by Gretchen Bailey, Alameda, California Companion
To walk the way of Precious Blood people, we release what we are or what we perceive ourselves to be so that Something Greater can take over everything that we hold onto. The titles: mother, father, daughter, son, sister, priest, teacher, doctor. The pathway to freedom is to give it all away. This is what Jesus calls us to do. Yet, how do we do this without being so spent that we cannot function? Just as a smooth, worn tire on a slick road leads to an inevitable crash, we will crash if we do not take time for prayer, contemplation and stillness. If we do not set aside our “self” for the Self of God, we encompass empty words instead of the Word that existed before Light and Life. We let go of the world, even though we are in it, along with all the things, gadgets and constructs. We must take time to look deep within ourselves to find “I Am.”
As Precious Blood people, we are on a path, captives of the Spirit. We are sent without a tabbed, indexed “how-to” manual and without a human resources department. The manual we have is the open book of Christ, the open wounds, the pouring out of the wine of feast, joy, tears, and blood. Paul knew his destination and Christ knew His. As Christ moves out of this world, Paul moves toward Jerusalem, undertaking that journey not knowing what will happen to him there. The Spirit testifies to Paul that imprisonment and persecution are imminent.
We know that to be Precious Blood is to be sent. We are on “the Way” just as Paul, but what does the road to Jerusalem look like in the “now” of our lives? We are in the world. I am no visionary, but the Spirit is testifying through world events that great changes are upon us. We approach a Great Turning. We are on our way to Jerusalem and we are not sure what we are going to find there. We are told of, and have seen climate changes that affect food production throughout the world, especially here in the United States. We see in our cities and towns, economic and environmental refugees. We see the demise of species, forests, and oceans. Just what is our Jerusalem? If the New Jerusalem is the Kingdom of God, the world reconciled by the Blood of Jesus, we are already there. We are sent to where we stand, now, in this moment. The good news of God’s grace is lived by we who hear the cry of the Blood in our own back yard and who allow ourselves to be led to do something to answer that cry. You hear it right now; the cry of the aged, the homebound, the homeless, immigrant families separated by deportations, the cry of the poor, the working poor, polar bears, elephants, tigers. We hear the cry of 50% of the species that will disappear within our children’s lifetime.
Jesus said to the Father, “But they are in the world and I am coming to you.” We are in the world in this space at this time, right now, occupying a moment within eternal life because we know Him. We know intimately the Blood that is life. We know “I Am.” Yes, we are in the world; a world that can, in its brokenness, rise up the wood of the Cross because we can become all that God hopes for in us as we strive in this broken world to take care of one another and of the stranger. The Cross is alive. The wood runs with the sap of the Precious Blood. People will exhibit the best of what it means to be human, to love, to give all that they have, whether that means sharing water, food, seed, or opening borders. This is building the Kingdom. In this world we as Precious Blood people stand ready to put ourselves aside, allowing the Divine Self, the Precious Blood of “I Am” to flow through us. Together we can build this New Jerusalem, the Kingdom that is right here, right now. Let the Precious Blood pour. There is plenty of wood in the Divine Cross. Hone for yourself a staff for the journey—a staff fashioned from the heartwood of the Cross.
We, as Precious Blood people following the cry, need to lead and show others how to walk with hope in uncertain times. Step into stillness (Lectio Divina, Centering prayer, 20 minutes twice a day to overcome the “reptile brain.”) Out of this time of stillness, the Spirit will surface love, courage and hope. Step out. Stand up. Speak clearly. Glory to the Blood of Jesus…Now and forever.
This reflection was given at the Covenant Eucharist on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at the 37th Annual Assembly of the Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.