This large, expansive tree is just down the street from the rectory. Full bloom. In mid-February. Not good. And here’s another, right next to the rectory. Full bloom. In mid-February. Not good. They will all freeze to death. And they were only doing what they had to do.
Tulip trees and red bud trees are in hot pursuit, almost in full bloom. In mid-February. Not good. Not good at all. They will all freeze to death. And they were only doing what they had to do. Winter will return.
“You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.” (Jeremiah 20:7)
“But Lord, I followed you. I tried my best. And THIS is what you throw at me? My finances are a wreck. I lost my job. My spouse ran off. I get my food from a dumpster. And all because I was faithful to you, dear Lord. I didn’t have to be faithful to you. But I was faithful. And THIS is what you throw at me? You tricked me, duped me, and I let myself be duped. You are stronger than me. You win. But look around. Everyone laughs at me, making stuff up, or just because I’m down and truly totally out. Everyone mocks me. My friends dismissively turn their backs on me. Dear Lord. Dear Lord.”
And then, in a quiet moment, we say:
“Thanks for keeping me faithful to you, dear Lord. Thank you. I’m with you. You’re with me. Dear Lord, take me.”
And then our Lord says:
“Well done, my good and faithful servant. […] Come, share your master’s joy. […] Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:21.34).
And then we say:
“We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.” (Luke 17:10)
And then we are brought in, and we see God face to face, and we rejoice. We are at home. At home. At home. Why? Because…
Jesus is the One. He’s the only One. And it is HE who will come to judge living and dead and the world by fire. Amen. And Amen.
Oh! And the Immaculate Conception? She said “Yes!” She brought Jesus into this dark, cold world for us, doing only what she had to do: “I am the maidservant of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.” And then the dark, cold world returned. Winter returned. Jesus was in her arms below the Cross. “You duped me Lord, and I let myself be duped.”
Thank you, Mary, for letting yourself be duped with such love. Thank you. Teach me how to be duped. I am so proud, without humility. Thanks for being such a good teacher.