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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Swept Away

The readings for this Sunday speak of repentance and new beginnings, of God's yes to our plea of "Lord have pity on me; heal me though I have sinned against you." (Responsorial from Psalm 41). It is a good place to begin as we look to Ash Wednesday and our Lenten journey this year.  I have written about Isaiah 43 before because it is one of my favorite readings in Isaiah.  But, as we all know, the way of repentance and redemption is not easy.  It is a continual baptism into a death to sin and a rising in the Spirit.

True repentance and true redemption can only begin in those terrible moments when we get an honest glimpse of our own depravity, and when we begin to understand how we cling to it, how we hide in it.  I love the Leonard Cohen song:  By The Rivers Dark and I listen to it a lot during Lent.  It perfectly captures the foreboding sense that one is being hunted,  and the fear of being found, even though you know you are hopelessly lost.

I remember once attending a talk by Deacon James Keating of the Institute for Priestly Formation on sin and redemption, the theme being "Suffer the coming of Christ.". He began speaking on the Scriptural events of the Fall, and he spoke of God's message to Adam and Eve.  With the deep menacing tone the Deacon paraphrased God's Protoevangelium in Genesis 3:15 into:   "I am coming to get you."  My first thought was, does he realize how scary that sounds?  Surely he does not mean it to be so frightening!  What happened to Jesus Loves Me?  I quickly realized that Deacon Keating intended the message to sound this way, and the shock of it quickly moved me past some highly sentimentalized notions of my Savior, a long overdue grace. His coming is a terror because, if I am to authentically receive Him, I must let go of my lifeline to things that are passing and let Him sweep me away.

And I am afraid of being swept away, of being consumed in religious zeal, and making some rash commitment that will be difficult to keep in another frame of mind.  Of confronting a sinful tendency that tenaciously rooted and will not be dealt with easily. I find it better to not try than to try and fail, or even better to plead ignorance!  I want to be cool, I want to be accepted, I don't want to be fanatical or foolish. I want to be loved by all, admired by all, in control and comfortable ectetera, blah, blah blah....... 

And I am afraid of being swept away, of being consumed in religious zeal and making some rash commitment that will be difficult to keep in another frame of mind, like confronting a sinful tendency that is tenaciously rooted and will not be dealt without sacrifice.  I find it better to plead ignorance, than to try and fail.  I want to be cool, I want to be accepted, I don't want to be fanatical, I want to be loved by all, admired by all, in control, ectetera. blah, blah, blah....If I let go of these desires, if I see that they fuel sinfulness, I will have to allow God to do what He will with me.

  I have come to realize that after the first hurdle of growing in the Christian faith -which for me was the moment when I was confronted with belief in Jesus, God Incarnate who was bodily resurrected from the dead- the next hurdle is to let the passionate love of Him completely enrapture you.  To envelope you and scour you of false attachments and hidden shame.   To understand that I am not my own and that if I yield and allow Him to sweep me away, I will have no control over where He will take me.  I am not there yet, I still hide from Him, but He is still pursuing me, and those footsteps are getting closer.  My will is getting weaker, because more and more I am seeing Hid beauty in contrast to the desert of my soul.  This Lent I hope to confront what I am clinging to and hiding behind, and plea for the Lord to have pity on me.

Behold, I am doing a new thing, can you not perceive it?

Peace and Grace,

1 comment:

  1. Heidi, your comments today really moved me. I, too, tend to hide. Not because I want to be cool or admired, but because I need to be in control. I am a big time Type A personality. I have been told that I would like to manage the entire world; I just can't figure out where I would stand while I was doing it. As my faith begins to grow stronger, I am finally moving toward believing in God and in His control even when it is hard to believe. I want to know how everything will work out. Slowly, I am realizing that He is coming for me as well. I am so unworthy, but He is still coming, closer, closer, closer. Thank you for sharing.



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