Naming the Holy: Encountering God In All Things
Father Brian Massie Speaks: In Praise of the Profane
by MA Nangini

The quotidian
territory of the profane
the everyday
the streets
the songs
the music
the work
time from
time out
for the sacred
when all sacred wants is to be embedded
when all the profane seeks is to be embodied
where the reality of different worlds would unite
the solemn
the joyful
the playful
the dilemmas of the dichotomy
the sacred and the profane chasm.

The illusion of the reality is separateness
The reality of the illusion is inviolably oneness
Intertwined holiness
The sacred and the profane
The indelible inborn experience we know is there

Do we trust it?
Do we work with it?

We look for the holy
in their designated sacred spaces
opening spiritual receptors
alive and alert
then shut down
pull away
at all other places.

We underestimate the power of the profane
compartmentalized, desacralized and sanitized
we miss, dismiss the cues that lead to God.

"God is not to be contained by our categories"
Grace assistance guidance is plentiful
to those whose receptors are open
to the holy
to the sacred
to the wonder
of all that is given
manifestation of creation
finding the sacred in all that is profane.

But we ask as if blind:
Where do I look for the sacred?
Where do I look for the divine?

The vulgar
the hateful
the smelly
don't belong
to the over-churched and privileged
who monopolize and bound God out of the marketplace
delineating restrictive theological categories
our strictures
our limits
projected onto the boundless and limitless.

The profane is dissonance!
The profane is disorder!
The profane is chaos!

In the pursuit of perfection, the determinately neat
factor out of life the uncontrollable and incomplete.
The messiness of life is cauterized
making the holy and the sacred clinically sterile.
The best of the best is the only must for the holy!
But that is not how it unfolded in the life of Christ;
Nor does it pan out for the addict, the weak, the lost , the outcast.

In the pursuit of perfection, the determinately neat
factor out of life the uncontrollable and incomplete.
The messiness of life is cauterized
making the holy and the sacred clinically sterile.
The best of the best is the only must for the holy!
But that is not how it unfolded in the life of Christ;
Nor does it pan out for the addict, the weak, the lost , the outcast.

How paradoxical this incongruence:
The acceptance of my incompleteness, messiness, untidily grossness
is my means of grace
Victory is achieved admitting defeat!
The incarnational statement of the boundedness of God with my humanness.

The divine bound to the profane
saves
when I would be destroyed
fills
where I would be empty
is at work
among the disregarded and unimportant.

It is God there who transforms
In the Divine Milieu
Where nothing is profane
For those who know how to see
For those who are open to hear
For those who are alert to the many grace-filled moments of the now and here.

The dichotomy is unreal
It is the illusion of the real
The divine-profane enmeshed oneness
Renders truth to reality
I look to it
I embrace it
To be made whole by it.

All that is given
Lends to leading to the ultimate end
The united mortal-immortal bond
The divine with the profane
At the places where to least expect
The working God
I look to the earth charged with the energy of God
And won't turn away
The contemplative in action
Harmonizes the two planes
The discord
Becomes the song of praise.

(from the Lecture Series Naming the Holy: Encountering God In All Things,
Newman Centre Chapel, November 29th, 2000)
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