I am just not into that….

So my facebook feed seems to light up in nice regularity with swooning and fawning over the new pope and some action or comment he made. My reaction is usually….. Really..? And what is new here ?
My personal view on the pope is maybe easily summed up as private indifference and public happiness. I am not struggling with it as some others do, http://bit.ly/139g3xz, but I am also not part of this collective outbreak of euphoria. (and I give it about a year until the media finds a way to turn back to their usual way of reporting on the church…)
So popes have different styles of governance and set different emphases in their ministry, and that’s a good thing. The universal church is so wide and all-encompassing that it profits as a whole if the chief shepherd shifts the focus from time to time, brings back neglected themes and ideas and lets others run their course. Pope Francis is no clone of Pope Benedict, and that is great.
But… and of course there has to be a but…. this doesn’t really say anything about the pope’s impact on my own spiritual path and progress. His gestures of humility and simplicity everyone fawns about don’t really do it for me, his calls for ‘messing’ things up aren’t the way I participate in the visible church, his focus on a very action-oriented access to God isn’t really my particular way to him. He is the pope so I will respect him, listen to him and do my best to follow him, but well….
It’s like as if your spiritual environment is ignatian but you are much more of a benedictine (or God forbid, dominican….),

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Thank you

Dear Lord, Thank You.

Sometimes it just has to be said, nothing more, nothing less

 

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Called by name

“Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  

 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

It’s one of those things that get’s rarely talked about, but if so it is of delineating importance: Is the resurrection real, did Jesus really physically raise from the dead? Or is it just symbolic ?

At first glance it is one of those, what does it matter ?, type of things. So what if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead ? Come on, he already did all the miracle things, all the teaching, for heaven’s sake he even did a pretty gruesome death, so why do we need that one more thing ? Can’t we simply let him rest in peace ?

There is of course the conspiracy alternative, he actually didn’t rise, the disciples just stole the body so they could claim he did… ok, but really ? True God and then he let them get away with something like that…? Please.

I am sure there are a gazillion reasons of why it is import, and yes I like consistency so he better followed through with rising from dead after pretty much announcing it all over… but there is another point that is important for me today. And his behaviour towards Mary Magdalene is emblematic for it.

When I heard the passage read out loud, I wondered why does he use her name ? If the point is to announce that he is indeed risen he could just pretty much tell her as a representative of his followers and get on with it.

But no, he announces his resurrection by calling her by name. And that call is what makes the resurrection so important. Because otherwise how can we have a true relationship with him. And with a simply thing, calling her by name, he does create that relationship and she realizes that he is real and really risen from the dead.

If he is simply symbolically risen, then he can’t call us by name, he can’t enter a relationship with us (ok he is God, but it isn’t personal, it would always just be us lowly humans and his exalted majesty).

So, thank you for calling me by name 

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And it is done…

Christus resurrexit!
Resurrexit vere!

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Waiting

Not sure why, but sometimes I really like waiting

… well as long as there is no test coming up, because I am getting nervous, very, very nervous

waiting is nice, it’s quiet, calm, orderly, structured, full of anticipation

and most of all, there is hope

hope that whatever is to happen will happen

and on Holy Saturday, easily one of my favourite days of the year, this hope is in our redemption, in our release from sin and damnation, in the final lifting of despair

the hope that ‘Do not be afraid’ becomes real and not just an empty phrase

 

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What would you say ?

If you could say anything to God, ask anything of him, what would you say ?

Of course we can talk to him any time we want, but now imagine that you would get an immediate, clear, understandable answer… and yes with that I realize that I imply that God usually works in mysterious ways, he does answer, but at least for me it takes forever to even begin to grasp what he is doing, and that is only if I have a good day…

We could ask him about the future, like ‘Will I go to heaven ?’, but do we really want to  know the answer ? If he says yes, fine, but what if he says no ? At that point all hope is lost, and what sense would life make after that ?

We could ask about something big, maybe the Theodice problem, but then would actually I able to understand the answer ? Or even if I were, I probably would go insane trying to remember it or simply to repeat it.

We could praise his glory and give him thanks, but then what should he answer to that ?

there is nothing he hasn’t told me already, there is nothing he doesn’t know already

so in the end it’s probably just  silence

P.S.: although I wouldn’t complain about tomorrow’s lottery numbers…

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Walls and Canons

Growing up in Europe meant that the image of towns and cities were not so much gleaming skyscrapers and vast gridded suburbs but historical, compact towns with a labyrinth of streets. And of course they had to have city walls with towering gates, or at least some remnants of that kind of thing.

And of course canons, because what would a good city wall be without a way to pelt the enemy with big heavy iron balls.

But city walls are also a sign of defeat, since they not only keep enemies out, they also state that you have enemies in the first place, because otherwise why would you build that kind of thing. On the other hand the emergence of modern towns without such walls is not because there are no longer any enemies,  the civil wars raging all around the globe are proof of that, but because of technological progress. You put up a wall, somebody invents a cannon to level it again, you build a better wall and they come up with tunnels below to blow it up, you might improve again but they will in time find a new way in.  Any military defence invented will be circumvented eventually, from city walls to the Maginot line to missile defence systems.

I should have realized it sooner, but it was the same with an attempts to prevent me from abusing the internet. Regardless of what blocks I put into my way, I found ways around it…

The only way out is to surrender, to give up the fight, and let somebody else take over. I still fail from time to time, but God is there to pick up the pieces and put me back together.

Because he is kind of an expert in turning losses into victories….

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