Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wrestling Out What I Want

Pope Francis strikes again.

Our deacon asked a simple question in his homily today. Basically it was "what do you want from the Lord?" and the challenge to bring that to Him as we received the Eucharist. I was not feeling that great this morning for various physical and non-physical reasons, and so it took me more than an instant to have all my thoughts tumble toward that very basic question.

And long after Mass ended and I was home, I remained pondering that question, trying to make my answer presentable to the Lord. Then I thought, heck, since when have I gone back to trying to package my heart to make it look presentable to the Lord? After all, it really isn't Him I'm trying to tidy up for, it's me. I'm the one who generally can't handle the raw state of my heart. The Lord knows it already, before I assemble any packaging.

But I've also learned that what I blurt out to the Lord in prayer as the raw state of my heart is sometimes not nearly as awful as I first feel it is. If you're not a vegetarian at least, a raw lump of meat might look unappetizing, while a nicely cooked steak might be very enticing. Same thing, only different level of preparation.

So as I lay there, trying to will my head to stop hurting, my phone alerted me to some incoming message, and I read this quote from Pope Francis: "Jesus wants to establish a relationship with his friends that is a reflection of His relationship with the Father, a relationship of mutual belonging in full trust, in intimate communion."

And I thought, well, isn't that nifty. Just take out the word "Jesus" (and His) and replace it with "Marie," and there you have it. That's exactly what I wanted to say to the Lord this morning in communion.

Have I mentioned I'm not having the greatest of days? I should create named-categories for not-great days, because this one certainly isn't a terrible not-great day. It's more like a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. And for that I am grateful.

Tomorrow I have a meeting which will hopefully have a significant impact on the evangelization of my town. It's a convergence point for several spiritual developments that have been happening in and through not only my life, but the lives of several others. Many people's prayers are accompanying me into that meeting. Just before the last meeting like this, something that doesn't seem directly connected (but, duh, it's all God-stuff) blew up at me and I immediately wanted to respond, "oh, forget all this evangelization stuff." The thing that blew up actually served to help the cause along. It was an obvious temptation.

And what I'm muddling through today seems an obvious sort of down-pulling too.

See, I couldn't help but think that I can't ask the Lord for anything any more, at least not for me, because I only seem to want impossible things. Just give up. Stop praying. Listen to people who tell me it is all hopeless. Focus on all the sin, the problems, the never-ending weakness/mistake/imperfection muck that we all live in and around. Seems the only thing I could think of that would make me happy is being in heaven. Even that, in my head, I know is a prideful cop-out. 

Was just having one of those oh crap, I'm so sick of it all waves.

And then I read this thing the Pope said today. Probably is homily in tweet form again, like last week. "Jesus wants to establish a relationship with his friends that is a reflection of His relationship with the Father, a relationship of mutual belonging in full trust, in intimate communion."

That really is what I want, too. I want relationships with people that reflect the Trinity. I know it is possible for mere humans. It only takes dying to oneself, and living through Christ. That's all. 

What other real fruit is there of evangelization? Because we are human beings, holy relationships mean that we all have to help each other. We are allowed imperfections, but we are not allowed to wallow in them. I want to be able to turn to someone and be corrected by them, with the same love that I correct them. I am allowed to bemoan my own weakness and cry out to God for help. We need to acknowledge to ourselves and to each other our need for God. If we can't do that, we stay fake and useless and prideful. But we also absolutely need to stop pretending that God hasn't bestowed His life and His gifts on us for the good of other people, even if we feel like crud. Believe what God says, not what you feel. It is crucial to me that you believe and bear witness to Christ. It is crucial to you that I believe and bear witness to Christ. Belonging to each other isn't some emotional luxury, some warm-n'-fuzzy. It is how we survive life. It is how they will know we are Christians. It is the only proof of God to the world that there is. God designed it that way. What a horrendous work of Satan when people run from opening their hearts in any meaningful way to the Lord, to their fellow Christians. Because if you think you are open to the Lord when you are closed to other people, I mean like unable to open yourself, you are living in delusion. 

So open wide the doors to Christ. May it be so in my life, in my parish, in my town, and despite the opposition.

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