and not whims.
Halloween. Santa and his reindeers. The Tooth Fairy. Fairy tales and legends that fill our childhood. We eventually learn what and who they really are but we never forget the memories we have stored about them, nor the conversations we have had about them, and never the excitement and thrill they brought into our lives.
We speak different languages to express the realities of our lives and to nurture our relationships. It would be a lot more difficult and totally boring raising children if not for the language of fairy tales and myths. I can’t imagine falling in love with Anabelle without the language of the heart. I see all the beauty and wonder around me and I am happy that there is the language of poetry to express what I can hardly contain within me. I admire the precision and clarity of the language of math; but not everyone can speak it. I can sometimes be totally lost in the language of science, sometimes bewildered but often mystified. Language is what connects us to one another and to the deeper realities of life.
I imagine myself with the great crowd that came to hear Jesus speak of the Beatitudes. They were used to hearing the language of the Emperor and of the High Priests. These people spoke with the language of authority and had the power of death over them. So, they listened – if only to avoid death. And here they were, spellbound, listening to Jesus, who spoke the language of love and compassion and He gave them them the power of life.
In prayer, I converse with God mainly through the language of the heart and of the spirit. Sometimes, the experience is too rich to be caught by words. Then, there is also the language of silence and presence. Imagine if on finally meeting God, I cannot carry on a conversation with Him because I do not know the language to use. Or worse, I do not even recognize Him and do not know how to talk to Him. Just as Jonathan and Jane had animated conversations with their Mom about Halloween and the Great Pumpkin, I imagine myself having a similarly high-spirited conversation with God about my time on earth.
Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”