We recall a scene in Our Town, the iconic American play of the 1930’s. Near the end a young wife named Emily dies in childbirth. And from the grave she asks the Stage Manager, the godlike narrator who presides over the action of the play, if she may go back in time, back into her life for just one day. He discourages her. Emily insists, and she is allowed to return to an ordinary morning when she was a teenager. She views it from afar and relishes its quiet, familiar beauty. But very soon she is overwhelmed by it all. It’s too much for her, and she cries out to the Stage Manager, I can't. I can't go on. It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on, and we never noticed. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it- every, every minute? The Stage Manager replies: No. The saints and poets, maybe they do some.
Our earth is wonderful, indeed, for Jesus has come to stay with us, first at Nazareth with Joseph and Mary and here with us now, longing to meet us in all of our everydayness.
Photograph by Brother Brian.