Saturday, November 7, 2009

Categorical impossibilities.

Have you ever had one of those conversations when, having been accused of thinking something so ridiculously opposite to what you have been thinking, you simply have nothing to say in your defense? It happened to me today.

The particular outcome, however, was not in the end rage or frustration (although I worked through those in turn). In this case, it is gratitude and joy.

You see, the accusation was that the Church and, praise God, by extension I was being judgmental. I was "putting people at the back of the bus," making the call about who was "inadequte or adequate, worth or unworthy, good or bad." The situation was intensely personal, rife with emotions and long-held wounds spilling over.

And as I listened to the accusation, all I could think was, "Whaaaa?" It was tempting--the Temptor was very present today--to take it all personally and lash back. Suddenly, however, a light seemed to break into my heart and mind: There was no need to explain myself. The answer and the healing wasn't in me at all. The answer happened long ago and far away.
Here's what I mean: It struck me that these categories--inadequate and adequate, worthy, unworthy, judgmental, nonjudgmental, etc...--simply have no place at all in our hearts anymore. The message of the Cross is that we are all unworthy, inadequate, and fallen. And we are all redeemed and invited into the resurrection. I don't have to make that call--I indeed cannot make that call ever again.

And so my only response was, "No. You are mistaken. You see, in Jesus I believe that these categories you've constructed---they are no more. They do not exist for me, or for the Church. There is only God's judgment, when truth and mercy shall meet, justice and peace shall kiss."

When you think about it, that is only a cause for joy. To look those labels in the face, to ask the question, "Who is worthy?" and to answer, "We are not worthy. But we are loved." Let us live in the light of love.

Then all the "rules" and laws that seem to pass judgment on us and show us our failures (when have I ever kept the Law?) become avenues, not of His censure, but of His grace. Because I am fallen, because I am inadequate, He is all and everything in me. As Psalm 119 cries, "The law of the Lord is my delight," even when it seems hard. It is never hard, for He is full of mercy.

Another Easter alleluia.


*NB: When I speak of the Church, I refer, of course, to her divine nature--not forgetting that she is made, too, of sinners as grossly offensive as I.*

5 comments:

Anne said...

Excellent point! We are all loved and that is all that matters! Thank you for this fabulous post!

Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

Beautiful! I love that, and I have been thinking about the same kind of ideas lately. Well put- "We are not worthy, but we are loved." It's like a Fr. Barron video, about the "God who doesn't need us."

Dawn Farias said...

Yes, I've had this same conversation and come to the same conclusions. Not as eloquently, however...

(Got here from Conversion Diary. Thank you for such a lovely blog.)

monica_divineoffice.org said...

Hi, Jennifer from conversiondiary.com sent me to you. I see she was right, your posts are a source of inspiration. I will be back :)

Liturgy of the Hours

Amy said...

So true! What a wonderful response.