Friday, January 24, 2014

Last Page from Working Pocket (first OpenCatholic book)

As you said we should, we shall

As you did, we do

Our failures are our own. Know this.

Remember us. Call us by name.

If you would know my name

I would not have to know, or hear my name on your lips

I do not need a trophy

I am here

I hold you in my heart, my brother

My brother

Monday, January 20, 2014

Love in Time

I age and am less capable of physical acts. I am less capable mentally. I age, and am lessened.

I am lessened, in various capacities. And I understand.

I am less, in certain ways, than I was. Perhaps I am more in others. I couldn't say, as that is not the lesson of aging.

I age, and am open.

I am more open, as I am less of what I was, and more of what I am having become less.

The less there is of me, the more there is of the Lord.

Time is not the enemy.

I am the enemy.

What I am that might refuse to be less is the enemy of what I might be that is the Lord's.

I tire, I do not recover easily. I cannot rally, or simply decide to be other than tired, weak. I have will, but am handcuffed by simple incapacity.

This is beauty.

This is the tree that bears less fruit, the river that dwindles, year by year. Less, less.

I will fall.

I will fall.

I will make way for love.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pity Time

There is no pacing here. There is time failing to consider the objects of its failure. Time, failing to opt. Time gadding about, flicking its necktie at the ankles of nubile passers-by.

I don't think much of time. Not much, and not much about it. Not before I joined the Catholic church and not since. I do not care for (or think about) subjects where the thinking will do no one any good. I mean, billions have died in Christ. What have I to say or do about time? Billions more may die, I among them.

This is time, that does not even occur so much as attend to the occurrences of others. Time cannot claim even the potential of a bridesmaid, as time will never amount to anything.

We all know this. And so, we pity time.

We hold the hand of time. We pay attention to time as one respects traffic, tides, one's hunger, bills, etc. I do not disrespect time, but I can accord it only the attention it deserves. I do not marvel at time, which is without personhood, or agency. Many there are who fear time, I know, or who count it, obsessively.

I wonder why?

I wonder, when one of the central tenets of Christianity (and a contested one, to be sure) revolves around time. This is the end of the world, referred to here and there in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, particularly in Revelations. It's funny to me, when the message of the Lord comes through so loud and clear.

He is coming.

We will not know when.

So, be alert for his coming.

So much for the grandiose authority of time. The authority that people grant time, through fear of it, that time simply does not merit.

I have written elsewhere that one of my favorite parts of the Nicene Creed is the conclusion, where we aver that we "look forward to the resurrection, and the life of the world to come." Which is to say, again, so much for time. Let the world end today - it's fine with me (and about 1.2 billion Catholics). Or, let it whirl away another 2 billion years. It's all the same to me. The end is the same, the end to which I am dedicated, and which has been promised. Eternal life.

And, what does that mean? Well, let's just say I "look forward" to finding out.



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Opinions and Persons - All in Time

You can say what you like about me. You might know me or you might not. Knowing me may or may not control your opinion of me. You can have an opinion, or not.

You can form an opinion, if you like. Opinions are a kind of tool, or instrument, by which we leverage an opinion of ourselves. That I believe in this or that policy, person, action, or principal is, after all, one way I control what I think about myself.

I would like to come face to face with an opinion that is not self-serving. Wouldn't that be wonderful? But such statements or positions are rare, and are usually expressed not as opinions - personal statements - but as creeds. That is, as beliefs.

As an example. I believe in economic equality. I see no reason that people should suffer for lack of life's necessities. I believe that all humanity composes a family, and that we are obligated to support each other, in an active love, such as was taught us by Jesus Christ. I believe this, but this is not an opinion. It is not personal. It is (A) nothing I can claim for my own, and (B) it is not something I live up to in my life. I (or my family) make some efforts, but other parts of my life appear to operate in conflict with this position.

So, I am an adult, you might say, and do the best I can. Or, you might say I do not do enough. It is all the same to me, what you think about me.

But, it should not be all the same to you, that you have an opinion.

Economies, politics. Life and art. Our positions, our passions. We traffic in the same materials but we refuse each other simple rights. The right to live, to make mistakes, to learn.

The right, in spite of everything, to love and be loved.

Returning to my ambition to meet with an opinion that is not self-serving, I realize I have neglected to acknowledge the most obvious instance of all. That of God, who loves us despite our terrific, ever-mind-blowing failings, such that regardless, we live under his promise of love, forgiveness, and eternal life.

In this light, I see opinions as prompts. Either to better accept others' failings, or to acknowledge our own.

So, say what you like about me. I will surely be judged in any case, and judged rightly by the Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ.