I learned a new spanish word back in 2012: Querencia… a place of safety, home, a place from which one draws strength, a place we all need to go to and be made whole, it seems: the Wanting Place.
At one time in my life, querencia had a very concrete, physical location. It was the interior of St. Mary’s Church in Opelika. A not too large space with cool, green carpet overseen by an oversized crucifix from the front and loved into peace by the gaze of Mary in the center of the stained glass window that graces the back of the church in the middle of the choir loft wall.
Even my skeptical, cynical self cannot wipe away sitting in a back pew and knowing that Jesus wrapped His arm around my shoulder and declared “Welcome home.” I know, kind of strange. Imagined. But, somehow undeniable and very concrete. I knew at that point that this place was HOME – Querencia – place of safety, place where I must go… my “flee to.” It has been a place of much laughter and many tears. In this tiny chapel of a church I have been ripped to shreds and made whole — sometimes it seems the shredding and healing were almost simultaneous.
There are a few places in this world where the veil seems very transparent and Love (and Love’s associate, Peace) are able to shine no matter what madness and darkness surrounds me.
But, life is a journey, and we don’t often get to keep the same Querencia, at least not in a physical sense. There are indeed those thin places and times, but I find I must seek Home in God, in all of creation and look for the times I am almost awake and aware of God’s presence. These moments become Querencia.
That’s funny title… and it is only a starting point for my thoughts.
This morning I was reading my friend Susan’s reflection, Home in the Heart of Jesus, on her blog, Creo en Dios. She reflected on how sad it made her to know that the place that represents her “spiritual home” will close it’s doors in June. But she ended with the vision given her by her former spiritual director that her home is not a place, but in the Heart of Jesus. (forgive me Susan, if I am slaughtering your reflection — people should just go read it for themselves!).
As I read the reflection, it gave me some insight… an epiphany of sorts. I have a real, chronic problem with practices like Adoration and Benedition. Just bugs me — at times it seems like folks got God all trapped in that bit of bread — all safe and sound, and controlled. On reading Susan’s reflection on sorrow at “losing your home” — the realization that your home (our home) is in the Heart of Jesus, gives me a way to look at Adoration and see that it can be a way of sitting with the understanding and appreciation of just that reality: home is in the heart of Jesus. To be there allows me to more consciously realize and appreciate that. There are many times when we really need the concrete to be able to sense the reality beyond.
I know I’ve tried to write this out many times before. Each time I grasp a bit of the truth. Each time the light fades and I find myself back in a cloud of unknowing, a fog of non-comprehension. We, as humans so need something concrete to hang on to. That special place, the cross or crucifix on a chain around the neck, the hug that comes when we most need it, the water of baptism and the oil of confirmation. The bread and wine on the altar at mass. Sacraments: those physical realities that make things real for us now. And we do that for one another: we become “God [Jesus] with skin on” for each other. So, yes, my home is in the Heart of Jesus, but, I so need some things to touch and know in order to understand that reality.
And so, next time I am invited to Adoration, I will try to dig up these reflections. I will try to allow the Blessed Sacrament to be Sacrament and lead me to the reality. I will try to be open and listen to all the hope and prayers and Love that come from the Reality behind the physical. I will try to be open to accepting and growing in that love.