WORDS RECEIVED FROM SAINT NATHANIEL YESTERDAY, ON HIS FEAST DAY


August 24, 2020

“There are things that stay with you, that take you back to another moment in time – –

For me, it is the smell of fish, sometimes comforting, sometimes gut-wrenching and rank, but always familiar;

The smell of my livelihood, a part of who I was.

There are things that are never forgotten, and that bring other memories with them,

Sitting under a fig tree and being told to “come and see,” and standing up and dusting myself off,

And feeling disdain for a man who I had never met because he came from Nazareth.

There are things that divide your life into two parts, the “before” and the “after,”

And the time “before” seems to be painted in warm, earth-tinged colors,

With hints of blues-greens-browns reflected off of the water,

And the taste of fresh bread in your mouth as you unwrap it in your hands and take a bite while gazing at the sea;

Long days of hard work and evenings of well-earned rest.  

And then there is the time “after,” a time that seems painted in brilliant yellow,

Interspersed with sharp tones of black and red; black that wounds, and red that drips.

There is the memory of eyes that look through you; eyes that smile before His mouth smiles,

Eyes that pierce a man’s soul and that weep over the condition of a man’s heart.

There is the time before you knew that He existed, and the time after you met Him,

And looking back you wonder how it was possible that the days moved forward before you knew Him,

Without interruption and as though there was nothing else that was needed,

Because looking back at the time after, after you had heard His voice, after He had looked at you,

You realize that is when you started to truly live, 

And that in that moment you were changed as surely as if He had reached into your heart and ignited a fire.

And, afterwards, you can sit on the shore and inhale the smell of the water and the fish.

In fact, you can even go fishing as though nothing had ever changed at all.

But in the midst of the familiar greens-browns-blues of the earth and the water,

There is the sharp thrust of the black knife, the dripping red on its blade,

And then the brilliant gold of being welcomed into His presence.

There are things that stay with you, that take you back to another moment in time,

There are things that are never forgotten, and that bring other memories with them,

There are things that divide your life into two parts, the “before” and the “after.”

But there is one thing that cannot be denied.

Once you have moved from the “before” into the “after,”

You are not the same person as you were.

You may have been an easy going, fun-loving fisherman whose main concern was a good daily catch,

Who thought a good deal of a comfortable place to sleep, friends and family around, familiar things.

But afterwards, you cannot look upon the water without seeing His face,

Or eat a meal without thinking about the time he fed a multitude and had baskets left over,

Or lie down to sleep without remembering Him taking the hand of a child who could not arise and bringing her to her feet. 

There are moments that change everything.

There are moments that are bathed in light – bright yellow – moments in His presence,

But interspersed is the black of a knife and the red of dripping blood.

And then you realize – one has no more attraction or repulsion than the other –

For in both He is present.

So whether death or life, whether sorrow or joy, whether pain or comfort,

It matters not, as long as He is there.

For there are moments that change everything.

There is the “before,” and there is the “after,”

And in the “after” you are with Him,

And nothing else ever matters again.”

-S

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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2 Responses to WORDS RECEIVED FROM SAINT NATHANIEL YESTERDAY, ON HIS FEAST DAY

  1. Brian Crowe says:

    A most moving post, thank you.

  2. Mary D says:

    So whether death or life, whether sorrow or joy, whether pain or comfort,

    It matters not, as long as He is there.

    For there are moments that change everything.

    There is the “before,” and there is the “after,”

    And in the “after” you are with Him,

    And nothing else ever matters again.”

    This describes the absolute Peace I felt , riding in the ambulance, having a cardiac event, …….He was there…. and I said to Him; do with me what You will. Nothing else mattered!

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