Threefold Absolution

Greetings from St. Hilda’s House.  I’m staying with the sisters at the city convent this week to help out while three sisters are out of town. I’m already missing the garden.  I brought an armload of lilacs from Melrose for the chapel. And here in Morningside Heights I bought myself a little bundle of white freesias to accompany me through week. I’m daydreaming of the gardens at the farm, but looking forward to my week  with the sisters here.

Yesterday’s lectionary propers still sing within my mind. I particularly liked the meditation prompts (late have I loved thee) on last week’s webpost and they stayed with me all week. It was my turn to preach yesterday and the following is part of my sermon.

Oh, Peter. Oh, vulnerable, clueless, headstrong, weak-minded, partially seeing Peter! Without you, what would I do? With you I say, “Let’s build three booths” “wash all of me” “I’ll never deny thee”! And I’ve denied Jesus more than your three infamous times, and still, if Jesus met me at breakfast and asked me, “Do you love me?” not only would I feel hurt, but I’d also have to think about it.

I walk along the beach, eavesdropping. “Do you love me?” “You know I love you!” The Teacher asks three times, once for each denial. But each question and each command contains an encompassing absolution, as deep as despair and guilt can seep and as high and wide as the imagination can soar. Your absolution clatters then muffles then buries your unfaithfulness as shovels full of earth thrown upon a lowered coffin, freeing you for the new life, the new work taking you through humiliation and violence, by way of interior peace and unexpected joy.

Oh, Peter, patron of late-comers, fumbling lovers, partially blinded visionaries! By your absolution I see that I’m absolved. Because I watched this gentle walk on the beach, I have only to remember that when I stumble over the crumbling architecture of my life, the very stone that causes the most pain is the keystone that puts back into order the ruins of my life.

May your continuing Easter journey be full of deep incomprehensible peace and unexpected  erupting joys. -Suzanne

2 Responses to “Threefold Absolution”

  1. claire Says:

    when I stumble over the crumbling architecture of my life, the very stone that causes the most pain is the keystone that puts back into order the ruins of my life. Thank you for this. It will help me in the coming months.

    As to your parting blessing, I do long for ‘deep incomprehensible peace and unexpected erupting joys.’

    May it be my blessing for you as well.


  2. Joseph A. Burkart, Jr. Says:

    “The crumbling architecture of my life” , our lives…..So helpful and thank you.
    For the older I get, the more incomprehensible the world becomes attempting to apply reason and rationality to it. Perhaps it is the “Upside Down Kingdom”, paradox and failure as an opening to Grace, which make any sense at all.

    Could it be that Paschal is right….”Reasons of the heart have nothing to do with reason at all.”

    Blessings, Tony

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