Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, June 26, 2008
From childhood on I have had the dream of life lived as a sacrament...
the dream implied taking life ritually as something holy.
- Bernard Berenson, art critic, born on this day, 1865
Ah – I Tatti! So vividly I remember this wonderful house of Bernard Berenson’s. I visited it when I was in Fiesole for the second time. I remember sitting on the steps of the house (Berenson had left it to Harvard University), and thinking, “This is the way I want to live”. Oh, not so much the grandeur, as the whole ambiance. I knew it long, long ago. But when Dennis and I first visited the “Old World” together, we looked at each other and said, “We are definitely Old, not New, World people!.
I feel a deep connection with Bernard Berenson. From the very earliest years of my life, I have “felt”, dreamed, about “taking life ritually as something holy”. I know now it is why I wanted to be a priest from the very earliest age. Why I became a monk. Why I have remained a priest, even though there is some about maintaining institutions that is not a part of my soul.
I seem always to have understood, at some level, consciously or unconsciously, that Life is a Sacrament – an “outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible reality”. Of something much more vast and deep. This is why, having been raised in the Presbyterian Church for 18 years, I went to an Anglican Eucharist and knew instantly in my heart that here is where Truth was understood. We humans are prone to think that Life is just about our little existence. But it is far more. It is about our participation in the deep Mystery of Being and of “God”. Your and my personal Life is a piece of the Great Holiness of Being.
Wander around today knowing that you are a Sacrament. Feel it. You are a unique part, but you are dancing with every other form of Life. We are in This together. God I hope that very soon this awareness sweeps us all off our feet!