ForÂ a number of yearsÂ during theÂ 90’s untilÂ a couple years ago,Â IÂ used to escape to Ephphatha house, a small CatholicÂ community,Â and takeÂ part in the daily Chaplet of Mercy and Liturgy of Hours. We wereÂ a sparse and motley group,Â aging and bent, a few scattered misfits.
We sat in silence. When the Chaplet began we repeated at length, “For the sake of your infinite passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” Voices, some halting, some frail, some not, made a foray upon the void. But so weak and hollow and barren and seemingly parochial was this whole effort that I despaired for the survival of Ephphatha into next week.
Leaving, I felt emptier than I did when I came. Maybe that’s not completely accurate, it’s more like I felt the familiar longing more deeply. My emptiness became emptier. But I kept goingÂ back. ItÂ remained one witness to the resurrection. It also somehow sharped my desire for God and displayed for me a kind of spiritual poverty, and curiously, hope crept in.
While I was there I rememberÂ thinking that I would feel embarrassed to bring someone from our church here. I thought that odd but upon reflection it’s probably because there so little here, or so little “here” here.
I wouldn’t counsel anyone to go to Ephphatha. Places like these need to be “personally” found. But it still strikes me as weird to think that the Christian church has these places that are apparently “other”Â to each other. Ephphatha is a different climate; almost pain inducing in its “uselessness”, yet for me, it was necessary.