“We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?” ~ John Page to Thomas Jefferson ~ I wanted to dedicate this morning’s writing to my friend John Hicks who passed away on Sunday November 10th of this year. He inspired these tune-ups which I started after so many shepherds abandoned their posts…and he’s also the one who first introduced me to the Angel in the Whirlwind.
Angel in the Whirlwind
Ever since John shared Page’s words to Jefferson with me, I’ve wanted to include them somehow. It is beyond amazing to me how templates of time can overlay themselves across the centuries in so perfect a way…and yet so few of us seem either able or willing to make the connection. The storms that rage in the hearts of men are the exact same storms that have always been because we have always been who we have always been.
Our son was home from college for Thanksgiving and one of the things we talked about was his Philosophy Class and the topic he chose to write about…God. It was rather interesting and amusing to see Sam, his mother and myself weighing in on the weightiest of all subjects of all time…at this particular time. Two Liberal Jews and a Catholic home for the holidays! Page and Jefferson were the best of friends. Page, from what I’ve read, was a deeply religious man. Jefferson was not. I would say that Jefferson was a deeply American man who understood America’s relationship with God better than any man ever has. In fact it was the very plumb of this understanding that caused him to love the seductive nature of French cuisine and push away from it at the same time.
On two separate continents; two separate revolutions. One went wonderfully right and the other went terribly wrong. History has given us the difference in a thousand ways in every language and we still insist on reaching for the same hot pot with the same bare hand time and time again. You see, you really can’t bring up the French without bringing up cooking. 🙂
Our two separate revolutions started on the exact same foot…we both grew tired of Monarchy. The difference was in the broth, eh? Think of your favorite spice or herb. Mine happens to be garlic. The thing about garlic is it is wonderfully and aromatically pervasive in a most inviting way…it brings you home wherever you are. God is like garlic! The American Chefs made it the foundational ingredient in the roux…which is to say they made God the foundation of our foundation! The French Chefs, on the other hand, purged God from the kitchen, store shelves and the very ground under their feet. Sound familiar?
So, bringing it back to the dynamics of our family discussion, we’ll work from two different cookbooks that both require fresh garlic. We will refer to Kabbalah to find the right recipe for our Liberal Jewish appetites, and the Holy Rosary to nourish the Catholic soul. The Kabbalists believe in a creation theory they refer to as Tzim Tzum…God’s first cake if you will. Interestingly, I had mentioned to Sam that somewhere in my spiritual journey I had heard that God created man in order to experience himself. Well according to Tzim Tzum there was no room for man or anything else for that matter because God was everything. So in a very dramatic Big-Bang quantum sort of way, God stepped back into nothing…and here we are! Now think of this in the reverse. Think of the French Chefs and the influence of Voltaire. Out with the garlic and in with the essence of…man?
Yes, man became the center of his own universe. Think of the omnipotent Zeus in his first year at Brown…his glass is so full, it can’t bear one more drop. Of course they all have indigestion! It sounds great, looks fabulous…and tastes like bull manure because it is bull manure!
The Holy Rosary is a blessed path to prayer and meditation on the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious “Mysteries” of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each mystery holds five essential seeds along with the fruit they bear…
The Agony in the Garden~ Sorrow for our sins & conformity to the Will of God
The Scourging at the Pillar– Purity
The Crowning of the Thorns– Moral Courage
The Carrying of the Cross– Patience
The Crucifixion– Perseverance, Self-Denial
Just as we have become too full of ourselves on this Voltaire-like binge, we are so desperately lacking the vital nutrients from the fruits above…and it is killing us in the worst way imaginable. The Sorrowful Mysteries come to me here because they speak to my soul in the exact same way…in the exact same place…at the exact same time. To know the agony of being alone to shoulder the weight of darkness while so many others turn their backs…to feel the bite of hateful tongues…to suffer the mockery from those you love…and hold them even closer…to die for those who kill you.
The more we remember, the closer to home we get…The more of us who turn towards remembering, brings Holy Spirit closer to us. In other words it is a self-perpetuating and momentum-building natural occurrence. Another way to understand this is to realize the armor of protection that comes to us by proportional degree as we let go of the burdens of attachment to stand in the fires of Truth! Bon Appétit! 🙂
Note~ John’s wife Judy told me the other day that she returned home moments after John had died to a most unusual whirlwind dancing across her back yard…making her smile.