Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Wandering Point

I don't know if you have noticed that life is complicated. I bet you have, but I can't know that. And, I do not employ the word "complicated" as a euphemism for "difficult." I mean, complicated. And being Catholic has not simplified matters.

Now, I use the term "simplified" simply by way of introducing a note of wonder at people who seem to have all the answers to life. I mean, they are so brimming with answers that they are compelled to share them. This is very generous, of course. And certainly the key issues of life - God, to name one - are more or less crystal clear to me. But the workings of life are not.

To return (in thought) to those who have all the answers, I certainly feel less in control of my life - I feel that - even while my life is about ten times more clear to me, more directed, purposeful, etc. then it ever was before I entered the Church. Does that seem paradoxical to you? It does to me, the only explanation being that as I have ceded ultimate control of my life, I have obtained greater responsibility. I don't know if that clears up the confusion, but I don't really care.

See, that's the problem, right there. I don't care - to explain everything (even myself to myself). I care to please the Lord. That's pretty much it, folks. I do other things, but I don't care too much about them. But not caring "too much" does not simplify life. It only makes it more open and interesting. I see more of what is around me - especially what other people are up to - since having lost interest in every little thing I do. Or worrying about it.

Worrying is, I think, a kind of prayer for understanding from God. Worry is active concern. It is care under pressure. Prayer is also a compressed form of care. Though, prayers goes out. Worry stays in. As such, worry is a kind of signal for one to pray, perhaps.

It is good to pray when one is worried, and when one is not worried.

I am not sure I have said anything very helpful here, but I am not trying to help. I am trying to describe something, because I am a writer, because God made me so. So, I am tasked with writing and writing well.

This brings me to the point of this article, which is that while writers are tasked with putting explanations to their understanding, and thereby perhaps reducing worry, I find that I do none of this. I explain almost nothing, and life is more interesting to me for that, perhaps. Or, life is complicated because I see more of it now, and what I see merits action, not mere description. Yes, something like that. I like words that are, in themselves, a kind of event, or that are applicable to action. So, I like to write poetry - and read books about football.

Well, I can see that this is leading nowhere very clear. I warned you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Right is not Enough

Mission does not end. However you might understand the Lord, your mission does not end.

Christianity - that is, being Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ - is not realized or finished in understanding. It is not settled with a point of view, or an opinion. God's way is not our way. It is not a matter of thought. It is a matter of being.

As God is being, and his word is the Lord, our life is matter of coming into being. Our mission - one's individual, personal mission - is just as much a thing in flux. Alive, changing, and subject to the conditions of life.

This understanding is, again, not a matter of mere thought. Anyone who has experienced a year or more of liturgy cannot fail to be aware of the changing constancy of message. One might put this to individual conditions, but the pace outraces understanding or projection. Go to Mass once a week, add into that regular prayer, such as the Rosary, and the fluid, dynamic nature of a life in Christ is more striking.

I have, in the past few weeks, experienced more progression or change in Mission than I can recall having experienced in any other phase of life. These are continental shifts, moving from prayer to service in new ways.

I am, right now, focused on how to address the needs of the homeless, the despairing, who frequent our city streets. My concern is not unique, but the sense of mission is fresh to me. The character of feeling compelled to go out, alone, and attend to people one-on-one is new. I have a steady volunteer situation at Union Gospel Mission - but this, this is urgent. I need to get out. I need to talk to people one-on-one. I am not sure how to do. I feel like I have been charged to do this, and it is a challenge.

Thinking is not doing, and neither is feeling. It is clear to me that the Lord wants more from us than mere right opinions. There is more to do than simply to be right.