JUST BECAUSE YOUR PATH IS ROCKY, DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE ON THE WRONG ROAD
Many years ago, I was sitting in my bathtub (that was before I became too old to sit anymore) thinking about Philippians 2:5, my only Lectio Divina reading, when I had a thought about all of this as being just too overwhelming. I had just made a petition to the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist) to join them, if they would allow. http://www.trappist.org/about/lay-cistercians. A voice came from my mind that said, “just because your road is rocky, doesn’t mean you are on the wrong road.” I never forgot that statement and have woven in several of my books.
Here are some thoughts in retrospect that have helped me on my rocky journey to Forever.
- Just because your marriage is rocky and full of detours doesn’t mean you should not be married to this person. Are you going to melt at the first sign of adversity?
- Just because the Church is experiencing trauma and behavior that is not consistent with its teaching does not mean you are in the wrong Church. Convert your self first, then you can complain that others don’t meet your high expectations. For goodness sake, the Church is composed of sinners like you and me. Christ’s words are true and to be believed.
- Just because you don’t believe in an all male clergy, doesn’t mean you should dump two thousand years of heritage won at the price of many people’s blood. Seek first the kingdom of heaven and all else will fall into place.
- Just because you read about several priests abusing children, doesn’t mean the whole Church is corrupt. St. Benedict, in Chapter 4 of the Rule, states that we should always acknowledge what is evil in us as our fault, but give glory to God for all the good in our life.
- Just because evil exists in the world is not reason for you to be oblivious to the struggle to overcome what is evil. When that happens, Satan has a new ally.
- Just because you have trouble focusing all your mind, all your heart and all your strength on loving God, doesn’t mean the time you take to do so is in vain. The struggle itself is prayer.
- Just because your children don’t respond as you wish they did and fall away from the Church (at least the Church you know) doesn’t mean they are bad, just misguided.
- Just because your children have lost their faith doesn’t mean that you are a failure and a bad parent.
- Just because some people who are not baptized do not share your enthusiasm for the Faith means they are bad nor does it mean you are a failure. God gave us choice for a reason and you must not choose God for them.
- Just because politicians are shame-faced liars and calumniator with others doesn’t mean all politics is bad. It does mean that if you throw mud you will lose ground.
- Just because a few priests don’t practice celibacy and chastity, doesn’t mean celibacy is wrong, anymore than marriage is wrong because many, many people divorce and some commit adultery or fornication. It’s only sex, after all.
- Just because I can look at the Blessed Sacrament and see the Real Presence but you don’t have a clue what I am experiencing, doesn’t mean you are bad, just limited in your ability to see all of reality, the visible and the invisible. For those who can see the Real Presence of Christ, no answer is necessary with Faith, for those who just think it is a good thought to have about Jesus, no answer is possible.
- Just because some people pray from their hearts in silence and solitude doesn’t mean what they experience is not prayer, just because they do not recite a vocal prayer together. Both are prayer.
- Just because I am a pope, bishop, priest or deacon doesn’t mean I am better than any other person who tries to have in them the mind of Christ Jesus. It does mean our roles and functions are different.
- Just because I am a Lay Cistercian who practices silence, solitude, prayer, work and community doesn’t mean I am better than say a Dominican Lay Person, one who follows Jesuit spirituality, one who embraces poverty and service by being a Franciscan, or Lutheran, Presbyterian laity. There is one Lord, one Baptism, one Church, one Faith, and, don’t forget, God is One.
Praise be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen.