Remember the Thunder!

thunder_185950-1440x900When you are in the presence of a substantial clap of thunder, you do more than just hear something that is loud. You experience something that stops you in place. The awesome magnitude demands your awe. You are forced to acknowledge the contrast between the world without the thunder and the world with the thunder.

The Greek verb ekplēssō captures well the experience we have in the presence of thunder. This verb means: to cause to be filled with amazement to the point of being overwhelmed. I came across this verb in a reading from the Gospel of Luke at Mass last week. After Jesus escaped the crowd who tried to kill him in Nazareth, he went to Capernaum. Luke tell us that Jesus, “taught them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority” Luke 4:31-32.

Words like awesome, amazing, and astounding have become a normal part of our vocabulary. We are guilty of using these words even when things are not really very impressive. Thus, to read that the people were “astonished” is not something that would usually catch my attention, but this time it did. The questions that came to me were: What verb did Luke use there? Where else did he use this verb? What exactly did Jesus do that produced such an effect?

The word that Luke used was ekplēssō. He is telling us that Jesus’ actions filled the people with amazement to the point of Continue reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

“…but there was a distance they did not pass.” 6 Truths About Chaste Intimacy from Les Misérables

p-588069-psatgv8e8v-11Do you remember when holding hands was sensational and amazingly intimate?
Nowadays, I am saddened by the loss of innocence that I see in the world. The protracted and beautiful progression of intimacy proper to relationships has been accelerated to an ugly and selfish expression of lust which lacks temperance. Chastity has an appropriate expression at every level of a relationship. The modern expression of relationship intimacy has no apparent boundaries. The ultimate expression of intimacy between a man and woman is cheaply experienced in the first moments of a relationship.  The unfortunate reality that I have encountered in working with youth is that they have gone way past holding hands. The sheer lack of chastity has robbed so many of authentic intimacy.
In the midst of lamenting this reality I was profoundly impacted when I came across a particular paragraph in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. At this point in the epic novel, two young lovers, Cosette and Marius, have finally found each other. The universe has aligned and granted them a month together when they can clandestinely meet each night. In our present age, a story about two young lovers meeting in secret at night would most certainly include sexual intercourse using contraception. In Hugo’s novel, the reader encounters a real treasure, i.e., a wholesome expression of an appropriate chaste intimacy that makes the lust of our time seem tired and boring.

Continue reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather