Monday, January 30, 2017

Fill My Cup, Lord...

My relationship with coffee isn't the same as it was 25 years ago. I've learned that variations in beans, filters & methods of brewing produce new subtleties in the flavour of each cup. I've adjusted my routine, going from pots of drip to pots of press to a few cups of pour over a day. I've shunned those marketplace “brand” names to buy organic beans & compostable filters instead. I grind small quantities at home & still drink coffee daily, but it's different now. Each cup takes time & requires me to be fully present...

My relationship with Jesus isn't the same as it was 25 years ago either.

I used to believe in an angry Jesus- One Who was constantly saying to me “Woe, you hypocrite! Repent or die!”. I believed in the “fluffy” Jesus- the best friend Who was there at beck & call to tell me everything would be ok. I even believed in the boyfriend Jesus Who was strong & chivalrous & treated me like a princess. When I became a Catholic, I finally came to believe in Jesus, Son of God, born of Mary... Jesus, the Sacrifice, Bread of Life & Redeemer.

To be honest, I've never equated the name of Jesus with someone I know particularly well, let alone someone I actually love. He just kind of “is”. He's iconic, historic, almost magical, like a unicorn. I know things about Him, but as far as His interaction with me personally... it's complicated. He's a staple in my life- like coffee. Commonplace. Familiar. But unlike coffee, He's not readily available to my corporeal senses & I often feel this emptiness where the supposed bounty of His unfailing Love should be.

I've been told that my desire to seek Him is good enough- as if desire alone was synonymous with true love. I've been told that being a Christian is about faith, not feelings. But I think being a Christian is absolutely about feelings, just as drinking coffee is a matter of taste. Why drink it if it tastes bad?

I've been told it's disrespectful & futile to pray to anyone but Jesus, but under the mantle of Mary's motherhood, I'm inexplicably drawn to Him every time. It's not an instantaneous thing, but the end results are always the same. When it's difficult to pray, I might throw out a simple prayer- a request much like the shepherds & wise men made: “Mary, please show me your Son”. I might do this & only this for days. Sometimes I grab my beads & attempt a few decades of the Rosary or contemplate a Station of the Cross... both meditative prayers recount the events of Jesus' life. There's something about this process of recollection that allows me to experience a sip- a rich, full-bodied “taste” of Jesus- just enough to wake me from my stupor.

When the source is me, my cup is going to be bitter or downright tasteless. The source must be Jesus. Mary is the unbleached, organic filter who reveals only Jesus- nothing more, nothing less. So far, so good. But the source & the filter are only half the battle. Like the method I use to brew my own coffee, the process takes time & requires my attention. As I'm pouring over the events of His life instead of my own, it takes the focus off me. It renders my issues secondary. And when He is “lifted up” (like a freshly brewed cup of coffee), He actually draws me to Himself & infuses me with life. He somehow becomes accessible & real once more... if only for a moment. But then, sometimes a sip is all you need.

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