Saint James 4:8

Brothers and Sisters,

Perhaps you have seen the musical or the movie of the story “Fiddler on the Roof.”  It’s a heartwarming story with (spoilers!) a bittersweet and even tragic ending.  During the second act, things go from bad to worse for most of the characters and there is a libretto from one of the daughters of the main character.  The daughter, Hodel, tells her father (mostly in third person narrative form) about the pain she feels regarding her need to live far away from family and familiar surroundings so that she can be near to the man she loves.  Here is an excerpt from that song:

Once she was happily content to be,

As she was, where she was,

Safe in the bosom of her family,

Here in the home she loves.

Oh what a melancholy choice this is,

Wanting home, wanting him,

Closing her heart to ev’ry hope but his,

Leaving the home she loves.

There where her heart has settled long ago,

She must go . . . I will go,

Who could imagine I’d be wond’ring so

Far from the home I love?

It’s a tragic part of the story where Hodel must choose to either continue to live in the safety with her parents (Tevye and Golde) or follow her new husband (Perchik) to a dangerous and hostile environment.  Hodel is more than scared of the unknown but committed to loving her new spouse.  Her parents, likewise, are desperate to keep her safely near them but ultimately come to understand her desire to be near her husband.

Now, brothers and sisters, imagine Blessed Mother hearing her Son tell her that He will be leaving the safety of the home and carpentry workshop to confront the Pharisees, Sadducees, Elders, Scribes, and even the Roman military – knowing that this will end in His death.  Imagine the pain in any parent’s heart with this reality.  Even though Holy Mary knew God’s Will, her sorrow must have been great to know that she should have to watch her Son die before her eyes.

More concretely for us, when we place ourselves distant from Almighty God we truly wrack our souls with great pain.  As Isaiah wrote:  as a young man marries a woman, your Builder will marry you, and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall Almighty God rejoice in you (cf. Isaiah 62:5).  Our own souls is married to God; our whole self is to be as devoted to God as spouse is devoted to spouse.  Be sure, then, to commit time and energy to your relationship with Christ, find a way to keep yourself nearer – ever nearer – to Him.

God be near,

Father Jeremy