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Waters of the oceans and streams of faith.

A photo essay and an article 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 connected.
You have visited the earth and brought life-giving rain to fill it with plenty, alleluia! (Psalm 65)

A prayers is not like a recipe, you cannot memorize it and then do it with your eyes closed (although I highly recommend keeping your eyes open while working in the kitchen but that is another topic). What I'm trying to say is that we should not mumble and recite prayers by rote, 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.

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).

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...

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, so be it!

Thank God for the gift of prayer and for their mini-fires in our souls.

Copyright ©2011 Michele Szekely

published in Catholic San Francisco in June 2011 here

The waves at Ocean Beach in SF photo by Michele Szekely
The waters of the oceans

more waves photo by Michele Szekely
The waves...

Nuages en Haute-Savoie photo by Michele Szekely
The water in the clouds...

Lac de Gers photo by Michele Szekely
The still waters of a mountain lake...

Lac Aux Dames photo by Michele Szekely
Another lake, in the valley.

Ducks on a lac photo by Michele Szekely
Little ducks on the lake...

Another little mountain stream photo by Michele Szekely
One small country stream

Rain drops on blades of grass photo by Michele Szekely
Rain drops on blades of grass...

Rain drops on a pink flower photo by Michele Szekely
Rain drops on a flower.

Pacific Ocean in Northern California photo by Michele Szekely
And all ends into the ocean! And then the cycle starts again.

Vitraux dans l'eglise de Samoens photo by Michele Szekely
Streams of faith and the keys to the Kingdom coming from the heart of Jesus.

Stained Glass in NDV Samoens photo by Michele Szekely
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.
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 with Christ and set us on a course.

The Priesthood and Confession Stained-glass photo by Michele Szekely
Many graces will flow from confession to a priest and this is because a correct understanding is needed
of the Church, the priesthood and the sacraments, all of them initiated by Christ for us, for our journey back to the very source of all graces,
to the Giver of life, the Prince of Peace, the Creator.

a cup of water photo by Michele Szekely
A cup of water!
A drop of rain... Water is 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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