Two Categories (January 23, 2012)

…Opening To…

It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence. (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

…Listening In…

Look at me! Answer me, LORD my God! Restore sight to my eyes! Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, “I won!” My foes will rejoice over my downfall. But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 13:3-5; context)

…Filling Up…

They say that every therapist should be in therapy. Likewise, every priest should participate in spiritual direction. Without trained professionals helping us priests notice God’s movement in our lives, one of two things happens. We either forget to rely on God, thus emptying ourselves of all nourishment even though a feast is perpetually spread before us. Or we decide we don’t need to rely on God, because we are doing just fine on our own (thank you very much!) and the same starvation results. We priests are a rather thick bunch, usually quite stubborn when faced with the Almighty, because the Creator-of-All-That-Is rarely seems to fit the predictions of our seminary studies.

When I was in seminary, my spiritual director, who is now my boss (funny how life works out sometimes!), diagnosed my particular case as a combination of failing to notice God’s presence and deciding I didn’t need God anyway. I’m glad I could offer her such a potent mixture of blindness and stupidity. Needless to say, our sessions were never boring. Over our two years together, she taught me many things, but one stands above the rest. You can basically separate the events of your life into two categories, she said. There are moments of consolation, and there are moments of desolation. Both will happen and ignoring one will make the other that much harder to define. This week, we are going to look at these two categories and see how we can follow Christ more closely if we keep stock of where we are on this spectrum.

There’s the good news of consolation and the bad news of desolation. We’ll start with the bad news first. But that will be tomorrow.

…Praying For…

Dear God, my life is a canvas upon which you are painting. Help me to live out every line, every shade, that I may live to the fullest the life you would have me live. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, and wherever I am – whether in the garden or the wasteland – I pray that you help me see your presence in my life.

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