One of the most profound phrases for me in the Prayah Book (that’s the southern translation) is in one of the Thanksgiving prayers at the end of the Eucharist that we say just before getting our benediction send-off:
“Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and for assuring us in these holy mysteries…”
It seems so counter-intuitive. That is especially true for a litigation lawyer who disdains “mystery” of any kind…it is what I don’t know that bothers me going into a trial or hearing or deposition. How can any rational human ever be assured by something mysterious? When it comes right down to it, how often can any of us be all that “assured” in just about anything, least of all a “mystery” no matter how “holy”?
And yet, the more laps around the sun I take, the more I find that great truth often lies in great paradox. Even though much of the time, it can be perplexing at best (and a seemingly cruel farce at worst) every so often I am confronted by evidence of Mystery, with a capital “M.” It is Mystery, the sum and goal of all our deepest mysteries; a yearning for something we can never really express but know we deeply want and more deeply need; an unknowable but real entity unto Itself.
The evidence of that entity is circumstantial, never direct, and certainly not beyond reasonable doubt. It knocks on my soul’s door, creeps into my thoughts, pops into conversations, and whispers to me through misty eyes surprising me at the silliest of times over the silliest of things. On those too-rare occasions that I follow its trail, it leads slowly but inexorably to a tiny glimpse of a Truth (with a capital “T”). Such Truth is beyond mere “relevant” and “admissible” facts or tangible evidence that I might perceive through sight, sound, smell, taste or touch.
To allow myself to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, what I’ve seen in those scarce moments, through the darkest of glass, is a portion of the Unseen, is to glean that whatever it is, “It” is! To have glimpsed even a small fraction of this Mystery from the Holy is to be changed by It. To taste even the tiniest of Its crumbs that might fall like manna from Heaven off Its table is to know — or for me at least slowly come to accept, even if never really understand — that regardless of how many attempts to deny It or to ignore It or to run from It, such Mystery will forever beckon.
Of THAT…I am most certainly assured.