Today was the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. Our new bishop, George Councell, explained to us that when he was a parish priest, he found driving to the Cathedral for the Chrism Mass during Holy Week was just too much. So, he is starting a new tradition; the blessing of oils and chrism and the reaffirmation of ordination vows will occur on Thursday of 5 Lent.
Most of the clergy were there. I had lunch with JC. He and I were ordained to the order of deacons together 15 years ago in a cathedral in the Midwest. We went our separate ways for the next 14 years. Now we find ourselves once again serving in the same diocese. It's nice to renew old friendships.
The bishop led us in a silent retreat during the morning. He began with the story of Jesus and the rich young man. The image he held up was Jesus looking at the young man and loving him. His theme was, "the gaze of God."
He went on to tell us about a specific phrase that his spiritual director would conclude their time together with. During the quiet time, and throughout my drive home, those words have been singing inside my head. It is a simple phrase, which I don't want dilute by saying too much. The origin of the saying is attributed to Anthony de Mello, SJ:
Behold God beholding you...and smiling.