This is an entry in the “Acrostic Contemplations.”
con•stan•cy – “the quality of being faithful and dependable.”
“Constancy” is a word that I learned from and only ever hear in the Eucharistic prayer. As we offer to God the gifts of bread and wine that we have brought forward and placed upon the altar, we ask God to sanctify them to be the “Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him.” Then we ask God to bless and set us aside for holy use a well. “Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.”
That we may serve God in “unity, constancy, and peace.” Together, faithfully and dependably, and in peace. It is an old and an old-fashioned word but still intelligible; it has “constant” right inside it and I think most will understand the meaning right away. We are to be faithful and dependable in our service to God.
It is telling that when I do an internet search for the word “constancy” the entire first page is simply entries for its definition. There are no essays, news stories, or examples of it being used in current, everyday contexts. And yet, we are called to constancy in so much of our lives, even if we are not conscious of it. And if we are not conscious of it, perhaps we should be.
Although the word is not used, constancy is in our marriage vows, “Will you have this person to be your partner; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love, comfort, honor and keep them, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to them as long as you both shall live? I will.” It is in our commitment to those being baptized, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ? We will.” It should be understood in becoming a parent, a bringing into this world life even as we commit our very lives to that new life.
It does not require perfection, this notion of constancy. We are to be faithful and dependable, not without error or flaw. Indeed, that sort of constant showing up means that there will undoubtedly be moments and days when we are not at our best, but we will be faithful, we will be there, be present.
What would it mean if we developed this character of conscious constancy?