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Waters of the oceans and streams of faith.

An article and a photographic essay on the waters of life on earth on one level
and the life-giving streams of faith on another one
and how the two are forever interconnected.
You have visited the earth
and brought life-giving rain
to fill it with plenty, alleluia!

(Psalm 65)

A prayers is so much more than a recipe..

You should not recite it with your eyes closed (while balancing your check book in your head!). Forget pseudo multi-tasking, I highly recommend keeping your eyes open while working in the kitchen too - but that is another topic. What I'm trying to say is that we should not mumble and recite prayers by rote half-heartedly, they are supposed to be expressions of love and thanks from us to God, and in the process, they are supposed to leave us open to Him. I think prayers are "mini-fires in the soul" because they generate new heat and new light as they keep burning, even if they do go through their own cycles of being active or being dormant. Nevertheless, I am always thankful when I get to experience a little "enlightenment-fire" myself and today, it just happened during the morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours:

Whoever thirsts will drink freely of live-giving water, alleluia.
Worship the Lord who made the heavens and the earth, springs of water and the mighty sea, alleluia.
The saints will rejoice in glory, alleluia.

God's creation: the ocean

In this morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, I saw a wonderful golden thread running through it and it answers all the big questions of life: first, there is the statement about God's creation (the ocean), then the new life in Christ for every Christian (the living waters) and then finally holiness and joy (which is both the goal and the way).

The new life in Christ: the living waters

I love the combination of the very physical and material quality of the ocean, it's here, we can see it and touch it and analyze it (it's a tribute to the scientific approach!) and it's bigger than us, it's larger than what we can see, which is something we can easily admit standing at the beach watching the sun sink into the ocean…

Then there are the living waters of faith, this enormous stream circling the globe and carrying the whole human race and it is an entirely different world although it is just as real, but it is the world of love and forgiveness, the world of faith an hope, of philosophical reflections bringing the human thoughts to a better point for the common good, it is the theological worldview opening new vistas and bringing the whole of history to a new tipping point. It is easy to understand that it is bigger than us, what is more of a challenge is to admit it is just as real as the visible world...

A constant stream of faith...

And then finally, the saints, the martyrs especially (we celebrate today a group of martyrs Saint Christopher Magallanes and Companions), and they, more than anyone else, are here to teach us about the paradoxical values of giving up your life to find it, of accepting pain and death to enter into joy and glory and the fact that, from that initial burst of self sacrifice and love and faith, there will be from now on a constant fire of prayers and praise, of intercession and encouragement, spreading charity and faith.

Today, I saw clearly the link between the waters of the oceans and the waters of faith! I'm sure it is thanks to the Holy Spirit because I have said these prayers for years and it had not struck me yet as it did today… This is how I explain it: I think that tiny angels of the Lord will go into our brains (once in a while…) and activate some particular synapses to help us make the connection for whatever is needed for us for that day.

Well, that is how I see it. It is both a reasonable explanation and a poetic one, isn't it?
Thank God for the gift of prayer and for their mini-fires in our souls!
Copyright ©2011-2021 Michele Szekely
published in Catholic San Francisco  here

Here below is my own photo essay
  on the waters of the earth
 and the streams of faith

Waves at Ocean Beach, SF, by MichSzek
The waters of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California

Alpine clouds
The water inside the clouds...

Lac de Gers, by MichSzek
The still waters of a mountain lake in the French Alps: Le Lac de Gers

Ducks on a lake, by MichSzek
Little ducks on the lake of Morillon

Rain drops on a pink flower by MichSzek
Rain drops on a pink peony.

Pacific Ocean, by MichSzek
And all ends back into the ocean! And then the cycle starts again.

Stained Glass in NDV Samoens  by MichSzek
Mercy and grace flowing from the wounds of Christ!

NDV SF photo by Michele Szekely
The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it.
The Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.
Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Baptism Stained-glass photo by Michele Szekely
The waters of Baptism bring us into the new life in Christ and set us on a new course (from left to right: Icon of the Baptism of Jesus;
stained glass in the church of Samoens French Alps; tapestry of John Nava, Los Angeles Cathedral; a Korean Biblical painting of His Baptism; a more traditional prayer card)

a cup of water photo by Michele Szekely
A cup of water! A drop of rain... Water is true wealth, water is absolutely crucial to life.
The streams of faith, the rivers of grace are similarly crucial to us, to help us love God and love our neighbor.

You have visited the earth and brought life-giving rain to fill it with plenty, alleluia! (Psalm 65)


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