I put everything that interests me to use, one way or the other: martyrs, cults, women’s tennis, Scottish otter keepers, heroin-addicted jazz singers, cloistered nuns, serial murderers.
“Ora et labora,” as the monks say: prayer and work. Thus, I do my own housework, happily (not that I’m great at it). I shouldn’t own more stuff or inhabit more space than I can comfortably keep clean and cared for. And for me, the filling of the birdfeeders, the replacing of the batteries in the string lights, the polishing, scrubbing, wiping down, re-arranging, neatening, are all part of some larger, beautiful purpose, of a gift that’s been given to me.
Anyway, then Jesus sees the disciples out on the sea toiling and without further ado, and no indication of how he got down from the mountain, “cometh unto them,” walking upon the sea. That’s weird enough, but what’s really weird is that “he would have passed by them.” WHY?
The whole of the Advent and Christmas season is for me liminal time. The Divine Office, with Morning, Evening and sometimes Daytime Prayer; emerging from daily vigil Mass in the dark and walking home down the light-festooned streets…
I think many stop short at the brokenness, fallenness and failure of the Church (and how could it be otherwise, as the Church is comprised of us?) to live out the Gospel message. But I don’t see how anyone could go to Christ–to his heart, his life, teachings, death; the parables with their inexhaustible levels of meaning, and fail to be electrified.
Sick members of the community are nursed and nourished; it’s as if trees, too, exist as part of a Mystical Body. So strong is the instinct toward collective health that a kind of equalizing principle is at work, whereby more robust trees work to strengthen the weak.
Here’s the obit for one Renay Mandel Corren who died December 15. It begins: “A plus-sized Jewish lady redneck died in El Paso on Saturday.” I hope I get such a full-bodied tribute when I keel over.
It’s as if the secular culture, with neither God nor theology, has come up on its own with a twisted notion of the Fall whereby half of humanity is by its nature violent, greedy, hateful and irredeemable; and the other half is by its nature sinless, pure, gentle and blameless, and therefore needs no redeeming.
“[Louis] Menand himself seems not much to admire any of them. Is he saying that, given an unlimited amount of freedom, this somewhat uninspiring group—the way he paints it, anyway—is the best that post-WWII Western civilization was been able to produce?”
“I think that the Church is the only thing that is going to make this horrible world we are coming to endurable; the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that somehow she is the body of Christ and that on this we are fed.”