Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Christian Romantic

I realized that at every one of my pleadings to our Lord that a simple submission is best summed into the words "I accept"... this is not a victory march. No, it's a long, tiresome journey home. It is through our little sufferings that He does His most work, not through the pompous processions. We weren't redeemed by a victory march; we were redeemed by a long, burdensome trek to Calvary. That is how much He loved us. Let us return the favor, as little we can.

And that is where I am with my journey and this blog. For me, it has morphed into something more than just a place to put my musings. It is something to let whatever has been given to me to fall as it may as He deigns it to touch those it needs to touch as He, not I, may wish. And this is where the former of the new title comes from, the credo.

And so the title is together Credo et Accipio—"I Believe and I Accept." This is my rallying point and cry forward, into the the darkness that abounds.

Some days all that can be mustered in this persistent fog of the Shadowlands are the words "I believe..." but even this is enough for Him, for they are not simple idle words. They are words worked out in fear and trembling before Him who is the Giver of all Gifts.

These times can be described as one of constant rain and dreariness, but something keeps the home fires burning that can't be described, something of love, of peace, of nearness of spirit. If grace cannot be described as this, no other sentiment has its worth. It may be raining outside and dreary, but something keeps the home fires burning. It's a grace-filled longing surrounded by joy.

As I have heard elsewhere, we must focus not on the darkness in the people we meet or the darkness in ourselves. Rather, we are to look to the Light that is within, buried as it were, ready to be taken out from the tomb, from beneath the bushel basket. It needs to be seen; see it.

At every step there is temptation. And all of us have fallen. But we must remember to get back up, get ourselves dusted off and remain on the road to Calvary. Pick up our mat, our cross, and walk. It's a long journey. We will carry on.

This is the heart of the Christian who is ultimately also a romantic in the end because the end is Love. He binds us to His Word and carries us from the desert into the Promised Land of our fathers, one of eternal life with Him. How can this faith not be seen as romantic! Truly, truly it is one of love.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:18-19

And yet, we confuse not only love in the present day but so also fear, the reverential fear of the greatness of Him and smallness of us. We have lost both in society and in culture. We rename what was once love as too much and focus inward, not outward. We take, but we do not give. How can we fight the impostors of both love and fear? Through prayer, through right example, through love as He loved us. This is the cooperation we are called to with His mission, and with it we become imperfect instruments of love.

We are given this perfect love to share, but this gift doesn't make it easy for us to share it. He is the perfect example and thus the one to emulate. Christ is the mediator... but then where are we? Where do we let our doubts enter in? How do we let them in? By entertaining them. Perhaps we should take the words of St. Pio of Pietrelcina to heart:
"Stop entertaining those vain fears. Remember it is not feeling which constitutes guilt but the consent to such feelings. Only the free will is capable of good or evil. But when the will sighs under the trial of the tempter and does not will what is presented to it, there is not only no fault but there is virtue."

There is no escaping doubt. Jesus had it in Gethsemane. John and the Virgin Mary at the Cross. The Apostles who scattered. The Church yesterday. The Church today. The one thing that keeps everyone going is the Church of Tomorrow. Faith fills the void that doubt leaves in its shadows and, with it, brings Light.

Let us bring Light to those in darkness.

But then how?

"When our hands have touched spices, they give fragrance to all they handle. Let us make our prayers pass through the hands of the Blessed Virgin. She will make them fragrant." - St. John Vianney

We do it through the support of one another, through the communion He has given us with Him, His mother, and His angels and His saints. The key in understanding it all is that we are not alone. That through the Blessed Virgin Mary we understand our role from the first disciple in her fiat to the Lord's plans, even though "she was greatly troubled" at first. Her words "be it done unto me according to thy word" become ours, and in them we are bound even closer to Christ.

God is the giver of all gifts. The problem isn't with the number of them; it's the recognition of them. The greatest gifts are often the smallest, not because they are grandest, but rather because they hold the greatest potential for flourishing. The giftedness from God has nothing to do with quantity; it has everything to do with perspective. It's in this that God shows us His infinite mercy and His infinite love.

Even so, there isn't enough joy to fill the current sorrow, and there will never be enough joy to erase the sorrow of the past. We must fully understand the reason for pain if we are to ever know fully of the joy to be given to us. We must love without strings attached.

Speak to the Truth in your presence. Leave no heart in the cold. Give warmth and, in turn, that warmth will be returned. Above all, don't leave your talents buried. Don't be a foolish servant. He gives them to you to be used, to serve others and serve Him. That is the heart of a Christian Romantic.

"For it is good to hide the secret of a king: but honourable to reveal and confess the works of God." - Tobias 12:7

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