Friday, May 9, 2008
It is the wind combined with the heat. The southward fields, called 'the flats', receive the liquified cow excrement, which is strewn, via some component towed by tractors or via titan water throwers. The matter superficially looks muddy brown; but where it catches the light at certain angles, you can see that it is a dirty, deep jade green.
This town where I grew up has a way of catching the odour from the fields on certain days; it is well known for it actually. It's a valley that acts like a catcher's mit, or a like a point in a river that becomes a whirpool. On certain late spring or early summer days, the heat together with the wind from the not-too-distant ocean conspire, and I mean conspire, to create an all-permeating, hot-sickly-sweet, rancorously mind-blowing, punch-you-in-the-face stench.
It is thankfully, only a few odd days in a year though. Just the other day, I caught a portent of it, while at work. It could have been worse. All things rank and raw and untempered. And hence, offensive: are we so willing, or ready, to see how Eternity views what we call, or what the world calls our greatest achievements?
I remember father one time in his homily brought up an incident in St. John Bosco's life, one of many kinds of supernatural things that happened with him: a man who was in mortal sin entered into the confessional. Before he could get very far with his confession, Don Bosco directly told the man to leave and find another priest. The reason: the physically palpable stench was so overpowering for the saint that he couldn't bear it, even for the relatively short duration of a single confession.
There was an incident with the sisters in Akita, where as they were standing, I believe together for prayers, each one of them suddenly saw a white, sickly little worm squirming before the sister beside. A worm for each one of them. What was only apparent to them later was that not one of the sisters noticed the worm that was squirming in front of her own feet at first; each one of them saw the worm in front of her neighbour instead. This took place either before or after an episode of an inexplicable stench, at its strongest around the confessionals.
Rank and raw and untempered. We are at times, or often, these things, just where we wouldn't know it. An offense. In the span of our life, what great achievements will turn out to be the fodder for that which is, in actual fact, really pleasing to God? This isn't to snub or huck mud at any good achievment of ours; but it is to get across the idea of what is truly pleasing to God. To say, that we will need to apologize for the things we did that were considered great, and which may have well been great. Purification, that pleases God. And it is fair to say, when God is pleased, He is really truly delighted; His delight is more pure than the child's; and when He is offended, the offence is without equal; the true eternal sight of the offence will be enough to make one want to crawl under a rock and die.
We are tempered by His mercy. His mercy is not merely the absence of Justice, or the witholding of it. His mercy is all-powerful, ever-increasing, and obliterates sin and its offensiveness; and transforms what is rank, raw, untempered, proud, vain, complacent, prestigious (in the worldly sense) and offensive into what is the ultimate in perfection: the likeness of the Son of God.
In the summer after many rains and many suns the strewn shit of the fields has quite vanished into a different conspiracy, which is commonly referred to as "farm smell", which, with the dawn or evening flora, is one of the best smells on earth.