And Under His Wings Thou Shalt Trust

It was so fitting that today’s communion antiphon was:

“The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield”.

I caught a little bird on camera yesterday, on Mary’s First Saturday, and there was a moment where before this bird takes off, it looked back at me and cocked its head. The symbolism was so beautiful; it reminded me of Therese’s thoughts when she saw a mother hen guarding her babies and she saw the hen as God the Father: what He does for His elect. I was imagining myself as the little bird, not looking back at the camera, but at Our Lord. Hoping that before I take my flight, He will bless me! Does not He do this for all His children who turn to Him with confidence?

 In fact, Saint Therese in her autobiography compares herself to “a weak little bird” who has “the eyes and heart of an eagle” (Manuscript B). Notice how a large bird slowly makes its way across the screen in the video? The little bird follows it through the eyes and thinks about taking flight! The eagle’s actions are elaborated to such an extent that they symbolize how the Lord’s presence and action surrounds and penetrates the whole existence of His chosen ones. The Lord like an eagle hovers over, spreading His wings, taking them up, bearing them aloft on His wings. This shows that the Lord is the center and periphery of their lives, that they should learn to entrust themselves to the Divine Eagle.

In the parable of St. Thérèse she speaks of herself as a weak little bird. It flaps its wings but cannot fly. It is powerless to do so, but it has an eagle’s eyes that keep its gaze fixed on the sun. In the terminology of the saint, the eyes of the small bird are her faith, and the sun is the mystery of the Trinity. She gives a number of names to this mystery: “Divine Furnace,” “Sun of Love,” “Star of Love,” “Consuming Fire,” “Invisible Light.” She calls the trials of her faith at this time clouds that obstruct her vision, but make her cry out, “I know that behind the clouds my sun is still shining.” Finally, the eyes of her faith see something at the center of this burning sun, an eagle, Jesus Christ himself, whom she calls her adored eagle. It was her prayer that he comes to take her to Himself on an eagle’s wings and plunge her for all eternity into the burning furnace of the Trinity.