Well, here it is Monday, and I feel like I have nothing to muse about! I spent most of the weekend working on writing projects. Yesterday I posted some thoughts about the Eucharist, so if you haven’t read that, have a look.
I guess if I have to say something, I would say this today… There are so many sources of division around us. While we tend to focus on evil most typically in the form of sex and sexuality, I am not sure that I agree. Make no mistake – there are many sins of the body, but I am as worried about gluttony as I am sex. I am also as worried about the cult of the body made “perfect” through diet and exercise. I am worried about a culture in which the poor are obese and starved for nourishment and the rich pay exorbitant amounts of money for trainers, special foods and plastic surgery.
I worry about other things too… Back to division, we seem to all be cordoning ourselves off behind tall, impenetrable fences. Those who say that they belong to the right and to the left, those who claim orthodoxy and those who claim to be progressive. We have some who say that all the old ways were best and that we should go back to that, and others who say that no, the old ways need to be dispensed with, and we need to find a totally new way.
Hmmm, I guess that I *am* musing, after all.
As someone who often gets told that she is too far to the left or progressive, for the right or the orthodox, as someone who gets told that she is far too conservative by the more liberal, too far to the right, I have to stop and scratch my head.
For me it goes back to yesterday’s post and feast – Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ.
We are ONE body, made whole in ONE bread. When I self-define, I start with Catholic. Before I am an American, before I am a Republican or Democrat, before I am progressive or conservative, before I am anything, I am Catholic. All of our labels are ultimately divisive and not helpful if you ask me. Once somebody states their political affiliation or other designation, one of two things tend to happen… People want to sidle up next to them and be part of their cohort, or people want to flee. The labels make for easy pickings. Trust me – I know, I have done the picking many times (mea culpa!) myself. I still catch myself all the time.
In the end there are no divisions. We are Catholic, one body, one bread… One Lord, Jesus Christ.
Now I don’t think that I am all that smart, but I do believe this with every fiber of my being, we must focus on our catholicity, our being Catholic. Now that is easier said than done. It is not “my Catholic,” nor “your Catholic.” We are one, the very word, as we know, means universal.
So I guess that I feel very frustrated and I worry when I look at the state of the country, the world and certainly the church.
I wish that I could be more upbeat, but this is on my mind – how could it not be in the midst of a Eucharistic church?
And I am ever reminded of something from Anne Lamott, that seems to strike at the heart of what’s wrong with the gang-up mentality of sub-division. She was writing about writing in her book, Bird by Bird when , in a moment of reflection and self-criticism, she quoted her friend Tom, a priest: (emphasis mine)
“I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)”
We are all created in God’s image, we are all called to be One. This is not something nice to do, it is the Gospel imperative. Don’t look at me, I tend to stink at it, even though I am obsessed with the thought and write about it all the time.
I guess the image that comes to mind is that of a rope. It seems that we are often in a giant tug of war, each pulling on our end of the rope. If everyone on one side of the rope let go, so that they might join the other side, what would happen to the rope? It would go slack.
A certain amount of pulling is necessary to live in the tension, but is the rope fraying? I do not know and if it breaks, we are all to blame. And never, ever forget, Jesus’ arms are opened wide. Are we pulling on the rope or on the Lord?
Well that sure is a lot from someone who felt like they had nothing to say!
What do you think? And is it possible to comment on this without pointing the finger of blame to “the other guys?”