There is a lot to be said about ritual aka practice (Latin ritus).
It makes perfect what would otherwise be forgettable, momentary, and fleeting. But is not life made up of fleeting moments? Is not life one eternal act of the Divine, here one day gone the next? Isn't life considered something that happens to us?
Three years ago I attended the ordination of one of our deacons. He is now a full-fledged pastor, steeped in spiritual studies and eager to serve in his fullest capacity. However, he has come to this point by choice, by grace, and by ritual.
Our parish community huddled together with other parish families from Spruce Grove, and elsewhere in Edmonton to celebrate his special day, a wedding, one could say. In a sea of red and white vestments, incense and candles, and soaring voices from the choir loft, we were transported into what this ritual really is.
The practice of love is what priesthood is about. Love is how a person for God is identified. It is not ceremony for its sake alone. He was invited tonight by the words of Jesus, "If you love me feed my sheep." Love is a complete picture of a YES to God.
Fr. Robert's yes is tied to my yes because we live in community. We witness to this in the ordinary and simple acts, be it one-time or routinely. When we love we are our true selves.
Yes, life's fleeting moments are there to rehearse us to live in the present. Yes, God's one eternal act of creation and redemption is a reminder for us to be grateful. And yes, life in all its uncertainty tells us that it's okay to not have all the answers. The ritual is love. Love itself is perfection. Be open to it, choose it, and live it.
*original post 2018.06.28