Notes from Manresa, prt. 9
Sunday, 8:37 a.m. Two things I noticed this morning that I do not want to neglect to write down. First, when I rolled out of bed this morning, I immediately began packing my bags, folding my sheets, and making preparations to go home. I was doing it even before I realized it, almost without thinking. Deep down in me I have heard the call of home all along. Sometimes it has been very real – a deep ache that distracts me from all else. Other times I have not been conscious of it, but when I recall it I am suddenly aware that, conscious or not, I have been living all along in light of that voice that calls me home. It is, quite simply, the deepest cry of my heart. And it is that because I have been there. Not just as a visitor (if you are visiting someplace, that’s a sure sign you’re not home) but as an inhabitant. I know all the people in that place. I’m familiar with every nook and cranny. It is home. It sends out a constant signal to me when I am gone. It beckons to me wherever I am, not to return home and do this or accomplish that, but to return home and simply be. Home is the place where I “am” the best. All of my aspirations, my highest hopes, even my farthest-flung dreams of speaking or teaching in this place or that – it all originates at home. Home is where I leave from, and where I return to. In fact, the way you know you’re home is that you reach the place where you’re no longer trying to take the next step to get back there.
Was it St. Augustine who said, “O God, our hearts will never rest until they rest in you.” ?
Barely even consciously aware of it, I got up this morning and began preparing to go home, responding to that constant, if not always conscious, beacon in my heart. Likewise, a thousand times a day I am preparing to be, finally, home with God. Emotional pleas, questions, doubts, prayers – all of it happens in light of home. I am from there, “of” that place, and returning to it. Moment by moment, consciously or unconsciously, I live in light of my constant call to come home. Sometimes I ache for home: to see God, to be joined with him. Often I am not even thinking of God, but the call continues. And in those moments where I am conscious of it, I realize the call has been sounding all along and I have been living either in response to it, or in rebellion against it, but that call – the call is the thing from which I cannot escape. And why would I want to? It’s a call to come home. And so each day I will continue to live in light of that call. Sometimes I will make conscious preparations. Sometimes I will simply live in the moment, with that call ringing out constantly all day long. And one day, though I do not know when it will be, it will really be time to go home. I will finally know I am home, because there will be no more steps to take to get back there. Until then, the call continues.