I was taking my evening walk the other day alone the levee, and stopped to admire the beauty of the sunset.
As I watched it sink below the horizon, it was completely silent. But there was a howling north wind. No one was out biking or walking.
At that moment, I thought of St. John of the Cross’ often quoted words (including the tagline usually left off):
A la tarde te examinarán en el amor; aprende a amar como Dios quiere ser amado y deja tu condición, “When evening comes, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting.”
With John’s words in mind, the sunset in that moment became a sacrament of death. Memento mori. After death I will be rendered, beyond my capacity to choose, utterly transparent to divine love and all my life will be revealed to the whole of creation. The verdict of love? “I was hungry and…”
So while I am here, still able to choose — the sun seemed to say before it vanished — I must choose love.
That led me again to St. John:
No piense otra cosa sino que todo lo ordena Dios. Y adonde no hay amor, ponga amor, y sacará amor, “Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and there you will draw out love.”
How blessed are loveless places! They are empty treasuries awaiting the surrender of a widow’s mite; my small acts of love. “She out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.” — Luke 21:4
O Sun of Justice, descend into the darkness of my loveless soul and make me capable of putting love where there is none. Amen.
The heavens proclaim the glory of God,
and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.
Day unto day takes up the story
and night unto night makes known the message.
No speech, no word, no voice is heard
yet their span extends through all the earth,
their words to the utmost bounds of the world.
There he has placed a tent for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom coming from his tent,
rejoices like a champion to run its course.
At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun;
to the furthest end of the sky is its course.
There is nothing concealed from its burning heat. — Psalm 19:1-7