Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Sin of Superficiality and the Antidote of Love

I don't usually blog about other people's blogs, but today I will.

A Facebook friend posted this from Ten Thousand Places called The Essence of What God Wants. The author is a priest apparently affiliated with Madonna House, which was founded by Catherine Doherty.

What strikes me about the post is two-fold.

First, he talks about the sin of superficiality among Catholics. Everyone wants some label. Conservative, liberal, Traditionalist, charismatic, communal. I used to really love labels for all sorts of aspects of my life, and I think it was because I was new to sorting through a lot of things like being a Catholic (once I came home from Japan, settled in, and got finished being a grad student and therefore too busy to do anything other than study), being a wife, and being a mom. I wanted a label to define everything I believed, everything I practiced, and that showed me with whom I fit.

After a while I realized I change and I didn't always fit and I didn't stay sure about all of my theories forever. But when it comes to the Catholic Church, "Catholic" is enough for me. I don't want to hear political terms connected to my faith at all. I believe in Tradition, I exercise charisms, and I seek to live communally. But I am a Catholic. If that doesn't cover all that and more, we are in trouble. Superficiality as a sin is spot on. That's all a faith-label is.

The other thing that strikes me is the antidote to this superficiality, which he cites from Doherty's writings: it is to feel God's pain. We feel God's pain by falling in love. When we fall in love, something deep in the heart rips open. It's true. And suddenly we can realize the way God is not-loved by ourselves and by others, and we marvel at how God lets it persist, and the agony it must cause Him.

I wrote a song ("Deliberate") that I put on my CD that used this exact image of being taken, blessed, broken and given for the life of the world. This was a phrase that was impressed on my early in my journey as a Catholic, except at that time I knew I had only made progress through the first three stages. There is something about being given, like Jesus is, that teaches one how Jesus is also rejected. I'll admit that this process of being in the hand of God to be given as He wills is frightening. But as I just wrote the other day fear, when in the hand of God, is silly and useless. What is required is faith and courage.

Don't you think it takes a lot of courage to love?

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