Sunday, April 7, 2013

Just and Kind, the Clouds and the Seas

Father Petrus' homily on Easter Sunday made the point that every act of kindness is a kind of Mass. I agree, and suggest that kind thoughts qualify as prayer. Certainly, we can be grateful for what we have not ruined, today. This seems to be a focus of current progressive ethics, and it is a good and just focus.

I have it in mind not to over-concern myself with how I am perceived by others. How I behave. My faith. How I write. How I publish/do not publish poems. As an exercise, I try and imagine how I might appear to others in light of how I tend to perceive others. Most days, I feel perfectly inadequate. I do not perceive others this way though; would I perceive myself this way, as inadequate, if I were someone else? I should allow myself to admit that I would not. I would see a man who is busily engaged at making the most of his life. Imperfect, to be sure, but fully engaged, yes.

I had the summary revelation that I cannot forgive myself anything, that only God can forgive, and so I have been making use of him that way. I have taken to this prayer: "God, forgive me; Holy Spirit, strengthen me; Lord Jesus Christ, do with me what you will." I can feel the effect in handing over what was never under my control to begin with, so the pleasure in in being somewhat less a fool. I wonder what other obnoxious habits I can dispense with?

Other thoughts. I am less anxious than ever about the Catholic Church in the world, even as I am alert and aware concerning crimes and travesties. Why is this? Perhaps my study, then knowledge of God as all-encompassing has matured somewhat into an understanding, such that it indeed encompasses all other understandings. This is the sort of thing one reads about, and It may be true. There are various factors, of that I am sure. Lent was difficult and strange. But I am not as personally, egotistically concerned by my failings, or others', as potential or perceived.

Where there is crime, I ask for and expect justice, including punishment, including mercy once punishment has been levied. I see no conflict between belief and disgust as each has its own place. Evil cannot inform good. Or, if God is for us (and in us and in each other) who (including ourselves) can be against us (or each other)? We practice to be good and can and should expect to pay for what is not good. We must not be silent on that point.

One year baptized and confirmed, a Catholic, I continue to be constantly surprised, delighted, and refreshed by my faith and its practices. Nothing amazes me as much as this sustained state of surprise. It is not something one could reasonably expect, is it? The Lord is kind, very kind to me, and often in startling, unexpected fashion. I am kept awake, alive. There is nothing routine about all this, except a healthy persistence in sensible practices.

And, I am never quite entirely alone, when I care to consider myself.