WORD Becoming, Spiritual Reflections By Fr Roderick Salazar Jr, SVD (Philippines)
It is twilight when the film opens
and farmer Ray Kinsella is walking
through his corn awaiting harvest.
He hears a voice:
IF YOU BUILD IT, HE WILL COME.
“What?” Ray asks as he anxiously
looks around, up, down, “Who said that?”
He continues to walk, and hears again
IF YOU BUILD IT, HE WILL COME.
“Hey, who’s there? Stop playing around!
He shouts. And then, bluffing, says
“I know where you are!
(But he doesn’t, really).
And he does not know if the voice
came from above or around or
from within himself.
Frightened, he goes home
to his wife and daughter
relating at supper what he had heard.
“Build what?” asks the wife.
And WHO will come?”
“I don’t know,” says Ray.
That’s what I want to know myself.”
Ray Kinsella is played by Kevin Costner,
and the film is FIELD OF DREAMS.
A lovely movie. If you love baseball
Or even if not, if your love dreams.
Ray eventually takes it that
what he has to build is a baseball diamond.
He mows down part of his corn field,
to the surprise, even mockery of his neighbors
who think he has gone mad.
The baseball diamond made,
one by one, baseball players from the past
emerge from the un-mowed part of the corn field
Ghosts, really, they, though not in a scary way.
Ray and his wife and daughter see them play.
Other people do not.
There are two other phrases that Ray hears
as he hunts other baseball heroes.
EASE HIS PAIN and GO THE DISTANCE.
In time, he learns what the phrases mean,
in the end, he reconciles with a younger version
of his father with whom he now plays catch.
So thrilled are father and son that the father asks,
“Is this heaven?”
To which Ray answers with delight,
“No, this is Iowa.”
As in the opening scene of the film,
the closing shot is again twilight.
This time with lights focused on the baseball diamond
now filled with complete teams about to play.
And in the distance, a long procession of lights
is shown entering Ray’s farm, from cars presumably
filled with baseball fans each going to their
FIELD OF DREAMS.
Today, at twilight, I remember the movie.
And I enter my own field of dreams.
I invite you to go to yours.
Whatever time of day or night
it may be for you.
Some of our dreams have been fulfilled,
some not, and some probably never will be.
But we are where we are.
What might have been was never meant to be.
What does Alfred Lord Tennyson put
in the mouth of Ulyssis?
Greek hero of the Trojan War
but now aging with still that adventurous soul?
“Tho’ much is taken, much abides, and tho’
we are not now the strength which in old days
moved earth and heaven,
that which we are, we are;
one equal temper of heroic hearts,
made weak by time and fate
but strong in will
to strive, to seek, to find,
and not to yield.”
AND NOT TO YIELD.
Though some dreams of old may never come true
And new dreams still await fulfilment
I am what I am. I am who I am.
It is this self I accept and bring to God.
With this self I face the world.
I may never really play baseball now
In a real baseball diamond.
But there is a field I know I must enter daily.
The field of prayer, the quiet time with God.
If I build it, HE will come.
But I must build it.
And should He come, my field unbuilt
may I recognize that He has arrived
I must ease His pain and go the distance.
As He eases mine and stays the course.
As for my family, my community,
my nation, my world.
I must build it, too, and He will come.
I have forgotten who wrote the reflection
but what is said pierces the soul:
“All history, not just the history of the cross
but that, too, and that above all,
stops my dictating to God
what He should do.
So my prayer takes the form of pain
at the fact that my heart, my home, and my city
do not reflect the splendor of existence
the ground and source of which is God.
There are things, God, of which You alone are Lord.
these You bestow, I know.
with boundless and incomprehensible generosity.
The greatest of them is LOVE.
HOPE’s sister, the companion on our way.
If I open my eye, you can remove the plank in it.
But beyond that, You have left
the organization of the world to us.
There is no point in repeating
“O God, give, remember, do –
WE ARE THE ONES who have
to give, do, and remember.
And then say, “We are worthless servants.
Here is our body, and the work of our hands.
Brittle, filthy, unfinished.
Through them we tried to express
something that defies all expression
and to which You are calling us…”
It is mine to build my self
ours to build our family
Our nation our world
If we do this, when we do this,
Though unfinished, He will come.
In our very strength, after all,
In our will, in our strivings,
He is already with us.
As the saint has reminded:
WITHOUT HIM, we cannot.
WITHOUT US, He will not.
It is for each of us, then,
And for all of us together
NOT TO YIELD
to strive, to seek, to find
our FIELD OF DREAMS.
If we build it, HE will come.