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Showing posts from June, 2020

God, the jealous lover?

Today's gospel reading (Matthew 10:37-42) starts with one of those really challenging passages that priests and deacons must dread having to preach on. Actually, Matthew's version is not nearly as tough as the parallel in Luke, who requires us to go so far as to  hate  father and mother, spouse and children, brother and sister, and even our own life, if we want to be counted as true disciples. Matthew just says we mustn't  prefer  them to Him.  Still ... where is Jesus coming from with this? It's pretty strong stuff.  Earliest monastic tradition certainly took it seriously. Monks and nuns were meant to renounce their family relationships along with their property and position. Why, what's the point? I mean, I (with the agreement of my spiritual director) explicitly refuse to do that, as a hermit, among other reasons because family relationships go both ways. I can't deprive myself of my family without depriving my family of me, and I don't feel that I have t

Incarnation

Today is the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi -- the Body of Christ. I was lucky enough to be able to go to Mass. This feast celebrates the doctrine of transubstantiation, which is that the bread and wine at Mass actually become, literally, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, with only the external appearance of bread and wine remaining. It looks like bread and wine, and it tastes like bread and wine (actually, the bread doesn't taste like anything much), the wine smells like wine, but on a mystical level, in its inmost reality, it IS God incarnate. I can't really come up with a metaphor for this ... the closest that occurs to me is what happens sometimes in a dream, when someone looks and talks and acts like your Aunt Mabel, but you know , somehow, that it's really your late husband. You know?  Anyway, I wanted to riff on something from my last blog post a few days ago, and I'm going to keep this quick and try to post it before Compline tonight. I said some

At Home in the World

There's a gospel hymn that says "this world is not my home," and indeed it's a familiar theme. We're pilgrims in this world, just passing through, with our eyes and our hearts on Heaven. But I want to turn that around, and say that unless we make our home in this world, we can't reach the eternal home later on. I don't mean to contradict that other sentiment, just to point out what it really means and where it falls apart if misinterpreted or taken too far. So what does it mean, properly, to say that "this world is not my home?" I think it means that we shouldn't get too hung up on worldly prosperity, security, or status. We should be willing to sacrifice everything for our conscience's sake, confident that there are consequences beyond what we can see in front of us. But where it can fall apart is in a tendency to spiritual   selfishness. We want to climb the mountain and then stay there. We want to live the ideal holy life, and we wan