Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Violence or Renunciation?

So, today's homily made me think of a debate I've held in my mind in days past. Father (sorry, I don't know his name) mentioned Jim Elliot's famous statement "He is no fool if he would choose to give what he cannot keep to find what he can never lose". And he talked about the call to give up everything for Jesus.

Give up everything for Jesus.

I used to hear this and wonder about my own natural tendency to do violence to myself. At the last School of Community session I was at, I shared my experience of putting all my Monkees albums in a dumpster because of being persuaded that to follow Jesus I had to give up everything "of the world". The Monkees were part and parcel of my psyche growing up. It was like renouncing ones family might feel in some cultures; ripping one's own soul out.

And now I remember something in yesterday's homily, mentioned in conjunction with the wheat and the tares -- how the farmer said to leave them growing together lest you destroy the good with the bad. In the end they would be separated out and judged for what they are.

So Jesus definitely does not seem to advocate doing violence to one's own soul, ripping it apart. What then are we to renounce? No, let's say what am I, right now, called to renounce? Sin, yes, always. Renounce the idea that things bring happiness. Things are not bad, but they are penultimate. Too many things, or the desire for many things, actually bring sadness. But if things help us serve God, truly, that is a good thing. But something that requires discernment.

Perhaps the answer is to follow God's call at any moment, to not be overly attached to things, but not to fear loving creations, either. To know that God has created so that we might enjoy.

2 comments:

Donna said...

oh.my.gosh...we could not be more on the same wave length than if we were the same person...

I was JUST thinking about this today in my morning prayers! Maybe it is because I am packing up my house to move and I didn't think I really had a whole lot - yet packing up has given me some new perspective...

I even asked Jesus at what point does it cross over into "I have enough" to "I have too much". We are called to the vocation of motherhood/family - which just naturally brings alot of "stuff" with it - unlike a Priest or Religious.

Hmmmm...

...are we soul-sisters or something? lol!

Marie said...

Hi again Donna,

Moving has got to be one of those soul-uprooting experiences, and a sifting both literally and figuratively.

There have been a small handful of times when instead of listening to my heart I took the advice of others about what I needed to "drag through life with me" and not. Of course, I TO THIS DAY regret going against what my heart told me... It really is a grace to need to make those kinds of evaluations now and then.