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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Words, Words, Words

Blogging from a phone. This is an exciting experience, one with which I am unfamiliar. I wonder how this is going to go, since it is hard to think and talk, while editing whatever mistakes this thing will make.

Forgive me for any transcription errors, although I have now switched to composing by hand, because Siri turns off the Hall and Oates. Not cool, Siri. Not cool at all.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Certain Of What We Do Not See

I do not sense that the way of the gospel is the better way, but I know it. I will never tell you that I enjoy this road more than the other. If I told you that the harder path is more pleasing, I'd be lying.

The problem is that people have been told they will be happier if they take the harder road. It depends on what you mean. Ultimately happier? Of course. Happier the way people tend to think? No. We've all been doing an evangelistic bait-and-switch, and then we wonder why people think we are fake.

The narrow way is brutal, long, steep, and lonely. But the only one who can fill that gnawing existential loneliness in our souls has also taken the narrow way. In fact, He is the Way.

It has always seemed like something is wrong with the world. Something wrong with us. We can either pretend it isn't there, or take the red pill, as it were.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Guy Walks Into A Bar

I don't know why the car honked; I had the right of way. The dude yelled at the driver, and asked me to have a drink. Sure, I said.

If I'm being completely honest, I think I talked about myself too much. He didn't seem to mind. And I never met a Parisian with no trace of a French accent. I want to ask him about this.

I had a good time. I also thought after some reflection that God had a purpose in this meeting, that I should pray for my new friends, this man and wife. Most people don't know what they want, and what they think they want is not what they really want. We have loads of crap underneath what we show to the world, or even what we show to ourselves.

The other interesting thing is that people think religion involves the suppression of desires. On the contrary; true religion trades surface desires in for deeper and better ones. Let's not be afraid to dream, to tell God the deepest things in our hearts. If they are true, nothing will hold them back, in the end.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I Must Be Powerful

A priest said to me and some assembled friends last night that St. Josemaria Escriva was tempted with the basest, most vile things as he advanced in the spiritual life. I'm in good company, I thought. I truly don't know what is around the corner, but I am fully aware of the difference between the suggestion of evil, and being conflicted in the will.

That's not to say I can afford to be complacent, but it is to say that grace offers a clarity, a purity of desire, that the pursuit of virtue in the absence of grace cannot offer, however noble.

I was reflecting after receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation last night. If the revelation of Jesus Christ represents reality, then most of the world and most of the people in it wander in darkness. I was sad at this, almost inconsolably, and then a great affection for the Holy Father took over my heart. Certainly, he loves the children of God, but he intensely loves the wandering, and the lost. If we pray for him, and we lift his intentions to God, then we love the lost and wandering also.

It's almost as if nothing will be left, except the Sacrifice of the Mass. In the darkest times, not even this. Lord, help us to see your coming Day with simplicity and clarity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nothing Is What It Seems

I've been reading The End Of The Present World, And The Mysteries Of The Future Life, by Fr. Arminjon. It's not for the faint of heart, or maybe it is, if you know what I mean. I suppose the theme of my life lately is that things which seem important aren't, and things which seem small are the most significant.

I came back from Mass thinking, "I'm going to eat that Campbell's vegetable beef soup to the glory of God!" I had the same thought when I turned my key to unlock the door, and on and on. I suppose it could be a bit dramatic, but truly, when is the last time you ate a Skittle thinking of God's glory? What if that moment defines your destiny?

I'm not surprised, anyway, that this is the book beloved by St. Therese, and that she was the one to remind us to do little things with great love. There isn't anything else. The way this world appears lies to us, saying, "Life will go on, much as it has. You have time. Even if you don't, to have existed is triumph enough." Not so. Don't waste your life. Seek God while he may be found.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Scars

We're all carrying the scars, the battle wounds from this life as a disciple of Jesus. Whether they are self-inflicted or not, they don't heal over in a day. Some, not even in a lifetime. Even if words of forgiveness have been spoken, even if we're actively seeking to be a blessing through prayer or otherwise, that which caused the pain can still come to our minds. I can taste the bitterness. I can imagine the opportunities to settle the score, to voice my hurt. And I know that is the old man that has been crucified with Christ trying to reassert himself.

Yet you and I don't have to surrender. Just because I feel a certain way at a certain time does not mean that my firm resolution to love is false. It means that I must overcome my feelings to continue doing what grace has prompted me to do.

One other thing: I think I better understand what it means to forgive in Christ. We can forgive unilaterally in a certain way, not allowing the sins of others to define our participation in the love of Christ. But saying this could make it seem like we deny the wrongs done, or the gravity of them. On the contrary; we unilaterally forgive precisely because sin has eternal consequences. I choose to be an agent in your redemption, unnamed person who wronged me, because the true consequences of what you've done are much graver than my wounds. Indeed, if no one interceded, that person would be alone and in straits more dire than any wounds I could inflict.

In this case, the wounds are fresh, and they are ongoing. But it is the ever-present reality of judgment that persuades me that what I am owed pales in comparison to what God is owed! I will not leave a person I love without an advocate, no matter what has been done or said to me.